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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner’s targets for February Telescope Targets Orion and Auriga continue to be in great position for viewing this month. See December's and January's picks for these targets. For this month, we'll add Canis Major and Monoceros to our list. M41 is an open cluster in Canis Major which is quite easy to locate due to it's proximity to Sirius. Simply find Sirius (the sky's brightest star) shining below Orion, about 4º (or about one finderscope field) below Sirius is M41. M41 is a spectacular open cluster, with dozens of stars visible in scopes. M50 is another of Messier's open clusters located in the constellation Monoceros. As Monoceros itself doesn't contain any very bright stars, I use Beetlegeuse, Sirius, and Procyon to locate this one. These 3 stars form a nice triangle (the winter triangle?) to aid in locating it. The side of the triangle connecting Procryon and Sirius contains M50. M50 is located slightly less than halfway on the way from Sirius to Procryon. Two other open clusters in the area are M46 and M47. Using Procryon as the top of the vertical leg and Sirius as the edge of the vertical leg of the letter "L", M46 forms the corner of the "L". Once you've located M46, simply move slightly to the Southeast (about 1 low powered Field of View) to locate M47.

Planets Mercury is visible in the evening sky this month. This is its best evening appearance in 2013. It is visible between the 10th and the 21st Venus and Mars are not visible this month. Jupiter is visible in the evening sky this month in Taurus. It rises during daylight hours throughout the month and sets at 02:30 by month's end. It is at eastern quadrature on the 25th and fades from mag -2.5 to mag-2.3 during the month. Saturn is visible as a morning object in Libra. At the start of the month, it rises at 01:25 and by month's end, rises at 23:35. It brightens from mag +0.5 to mag +0.4 during the month. Uranus is visible as an evening object this month in Pisces. It is visible as soon as darkness falls during the month and sets at 20:30 by month's end, by which time it is lost to the evening twilight. It lies to the E of the Circlet asterism and on the evening of the 1st, lies 1° to the W of 44 Piscium (mag +5.8). It maintains it brightness at mag +5.9 during the month. Neptune is at conjunction on the 21st and is not visible this month.

Club Notes Club Observing: Remember the next club meets every first Friday of the month for our observing sessions held in the MAC grounds. If you wish to be informed of these sessions please email your name and mobile number to midlandsastronomy@gmail.com who will confirm if the session is going ahead (depending on weather).

MAC is a proud member of

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Issue 40 - February, 2013

Above: Monoceros is a constellation that is not very easily seen with the naked eye, however it does have some interesting features to observe with the aid of a small telescope. Beta Monocerotis is an impressive triple star system, the three stars form a triangle which seems to be fixed. William Herschel discovered it in 1781 and commented that it is 'one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens'. General notes Always keep an eye out for Aurorae. Check out www.stronge.org.uk/ spaceweather.html for the most up-to-date information on the aurorae. Other interesting naked eye phenomena to look out for include the Zodiacal Light and the Gegenschein. Both are caused by sunlight reflecting off dust particles which are present in the solar system.

area of the sky opposite the sun. To view either, you must get yourself to a very dark site to cut out the light pollution. When trying to observe either of these phenomena, it is best to do so when the moon is below the horizon. If you are observing them when the moon has risen, restrict your efforts to the period 4 days either side of the new moon as otherwise the moonlight will be sufficient to drown them out.

The Zodiacal Light can be seen in the West after evening twilight has disappeared or in the East before the morning twilight. The best time of year to see the phenomenon is late-Feb to early-April in the evening sky and September/ October in the morning sky - it's then that the ecliptic, along which the cone of the zodiacal light lies, is steepest in our skies. The Gegenschein can be seen in the

Finally check out www.heavensabove.com for the latest passes of the International Space Station and satellites and for details of Iridium Flare activity. Well, that should get you going in February. Clear skies and good hunting!

By Kevin Daly http://members.aol.com/kdaly10475/index.html

Latest Astronomy and Space News Kids Astronomy Quizzes and Games Monthly Sky Guide Internet Highlights


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Newly discovered Nebula looks like a Manatee ...................... 7 New comet discovered during “Stargazing Live” .................... 8 15-year old whiz kid has research on dwarf galaxies published in Nature ............................................................. 8 A runaway star .................................................................... 9 The stars of Orion’s head ..................................................... 9

Front cover image: Clouds of glowing gas mingle with dust lanes in the Trifid Nebula, a star forming region toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). In the centre, the three prominent dust lanes that give the Trifid its name all come together. Mountains of opaque dust appear on the right, while other dark filaments of dust are visible threaded throughout the nebula. A single massive star visible near the centre causes much of the Trifid's glow. The Trifid, also known as M20, is only about 300,000 years old, making it among the youngest emission nebulae known. The nebula lies about 9,000 light years away and the part pictured spans about 10 light years.

Credit & Copyright: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space Telescope, Martin Pugh; Processing: Robert Gendler

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Kids Section Kids Korner ....................................................................... 10

Quizzes and Games Exercise your brain ............................................................ 11

Monthly Sky Guide Beginners sky guide for this month .................................... 12

Internet Highlights Special content only available with the online version of the magazine ................................................................ 13

antipodes apogee aphelion apex 3. The first constellation in the Zodiac is? Andromeda Aquarius Aries Aquila 4. The brightest star in the constellation Taurus is the red giant Alpha Tauri, better known as? Arcturus Antares Aldebaran Altair 5. During a solar eclipse if the Moon’s umbra fails to completely obscure the Sun, so that a ring of sunlight appears around the Moon. This is a called an? antiapex aurora annular eclipse azimuth

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7. The brightness of a star as it is seen from Earth is measured on a logarithmic scale, and known as its?

Aquila Alcyone Andromeda Ara 9. Aristarchus of Samos in 280 BCE was one of the earliest philosophers to suggest which model of the solar system? heliocentric lunacentric geocentric galactocentric 10.A black hole is always surrounded by an? accretion disk antimatter ring accordion pleat aurora

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apparent magnitude absolute brightness absolute magnitude astrolight 8. Right next to Pegasus is this constellation named after a mythical princess who was rescued by Perseus. Within its boundaries is the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way.

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Check your answers

Answer 1. The correct answer was aberration. This was one of the reasons Isaac Newton invented the reflecting telescope, which uses a mirror instead of lenses.

Betelgeuse braces for a collision ........................................... 7

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Answer 7. The correct answer was apparent magnitude, this is a star's apparent brightness, as opposed to absolute magnitude, which is what its apparent magnitude would be if all stars were at a constant distance (10 parsecs).

There really is a hole in Orion .............................................. 6

2. The point in an orbit which is furthest from the Sun is called?

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Answer 2. The correct answer was aphelion. The opposite, the point at which it is closest to the Sun, is called perhelion.

In two weeks this 50m asteroid will buzz our planet .............. 6

orbiting space telescope 200 inch refractor 300m radiotelescope 300 inch Newtonian reflector

Answer 8. The correct answer was Andromeda. The Andromeda galaxy, designated M31 in the Messier catalogue, is two and a half million lightyears away.

You can see more about the club and its events on www.midlandsastronomy.com or contact the club via e-mail at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com Meetings are informal and are aimed at a level to suit all ages.

Biggest thing in Universe found - defies scientific theory ........ 5

aberration achromism astigmatism annulation

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Answer 3. The correct answer was Aries which is considered first because when the Greeks divided the apparent path of the sun into the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the vernal equinox (the beginning of spring) took place in Aries.

Comets galore orbit alien stars ............................................. 4

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Answer 9. The correct answer was heliocentric. Aristarchus demonstrated by geometry that the Sun must be larger than the Earth, so it must be the center of the solar system. Unfortunately an even more famous A, Aristotle, believed in the geocentric theory.

Kepler discovers 461 new planet candidates ......................... 4

SUDOKU

Answer 4. The correct answer was Aldebaran, the eye of the Bull, is a red giant, four times the diameter of the Sun.

The Orion Nebula as you’ve never seen it before ................... 3

6. What kind of telescope is the Arecibo telescope?

Answer 10. The correct answer was accretion disk which is a mass of gasses and other material which spirals into the event horizon, emitting radiation as the particles disintegrate.

NGC 6872: The largest known Spiral Galaxy.......................... 3

1. A fringe of false colour around the image, caused by the inability of a large lens to refract all colours of the spectrum to a common focus is known as?

Answer 5. The correct answer was annular eclipse. Annular, from the latin word for "ring".

Latest Astronomy and Space News

All are welcome to attend. It also holds infrequent Observing Nights at its Observing Site in Clonminch, or at a member’s house (weather permitting) on the first Friday of every month..

Exercise your brain

contents

Answer 6. The correct answer was 300 meter radiotelescope. Three hundred and five meters in diameter, the Arecibo radiotelescope is used to study pulsars, quasars and other radio objects, and has been used in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

MAC meets on the first Tuesday of the month in the Presbyterian Hall, High Street, Tullamore from 8pm.

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Kid’s Korner Why is the sky dark at night? That question is not as simple as it may sound. You might think that space appears dark at night because that is when our side of Earth faces away from the Sun as our planet rotates on its axis every 24 hours. But what about all those other far away suns that appear as stars in the night sky? Our own Milky Way galaxy contains over 200 billion stars, and the entire universe probably contains over 100 billion galaxies. You might suppose that that many stars would light up the night like daytime! Until the 20th century, astronomers didn't think it was even possible to count all the stars in the universe. They thought the universe went on forever. In other words, they thought the universe was infinite.

is that no matter where you look in the night sky, you should see a star. Stars should overlap each other in the sky like tree trunks in the middle of a very thick forest. But, if this were the case, the sky would be blazing with light. This problem greatly troubled astronomers and became known as "Olbers' Paradox." A paradox is a statement that seems to disagree with itself. To try to explain the paradox, some 19th century scientists thought that dust clouds between the stars must be absorbing a lot of the starlight so it wouldn't shine

through to us. But later scientists realized that the dust itself would absorb so much energy from the starlight that eventually it would glow as hot and bright as the stars themselves. Astronomers now realize that the universe is not infinite. A finite universe--that is, a universe of limited size--even one with trillions and trillions of stars, just wouldn't have enough stars to light up all of space. Although the idea of a finite universe explains why Earth's sky is dark at night, other causes work to make it even darker. Not only is the universe finite in size, it is also finite in age. That is, it had a beginning, just as you and I did. The universe was born about 15 billion years ago in a fantastic explosion called the Big Bang. It began at a single point and has been expanding ever since.

