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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner’s targets for March Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) will hopefully be a naked eye object in the second half of the month. It is at closest point to the sun on the 10th. After this, it then becomes visible in both the morning and evening skies. By the months end it is predicted to have faded to the limit of naked eye. Telescope Targets Orion and the rest of the winter constellations are still placed well for early evening observing. See January's and February's picks for targets in these. March marks the beginning of Spring Galaxy season. Most galaxies will appear as small grey blobs through amateur equipment. The thrill (at least for me) of looking at these is the vast distances and the fact that you're looking at something not of this galaxy. There's something about actually seeing a remote galaxy first hand that cannot possibly be felt by simply looking at pictures in a book. Granted, the pictures in the book are very nice to look at, but viewing them with your own scope gives you the feeling of "being" there. We'll start off in Ursa Major with a very nice pair of galaxies, M81 and M82. M81 and M82 are usually visible in the same low powered field of view, which makes for a fascinating site. Be sure to use your

lowest power eyepiece for this pair. It also shows what 2 different types of galaxies will look like in your scope (an irregular, M82 and a spiral, M81). To find M81 and M82, start with the first star that forms the bowl of the big dipper from the handle (Phecda). Draw a line diagonally to the opposite corner star (Dubhe), now, follow this imaginary line the same distance out, then move slightly North (toward Polaris, the North Star), scan the area slowly, and you should find 2 smudges, one slightly elongated (M81) and one rounded (M82). This particular pair of galaxies were the first I found, the only description I wrote in my log book was "wow." M81 and M82 are located approximately 7 - 8 million lightyears from us. While in the area of the Big Dipper, there's a nice double star to be glimpsed as well. The second star of the handle (Mizar) is a naked eye double (Mizar and Alcor). While not a binary star system still a treat. Point your scope at it and Mizar itself splits into a double star, this one is a true binary system with a rotational period of several thousand years. Moving on to Leo, which is easy to find by looking for the backwards question mark we have another pair of galaxies which will fit into the same field of view in a low powered eyepiece. M65 and

Club Notes Club Observing: Remember the next club meets the first Saturday 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).

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Issue 41 - March, 2013

Above: Ursa Major is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. Its name means the Great Bear in Latin. It is dominated by the widely recognised asterism known as the Big Dipper or Plough, which is a useful pointer toward north, and which has mythological significance in numerous world cultures. M66 can be located by finding the hindquarters of Leo which is a right triangle to the left (east) of the question mark. The star at the bottom right of the triangle is known as Chort. A dimmer star can be seen down and to the left of Chort (South and East). M65 and M66 can be found halfway between these 2 stars. M65 and M66 are located about 20 million lightyears away.

month's end. It fades from mag 2.3 to mag -2.1 during the month.

There are tons of galaxies in the Leo area, scan around the area with a low powered eyepiece and see how many you can detect. One note, you'll need good dark skies to start looking for galaxies so head out to your favourite country observing spot and begin your galaxy hunting there.

Neptune is not visible this month.

Planets Mercury is not visible this month. It is at inferior conjunction on the 4th and at greatest western elongation on the 31st. Venus is at superior conjunction on the 28th and is not visible this month. Mars is 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 00:50 by

Saturn becomes a late evening object this month in Libra. At the start of the month, it rises at 23:25 and by month's end, rises at 22:25. It brightens from mag +0.4 to mag +0.2 during the month. Uranus is at conjunction on the 29th and is not visible this month.

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. Finally check out www.heavensabove.com for the latest passes of the International Space Station and satellites, details of Space Shuttle launches and passes and for details of Iridium Flare activity.

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Club News Kids Astronomy Quizzes and Games Monthly Sky Guide

Clear skies and good hunting!

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

www.midlandsastronomy.com

Latest Astronomy and Space News

Internet Highlights


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Club News Club news ........................................................................... 9

Kids Section Front cover image: The spiral arms of bright galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multiframe portrait, composed of data from ground- and spacebased telescopes. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 80,000 light-years across. Typical in grand spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, youthful blue star clusters, and pinkish star forming regions trace spiral arms that converge on the bright nucleus of older yellowish stars.

Credit & Copyright: Image Data - Hubble Legacy Archive, Robert Gendler, Jay Gabany, Processing - Robert Gendler

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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

3. The word gibbous (used to describe the moon during the waxing and waning phases when more than half of the moon can be seen) is a Middle English word meaning what? growing bulging swallowing full 4. The reflecting telescope was first built by what Scotsman? Isaac Newton James Gregory Guillaume Cassegrain Charles Messier 5. What is the angular size of the moon? half of a degree All of the other answers are correct 30 arcminutes 1800 arcseconds

9. What is the parent comet which provides us with the Perseids meteor shower? 1862III (Swift-Tuttle) Halley Encke 3200 Phaeton 10.One particular meteor shower usually produces about 10 meteors per hour. However, once every 33 years the earth intersects the densest part of the debris path producing about 1,000 meteors a minute! What is the name of this extraordinary meteor shower? Orionids Leonids Beta Taurids Draconids

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Check your answers

the sun a star must be to show a parallax of one arcsecond.

Tito Wants to Send Married Couple on Mars Flyby Mission ..... 8

Thomas Edison Edwin Hubble Karl Jansky Clyde Tombaugh

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Answer 1. The correct answer was refractor.

The “Heart and Soul” Nebulae .............................................. 8

8. Who is considered to be the father of radio astronomy?

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Answer 2. The correct answer was sky pollution.

NuSTAR puts new spin on Supermassive Black Holes............. 7

light pollution pollution air pollution sky pollution

10,000-28,000 K 10,000 K 7,000 K 6,000 K

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Answer 7. The correct answer was 10,000-28,000 K. Spectral class B stars are the second hottest stars. The only thing hotter is a class O star.

Amateurs help Hubble unveil spiral galaxy ............................ 6

2. To astronomers anything that interferes with observing, such as smog, fog, and dust, is called what?

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Answer 3. The correct answer was bulging which is a good description of the moon's shape between it's quarter phase and full phase.

A cool discovery about the Sun's next-door twin.................... 6

7. A star of spectral class B has a surface temperature of what?

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Answer 8. The correct answer was Karl Jansky. The basic unit of radio brightness, the Jansky (Jy), is named after him.

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.

Comet PANSTARRS set to shine after sunset in March ........... 5

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A.U. A.U. A.U. A.U.

Answer 9. The correct answer was 1862III (Swift-Tuttle). Comet Encke is the parent comet of the Beta Taurids, Halley is the parent comet of the Orionids, while 3200 Phaeton produces the Geminids.

A new look at Saturn’s northern hexagon.............................. 4

reflector unknown Schmidt-Cassegrain refractor

150,945 302,481 197,694 206,265

Answer 4. The correct answer was James Gregory who first built his reflector in 1663, 5 years before Newton built his. Isaac Newton gets the credit for inventing it, however, because his design is the one that caught on. (If you didn't know, Guillaume Cassegrain and Charles Messier were French.)

Protoplanet spotted inside its stellar womb ........................... 4

SUDOKU

6. One parsec is equal to what?

Answer 5. The correct answer was All of the other answers are correct. Half a degree, 30 arcminutes, and 1800 arcseconds are all equivalent.