Besides being very hard to imagine, the trouble with an infinite universe

Above: This Hubble Space Telescope “deep field” image shows about 300 galaxies in a piece of sky only a few millimetres in size!!!

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http://www.marcsobservatory.com

NGC 6872: The largest known Spiral Galaxy Above: A cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula. This one NGC 604, glows with light from newly formed stars. Because the universe is still expanding, the distant stars and galaxies are getting farther away all the time. Although nothing travels faster than light, it still takes time for light to cross any distance. So, when astronomers look at a galaxy a million light years away, they are seeing the galaxy as it looked a million years ago. The light that leaves that galaxy today will have much farther to travel to our eyes than the light that left it a million years ago or even one year ago, because the distance between that galaxy and us constantly increases. That means the amount of light energy reaching us from distant stars dwindles all the time. And the farther away the star, the less bright it will look to us.

Observations with NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer spacecraft finds that the spiral galaxy NGC 6872, in Pavo, is an estimated 522,000 light-years across — more than five times the size of our Milky Way galaxy. When it comes to the "800-pound gorillas" of the cosmos, spiral and elliptical galaxies are right up there. For example, our own Local Group of galaxies hosts three examples of big, beefy spirals: the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), about 50,000 lightyears across; the Milky Way Galaxy (100,000 light-years), and the iconic Andromeda Galaxy (M31), now known to span some 220,000 light-years. Yet these giants are no match for the new record-holder among spirals: NGC 6872. Astronomers have long realized that this spiral is very big, appearing 6 arcminutes across in the southern constellation Pavo despite being some 212 million light-years away. But a team of observers has found that NGC 6872 has extended arms that make it even larger than imagined — five times the size of the Milky Way.

galaxy, is crowded with hot young stars shining unseen in visible light but revealed in GALEX's ultraviolet images. Notably, despite its size, NGC 6872 likely contains little free hydrogen with which to make new stars on its own. Had it not collided with IC 4970, today it would have been considerably smaller and might be exhibiting little or no evidence of ongoing star formation at all.

can also read about it in this NASA press release. By the way, GALEX is basically "on loan" to astronomers at the California Institute of Technology. In a first-of-its-kind arrangement, last year NASA turned the spacecraft's operation — and the funding to do so — over to this private institution.

Eufrasio presented his team's work at last week's meeting of the American Astronomical Society. You

Above: This composite of visible, infrared, and ulatraviolet images shows the giant barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 and the much smaller lenticular galaxy IC 2970 (just above center). The two collided some 130 million years ago, which extended the spiral's arms and created a previously unsuspected dwarf galaxy (circled) where many hot young stars are forming.

www.skyandtelescope.com

The Orion Nebula as you’ve never seen it before

This is the part of the Orion nebula. Recognise it? You may not, as this Rafael Eufrasio (NASA/Goddard stunning new image comes from Space Flight Center) and four the Gemini Observatory’s recentlycolleagues came to this conclusion commissioned advanced adaptive after combining archival data from optics (AO) system named GeMS. It several sources: visible images from shows clumps of gas ejected from ESO's Very Large Telescope, deep within the Orion Nebula which infrared views from Two Micron All are nicknamed “Orion Bullets.” Sky Survey (2MASS) and the Spitzer Space Observatory, and “The combination of a constellation ultraviolet observations from of five laser guide stars with NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. multiple deformable mirrors allows us to expand significantly on what In one sense, NGC 6872 has an has previously been possible using unfair advantage in the size adaptive optics in astronomy,” said sweepstakes. About 130 million Benoit Neichel, who currently leads years ago it collided with IC 4970, a this program. “For years our team much smaller lenticular galaxy. The has focused on developing this ongoing gravitational tug of war system, and to see this magnificent between them has created tidally image, just hinting at its scientific distortions throughout the system, potential, made our nights on the particularly a disturbed region in mountain – while most folks were NGC 6872's northeastern arm. This celebrating the New Year’s holiday extension, more than 100,000 light– the best celebration ever!” years long and tipped by a dwarf

The team took the image on December 28, 2012. About five years ago, astronomers took an image of the Orion Bullets using a previous version of adaptive optics called Altair. Gemini’s instrument scientist for Altair, Chad Trujillo, pointed out that in one shot GeMS covers a significantly larger field-of-view than Altair and a higher quality image. “The uniformity and performance across the image is amazing! In this

new image, the pixels are 2.5 times finer and there are about 16 times more of them,” he said. Both the correction quality and the field-ofview are considerably better than the previous generation of AO systems.” www.universetoday.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

A runaway star

Kepler discovers 461 new planet candidates

Most stars move through the galaxy in an orderly fashion, bobbing along and slowly revolving about the galactic centre like a perpetual cosmic merry-go-round. But once in awhile a star takes a faster ride when it’s slingshotted across the sky by a close gravitational interaction with another star. There are dozens of these “runaway” stars visible in the heavens. One of the best-known lies in the constellation Auriga, the Charioteer. This blazing star, called AE Auriga, had its origins in a famous nebula before it was flung into the Orion Arm of the Milky Way…

The findings show a steady increase in the number of smallersized planet candidates and the number of stars with more than one candidate. NASA's Kepler mission announced last month the discovery of 461 new planet candidates. Four of the potential new planets are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their sun's "habitable zone" — the region in the planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet. Based on observations conducted from May 2009 to March 2011, the findings show a steady increase in the number of smaller-sized planet candidates and the number of stars with more than one candidate. Since the last Kepler catalogue was released in February 2012, the number of candidates discovered in the Kepler data has increased by 20 percent and now totals 2,740 potential planets orbiting 2,036 stars. The most dramatic increases are seen in the number of Earthsized and super-Earth-sized candidates discovered. The new

data increase the number of stars discovered to have more than one planet candidate from 365 to 467. Today, 43 percent of Kepler's planet candidates are observed to have neighbour planets. "The large number of multicandidate systems being found by Kepler implies that a substantial fraction of exoplanets reside in flat multiplanet systems," said Jack Lissauer of NASA. "This is consistent with what we know about our own planetary neighbourhood." The Kepler space telescope identifies planet candidates by repeatedly measuring the change in brightness of more than 150,000 stars in search of planets that pass in front of, or "transit," their host star. At least three transits are required to verify a signal as a potential planet.

Scientists analysed more than 13,000 transit-like signals to eliminate known spacecraft instrumentation and astrophysical false positives — phenomena that masquerade as planetary candidates — to identify the potential new planets. Candidates require additional follow-up observations and analyses to be confirmed as planets. At the beginning of 2012, 33 candidates in the Kepler data had been confirmed as planets. Today, there are 105. "The analysis of increasingly longer

Comets galore orbit alien stars

The answer lies not in direct detection, but in the spectra of the stars themselves. Just as in our own Solar System, a comet orbiting another star will heat up as it approaches the star, releasing a plume of gas from the nucleus. This gas can be detected as short-lived lines in the stellar spectrum, as some of the star’s light is absorbed by the gas of the comet.

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time periods of Kepler data uncovers smaller planets in longer period orbits — orbital periods similar to Earth's. It is no longer a question of will we find a true Earth analogue, but a question of when." www.astronomy.com

A large planet can cause comets to move in towards the star, resulting in gas being released and ultimately revealing their presence.

A comet blazing in the night sky can be a spectacular sight, with its bright gaseous tail liberated from the icy nucleus by the heat of the Sun. A handful of stars are now known to also harbour comets, and new research suggests that these could be as common as exoplanets. Comets are small astronomical bodies, usually measuring between five and twenty kilometres in diameter, and they can be difficult to detect even in our own Solar System. So how can they be detected around other stars?

Above: Based on observations conducted May 2009 to March 2011, the most dramatic increases are seen in the number of Earth-sized and super-Earth-sized candidates discovered, which grew by 43 and 21 percent, respectively.

These tell-tale spectral features vary on a night by night basis, and sometimes they even change over a few hours. “The reason they vary in velocity is that they are tracking the grazing approach of a gaseous comet towards the central star, as it nears the star, the gas evaporates” explains Barry Welsh.

redshifted, and move over a short period of time, the most likely candidates for this behaviour are exocomets.

Most of the stars known to have exocomet activity also emit excess infrared radiation that indicates the presence of debris discs surrounding the stars. This means that is also a possibility that the absorption lines are actually associated with this disc. However, because these lines are typically

The six stars with exocomet activity discovered by Welsh and his team are not the first; exocomets were first reported around Beta Pictoris in 1987. Suspicions were raised that this star might have a large exoplanet orbiting it, as this would explain how the comets got kicked inwards towards the star.