Russian meteor's origin and size pinned down....................... 3

1. The first telescope to be used for astronomy purposes by Galileo Galilei was which kind of telescope?

Answer 10. The correct answer was Leonids. The last time that happened was last year. So if you missed them (like me) and hope to see them next time (like me) you have a 32-year wait until 2032. By then I'll be 60!!!

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 Saturday of every month..

Exercise your brain

contents

Answer 6. The correct answer was 206,265 A.U. That is the distance from

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

Kid’s Korner Be glad your not a Cyclops! Robots that explore other planets must be able to see where they are going. Just like people, robots make good use of two eyes. Why are two eyes so much better than one? Try an experiment. Cover or shut one eye and try to thread a needle. Even a BIG needle. Now try it with both eyes open. Isn't it a lot easier with both eyes?

Shut one eye and the world looks flat--2-dimensional. Keep both eyes open, and the world takes on a whole new dimension! 3-D, or stereo, vision helps us tell how far away things are.

slightly different image. Your brain, however, combines the two images into one, using the extra information to tell you how close or far away things are. Roving robots, too, must be able to tell how far away things are. Otherwise the robot will bump into things and have a hard time reaching its target. "Urbie" is a Tactical Mobile Robot. Urbie was designed to navigate city

Human stereo vision is a good thing for engineers to try to copy in making robots that can get around on their own. Because your eyes are s e pa ra ted b y a few centimetres (a couple of inches), each eye sees a

terrain. It will be useful for dangerous military missions, and it will also be useful to police and emergency rescue workers. Urbie itself, Urbie space

can see and navigate by with no help from humans. would also make an ideal explorer.

For a robot, exploring an asteroid, comet, or another planet will be a lonely job. It takes minutes or hours for a message (such as an image) from a robot on a distant planet to reach a human on Earth and for a message to be sent back to the robot. By that time, the little "one-eyed" robot could have fallen into a hole or gotten stuck somewhere. Like Urbie, space exploring robots have got to be clever enough to take care of themselves.

A meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this month likely hit Earth after a long trip from beyond the orbit of Mars, scientists say. Astronomers and the public were caught off guard by the Russian fireball, which damaged thousands of buildings and wounded more than 1,000 people when it detonated over the city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15.

Chebarkul, about 43 miles (70 km) from Chelyabinsk. Scientists think the hole was caused by a piece of the space rock that hit Earth on Feb. 15.

But some YouTube-aided detective work suggests that the meteor's parent body belonged to the Apollo family of Earth-crossing asteroids, whose elliptical orbits take them farther than one Earth-sun distance (about 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometres) from our star at some point, researchers said.

Using trigonometry, Zuluaga and Ferrin calculated basic elements of the fireball's path through Earth's atmosphere. "According to our estimations, the Chelyabinski meteor started to brighten up when it was between 32 and 47 km up in the atmosphere," they write in their paper, which has been posted to the online astronomy preprint site ArXiv.org. "The velocity of the body predicted by our analysis was between 13 and 19 km/s (relative to the Earth) which encloses the preferred figure of 18 km/s assumed by other researchers."

Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin of the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, reached this conclusion after analysing several videos of the Russian meteor, especially one taken in Chelyabinsk's Revolutionary Square and another recorded in the nearby city of Korkino.

The pair then entered these figures into a software program developed by the United States Naval Observatory called NOVAS (short for Naval Observatory Vector

Astrometry), which calculated the likely orbit of the meteor's parent body. Some other scientists agree that this orbit took the space rock relatively far from the sun at times — farther than Mars, in fact. "It came from the asteroid belt, about 2.5 times farther from the sun than Earth," Bill Cooke, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said in a statement. Cooke was not involved in Zuluaga and Ferrin's study. Meanwhile, the size of the meteor's parent object has come into clearer focus, thanks to measurements made by a global network of infrasound sensors operated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). These sensors monitor extremely lowfrequency sound waves, which are a common product of nuclear explosions. As the Russian meteor burned through Earth's atmosphere, it generated the most powerful infrasound signal ever detected by the CTBTO network, researchers said. And this signal revealed a great deal about the asteroid's size, speed and explosive power.

http://www.marcsobservatory.com

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Russian meteor's origin and size pinned down

They also took into account the location of a hole in the ice of Lake

Or, using only one eye, try pouring water from one container into another-especially into one with a narrow opening. Better have a mop ready! Now try it with both eyes.

www.midlandsastronomy.com

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Above: A Russian policeman works near an ice hole, said by the interior ministry department for Chelyabinsk region to be the point of impact of a meteor seen earlier in the Urals region.

"The asteroid was about 17 meters in diameter and weighed approximately 10,000 metric tons," Peter Brown, a physics professor at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, said in a statement. "It struck Earth's atmosphere at 40,000 mph and broke apart about 12 to

Above: This video screenshot shows the fireball from a meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013, creating a shockwave that shattered windows and injured more than 1,000 people. 15 miles above Earth's surface. The energy of the resulting explosion exceeded 470 kilotons of TNT." That's 30 to 40 times more powerful than the atomic bomb the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II. The Russian fireball likely produced the most powerful such space rock blast since a 130foot (40 m) object exploded over Siberia in 1908, flattening 825 square miles (2,137 square km) of forest. Preliminary reports suggest that the Chelyabinsk fireball's parent asteroid was composed primarily of stone, with a smidge of iron thrown in. "In other words, [it's] a typical asteroid from beyond the orbit of Mars," Cooke said. "There are millions more just like it." The Russian meteor struck just hours before the 130-foot asteroid 2012 DA14 gave Earth a close shave, missing our planet by just 17,200 miles (27,000 km). But the two space rocks are unrelated, researchers say, making Feb. 15 a day of remarkable cosmic coincidences. www.space.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Protoplanet spotted inside its stellar womb If the discovery is indeed a forming planet, then for the first time scientists will be able to study the planet formation process and the interaction of a forming planet and its natal environment empirically at a very early stage. Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have obtained what is likely the first direct observation of a forming planet still embedded in a thick disk of gas and dust. An international team led by Sascha Quanz of ETH Zurich, Switzerland, has studied the disk of gas and dust that surrounds the young star HD 100546, a relatively nearby neighbour located 335 light-years from Earth. The group was surprised to find what seems to be a planet in the process of forming, still embedded in the disk of material around the young star. The candidate planet would be a gas giant similar to Jupiter. “So far, planet formation has mostly been a topic tackled by computer simulations. If our discovery is indeed a forming planet, then for the first time scientists will be able to study the planet formation process and the interaction of a forming planet and its natal environment empirically at a very early stage.” HD 100546 is a well-studied object, and it has already been suggested that a giant planet orbits about six times further from the star than the Earth is from the Sun. The newly found planet candidate is located in the outer regions of the system, about 10 times farther out. The planet candidate around HD 100546 was detected as a faint blob located in the circumstellar disk revealed thanks to the NACO adaptive optics instrument on ESO’s VLT, combined with pioneering data analysis techniques. The observations were made using a special coronagraph in NACO, which operates at near-infrared wavelengths and suppresses the brilliant light coming from the star at the location of the protoplanet candidate.