So far, exocomets have only been detected around A-type stars of around five million years old. “The detection technique only works around young and hot stars, and you require many nights of observation per star to determine the absorption profile variability,” Welsh told Skymania News. “You can go a few nights without seeing any activity, and then on the next night you might see two or three exocomet features.” www.skymania.com

AE Aurigae is a blazing-blue main sequence star 17 times more massive than our Sun and 30,000 times as luminous. Astronomers have traced back the motion of AE Aur to a spot in the Orion Nebula, a cloud of glowing gas which you can easily see with binoculars in the “sword” of Orion. The star may was ejected about 2 million years ago, perhaps by a close gravitational interaction of two multiple star systems. Another possibility: the stars were ejected by the gravitational effects of a supernova explosion, the same explosion that formed the elegant nebulous arc known as Barnard’s loop.

Whatever happened to AE Aur, it was not alone in its fate: two other fast-moving stars also trace their origins to the Trapezium about 2 million years ago: the deepsouthern star mu Columbae and the star 53 Arietis. For such an intrinsically bright star, AE Aur doesn’t look like much. That’s partly because it’s quite far, about 1,500 light years, and also because it’s dimmed by interstellar dust which knocks down the star’s brightness by nearly a full magnitude. AE Aurigae (also catalogued as HD

The stars of Orion’s head As the brilliant constellation Orion leaps through the heavens above the southern horizon in the mid-evening hours, an honest stargazer’s heart stirs at the thought of the fine objects within the reach of a small telescope. Many observers, rightly, spend time looking at the ethereal outlines of the Great Orion Nebula in the constellation’s “sword”. But Orion holds a number of fine open star clusters for discerning observers. One of the easiest to observe, even for beginners, marks the constellation’s undersized head… Orion is a spectacular congregation of stars, and the ancient Sumerians represented the constellation as the great hero Gilgamesh. The ancient Greeks assigned a somewhat less heroic character to these stars. To the Greeks, Orion was a mighty mythological hunter who got himself into trouble with the gods. In one version of the legend, Orion enraged Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and wild animals, by savagely over-hunting the Earth’s wild creatures. In another version, Orion made unwanted advances to the virginal Artemis. In both cases, the outcome was the same: Scorpius, the great Scorpion, was

unleashed to sting Orion, killing him instantly. Zeus was dismayed by his death and placed them both in the heavens at opposite ends of the sky so they never again encountered each other. As may befit such a dim-witted brute, the constellation Orion has a somewhat undersized head. Without optics, you can spot it halfway between and a little north of red-orange Betelgeuse and blue -white Bellatrix. Orion’s head is distinctly fuzzy to the unaided eye. That’s because it consists of the small cluster called Collinder 69. The cluster is

Above: AE Aurigae is called the flaming star. The surrounding nebula IC 405 is named the Flaming Star Nebula and the region seems to harbour smoke, but there is no fire. 34078) is particularly interesting for stargazers because it’s passing through an unrelated cloud of interstellar gas and dust which the star sets aglow with its brilliant blue and UV light. The result is the Flaming Star Nebula, also called IC

405. Here’s a recent image of IC 405 from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

gathered around the 3rd-magnitude star ? (lambda) Orionis, also called Meissa (“MAY-sah”). The cluster spreads across a full degree and reveals perhaps a dozen resolved stars in binoculars and 40-50 stars in a 4-inch scope at moderate magnification. Only six stars including Meissa are particularly bright. The rest blend into the background star field.

star only appears modestly bright in our skies because it is 1,100 light years away. In a small telescope, Meissa is a fine double star with components of magnitude 3.5 and 5.5 separated by about arc-seconds. A magnification of 75-80x or more should split them nicely.

www.oneminuteastronomer.com

www.oneminuteastronomer.com

Meissa itself is a gigantic O-type star about 28 times as massive as our Sun and radiates 65,000 times as much energy, including huge amounts of X -rays in a stellar wind that flows from its surface. The

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Biggest thing in Universe found - defies scientific theory

New comet discovered during “Stargazing Live” January seen the BBC’s Stargazing Live, and there were all sorts of events in the UK for what has become a national stargazing celebration. Excitingly, during one event where astronomers were coordinating imaging with students in UK schools, a new comet was discovered. “To say we’re over the moon would be an understatement,” said Nick Howes, who is the Faulkes Telescope Pro-Am programme manager. He along with his colleague Ernesto Guido helped facilitate the discovery. “This was one of the trickiest comets we’ve ever worked on, faint at magnitude 20, with a minuscule tail. It took all our efforts for several hours to confirm it with the 2 meter scopes. It’s fantastic that with the third episode of Stargazing Live coming up we managed to nail this one during the airing of the live show.” This is the third year of Stargazing Live, which brings together astronomical societies, museums and discovery centres for local events as well as live broadcasts on the BBC. Howes and Guido decided on trying to image this target, as analysis of the Minor Planet Centre’s NEOCP target list showed that one of the newly detected but as yet unclassified objects was likely to be a comet. “We’d selected this target based on the preliminary data published by the minor planet centre, but then the power of social networking helped out even more.” With only one set of limited observations on it by the Spacewatch Observatory, Howes communicated via the social network site Twitter with Jim Scotti, an astronomer in Arizona, who first observed this object. “It became clear from speaking to Jim, that they thought they had something, but in following with IAU rules would not say what, but he encouraged us to perform additional observations to make sure what we had was indeed what we suspected from the orbit… a new comet!”

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Talk about a whopper—astronomers have discovered a structure in the universe so large that modern cosmological theory says it should not exist, a new study says.

The new object at magnitude 20, billions of times fainter than the human eye can see was then imaged by Howes and Guido using Faulkes Telescope North. Fortunately, the elevation of the comet in the sky also permitted them to request additional observations from Peter Phelps at Hazlemere school in the UK. “The data from Faulkes North was not 100% clear, as the object was so faint, but we suspected it was a comet, and asked for more images,” Howes said. The extra images, from Faulkes South showed the comet very near to a bright field star, but were enough to convince Howes and Guido that it was indeed a comet. The minor planet centre later on the 8th January confirmed this and

Above: A new comet discovered on January 8, 2013 named Comet P/2013 A2 (SCOTTI) was found remotely from the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope. cited the Faulkes observations in the discovery circular and telegrams. The new Comet is called P2012 A2 Scotti CBET is 3376 Cbet nr. 3376, issued on 2013, January 08, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 19.5) by J. Scotti with the 691 Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak, on images obtained with the 0.9-m f/3 reflector + CCD on January 06.2. The new comet has been designated P/2013 A2 (SCOTTI).

The team have been observing and imaging comets and asteroids all week with UK schools, and on Wednesday January 9th had a full day devoted to detecting and refining orbits on Kuiper belt objects in the far reaches of the solar system with a large number of schools. Congrats to all involved! www.universetoday.com

15-year old whiz kid has research on dwarf galaxies published in Nature

His simulation showed that the galaxies appear to orbit in concert and align in a vast, thin disk — a

discovery that came as a complete surprise to the researchers. Speaking to the news agency AFP, Rodrigo Ibata said he was "expecting the complete opposite" result. Though the researchers are not sure what it means, they believe the finding could reshape the understanding of how galaxies are formed.

For comparison, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is just a hundred thousand light-years across, while the local supercluster of galaxies in which it's located, the Virgo Cluster, is only a hundred million light-years wide. Astronomers have known for years that quasars can form immense clusters that stretch to more than 700 million light-years across, said Clowes. But the epic size of this

"So this represents a challenge to our current understanding and now creates a mystery—rather than solves one," Clowes said. The titanic structure, known simply as the Large Quasar Group (LQG), also appears to break the rules of a widely accepted cosmological principle, which says that the universe would look pretty much uniform when observed at the largest scales. "It could mean that our mathematical description of the universe has been oversimplified— and that would represent a serious

Above: A quasar jets energy in an illustration. A newfound quasar cluster is the universe's biggest known object. difficulty and a serious increase in complexity," Clowes said. Significant not only for its recordbreaking size, the massive structure could possibly shed light on the evolution of galaxies like our own Milky Way. Quasars, which pump out powerful jets of energy, are among the brightest and most energetic objects from when the universe was still young. They represent an early, but brief, stage in the evolution of most galaxies.

superclusters in the modern universe—but the exact nature of their connection is still a mystery. "This structure is bigger than we expect based on the shockwaves formed in the universe after the big bang, there is very likely some mechanism [that] is turning on quasars over a large scale like this— and in a short time—which could relate to some condition in the early universe." www.nationalgeographic.com

One theory holds that this type of colossal collection of quasars may be precursors to galaxy

Love it or hate it social media is probably going to be around for a long time to come. This month the Midlands Astronomy Club expanded it’s reach into this area with a new social media platform on Google+. complete surprise that Neil Ibata managed this tremendous accomplishment. He is an accelerated student attending the Pontonniers International School in Strasbourg. And in addition to his Python programming skills, he speaks German, English, and Chinese, and he studies piano at the local conservatory. www.io9.com

And it shouldn't come as a

"This discovery was very much a surprise, since it does break the cosmological record as the largest structure in the known universe," said study leader Roger Clowes.

group of 73 quasars, sitting about 9 billion light-years away, has left them scratching their heads. That's because current astrophysical models appear to show that the upper size limit for cosmic structures should be no more than 1.2 billion light-years.

Now you have more ways to keep up with astronomy and space news.

For many scientists, having their research published in a major journal is about as good as it gets — especially if that publication happens to be the prestigious journal Nature. But for 15-year old Neil Ibata, it's already a case of "been there, done that." Working with a team of astronomers, including his father Rodrigo Ibata, Neil took part in an analysis of dwarf galaxies surrounding Andromeda, our nearest galactic neighbour. Working with his father, Neil developed the code for a computer model of these celestial objects.

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an international team of researchers has discovered a record-breaking cluster of quasars—young active galaxies— stretching four billion light-years across.