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According to current theory, giant planets grow by capturing some of the gas and dust that remains after the formation of a star. The astronomers have spotted several features in the new image of the disk around HD 100546 that support this protoplanet hypothesis. Structures in the dusty circumstellar disk, which could be caused by interactions between the planet and the disk, were revealed close to the detected protoplanet. Also, there are indications that the surroundings of the

protoplanet are potentially heated up by the formation process. Although the protoplanet is the most likely explanation for the observations, the results of this study require follow-up observations to confirm the existence of the planet and discard other plausible scenarios. Among other explanations, it is possible, although unlikely, that the detected signal could have come from a background source. It is also possible that the newly detected object might not be a protoplanet, but a fully formed planet that was ejected from its original orbit closer to the star. When the new object

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine around HD 100546 is confirmed to be a forming planet embedded in its parent disk of gas and dust, it will become an unique laboratory in which to study the formation process of a new planetary system. www.astronomy.com

Below: This composite image shows a view from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (left) and from the NACO system on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT, right) of the gas and dust around the young star HD 100546. The Hubble visible-light image shows the outer disk of gas and dust around the star. The new infrared VLT picture of a small part of the disk shows a candidate protoplanet.

February’s Lecture: Sir Patrick Moore

Vice-Chairperson: John Lally

Webmaster: Seanie Morris

Secretary: Seanie Morris

Members: Declan Molloy and Laurence Rigney IFAS Reps: Seanie Morris & Jason Fallon

Farewell, Carrie! It is with sad news that we learned of the passing of our esteemed member and friend, Carthage “Carrie” Morrissey on October 10th 2012. Carthage was a staunch member of MAC (and TAS), often seen helping out during our Observing Site clean-up days and social events – as well as a few lectures! He never held a committee position (to my knowledge).

could be a long-lived storm, as it also seems to be in the images captured on November 27. At about 25,000 km across, Saturn’s hexagon is wide enough to fit nearly four Earths inside! The hexagon was originally discovered in images taken by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s. It encircles Saturn at about 77 degrees north latitude and is estimated to whip around the planet at speeds of 354 km/h.

Librarian: Adrian Waters

PRO: Dave Connolly

Freshly delivered from Cassini’s wide-angle camera, this raw image gives us another look at Saturn’s north pole and the curious hexagon-shaped jet stream that encircles it, as well as the spiralling vortex of clouds at its centre.

The bright tops of upper-level storm clouds speckle Saturn’s skies, and a large circular cyclone can be seen near the north pole, within the darker region contained by the hexagonal jet stream. This

Our first meeting of 2013 was a Telescope Night for Beginners on January 8th. Tips, live telescope demonstrations and a show on Stellarium was presented to visitors on the night. If you or someone you know needs help with a telescope, then why not bring it to one of our monthly lecture nights where any of our experienced members will gladly help.

Chairperson: Jason Fallon

Treasurer: Paul Fitzgerald

The rings can be seen in the background fading into the shadow cast by the planet itself. A slight bit of ringshine brightens Saturn’s nighttime limb. Cassini was approximately 579,653 kilometers (360,180 miles) from Saturn when the raw image above was taken. www.universetoday.com

He made two observing chairs to make it easy to observe at the eyepiece of most telescopes, one chair of which is housed in our observatory. His wife, Cella, has given her blessing to us to keep it, for old time’s sake. Our sympathies are extended to Cella and their daughter, Claire. Photo shows Carthage (right) at the MAC Christmas Dinner 2004, with another departed member and friend of the club, Vincent McDonnell (left).

Recent Events January’s Telescope Night A Success

The Annual General Meeting of the Club took place on Tuesday January 22nd last. Following Secretary and Treasurer Reports, a new committee was elected. Declan Molloy stood down after 3 years as Chairperson, the most our Constitution allows. Jason Fallon was elected to replace him. The rest of the committee remained largely unchanged, a full report is available from the Secretary. Photo shows the new MAC Committee for 2013, back l-r: Paul Fitzgerald, Declan Molloy, Dave Connolly, Laurence Rigney and Seanie Morris; front l-r: Jason Fallon, Adrian Waters and John Lally.

A new look at Saturn’s northern hexagon

Back in November we got our first good look at Saturn’s north pole in years, now that Cassini’s orbit is once again taking it high over the ringplane. With spring progressing on Saturn’s northern hemisphere the upper latitudes are getting more and more sunlight — which stirs up storm activity in its atmosphere.

AGM and new committee 2013

Declan Molloy presented a talk entitled “Sir Patrick Moore: His Life & Times” for our February 5th lecture. We thought that this should proof to be an interesting talk following on from his death in December, and we were right! Many new members attended for the first time that night too.

Galway AstroFest A small group of MAC members attended the one-day Galway AstroFest on February 2nd in Galway City. A good day out was had in what is probably Ireland’s only Winter star party and is a good warm up to our own COSMOS star party!

Lectures Streamed LIVE on Google Plus February’s talk was also the first proper run at streaming the talk live onto the net via Google Plus, looked after by John Lally. Still in a bit of an experimental stage, 1 random visitor from cyberspace did logon to view Declan’s talk for a time. It is planned to also record our lectures at the same time for future storage.

Upcoming Club Events March 5th: “The Antikythera Device” presented by Michael O’Connell, MAC. April 2nd: "Quasars and Beyond: Looking Back in Time” presented by Seanie Morris, MAC Secretary. COSMOS 2013 April 12th to 14th: See notes included in this issue. May 7th: Sunspots and Aurora: The Connection” by Laurence Rigney, MAC. Our lectures take place on the first Tuesday of the month (except July) in the Presbyterian Hall, High Street in Tullamore at 8:00pm. All are welcome to attend, admission is €2.00.

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

The “Heart and Soul” Nebulae Northwest of the famous Double Cluster in the northern constellation Perseus, and just over the border of Cassiopeia, lies the pair of photogenic emission nebulae IC 1805 and IC 1848. These sprawling complexes are just visible in small telescopes, but they are rewarding targets for astrophotographers. Here are two fine new images of these objects, which are often called the Heart and Soul Nebulae. The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, lies about 5º NW of the famous Double Cluster in Perseus. The nebula is an elusive object in a small telescope.

Above: IC 1848, the “Soul Nebula”. Credit: Terry Hancock.

But it overlaps with the attractive star cluster Melotte 15 which shows 30-40 stars spread over a patch of sky half the size of the full Moon. The nebula itself pops out in dark sky in a small telescope at low magnification. A UHC or OIII filter help improve the contrast of the nebula. It’s not an easy visual target. But here’s a fine recent image by astrophotographer Terry Hancock… IC 1848, the “Soul Nebula”, lies just

Tito Wants to Send Married Couple on Mars Flyby Mission

Comet PANSTARRS set to shine after sunset in March The brightest comet in several years could make March evenings a time to remember.

Above: IC 1805, the “Heart Nebula”. Credit: Terry Hancock. 2.5º southeast of the “Heart”. While it’s a little hard to say what a soul looks like, in some images this nebula looks very much like a small human body, or perhaps a fetus. Like the “Heart”, the Soul Nebula is just barely visible in a small telescope at low power with a good filter in a telescope in dark sky. But the nebula photographs well. Here is the companion image to the one above…

sharing these images. You can learn more about how Terry took these images, and see more of his work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ terryhancock/8502897249 And here is a map to show you where to look for these nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia… www.oneminuteastronomer.com

Thanks to Terry Hancock for

An artist’s concept of how the spacecraft for the “Mission for America” might be configured.

Millionaire and space tourist Dennis Tito announced his plans for funding a commercial mission to Mars, and the mission will send two professional crew members – one man and one woman who will likely be a married couple – flying as private citizens on a “fast, free-return” mission, passing within 100 miles of Mars before swinging back and safely returning to Earth. Target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018. That date was picked because of the unique window of opportunity when the planets align for a 501day mission to Mars and back. Tito said there are lots of reasons to not to do a mission like this, “but sometimes you just have to lift anchor shove off. We need to stop being timid… Our goal is to send two people but take everyone along for the ride.” Tito has started a new nonprofit organization, the Inspiration Mars Foundation, “to pursue the

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audacious to provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, while reaching out to American youth to expand their visions of their own futures in space exploration,” said a statement released by the Foundation. Tito said this will be an American mission, not international and will be built around “proven, existing space transportation systems and technologies derived from industry, NASA and the International Space Station that

The long wait is nearly over. Northern Hemisphere skygazers haven’t seen a bright comet with a long tail since Comet Hale-Bopp graced the night sky in 1997. But if predictions hold, Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) should be a nice naked-eye object and look impressive through binoculars after sunset starting in the second week of March. Naked-eye viewers south of the equator watched the comet brighten nicely during February. In early March, Comet PANSTARRS veers sharply northward and gradually comes into view in the evening sky for observers at midnorthern latitudes. On March 9 and 10, it passes within 45 million kilometres of the Sun and will stand some 7° high in the west 30 minutes after sunset. It also should glow brightest then, perhaps reaching 1st magnitude. A

crescent Moon can guide you to the comet March 12 and 13. On the 12th, PANSTARRS stands to the upper left of our satellite; the next evening, the comet lies to the Moon’s lower right. According to Senior Editor Michael E. Bakich of Astronomy magazine, the comet should remain visible for a full hour after the Sun sets. “This pretty much guarantees that you’ll be able to see Comet PANSTARRS from any location with reasonably clear skies and an unobstructed western horizon,” he says. “And if you view from a dark observing site, you still may be able to see the comet’s tail arcing among the stars even after the comet’s head sets.” Although a 1st-magnitude star shines brightly, a 1st-magnitude comet doesn’t appear as dazzling. First, the comet’s light spreads over a much larger area than a

Above: Look west after sunset in early and mid-March for Comet PanSTARRS. Binoculars may be needed to pick it out of the sunset glow. Look too early and the sky will be too bright; too late and the comet will be too low. On the altitude scale at left, 10° is about the width of your fist held at arm's length. pointlike star. Second, PANSTARRS will be battling twilight, reducing its contrast with the background sky. And third, after the middle of March, the steadily brightening Moon will likewise reduce the comet’s contrast. Your best bet is to locate Comet PANSTARRS through binoculars — which in any case should deliver the nicest views of the comet’s tail — before enjoying the naked-eye view. If we’re lucky, Comet PANSTARRS should show two distinct tails emanating from a roughly circular glow. This glow, known as the head, or coma, masks the comet’s nucleus. The nucleus is a giant ball

can be available in time to support the launch date.” “We went to NASA and said we don’t want money, but want to partner with you for certain technologies,” said said Taber MacCallum, chief technology officer for Inspiration Mars. MacCallum is also CEO/CTO of Paragon Space Development Corporation, and was

a member of the Biosphere 2 Design, Development, Test & Operations team, and a crew member in the first two-year mission. “NASA had a tremendous can-do spirit about this, and we are thrilled to be working with them.”

of ice and dust that measures up to a few miles across. As sunlight hits the nucleus, the ices boil off and carry dust with them. This cloud of gas and dust forms the coma. Sunlight ionizes the ejected gas molecules, causing them to glow with a bluish colour. The solar wind carries this ionized gas away from the comet, creating a straight, bluish gas tail. The ejected dust gets pushed away from the Sun more gently, so it forms a curving tail that follows the comet’s orbit. The dust particles simply reflect sunlight, so the dust tail has a white to pale-yellow colour. www.astronomy.com

Want to add PanSTARRS to you copy of Stellarium?

www.universetoday.com

Above: Comet 2011 L4 PanSTARRS imaged from Argentina by Luis Argerich on February 13th, 2013.

Follow the QR Code to see our post on the MAC Google+ page for full details on how to do this. MAC Google+: http://goo.gl/jajnw Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org/

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

A cool discovery about the Sun's next-door twin

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

NuSTAR puts new spin on Supermassive Black Holes

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

The Herschel Space Observatory has detected a cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri A similar to one in the Sun’s atmosphere. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory has detected a cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri A — the first time this has been seen in a star beyond our Sun. The finding is not only important for understanding the Sun’s activity, but also could help in the quest to discover protoplanetary systems around other stars.

years, but it is likely to be related to the twisting and snapping of magnetic field lines sending energy rippling through the atmosphere and out into space — possibly in the direction of Earth — as solar storms. Why there is a temperature minimum has also long been of interest to solar scientists.

Now, by observing Alpha Centauri A in far-infrared light with Herschel The Sun’s nearest neighbors are the and comparing the results with three stars of the Alpha Centauri computer models of stellar system. The faint red dwarf, Proxima atmospheres, scientists have made Centauri, is nearest at just 4.24 light- the first discovery of an equivalent years, with the tight double star, cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri AB, slightly farther another star. away at 4.37 light-years. “The study of these structures has Alpha Centauri B has recently been been limited to the Sun until now, in the news after the discovery of an but we clearly see the signature of Earth-mass planet in orbit around it, a similar temperature inversion but Alpha Centauri A is also layer at Alpha Centauri A,” said important to astronomers. Almost a René Liseau of the Onsala Space twin to the Sun in mass, Observatory in Sweden. “Detailed temperature, chemical composition, observations of this kind for a and age, Alpha Centauri A provides variety of stars might help us an ideal natural laboratory to decipher the origin of such layers compare other characteristics of the and the overall atmospheric two stars. heating puzzle.” One of the great curiosities in solar science is that the Sun’s wispy outer atmosphere — the corona — is heated to millions of degrees while the visible surface of the Sun is “only” about 10,800° Fahrenheit (6000° Celsius). Even stranger, there is a temperature minimum of about 7200° F (4000° C) between the two layers, just a few hundred miles above the visible surface in the part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the chromosphere. Both layers are visible during a total solar eclipse, when the Moon briefly blocks the bright face of the Sun. The chromosphere is a pink-red ring around the Sun, while the ghostly white plasma streamers of the corona extend out millions of miles. The heating of the Sun’s atmosphere has been a conundrum for many

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Checking out the spin rate on a supermassive black hole is a great way for astronomers to test Einstein’s theory under extreme conditions – and take a close look at how intense gravity distorts the fabric of space-time. Now, imagine a monster … one that has a mass of about 2 million times that of our Sun, measures 2 million miles in diameter and rotating so fast that it’s nearly breaking the speed of light.