The addition of MAC’s Google+ page is designed to enable MAC to spread it’s message to an even wider audience and enable MAC to harness some new and exciting facilities offered on this platform. Only recently it was announced that Google+ was now the second largest active social media platform, which is quite impressive considering how new it is compared to Facebook. Although

this new site will not be replacing Facebook it will complement the clubs on-going information strategy. Over the next few months MAC hopes to utilise the “Hangouts On Air” feature to broadcast lectures via Google+ and Youtube but if you have any suggestions on how best to use this please let us know. John Lally (MAC Vice-Chair)

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 5


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

In two weeks this 50m asteroid will buzz our planet

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Betelgeuse braces for a collision

Asteroid 2012-DA14 will pass Earth closely on Feb. 15, 2013 (NASA)

On February 15 a chunk of rock about 50 meters wide will whiz by Earth at nearly 8 km/s, coming within 27,680 km of our planet’s surface — closer than many weather and communications satellites. For those of you more comfortable with imperial units, that’s 165 feet wide traveling 17,800 mph coming within 17,200 miles. But regardless whether you prefer meters or miles, in astronomy that’s what’s called a close call. Scientists stress that there’s no danger of an impact by this incoming asteroid, designated 2012 -DA14, but it’s yet another reminder that in our neck of the Solar System we are definitely not alone. “2012-DA14 will definitely not hit

The star and its surrounding arcs could collide with an intriguing dusty “wall” in 5,000 years. Multiple arcs are revealed around Betelgeuse, the nearest red supergiant star to Earth, in this new image from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory. The star and its arcshaped shields could collide with an intriguing dusty “wall” in 5,000 years.

Earth,” says JPL’s near-Earth object specialist Don Yeomans. “The orbit of the asteroid is known well enough to rule out an impact.” But with 2012-DA14's upcoming February flyby Yeomans notes, “this is a record-setting close approach.” The rocky asteroid will come within about 4 Earth radii, which is well within the orbits of geosynchronous satellites. During its closest approach at 19:26 UTC it should be visible in the sky to amateur telescopes (but not the

There really is a hole in Orion When astronomers see dark regions in nebula in visible light, they know there’s something going on. There’s got to be some kind of star forming activity pumping out material that obscures the view to the newly forming starts. Switch to infrared and you can peer through that intervening dust to see the young stars at work.

naked eye), becoming as bright as an 7th- or 8th-magnitude star. Radar observatories will be watching 2012-DA14 during the days leading up to and following its approach in an attempt to better determine its size, shape and

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 6

www.universetoday.com

Roughly 1,000 times the diameter of our Sun and shining 100,000 times more brightly, Betelgeuse’s impressive statistics come with a cost. This star is likely on its way to a spectacular supernova explosion, having already swelled into a red supergiant and shed a significant fraction of its outer layers.

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile were surprised to see a dark region in the nebula NGC 1999, even in infrared, when the cause of the dark region should have been apparent. These dark regions in nebulae have been observed for hundreds of years. Even William Herschel found one in the constellation Scorpius back in 1774.”Truly there is a hole in the sky here!” he noted. But it wasn’t a hole. It was a region where star formation is actively happening. Under construction, nothing to see here, come back in a million years when the newly formed stars have generated powerful solar winds and are clearing out their stellar neighbourhoods.

A new image from ESO’s APEX instrument shows a cloud of gas and dust in the Orion region.

trajectory. NASA’s Goldstone facility will have an eye — er, dish — on DA14, but it won’t be visible to Arecibo. Stay tuned for more info!

Here, I’ve attached an image of bok globules (dark nebulae in IC 2944), which can contain 2 to 50 solar masses of material contained within a volume of about a light-year. Often these dark regions can result in double or even multiple star systems. But in the case of NGC 1999, astronomers used the APEX instrument to peer at this region in infrared; the perfect wavelength to see through all that dust. And the

Betelgeuse rides on the shoulder of the constellation Orion the Hunter. Observers can easily see it with the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere winter sky as the orange-red star above and to the left of Orion’s famous three-star belt.

The new far-infrared view from Herschel shows how the star’s winds are crashing against the hole, this dark region, was still there. Thanks to multiple observations from different instruments, astronomers think they’ve puzzled out the nature of this dark hole. It’s actually a cavity carved out by the star V380 Orionis. It really is a dark hole in the nebula, and not a secret star forming region at all. V380 Orionis is the brightest star in the region of NGC 1999 – it’s actually the brightest member of a triple star system. It’s got a surface temperature of about 10,000 Kelvin and contains about 3.5 times the mass of the Sun. Back in 2010, researchers uncovered that a powerful jet from V380 Ori is probably responsible for carving out this gap in the nebula. www.universetoday.com

surrounding interstellar medium, creating a bow shock as the star moves through space at speeds of around 19 miles per second (30 km/s).

beyond the dusty arcs. While some earlier theories proposed that this bar was a result of material ejected during a previous stage of stellar evolution, analysis of the new image suggests that it is either a linear filament linked to the galaxy’s magnetic field or the edge of a nearby interstellar cloud that is being illuminated by Betelgeuse.

If the bar is a completely separate object, then taking into account the motion of Betelgeuse and its arcs and the separation between them and the bar, the outermost arc will collide with the bar in just 5,000 years, with the red supergiant star itself hitting the bar roughly 12,500 years later. www.astronomy.com

A series of broken, dusty arcs ahead of the star’s direction of motion testify to a turbulent history of mass loss. Closer to the star itself, an inner envelope of material shows a pronounced asymmetric structure. Large convective cells in the star’s outer atmosphere have likely resulted in localized, clumpy ejections of dusty debris at different stages in the past. An intriguing linear structure is also seen farther away from the star,

Above: The star (centre) is surrounded by a clumpy envelope of material in its immediate vicinity. A series of arcs 6–7 arcminutes to the left of the star is material ejected from Betelgeuse as it evolved into a red supergiant star, shaped by its bow shock interaction with the interstellar medium. A faint linear bar of dust is illuminated at a distance of 9 arcminutes and may represent a dusty filament connected to the local galactic magnetic field or the edge of an interstellar cloud. If so, then Betelgeuse’s motion across the sky implies that the arcs will hit the wall in 5,000 years time, with the star colliding with the wall 12,500 years later.

Newly discovered Nebula looks like a Manatee It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... a manatee? The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) believes that a gas cloud in the constellation Aquila bears an uncanny resemblance to the endangered aquatic mammal. Heidi Winter, executive assistant to NRAO's director, first noticed the similarity and quickly saw it as "a wonderful opportunity to bridge two worlds—biology and astronomy." The cloud, or nebula, which is named W50, has more in common with manatees than just its shape. It is the remnant of a star explosion from 20,000 years ago. Particle beams that shoot from the explosion's centre, where a star and a black hole orbit each other, form a spiral pattern resembling

scars. Manatees also bear scars because manatees prefer shallow water, collisions with boat propellers are frequent. The resemblance continues. Like the "sea cow," which can blend into murky water, the nebula is hard to spot. It's approximately 18,000 light-years away, so only one bright arc can be seen by the human eye. Astronomers first saw the ghostly nebula with a telescope that collects a kind of light that radiates at longer wavelengths called radio waves.

W50's new nickname, the Manatee Nebula, and its first photos were unveiled January 19 at the Florida Manatee Festival. The event marks the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which aims to protect critical habitats. Florida's manatee population has risen from around 700 in the 1970s to 5,000 today, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service is considering reclassifying the species from endangered to threatened. www.nationalgeographic.com

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 7


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

In two weeks this 50m asteroid will buzz our planet

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Betelgeuse braces for a collision

Asteroid 2012-DA14 will pass Earth closely on Feb. 15, 2013 (NASA)

On February 15 a chunk of rock about 50 meters wide will whiz by Earth at nearly 8 km/s, coming within 27,680 km of our planet’s surface — closer than many weather and communications satellites. For those of you more comfortable with imperial units, that’s 165 feet wide traveling 17,800 mph coming within 17,200 miles. But regardless whether you prefer meters or miles, in astronomy that’s what’s called a close call. Scientists stress that there’s no danger of an impact by this incoming asteroid, designated 2012 -DA14, but it’s yet another reminder that in our neck of the Solar System we are definitely not alone. “2012-DA14 will definitely not hit

The star and its surrounding arcs could collide with an intriguing dusty “wall” in 5,000 years. Multiple arcs are revealed around Betelgeuse, the nearest red supergiant star to Earth, in this new image from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory. The star and its arcshaped shields could collide with an intriguing dusty “wall” in 5,000 years.

Earth,” says JPL’s near-Earth object specialist Don Yeomans. “The orbit of the asteroid is known well enough to rule out an impact.” But with 2012-DA14's upcoming February flyby Yeomans notes, “this is a record-setting close approach.” The rocky asteroid will come within about 4 Earth radii, which is well within the orbits of geosynchronous satellites. During its closest approach at 19:26 UTC it should be visible in the sky to amateur telescopes (but not the

There really is a hole in Orion When astronomers see dark regions in nebula in visible light, they know there’s something going on. There’s got to be some kind of star forming activity pumping out material that obscures the view to the newly forming starts. Switch to infrared and you can peer through that intervening dust to see the young stars at work.

naked eye), becoming as bright as an 7th- or 8th-magnitude star. Radar observatories will be watching 2012-DA14 during the days leading up to and following its approach in an attempt to better determine its size, shape and

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 6

www.universetoday.com

Roughly 1,000 times the diameter of our Sun and shining 100,000 times more brightly, Betelgeuse’s impressive statistics come with a cost. This star is likely on its way to a spectacular supernova explosion, having already swelled into a red supergiant and shed a significant fraction of its outer layers.