Understanding the temperature structure of stellar atmospheres also may help scientists determine

Above: One of the great curiosities in solar science is that our Sun’s outer atmosphere — the corona — is heated to millions of degrees when its visible surface is o" nly"about 6,000° C. Even stranger is a curious temperature minimum of 4,000° C lying between the two layers, in the chromosphere. Now, using ESA’s Herschel space observatory, scientists have made the first discovery of an equivalent cool layer in the atmosphere of the Sun-like star, Alpha Centauri A. the presence of dusty planetforming disks around other stars like the Sun. “Although it is likely only a small effect, a temperature minimum region in other stars could result in us underestimating the amount of dust present in a cold debris disk surrounding it,” said Liseau. “But armed with a more detailed picture of how Alpha Centauri A shines, we can hope to make more accurate detections of the dust in potential planet-bearing

systems around other Sun-like stars.” “These observations are an exciting example of how Herschel can be used to learn more about processes in our own Sun, as well as in other Sun-like stars and the dusty disks that may exist around them,” said Göran Pilbratt from ESA. www.astronomy.com

A fantasy? Not hardly. It’s a supermassive black hole located at the centre of spiral galaxy NGC 1365 – and it is about to teach us a whole lot more about how black holes and galaxies mature. What makes researchers so confident they have finally taken definitive calculations of such an incredible spin rate in a distant galaxy? Thanks to data taken by the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, and the European Space Agency’s XMM-

Newton X-ray satellites, the team of scientists has peered into the heart of NGC 1365 with x-ray eyes – taking note of the location of the event horizon – the edge of the spinning hole where surrounding space begins to be dragged into the mouth of the beast. “We can trace matter as it swirls into a black hole using X-rays emitted from regions very close to the black hole,” said the coauthor Fiona Harrison. “The radiation we see is warped and distorted by the motions of particles and the black hole’s incredibly strong gravity.”

However, the studies didn’t stop there, they advanced to the inner edge to encompass the Above: Scientists measure the spin rates of supermassive black holes by spreading the X-ray light into different colours. location of the

Above: This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. accretion disk. Here is the “Innermost Stable Circular Orbit” – the proverbial point of no return. This region is directly related to a black hole’s spin rate. Because space-time is distorted in this area, some of it can get even closer to the ISCO before being pulled in. What makes the current data so compelling is to see deeper into the black hole through a broader range of x-rays, allowing astronomers to see beyond veiling clouds of dust which only confused past readings. These new findings show us it isn’t the dust that distorts the x-rays – but the crushing gravity. Even though the central black hole in NGC 1365 is a monster now, it didn’t begin as one. Like all things, including the galaxy itself, it evolved with time. Over millions of years it gained in girth as it consumed stars and gas – possibly

even merging with other black holes along the way. “These monsters, with masses from millions to billions of times that of the sun, are formed as small seeds in the early universe and grow by swallowing stars and gas in their host galaxies, merging with other giant black holes when galaxies collide, or both,” said the study’s lead author, Guido Risaliti. This new spin on black holes has shown us that a monster can emerge from “ordered accretion” – and not simply random multiple events. The team will continue their studies to see how factors other than black hole spin changes over time and continue to observe several other supermassive black holes with NuSTAR and XMM-Newton. www.universetoday.com

Amateurs help Hubble unveil spiral galaxy M106, a magnificent spiral galaxy, lies just 23.5 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. Hubble Space Telescope captured this stunning image with the aid of Robert Gendler, a physician, amateur astronomer, and S&T contributing photographer. Gendler retrieved archival Hubble images of M106 to assemble a mosaic of the galaxy’s centre, filling in the gaps where Hubble had little or no coverage with his own and fellow astrophotographer Jay GaBany’s observations. www.skyandtelescope.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

A cool discovery about the Sun's next-door twin

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

NuSTAR puts new spin on Supermassive Black Holes

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

The Herschel Space Observatory has detected a cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri A similar to one in the Sun’s atmosphere. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory has detected a cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri A — the first time this has been seen in a star beyond our Sun. The finding is not only important for understanding the Sun’s activity, but also could help in the quest to discover protoplanetary systems around other stars.

years, but it is likely to be related to the twisting and snapping of magnetic field lines sending energy rippling through the atmosphere and out into space — possibly in the direction of Earth — as solar storms. Why there is a temperature minimum has also long been of interest to solar scientists.

Now, by observing Alpha Centauri A in far-infrared light with Herschel The Sun’s nearest neighbors are the and comparing the results with three stars of the Alpha Centauri computer models of stellar system. The faint red dwarf, Proxima atmospheres, scientists have made Centauri, is nearest at just 4.24 light- the first discovery of an equivalent years, with the tight double star, cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri AB, slightly farther another star. away at 4.37 light-years. “The study of these structures has Alpha Centauri B has recently been been limited to the Sun until now, in the news after the discovery of an but we clearly see the signature of Earth-mass planet in orbit around it, a similar temperature inversion but Alpha Centauri A is also layer at Alpha Centauri A,” said important to astronomers. Almost a René Liseau of the Onsala Space twin to the Sun in mass, Observatory in Sweden. “Detailed temperature, chemical composition, observations of this kind for a and age, Alpha Centauri A provides variety of stars might help us an ideal natural laboratory to decipher the origin of such layers compare other characteristics of the and the overall atmospheric two stars. heating puzzle.” One of the great curiosities in solar science is that the Sun’s wispy outer atmosphere — the corona — is heated to millions of degrees while the visible surface of the Sun is “only” about 10,800° Fahrenheit (6000° Celsius). Even stranger, there is a temperature minimum of about 7200° F (4000° C) between the two layers, just a few hundred miles above the visible surface in the part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the chromosphere. Both layers are visible during a total solar eclipse, when the Moon briefly blocks the bright face of the Sun. The chromosphere is a pink-red ring around the Sun, while the ghostly white plasma streamers of the corona extend out millions of miles. The heating of the Sun’s atmosphere has been a conundrum for many

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Checking out the spin rate on a supermassive black hole is a great way for astronomers to test Einstein’s theory under extreme conditions – and take a close look at how intense gravity distorts the fabric of space-time. Now, imagine a monster … one that has a mass of about 2 million times that of our Sun, measures 2 million miles in diameter and rotating so fast that it’s nearly breaking the speed of light.

Understanding the temperature structure of stellar atmospheres also may help scientists determine

Above: One of the great curiosities in solar science is that our Sun’s outer atmosphere — the corona — is heated to millions of degrees when its visible surface is o" nly"about 6,000° C. Even stranger is a curious temperature minimum of 4,000° C lying between the two layers, in the chromosphere. Now, using ESA’s Herschel space observatory, scientists have made the first discovery of an equivalent cool layer in the atmosphere of the Sun-like star, Alpha Centauri A. the presence of dusty planetforming disks around other stars like the Sun. “Although it is likely only a small effect, a temperature minimum region in other stars could result in us underestimating the amount of dust present in a cold debris disk surrounding it,” said Liseau. “But armed with a more detailed picture of how Alpha Centauri A shines, we can hope to make more accurate detections of the dust in potential planet-bearing

systems around other Sun-like stars.” “These observations are an exciting example of how Herschel can be used to learn more about processes in our own Sun, as well as in other Sun-like stars and the dusty disks that may exist around them,” said Göran Pilbratt from ESA. www.astronomy.com

A fantasy? Not hardly. It’s a supermassive black hole located at the centre of spiral galaxy NGC 1365 – and it is about to teach us a whole lot more about how black holes and galaxies mature. What makes researchers so confident they have finally taken definitive calculations of such an incredible spin rate in a distant galaxy? Thanks to data taken by the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, and the European Space Agency’s XMM-

Newton X-ray satellites, the team of scientists has peered into the heart of NGC 1365 with x-ray eyes – taking note of the location of the event horizon – the edge of the spinning hole where surrounding space begins to be dragged into the mouth of the beast. “We can trace matter as it swirls into a black hole using X-rays emitted from regions very close to the black hole,” said the coauthor Fiona Harrison. “The radiation we see is warped and distorted by the motions of particles and the black hole’s incredibly strong gravity.”