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile were surprised to see a dark region in the nebula NGC 1999, even in infrared, when the cause of the dark region should have been apparent. These dark regions in nebulae have been observed for hundreds of years. Even William Herschel found one in the constellation Scorpius back in 1774.”Truly there is a hole in the sky here!” he noted. But it wasn’t a hole. It was a region where star formation is actively happening. Under construction, nothing to see here, come back in a million years when the newly formed stars have generated powerful solar winds and are clearing out their stellar neighbourhoods.

A new image from ESO’s APEX instrument shows a cloud of gas and dust in the Orion region.

trajectory. NASA’s Goldstone facility will have an eye — er, dish — on DA14, but it won’t be visible to Arecibo. Stay tuned for more info!

Here, I’ve attached an image of bok globules (dark nebulae in IC 2944), which can contain 2 to 50 solar masses of material contained within a volume of about a light-year. Often these dark regions can result in double or even multiple star systems. But in the case of NGC 1999, astronomers used the APEX instrument to peer at this region in infrared; the perfect wavelength to see through all that dust. And the

Betelgeuse rides on the shoulder of the constellation Orion the Hunter. Observers can easily see it with the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere winter sky as the orange-red star above and to the left of Orion’s famous three-star belt.

The new far-infrared view from Herschel shows how the star’s winds are crashing against the hole, this dark region, was still there. Thanks to multiple observations from different instruments, astronomers think they’ve puzzled out the nature of this dark hole. It’s actually a cavity carved out by the star V380 Orionis. It really is a dark hole in the nebula, and not a secret star forming region at all. V380 Orionis is the brightest star in the region of NGC 1999 – it’s actually the brightest member of a triple star system. It’s got a surface temperature of about 10,000 Kelvin and contains about 3.5 times the mass of the Sun. Back in 2010, researchers uncovered that a powerful jet from V380 Ori is probably responsible for carving out this gap in the nebula. www.universetoday.com

surrounding interstellar medium, creating a bow shock as the star moves through space at speeds of around 19 miles per second (30 km/s).

beyond the dusty arcs. While some earlier theories proposed that this bar was a result of material ejected during a previous stage of stellar evolution, analysis of the new image suggests that it is either a linear filament linked to the galaxy’s magnetic field or the edge of a nearby interstellar cloud that is being illuminated by Betelgeuse.

If the bar is a completely separate object, then taking into account the motion of Betelgeuse and its arcs and the separation between them and the bar, the outermost arc will collide with the bar in just 5,000 years, with the red supergiant star itself hitting the bar roughly 12,500 years later. www.astronomy.com

A series of broken, dusty arcs ahead of the star’s direction of motion testify to a turbulent history of mass loss. Closer to the star itself, an inner envelope of material shows a pronounced asymmetric structure. Large convective cells in the star’s outer atmosphere have likely resulted in localized, clumpy ejections of dusty debris at different stages in the past. An intriguing linear structure is also seen farther away from the star,

Above: The star (centre) is surrounded by a clumpy envelope of material in its immediate vicinity. A series of arcs 6–7 arcminutes to the left of the star is material ejected from Betelgeuse as it evolved into a red supergiant star, shaped by its bow shock interaction with the interstellar medium. A faint linear bar of dust is illuminated at a distance of 9 arcminutes and may represent a dusty filament connected to the local galactic magnetic field or the edge of an interstellar cloud. If so, then Betelgeuse’s motion across the sky implies that the arcs will hit the wall in 5,000 years time, with the star colliding with the wall 12,500 years later.

Newly discovered Nebula looks like a Manatee It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... a manatee? The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) believes that a gas cloud in the constellation Aquila bears an uncanny resemblance to the endangered aquatic mammal. Heidi Winter, executive assistant to NRAO's director, first noticed the similarity and quickly saw it as "a wonderful opportunity to bridge two worlds—biology and astronomy." The cloud, or nebula, which is named W50, has more in common with manatees than just its shape. It is the remnant of a star explosion from 20,000 years ago. Particle beams that shoot from the explosion's centre, where a star and a black hole orbit each other, form a spiral pattern resembling

scars. Manatees also bear scars because manatees prefer shallow water, collisions with boat propellers are frequent. The resemblance continues. Like the "sea cow," which can blend into murky water, the nebula is hard to spot. It's approximately 18,000 light-years away, so only one bright arc can be seen by the human eye. Astronomers first saw the ghostly nebula with a telescope that collects a kind of light that radiates at longer wavelengths called radio waves.

W50's new nickname, the Manatee Nebula, and its first photos were unveiled January 19 at the Florida Manatee Festival. The event marks the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which aims to protect critical habitats. Florida's manatee population has risen from around 700 in the 1970s to 5,000 today, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service is considering reclassifying the species from endangered to threatened. www.nationalgeographic.com

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 7


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Biggest thing in Universe found - defies scientific theory

New comet discovered during “Stargazing Live” January seen the BBC’s Stargazing Live, and there were all sorts of events in the UK for what has become a national stargazing celebration. Excitingly, during one event where astronomers were coordinating imaging with students in UK schools, a new comet was discovered. “To say we’re over the moon would be an understatement,” said Nick Howes, who is the Faulkes Telescope Pro-Am programme manager. He along with his colleague Ernesto Guido helped facilitate the discovery. “This was one of the trickiest comets we’ve ever worked on, faint at magnitude 20, with a minuscule tail. It took all our efforts for several hours to confirm it with the 2 meter scopes. It’s fantastic that with the third episode of Stargazing Live coming up we managed to nail this one during the airing of the live show.” This is the third year of Stargazing Live, which brings together astronomical societies, museums and discovery centres for local events as well as live broadcasts on the BBC. Howes and Guido decided on trying to image this target, as analysis of the Minor Planet Centre’s NEOCP target list showed that one of the newly detected but as yet unclassified objects was likely to be a comet. “We’d selected this target based on the preliminary data published by the minor planet centre, but then the power of social networking helped out even more.” With only one set of limited observations on it by the Spacewatch Observatory, Howes communicated via the social network site Twitter with Jim Scotti, an astronomer in Arizona, who first observed this object. “It became clear from speaking to Jim, that they thought they had something, but in following with IAU rules would not say what, but he encouraged us to perform additional observations to make sure what we had was indeed what we suspected from the orbit… a new comet!”

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 8

Talk about a whopper—astronomers have discovered a structure in the universe so large that modern cosmological theory says it should not exist, a new study says.

The new object at magnitude 20, billions of times fainter than the human eye can see was then imaged by Howes and Guido using Faulkes Telescope North. Fortunately, the elevation of the comet in the sky also permitted them to request additional observations from Peter Phelps at Hazlemere school in the UK. “The data from Faulkes North was not 100% clear, as the object was so faint, but we suspected it was a comet, and asked for more images,” Howes said. The extra images, from Faulkes South showed the comet very near to a bright field star, but were enough to convince Howes and Guido that it was indeed a comet. The minor planet centre later on the 8th January confirmed this and

Above: A new comet discovered on January 8, 2013 named Comet P/2013 A2 (SCOTTI) was found remotely from the Haleakala-Faulkes Telescope. cited the Faulkes observations in the discovery circular and telegrams. The new Comet is called P2012 A2 Scotti CBET is 3376 Cbet nr. 3376, issued on 2013, January 08, announces the discovery of a new comet (discovery magnitude 19.5) by J. Scotti with the 691 Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak, on images obtained with the 0.9-m f/3 reflector + CCD on January 06.2. The new comet has been designated P/2013 A2 (SCOTTI).

The team have been observing and imaging comets and asteroids all week with UK schools, and on Wednesday January 9th had a full day devoted to detecting and refining orbits on Kuiper belt objects in the far reaches of the solar system with a large number of schools. Congrats to all involved! www.universetoday.com

15-year old whiz kid has research on dwarf galaxies published in Nature

His simulation showed that the galaxies appear to orbit in concert and align in a vast, thin disk — a

discovery that came as a complete surprise to the researchers. Speaking to the news agency AFP, Rodrigo Ibata said he was "expecting the complete opposite" result. Though the researchers are not sure what it means, they believe the finding could reshape the understanding of how galaxies are formed.

For comparison, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is just a hundred thousand light-years across, while the local supercluster of galaxies in which it's located, the Virgo Cluster, is only a hundred million light-years wide. Astronomers have known for years that quasars can form immense clusters that stretch to more than 700 million light-years across, said Clowes. But the epic size of this

"So this represents a challenge to our current understanding and now creates a mystery—rather than solves one," Clowes said. The titanic structure, known simply as the Large Quasar Group (LQG), also appears to break the rules of a widely accepted cosmological principle, which says that the universe would look pretty much uniform when observed at the largest scales. "It could mean that our mathematical description of the universe has been oversimplified— and that would represent a serious

Above: A quasar jets energy in an illustration. A newfound quasar cluster is the universe's biggest known object. difficulty and a serious increase in complexity," Clowes said. Significant not only for its recordbreaking size, the massive structure could possibly shed light on the evolution of galaxies like our own Milky Way. Quasars, which pump out powerful jets of energy, are among the brightest and most energetic objects from when the universe was still young. They represent an early, but brief, stage in the evolution of most galaxies.

superclusters in the modern universe—but the exact nature of their connection is still a mystery. "This structure is bigger than we expect based on the shockwaves formed in the universe after the big bang, there is very likely some mechanism [that] is turning on quasars over a large scale like this— and in a short time—which could relate to some condition in the early universe." www.nationalgeographic.com

One theory holds that this type of colossal collection of quasars may be precursors to galaxy

Love it or hate it social media is probably going to be around for a long time to come. This month the Midlands Astronomy Club expanded it’s reach into this area with a new social media platform on Google+. complete surprise that Neil Ibata managed this tremendous accomplishment. He is an accelerated student attending the Pontonniers International School in Strasbourg. And in addition to his Python programming skills, he speaks German, English, and Chinese, and he studies piano at the local conservatory. www.io9.com

And it shouldn't come as a

"This discovery was very much a surprise, since it does break the cosmological record as the largest structure in the known universe," said study leader Roger Clowes.

group of 73 quasars, sitting about 9 billion light-years away, has left them scratching their heads. That's because current astrophysical models appear to show that the upper size limit for cosmic structures should be no more than 1.2 billion light-years.