However, the studies didn’t stop there, they advanced to the inner edge to encompass the Above: Scientists measure the spin rates of supermassive black holes by spreading the X-ray light into different colours. location of the

Above: This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. accretion disk. Here is the “Innermost Stable Circular Orbit” – the proverbial point of no return. This region is directly related to a black hole���s spin rate. Because space-time is distorted in this area, some of it can get even closer to the ISCO before being pulled in. What makes the current data so compelling is to see deeper into the black hole through a broader range of x-rays, allowing astronomers to see beyond veiling clouds of dust which only confused past readings. These new findings show us it isn’t the dust that distorts the x-rays – but the crushing gravity. Even though the central black hole in NGC 1365 is a monster now, it didn’t begin as one. Like all things, including the galaxy itself, it evolved with time. Over millions of years it gained in girth as it consumed stars and gas – possibly

even merging with other black holes along the way. “These monsters, with masses from millions to billions of times that of the sun, are formed as small seeds in the early universe and grow by swallowing stars and gas in their host galaxies, merging with other giant black holes when galaxies collide, or both,” said the study’s lead author, Guido Risaliti. This new spin on black holes has shown us that a monster can emerge from “ordered accretion” – and not simply random multiple events. The team will continue their studies to see how factors other than black hole spin changes over time and continue to observe several other supermassive black holes with NuSTAR and XMM-Newton. www.universetoday.com

Amateurs help Hubble unveil spiral galaxy M106, a magnificent spiral galaxy, lies just 23.5 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. Hubble Space Telescope captured this stunning image with the aid of Robert Gendler, a physician, amateur astronomer, and S&T contributing photographer. Gendler retrieved archival Hubble images of M106 to assemble a mosaic of the galaxy’s centre, filling in the gaps where Hubble had little or no coverage with his own and fellow astrophotographer Jay GaBany’s observations. www.skyandtelescope.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

The “Heart and Soul” Nebulae Northwest of the famous Double Cluster in the northern constellation Perseus, and just over the border of Cassiopeia, lies the pair of photogenic emission nebulae IC 1805 and IC 1848. These sprawling complexes are just visible in small telescopes, but they are rewarding targets for astrophotographers. Here are two fine new images of these objects, which are often called the Heart and Soul Nebulae. The Heart Nebula, IC 1805, lies about 5º NW of the famous Double Cluster in Perseus. The nebula is an elusive object in a small telescope.

Above: IC 1848, the “Soul Nebula”. Credit: Terry Hancock.

But it overlaps with the attractive star cluster Melotte 15 which shows 30-40 stars spread over a patch of sky half the size of the full Moon. The nebula itself pops out in dark sky in a small telescope at low magnification. A UHC or OIII filter help improve the contrast of the nebula. It’s not an easy visual target. But here’s a fine recent image by astrophotographer Terry Hancock… IC 1848, the “Soul Nebula”, lies just

Tito Wants to Send Married Couple on Mars Flyby Mission

Comet PANSTARRS set to shine after sunset in March The brightest comet in several years could make March evenings a time to remember.

Above: IC 1805, the “Heart Nebula”. Credit: Terry Hancock. 2.5º southeast of the “Heart”. While it’s a little hard to say what a soul looks like, in some images this nebula looks very much like a small human body, or perhaps a fetus. Like the “Heart”, the Soul Nebula is just barely visible in a small telescope at low power with a good filter in a telescope in dark sky. But the nebula photographs well. Here is the companion image to the one above…

sharing these images. You can learn more about how Terry took these images, and see more of his work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ terryhancock/8502897249 And here is a map to show you where to look for these nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia… www.oneminuteastronomer.com

Thanks to Terry Hancock for

An artist’s concept of how the spacecraft for the “Mission for America” might be configured.

Millionaire and space tourist Dennis Tito announced his plans for funding a commercial mission to Mars, and the mission will send two professional crew members – one man and one woman who will likely be a married couple – flying as private citizens on a “fast, free-return” mission, passing within 100 miles of Mars before swinging back and safely returning to Earth. Target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018. That date was picked because of the unique window of opportunity when the planets align for a 501day mission to Mars and back. Tito said there are lots of reasons to not to do a mission like this, “but sometimes you just have to lift anchor shove off. We need to stop being timid… Our goal is to send two people but take everyone along for the ride.” Tito has started a new nonprofit organization, the Inspiration Mars Foundation, “to pursue the

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audacious to provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, while reaching out to American youth to expand their visions of their own futures in space exploration,” said a statement released by the Foundation. Tito said this will be an American mission, not international and will be built around “proven, existing space transportation systems and technologies derived from industry, NASA and the International Space Station that

The long wait is nearly over. Northern Hemisphere skygazers haven’t seen a bright comet with a long tail since Comet Hale-Bopp graced the night sky in 1997. But if predictions hold, Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) should be a nice naked-eye object and look impressive through binoculars after sunset starting in the second week of March. Naked-eye viewers south of the equator watched the comet brighten nicely during February. In early March, Comet PANSTARRS veers sharply northward and gradually comes into view in the evening sky for observers at midnorthern latitudes. On March 9 and 10, it passes within 45 million kilometres of the Sun and will stand some 7° high in the west 30 minutes after sunset. It also should glow brightest then, perhaps reaching 1st magnitude. A

crescent Moon can guide you to the comet March 12 and 13. On the 12th, PANSTARRS stands to the upper left of our satellite; the next evening, the comet lies to the Moon’s lower right. According to Senior Editor Michael E. Bakich of Astronomy magazine, the comet should remain visible for a full hour after the Sun sets. “This pretty much guarantees that you’ll be able to see Comet PANSTARRS from any location with reasonably clear skies and an unobstructed western horizon,” he says. “And if you view from a dark observing site, you still may be able to see the comet’s tail arcing among the stars even after the comet’s head sets.” Although a 1st-magnitude star shines brightly, a 1st-magnitude comet doesn’t appear as dazzling. First, the comet’s light spreads over a much larger area than a