Now you have more ways to keep up with astronomy and space news.

For many scientists, having their research published in a major journal is about as good as it gets — especially if that publication happens to be the prestigious journal Nature. But for 15-year old Neil Ibata, it's already a case of "been there, done that." Working with a team of astronomers, including his father Rodrigo Ibata, Neil took part in an analysis of dwarf galaxies surrounding Andromeda, our nearest galactic neighbour. Working with his father, Neil developed the code for a computer model of these celestial objects.

Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an international team of researchers has discovered a record-breaking cluster of quasars—young active galaxies— stretching four billion light-years across.

The addition of MAC’s Google+ page is designed to enable MAC to spread it’s message to an even wider audience and enable MAC to harness some new and exciting facilities offered on this platform. Only recently it was announced that Google+ was now the second largest active social media platform, which is quite impressive considering how new it is compared to Facebook. Although

this new site will not be replacing Facebook it will complement the clubs on-going information strategy. Over the next few months MAC hopes to utilise the “Hangouts On Air” feature to broadcast lectures via Google+ and Youtube but if you have any suggestions on how best to use this please let us know. John Lally (MAC Vice-Chair)

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 5


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

A runaway star

Kepler discovers 461 new planet candidates

Most stars move through the galaxy in an orderly fashion, bobbing along and slowly revolving about the galactic centre like a perpetual cosmic merry-go-round. But once in awhile a star takes a faster ride when it’s slingshotted across the sky by a close gravitational interaction with another star. There are dozens of these “runaway” stars visible in the heavens. One of the best-known lies in the constellation Auriga, the Charioteer. This blazing star, called AE Auriga, had its origins in a famous nebula before it was flung into the Orion Arm of the Milky Way…

The findings show a steady increase in the number of smallersized planet candidates and the number of stars with more than one candidate. NASA's Kepler mission announced last month the discovery of 461 new planet candidates. Four of the potential new planets are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their sun's "habitable zone" — the region in the planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet. Based on observations conducted from May 2009 to March 2011, the findings show a steady increase in the number of smaller-sized planet candidates and the number of stars with more than one candidate. Since the last Kepler catalogue was released in February 2012, the number of candidates discovered in the Kepler data has increased by 20 percent and now totals 2,740 potential planets orbiting 2,036 stars. The most dramatic increases are seen in the number of Earthsized and super-Earth-sized candidates discovered. The new

data increase the number of stars discovered to have more than one planet candidate from 365 to 467. Today, 43 percent of Kepler's planet candidates are observed to have neighbour planets. "The large number of multicandidate systems being found by Kepler implies that a substantial fraction of exoplanets reside in flat multiplanet systems," said Jack Lissauer of NASA. "This is consistent with what we know about our own planetary neighbourhood." The Kepler space telescope identifies planet candidates by repeatedly measuring the change in brightness of more than 150,000 stars in search of planets that pass in front of, or "transit," their host star. At least three transits are required to verify a signal as a potential planet.

Scientists analysed more than 13,000 transit-like signals to eliminate known spacecraft instrumentation and astrophysical false positives — phenomena that masquerade as planetary candidates — to identify the potential new planets. Candidates require additional follow-up observations and analyses to be confirmed as planets. At the beginning of 2012, 33 candidates in the Kepler data had been confirmed as planets. Today, there are 105. "The analysis of increasingly longer

Comets galore orbit alien stars

The answer lies not in direct detection, but in the spectra of the stars themselves. Just as in our own Solar System, a comet orbiting another star will heat up as it approaches the star, releasing a plume of gas from the nucleus. This gas can be detected as short-lived lines in the stellar spectrum, as some of the star’s light is absorbed by the gas of the comet.

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 4

time periods of Kepler data uncovers smaller planets in longer period orbits — orbital periods similar to Earth's. It is no longer a question of will we find a true Earth analogue, but a question of when." www.astronomy.com

A large planet can cause comets to move in towards the star, resulting in gas being released and ultimately revealing their presence.

A comet blazing in the night sky can be a spectacular sight, with its bright gaseous tail liberated from the icy nucleus by the heat of the Sun. A handful of stars are now known to also harbour comets, and new research suggests that these could be as common as exoplanets. Comets are small astronomical bodies, usually measuring between five and twenty kilometres in diameter, and they can be difficult to detect even in our own Solar System. So how can they be detected around other stars?

Above: Based on observations conducted May 2009 to March 2011, the most dramatic increases are seen in the number of Earth-sized and super-Earth-sized candidates discovered, which grew by 43 and 21 percent, respectively.

These tell-tale spectral features vary on a night by night basis, and sometimes they even change over a few hours. “The reason they vary in velocity is that they are tracking the grazing approach of a gaseous comet towards the central star, as it nears the star, the gas evaporates” explains Barry Welsh.

redshifted, and move over a short period of time, the most likely candidates for this behaviour are exocomets.

Most of the stars known to have exocomet activity also emit excess infrared radiation that indicates the presence of debris discs surrounding the stars. This means that is also a possibility that the absorption lines are actually associated with this disc. However, because these lines are typically

The six stars with exocomet activity discovered by Welsh and his team are not the first; exocomets were first reported around Beta Pictoris in 1987. Suspicions were raised that this star might have a large exoplanet orbiting it, as this would explain how the comets got kicked inwards towards the star.

So far, exocomets have only been detected around A-type stars of around five million years old. “The detection technique only works around young and hot stars, and you require many nights of observation per star to determine the absorption profile variability,” Welsh told Skymania News. “You can go a few nights without seeing any activity, and then on the next night you might see two or three exocomet features.” www.skymania.com

AE Aurigae is a blazing-blue main sequence star 17 times more massive than our Sun and 30,000 times as luminous. Astronomers have traced back the motion of AE Aur to a spot in the Orion Nebula, a cloud of glowing gas which you can easily see with binoculars in the “sword” of Orion. The star may was ejected about 2 million years ago, perhaps by a close gravitational interaction of two multiple star systems. Another possibility: the stars were ejected by the gravitational effects of a supernova explosion, the same explosion that formed the elegant nebulous arc known as Barnard’s loop.

Whatever happened to AE Aur, it was not alone in its fate: two other fast-moving stars also trace their origins to the Trapezium about 2 million years ago: the deepsouthern star mu Columbae and the star 53 Arietis. For such an intrinsically bright star, AE Aur doesn’t look like much. That’s partly because it’s quite far, about 1,500 light years, and also because it’s dimmed by interstellar dust which knocks down the star’s brightness by nearly a full magnitude. AE Aurigae (also catalogued as HD

The stars of Orion’s head As the brilliant constellation Orion leaps through the heavens above the southern horizon in the mid-evening hours, an honest stargazer’s heart stirs at the thought of the fine objects within the reach of a small telescope. Many observers, rightly, spend time looking at the ethereal outlines of the Great Orion Nebula in the constellation’s “sword”. But Orion holds a number of fine open star clusters for discerning observers. One of the easiest to observe, even for beginners, marks the constellation’s undersized head… Orion is a spectacular congregation of stars, and the ancient Sumerians represented the constellation as the great hero Gilgamesh. The ancient Greeks assigned a somewhat less heroic character to these stars. To the Greeks, Orion was a mighty mythological hunter who got himself into trouble with the gods. In one version of the legend, Orion enraged Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and wild animals, by savagely over-hunting the Earth’s wild creatures. In another version, Orion made unwanted advances to the virginal Artemis. In both cases, the outcome was the same: Scorpius, the great Scorpion, was

unleashed to sting Orion, killing him instantly. Zeus was dismayed by his death and placed them both in the heavens at opposite ends of the sky so they never again encountered each other. As may befit such a dim-witted brute, the constellation Orion has a somewhat undersized head. Without optics, you can spot it halfway between and a little north of red-orange Betelgeuse and blue -white Bellatrix. Orion’s head is distinctly fuzzy to the unaided eye. That’s because it consists of the small cluster called Collinder 69. The cluster is

Above: AE Aurigae is called the flaming star. The surrounding nebula IC 405 is named the Flaming Star Nebula and the region seems to harbour smoke, but there is no fire. 34078) is particularly interesting for stargazers because it’s passing through an unrelated cloud of interstellar gas and dust which the star sets aglow with its brilliant blue and UV light. The result is the Flaming Star Nebula, also called IC

405. Here’s a recent image of IC 405 from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

gathered around the 3rd-magnitude star ? (lambda) Orionis, also called Meissa (“MAY-sah”). The cluster spreads across a full degree and reveals perhaps a dozen resolved stars in binoculars and 40-50 stars in a 4-inch scope at moderate magnification. Only six stars including Meissa are particularly bright. The rest blend into the background star field.

star only appears modestly bright in our skies because it is 1,100 light years away. In a small telescope, Meissa is a fine double star with components of magnitude 3.5 and 5.5 separated by about arc-seconds. A magnification of 75-80x or more should split them nicely.

www.oneminuteastronomer.com

www.oneminuteastronomer.com

Meissa itself is a gigantic O-type star about 28 times as massive as our Sun and radiates 65,000 times as much energy, including huge amounts of X -rays in a stellar wind that flows from its surface. The

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Kid’s Korner Why is the sky dark at night? That question is not as simple as it may sound. You might think that space appears dark at night because that is when our side of Earth faces away from the Sun as our planet rotates on its axis every 24 hours. But what about all those other far away suns that appear as stars in the night sky? Our own Milky Way galaxy contains over 200 billion stars, and the entire universe probably contains over 100 billion galaxies. You might suppose that that many stars would light up the night like daytime! Until the 20th century, astronomers didn't think it was even possible to count all the stars in the universe. They thought the universe went on forever. In other words, they thought the universe was infinite.

is that no matter where you look in the night sky, you should see a star. Stars should overlap each other in the sky like tree trunks in the middle of a very thick forest. But, if this were the case, the sky would be blazing with light. This problem greatly troubled astronomers and became known as "Olbers' Paradox." A paradox is a statement that seems to disagree with itself. To try to explain the paradox, some 19th century scientists thought that dust clouds between the stars must be absorbing a lot of the starlight so it wouldn't shine

through to us. But later scientists realized that the dust itself would absorb so much energy from the starlight that eventually it would glow as hot and bright as the stars themselves. Astronomers now realize that the universe is not infinite. A finite universe--that is, a universe of limited size--even one with trillions and trillions of stars, just wouldn't have enough stars to light up all of space. Although the idea of a finite universe explains why Earth's sky is dark at night, other causes work to make it even darker. Not only is the universe finite in size, it is also finite in age. That is, it had a beginning, just as you and I did. The universe was born about 15 billion years ago in a fantastic explosion called the Big Bang. It began at a single point and has been expanding ever since.