Above: Look west after sunset in early and mid-March for Comet PanSTARRS. Binoculars may be needed to pick it out of the sunset glow. Look too early and the sky will be too bright; too late and the comet will be too low. On the altitude scale at left, 10° is about the width of your fist held at arm's length. pointlike star. Second, PANSTARRS will be battling twilight, reducing its contrast with the background sky. And third, after the middle of March, the steadily brightening Moon will likewise reduce the comet’s contrast. Your best bet is to locate Comet PANSTARRS through binoculars — which in any case should deliver the nicest views of the comet’s tail — before enjoying the naked-eye view. If we’re lucky, Comet PANSTARRS should show two distinct tails emanating from a roughly circular glow. This glow, known as the head, or coma, masks the comet’s nucleus. The nucleus is a giant ball

can be available in time to support the launch date.” “We went to NASA and said we don’t want money, but want to partner with you for certain technologies,” said said Taber MacCallum, chief technology officer for Inspiration Mars. MacCallum is also CEO/CTO of Paragon Space Development Corporation, and was

a member of the Biosphere 2 Design, Development, Test & Operations team, and a crew member in the first two-year mission. “NASA had a tremendous can-do spirit about this, and we are thrilled to be working with them.”

of ice and dust that measures up to a few miles across. As sunlight hits the nucleus, the ices boil off and carry dust with them. This cloud of gas and dust forms the coma. Sunlight ionizes the ejected gas molecules, causing them to glow with a bluish colour. The solar wind carries this ionized gas away from the comet, creating a straight, bluish gas tail. The ejected dust gets pushed away from the Sun more gently, so it forms a curving tail that follows the comet’s orbit. The dust particles simply reflect sunlight, so the dust tail has a white to pale-yellow colour. www.astronomy.com

Want to add PanSTARRS to you copy of Stellarium?

www.universetoday.com

Above: Comet 2011 L4 PanSTARRS imaged from Argentina by Luis Argerich on February 13th, 2013.

Follow the QR Code to see our post on the MAC Google+ page for full details on how to do this. MAC Google+: http://goo.gl/jajnw Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org/

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Protoplanet spotted inside its stellar womb If the discovery is indeed a forming planet, then for the first time scientists will be able to study the planet formation process and the interaction of a forming planet and its natal environment empirically at a very early stage. Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have obtained what is likely the first direct observation of a forming planet still embedded in a thick disk of gas and dust. An international team led by Sascha Quanz of ETH Zurich, Switzerland, has studied the disk of gas and dust that surrounds the young star HD 100546, a relatively nearby neighbour located 335 light-years from Earth. The group was surprised to find what seems to be a planet in the process of forming, still embedded in the disk of material around the young star. The candidate planet would be a gas giant similar to Jupiter. “So far, planet formation has mostly been a topic tackled by computer simulations. If our discovery is indeed a forming planet, then for the first time scientists will be able to study the planet formation process and the interaction of a forming planet and its natal environment empirically at a very early stage.” HD 100546 is a well-studied object, and it has already been suggested that a giant planet orbits about six times further from the star than the Earth is from the Sun. The newly found planet candidate is located in the outer regions of the system, about 10 times farther out. The planet candidate around HD 100546 was detected as a faint blob located in the circumstellar disk revealed thanks to the NACO adaptive optics instrument on ESO’s VLT, combined with pioneering data analysis techniques. The observations were made using a special coronagraph in NACO, which operates at near-infrared wavelengths and suppresses the brilliant light coming from the star at the location of the protoplanet candidate.

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According to current theory, giant planets grow by capturing some of the gas and dust that remains after the formation of a star. The astronomers have spotted several features in the new image of the disk around HD 100546 that support this protoplanet hypothesis. Structures in the dusty circumstellar disk, which could be caused by interactions between the planet and the disk, were revealed close to the detected protoplanet. Also, there are indications that the surroundings of the

protoplanet are potentially heated up by the formation process. Although the protoplanet is the most likely explanation for the observations, the results of this study require follow-up observations to confirm the existence of the planet and discard other plausible scenarios. Among other explanations, it is possible, although unlikely, that the detected signal could have come from a background source. It is also possible that the newly detected object might not be a protoplanet, but a fully formed planet that was ejected from its original orbit closer to the star. When the new object

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine around HD 100546 is confirmed to be a forming planet embedded in its parent disk of gas and dust, it will become an unique laboratory in which to study the formation process of a new planetary system. www.astronomy.com

Below: This composite image shows a view from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (left) and from the NACO system on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT, right) of the gas and dust around the young star HD 100546. The Hubble visible-light image shows the outer disk of gas and dust around the star. The new infrared VLT picture of a small part of the disk shows a candidate protoplanet.

February’s Lecture: Sir Patrick Moore

Vice-Chairperson: John Lally

Webmaster: Seanie Morris

Secretary: Seanie Morris

Members: Declan Molloy and Laurence Rigney IFAS Reps: Seanie Morris & Jason Fallon

Farewell, Carrie! It is with sad news that we learned of the passing of our esteemed member and friend, Carthage “Carrie” Morrissey on October 10th 2012. Carthage was a staunch member of MAC (and TAS), often seen helping out during our Observing Site clean-up days and social events – as well as a few lectures! He never held a committee position (to my knowledge).

could be a long-lived storm, as it also seems to be in the images captured on November 27. At about 25,000 km across, Saturn’s hexagon is wide enough to fit nearly four Earths inside! The hexagon was originally discovered in images taken by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s. It encircles Saturn at about 77 degrees north latitude and is estimated to whip around the planet at speeds of 354 km/h.

Librarian: Adrian Waters

PRO: Dave Connolly

Freshly delivered from Cassini’s wide-angle camera, this raw image gives us another look at Saturn’s north pole and the curious hexagon-shaped jet stream that encircles it, as well as the spiralling vortex of clouds at its centre.

The bright tops of upper-level storm clouds speckle Saturn’s skies, and a large circular cyclone can be seen near the north pole, within the darker region contained by the hexagonal jet stream. This

Our first meeting of 2013 was a Telescope Night for Beginners on January 8th. Tips, live telescope demonstrations and a show on Stellarium was presented to visitors on the night. If you or someone you know needs help with a telescope, then why not bring it to one of our monthly lecture nights where any of our experienced members will gladly help.

Chairperson: Jason Fallon

Treasurer: Paul Fitzgerald

The rings can be seen in the background fading into the shadow cast by the planet itself. A slight bit of ringshine brightens Saturn’s nighttime limb. Cassini was approximately 579,653 kilometers (360,180 miles) from Saturn when the raw image above was taken. www.universetoday.com

He made two observing chairs to make it easy to observe at the eyepiece of most telescopes, one chair of which is housed in our observatory. His wife, Cella, has given her blessing to us to keep it, for old time’s sake. Our sympathies are extended to Cella and their daughter, Claire. Photo shows Carthage (right) at the MAC Christmas Dinner 2004, with another departed member and friend of the club, Vincent McDonnell (left).

Recent Events January’s Telescope Night A Success

The Annual General Meeting of the Club took place on Tuesday January 22nd last. Following Secretary and Treasurer Reports, a new committee was elected. Declan Molloy stood down after 3 years as Chairperson, the most our Constitution allows. Jason Fallon was elected to replace him. The rest of the committee remained largely unchanged, a full report is available from the Secretary. Photo shows the new MAC Committee for 2013, back l-r: Paul Fitzgerald, Declan Molloy, Dave Connolly, Laurence Rigney and Seanie Morris; front l-r: Jason Fallon, Adrian Waters and John Lally.