Besides being very hard to imagine, the trouble with an infinite universe

Above: This Hubble Space Telescope “deep field” image shows about 300 galaxies in a piece of sky only a few millimetres in size!!!

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http://www.marcsobservatory.com

NGC 6872: The largest known Spiral Galaxy Above: A cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula. This one NGC 604, glows with light from newly formed stars. Because the universe is still expanding, the distant stars and galaxies are getting farther away all the time. Although nothing travels faster than light, it still takes time for light to cross any distance. So, when astronomers look at a galaxy a million light years away, they are seeing the galaxy as it looked a million years ago. The light that leaves that galaxy today will have much farther to travel to our eyes than the light that left it a million years ago or even one year ago, because the distance between that galaxy and us constantly increases. That means the amount of light energy reaching us from distant stars dwindles all the time. And the farther away the star, the less bright it will look to us.

Observations with NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer spacecraft finds that the spiral galaxy NGC 6872, in Pavo, is an estimated 522,000 light-years across — more than five times the size of our Milky Way galaxy. When it comes to the "800-pound gorillas" of the cosmos, spiral and elliptical galaxies are right up there. For example, our own Local Group of galaxies hosts three examples of big, beefy spirals: the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), about 50,000 lightyears across; the Milky Way Galaxy (100,000 light-years), and the iconic Andromeda Galaxy (M31), now known to span some 220,000 light-years. Yet these giants are no match for the new record-holder among spirals: NGC 6872. Astronomers have long realized that this spiral is very big, appearing 6 arcminutes across in the southern constellation Pavo despite being some 212 million light-years away. But a team of observers has found that NGC 6872 has extended arms that make it even larger than imagined — five times the size of the Milky Way.

galaxy, is crowded with hot young stars shining unseen in visible light but revealed in GALEX's ultraviolet images. Notably, despite its size, NGC 6872 likely contains little free hydrogen with which to make new stars on its own. Had it not collided with IC 4970, today it would have been considerably smaller and might be exhibiting little or no evidence of ongoing star formation at all.

can also read about it in this NASA press release. By the way, GALEX is basically "on loan" to astronomers at the California Institute of Technology. In a first-of-its-kind arrangement, last year NASA turned the spacecraft's operation — and the funding to do so — over to this private institution.

Eufrasio presented his team's work at last week's meeting of the American Astronomical Society. You

Above: This composite of visible, infrared, and ulatraviolet images shows the giant barred spiral galaxy NGC 6872 and the much smaller lenticular galaxy IC 2970 (just above center). The two collided some 130 million years ago, which extended the spiral's arms and created a previously unsuspected dwarf galaxy (circled) where many hot young stars are forming.

www.skyandtelescope.com

The Orion Nebula as you’ve never seen it before

This is the part of the Orion nebula. Recognise it? You may not, as this Rafael Eufrasio (NASA/Goddard stunning new image comes from Space Flight Center) and four the Gemini Observatory’s recentlycolleagues came to this conclusion commissioned advanced adaptive after combining archival data from optics (AO) system named GeMS. It several sources: visible images from shows clumps of gas ejected from ESO's Very Large Telescope, deep within the Orion Nebula which infrared views from Two Micron All are nicknamed “Orion Bullets.” Sky Survey (2MASS) and the Spitzer Space Observatory, and “The combination of a constellation ultraviolet observations from of five laser guide stars with NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. multiple deformable mirrors allows us to expand significantly on what In one sense, NGC 6872 has an has previously been possible using unfair advantage in the size adaptive optics in astronomy,” said sweepstakes. About 130 million Benoit Neichel, who currently leads years ago it collided with IC 4970, a this program. “For years our team much smaller lenticular galaxy. The has focused on developing this ongoing gravitational tug of war system, and to see this magnificent between them has created tidally image, just hinting at its scientific distortions throughout the system, potential, made our nights on the particularly a disturbed region in mountain – while most folks were NGC 6872's northeastern arm. This celebrating the New Year’s holiday extension, more than 100,000 light– the best celebration ever!” years long and tipped by a dwarf

The team took the image on December 28, 2012. About five years ago, astronomers took an image of the Orion Bullets using a previous version of adaptive optics called Altair. Gemini’s instrument scientist for Altair, Chad Trujillo, pointed out that in one shot GeMS covers a significantly larger field-of-view than Altair and a higher quality image. “The uniformity and performance across the image is amazing! In this

new image, the pixels are 2.5 times finer and there are about 16 times more of them,” he said. Both the correction quality and the field-ofview are considerably better than the previous generation of AO systems.” www.universetoday.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Newly discovered Nebula looks like a Manatee ...................... 7 New comet discovered during “Stargazing Live” .................... 8 15-year old whiz kid has research on dwarf galaxies published in Nature ............................................................. 8 A runaway star .................................................................... 9 The stars of Orion’s head ..................................................... 9

Front cover image: Clouds of glowing gas mingle with dust lanes in the Trifid Nebula, a star forming region toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). In the centre, the three prominent dust lanes that give the Trifid its name all come together. Mountains of opaque dust appear on the right, while other dark filaments of dust are visible threaded throughout the nebula. A single massive star visible near the centre causes much of the Trifid's glow. The Trifid, also known as M20, is only about 300,000 years old, making it among the youngest emission nebulae known. The nebula lies about 9,000 light years away and the part pictured spans about 10 light years.

Credit & Copyright: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space Telescope, Martin Pugh; Processing: Robert Gendler

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Kids Section Kids Korner ....................................................................... 10

Quizzes and Games Exercise your brain ............................................................ 11

Monthly Sky Guide Beginners sky guide for this month .................................... 12

Internet Highlights Special content only available with the online version of the magazine ................................................................ 13

antipodes apogee aphelion apex 3. The first constellation in the Zodiac is? Andromeda Aquarius Aries Aquila 4. The brightest star in the constellation Taurus is the red giant Alpha Tauri, better known as? Arcturus Antares Aldebaran Altair 5. During a solar eclipse if the Moon’s umbra fails to completely obscure the Sun, so that a ring of sunlight appears around the Moon. This is a called an? antiapex aurora annular eclipse azimuth

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7. The brightness of a star as it is seen from Earth is measured on a logarithmic scale, and known as its?

Aquila Alcyone Andromeda Ara 9. Aristarchus of Samos in 280 BCE was one of the earliest philosophers to suggest which model of the solar system? heliocentric lunacentric geocentric galactocentric 10.A black hole is always surrounded by an? accretion disk antimatter ring accordion pleat aurora

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apparent magnitude absolute brightness absolute magnitude astrolight 8. Right next to Pegasus is this constellation named after a mythical princess who was rescued by Perseus. Within its boundaries is the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way.

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Check your answers

Answer 1. The correct answer was aberration. This was one of the reasons Isaac Newton invented the reflecting telescope, which uses a mirror instead of lenses.

Betelgeuse braces for a collision ........................................... 7

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Answer 7. The correct answer was apparent magnitude, this is a star's apparent brightness, as opposed to absolute magnitude, which is what its apparent magnitude would be if all stars were at a constant distance (10 parsecs).

There really is a hole in Orion .............................................. 6

2. The point in an orbit which is furthest from the Sun is called?

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Answer 2. The correct answer was aphelion. The opposite, the point at which it is closest to the Sun, is called perhelion.

In two weeks this 50m asteroid will buzz our planet .............. 6

orbiting space telescope 200 inch refractor 300m radiotelescope 300 inch Newtonian reflector

Answer 8. The correct answer was Andromeda. The Andromeda galaxy, designated M31 in the Messier catalogue, is two and a half million lightyears away.

You can see more about the club and its events on www.midlandsastronomy.com or contact the club via e-mail at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com Meetings are informal and are aimed at a level to suit all ages.

Biggest thing in Universe found - defies scientific theory ........ 5

aberration achromism astigmatism annulation

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Answer 3. The correct answer was Aries which is considered first because when the Greeks divided the apparent path of the sun into the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the vernal equinox (the beginning of spring) took place in Aries.

Comets galore orbit alien stars ............................................. 4

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Answer 9. The correct answer was heliocentric. Aristarchus demonstrated by geometry that the Sun must be larger than the Earth, so it must be the center of the solar system. Unfortunately an even more famous A, Aristotle, believed in the geocentric theory.

Kepler discovers 461 new planet candidates ......................... 4

SUDOKU

Answer 4. The correct answer was Aldebaran, the eye of the Bull, is a red giant, four times the diameter of the Sun.

The Orion Nebula as you’ve never seen it before ................... 3

6. What kind of telescope is the Arecibo telescope?

Answer 10. The correct answer was accretion disk which is a mass of gasses and other material which spirals into the event horizon, emitting radiation as the particles disintegrate.

NGC 6872: The largest known Spiral Galaxy.......................... 3

1. A fringe of false colour around the image, caused by the inability of a large lens to refract all colours of the spectrum to a common focus is known as?

Answer 5. The correct answer was annular eclipse. Annular, from the latin word for "ring".

Latest Astronomy and Space News

All are welcome to attend. It also holds infrequent Observing Nights at its Observing Site in Clonminch, or at a member’s house (weather permitting) on the first Friday of every month..

Exercise your brain

contents

Answer 6. The correct answer was 300 meter radiotelescope. Three hundred and five meters in diameter, the Arecibo radiotelescope is used to study pulsars, quasars and other radio objects, and has been used in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

MAC meets on the first Tuesday of the month in the Presbyterian Hall, High Street, Tullamore from 8pm.

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner’s targets for February Telescope Targets Orion and Auriga continue to be in great position for viewing this month. See December's and January's picks for these targets. For this month, we'll add Canis Major and Monoceros to our list. M41 is an open cluster in Canis Major which is quite easy to locate due to it's proximity to Sirius. Simply find Sirius (the sky's brightest star) shining below Orion, about 4º (or about one finderscope field) below Sirius is M41. M41 is a spectacular open cluster, with dozens of stars visible in scopes. M50 is another of Messier's open clusters located in the constellation Monoceros. As Monoceros itself doesn't contain any very bright stars, I use Beetlegeuse, Sirius, and Procyon to locate this one. These 3 stars form a nice triangle (the winter triangle?) to aid in locating it. The side of the triangle connecting Procryon and Sirius contains M50. M50 is located slightly less than halfway on the way from Sirius to Procryon. Two other open clusters in the area are M46 and M47. Using Procryon as the top of the vertical leg and Sirius as the edge of the vertical leg of the letter "L", M46 forms the corner of the "L". Once you've located M46, simply move slightly to the Southeast (about 1 low powered Field of View) to locate M47.

Planets Mercury is visible in the evening sky this month. This is its best evening appearance in 2013. It is visible between the 10th and the 21st Venus and Mars are not visible this month. Jupiter is visible in the evening sky this month in Taurus. It rises during daylight hours throughout the month and sets at 02:30 by month's end. It is at eastern quadrature on the 25th and fades from mag -2.5 to mag-2.3 during the month. Saturn is visible as a morning object in Libra. At the start of the month, it rises at 01:25 and by month's end, rises at 23:35. It brightens from mag +0.5 to mag +0.4 during the month. Uranus is visible as an evening object this month in Pisces. It is visible as soon as darkness falls during the month and sets at 20:30 by month's end, by which time it is lost to the evening twilight. It lies to the E of the Circlet asterism and on the evening of the 1st, lies 1° to the W of 44 Piscium (mag +5.8). It maintains it brightness at mag +5.9 during the month. Neptune is at conjunction on the 21st and is not visible this month.

Club Notes Club Observing: Remember the next club meets every first Friday of the month for our observing sessions held in the MAC grounds. If you wish to be informed of these sessions please email your name and mobile number to midlandsastronomy@gmail.com who will confirm if the session is going ahead (depending on weather).

MAC is a proud member of

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Issue 40 - February, 2013

Above: Monoceros is a constellation that is not very easily seen with the naked eye, however it does have some interesting features to observe with the aid of a small telescope. Beta Monocerotis is an impressive triple star system, the three stars form a triangle which seems to be fixed. William Herschel discovered it in 1781 and commented that it is 'one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens'. General notes Always keep an eye out for Aurorae. Check out www.stronge.org.uk/ spaceweather.html for the most up-to-date information on the aurorae. Other interesting naked eye phenomena to look out for include the Zodiacal Light and the Gegenschein. Both are caused by sunlight reflecting off dust particles which are present in the solar system.

area of the sky opposite the sun. To view either, you must get yourself to a very dark site to cut out the light pollution. When trying to observe either of these phenomena, it is best to do so when the moon is below the horizon. If you are observing them when the moon has risen, restrict your efforts to the period 4 days either side of the new moon as otherwise the moonlight will be sufficient to drown them out.

The Zodiacal Light can be seen in the West after evening twilight has disappeared or in the East before the morning twilight. The best time of year to see the phenomenon is late-Feb to early-April in the evening sky and September/ October in the morning sky - it's then that the ecliptic, along which the cone of the zodiacal light lies, is steepest in our skies. The Gegenschein can be seen in the

Finally check out www.heavensabove.com for the latest passes of the International Space Station and satellites and for details of Iridium Flare activity. Well, that should get you going in February. Clear skies and good hunting!

By Kevin Daly http://members.aol.com/kdaly10475/index.html

Latest Astronomy and Space News Kids Astronomy Quizzes and Games Monthly Sky Guide Internet Highlights


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Internet Highlights

Who's afraid of a big Black Hole Black holes are one of the most destructive forces in the universe, capable of tearing a planet apart and swallowing an entire star. Yet scientists now believe they could hold the key to answering the ultimate question -- what was there before the Big Bang? The trouble is that researching them is next to impossible. Black holes are by definition invisible and there's no scientific theory able to explain them.

Each month we will try and bring you the best of the web for astronomy online resources such as movies, podcasts and free software. If you have any suggestions for content in these pages please contact us at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com Please click on the links provided to view the material and not the images.

Virtual Star Party – The HandGuided Moon Edition

http://youtu.be/kKV0SfdjCq0

Finding the new Earth

This Year at NASA, 2012

ScienceCasts: Comet of the Century

Join astronomers in a race to find a planet that can sustain life. Amid all the space in the universe, is there another world like ours?

Curiosity Has Landed, Flight of the Dragon, Antares Rolls and so much more... http://youtu.be/v2RxcZKjYX0

http://youtu.be/Wy0vCxiCbbU http://youtu.be/ZsqKkSq7vnE

http://youtu.be/5_1HdOCOJ_Q

Catching Sunlight: Alan Friedman at TEDxBuffalo

Podcast: Optics Astronomy depends on bullying light. We reflect it, refract it, bend it, and near it through complex manipulations of light. Though optics we bring we bring the distant universe to our eyepiece.

http://www.astronomycast.com/

Podcast: The Jodcast

http://youtu.be/LTtTfCwkIW0

A podcast about astronomy including the latest news, what you can see in the night sky, interviews with astronomers and more. It is created by astronomers from The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank for anyone interested in things out of this world.

Useful free astronomy resources Midlands Astronomy Club have created a Google+ page so that our members and non-members alike can: • Keep up-to-date on future outreach events. • Be informed of upcoming lectures. • Have online access to the latest astronomy news as it happens. • See photos of all club events and activities. http://goo.gl/jajnw

IFAS Website

http://www.irishastronomy.org

Stellarium

http://www.stellarium.org

Virtual Moon Atlas

http://www.astrosurf.com/avl/UK_index.html

Celestia

http://www.shatters.net/celestia/index.html

Sky Maps

http://skymaps.com/index.html

Heavens-Above

http://www.heavens-above.com/

http://www.jodcast.net/archive/

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 13

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 14


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Internet Highlights

Who's afraid of a big Black Hole Black holes are one of the most destructive forces in the universe, capable of tearing a planet apart and swallowing an entire star. Yet scientists now believe they could hold the key to answering the ultimate question -- what was there before the Big Bang? The trouble is that researching them is next to impossible. Black holes are by definition invisible and there's no scientific theory able to explain them.

Each month we will try and bring you the best of the web for astronomy online resources such as movies, podcasts and free software. If you have any suggestions for content in these pages please contact us at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com Please click on the links provided to view the material and not the images.

Virtual Star Party – The HandGuided Moon Edition

http://youtu.be/kKV0SfdjCq0

Finding the new Earth

This Year at NASA, 2012

ScienceCasts: Comet of the Century

Join astronomers in a race to find a planet that can sustain life. Amid all the space in the universe, is there another world like ours?

Curiosity Has Landed, Flight of the Dragon, Antares Rolls and so much more... http://youtu.be/v2RxcZKjYX0

http://youtu.be/Wy0vCxiCbbU http://youtu.be/ZsqKkSq7vnE

http://youtu.be/5_1HdOCOJ_Q

Catching Sunlight: Alan Friedman at TEDxBuffalo

Podcast: Optics Astronomy depends on bullying light. We reflect it, refract it, bend it, and near it through complex manipulations of light. Though optics we bring we bring the distant universe to our eyepiece.

http://www.astronomycast.com/

Podcast: The Jodcast

http://youtu.be/LTtTfCwkIW0

A podcast about astronomy including the latest news, what you can see in the night sky, interviews with astronomers and more. It is created by astronomers from The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank for anyone interested in things out of this world.

Useful free astronomy resources Midlands Astronomy Club have created a Google+ page so that our members and non-members alike can: • Keep up-to-date on future outreach events. • Be informed of upcoming lectures. • Have online access to the latest astronomy news as it happens. • See photos of all club events and activities. http://goo.gl/jajnw

IFAS Website

http://www.irishastronomy.org

Stellarium

http://www.stellarium.org

Virtual Moon Atlas

http://www.astrosurf.com/avl/UK_index.html

Celestia

http://www.shatters.net/celestia/index.html

Sky Maps

http://skymaps.com/index.html

Heavens-Above

http://www.heavens-above.com/

http://www.jodcast.net/archive/

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www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 14


MAC February 2013 Magazine