A new look at Saturn’s northern hexagon

Back in November we got our first good look at Saturn’s north pole in years, now that Cassini’s orbit is once again taking it high over the ringplane. With spring progressing on Saturn’s northern hemisphere the upper latitudes are getting more and more sunlight — which stirs up storm activity in its atmosphere.

AGM and new committee 2013

Declan Molloy presented a talk entitled “Sir Patrick Moore: His Life & Times” for our February 5th lecture. We thought that this should proof to be an interesting talk following on from his death in December, and we were right! Many new members attended for the first time that night too.

Galway AstroFest A small group of MAC members attended the one-day Galway AstroFest on February 2nd in Galway City. A good day out was had in what is probably Ireland’s only Winter star party and is a good warm up to our own COSMOS star party!

Lectures Streamed LIVE on Google Plus February’s talk was also the first proper run at streaming the talk live onto the net via Google Plus, looked after by John Lally. Still in a bit of an experimental stage, 1 random visitor from cyberspace did logon to view Declan’s talk for a time. It is planned to also record our lectures at the same time for future storage.

Upcoming Club Events March 5th: “The Antikythera Device” presented by Michael O’Connell, MAC. April 2nd: "Quasars and Beyond: Looking Back in Time” presented by Seanie Morris, MAC Secretary. COSMOS 2013 April 12th to 14th: See notes included in this issue. May 7th: Sunspots and Aurora: The Connection” by Laurence Rigney, MAC. Our lectures take place on the first Tuesday of the month (except July) in the Presbyterian Hall, High Street in Tullamore at 8:00pm. All are welcome to attend, admission is €2.00.

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Kid’s Korner Be glad your not a Cyclops! Robots that explore other planets must be able to see where they are going. Just like people, robots make good use of two eyes. Why are two eyes so much better than one? Try an experiment. Cover or shut one eye and try to thread a needle. Even a BIG needle. Now try it with both eyes open. Isn't it a lot easier with both eyes?

Shut one eye and the world looks flat--2-dimensional. Keep both eyes open, and the world takes on a whole new dimension! 3-D, or stereo, vision helps us tell how far away things are.

slightly different image. Your brain, however, combines the two images into one, using the extra information to tell you how close or far away things are. Roving robots, too, must be able to tell how far away things are. Otherwise the robot will bump into things and have a hard time reaching its target. "Urbie" is a Tactical Mobile Robot. Urbie was designed to navigate city

Human stereo vision is a good thing for engineers to try to copy in making robots that can get around on their own. Because your eyes are s e pa ra ted b y a few centimetres (a couple of inches), each eye sees a

terrain. It will be useful for dangerous military missions, and it will also be useful to police and emergency rescue workers. Urbie itself, Urbie space

can see and navigate by with no help from humans. would also make an ideal explorer.

For a robot, exploring an asteroid, comet, or another planet will be a lonely job. It takes minutes or hours for a message (such as an image) from a robot on a distant planet to reach a human on Earth and for a message to be sent back to the robot. By that time, the little "one-eyed" robot could have fallen into a hole or gotten stuck somewhere. Like Urbie, space exploring robots have got to be clever enough to take care of themselves.

A meteor that exploded over Russia earlier this month likely hit Earth after a long trip from beyond the orbit of Mars, scientists say. Astronomers and the public were caught off guard by the Russian fireball, which damaged thousands of buildings and wounded more than 1,000 people when it detonated over the city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15.

Chebarkul, about 43 miles (70 km) from Chelyabinsk. Scientists think the hole was caused by a piece of the space rock that hit Earth on Feb. 15.

But some YouTube-aided detective work suggests that the meteor's parent body belonged to the Apollo family of Earth-crossing asteroids, whose elliptical orbits take them farther than one Earth-sun distance (about 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometres) from our star at some point, researchers said.

Using trigonometry, Zuluaga and Ferrin calculated basic elements of the fireball's path through Earth's atmosphere. "According to our estimations, the Chelyabinski meteor started to brighten up when it was between 32 and 47 km up in the atmosphere," they write in their paper, which has been posted to the online astronomy preprint site ArXiv.org. "The velocity of the body predicted by our analysis was between 13 and 19 km/s (relative to the Earth) which encloses the preferred figure of 18 km/s assumed by other researchers."

Jorge Zuluaga and Ignacio Ferrin of the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, reached this conclusion after analysing several videos of the Russian meteor, especially one taken in Chelyabinsk's Revolutionary Square and another recorded in the nearby city of Korkino.

The pair then entered these figures into a software program developed by the United States Naval Observatory called NOVAS (short for Naval Observatory Vector

Astrometry), which calculated the likely orbit of the meteor's parent body. Some other scientists agree that this orbit took the space rock relatively far from the sun at times — farther than Mars, in fact. "It came from the asteroid belt, about 2.5 times farther from the sun than Earth," Bill Cooke, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said in a statement. Cooke was not involved in Zuluaga and Ferrin's study. Meanwhile, the size of the meteor's parent object has come into clearer focus, thanks to measurements made by a global network of infrasound sensors operated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). These sensors monitor extremely lowfrequency sound waves, which are a common product of nuclear explosions. As the Russian meteor burned through Earth's atmosphere, it generated the most powerful infrasound signal ever detected by the CTBTO network, researchers said. And this signal revealed a great deal about the asteroid's size, speed and explosive power.

http://www.marcsobservatory.com

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Russian meteor's origin and size pinned down

They also took into account the location of a hole in the ice of Lake

Or, using only one eye, try pouring water from one container into another-especially into one with a narrow opening. Better have a mop ready! Now try it with both eyes.

www.midlandsastronomy.com

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Above: A Russian policeman works near an ice hole, said by the interior ministry department for Chelyabinsk region to be the point of impact of a meteor seen earlier in the Urals region.

"The asteroid was about 17 meters in diameter and weighed approximately 10,000 metric tons," Peter Brown, a physics professor at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, said in a statement. "It struck Earth's atmosphere at 40,000 mph and broke apart about 12 to

Above: This video screenshot shows the fireball from a meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013, creating a shockwave that shattered windows and injured more than 1,000 people. 15 miles above Earth's surface. The energy of the resulting explosion exceeded 470 kilotons of TNT." That's 30 to 40 times more powerful than the atomic bomb the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II. The Russian fireball likely produced the most powerful such space rock blast since a 130foot (40 m) object exploded over Siberia in 1908, flattening 825 square miles (2,137 square km) of forest. Preliminary reports suggest that the Chelyabinsk fireball's parent asteroid was composed primarily of stone, with a smidge of iron thrown in. "In other words, [it's] a typical asteroid from beyond the orbit of Mars," Cooke said. "There are millions more just like it." The Russian meteor struck just hours before the 130-foot asteroid 2012 DA14 gave Earth a close shave, missing our planet by just 17,200 miles (27,000 km). But the two space rocks are unrelated, researchers say, making Feb. 15 a day of remarkable cosmic coincidences. www.space.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Club News Club news ........................................................................... 9

Kids Section Front cover image: The spiral arms of bright galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multiframe portrait, composed of data from ground- and spacebased telescopes. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 80,000 light-years across. Typical in grand spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, youthful blue star clusters, and pinkish star forming regions trace spiral arms that converge on the bright nucleus of older yellowish stars.

Credit & Copyright: Image Data - Hubble Legacy Archive, Robert Gendler, Jay Gabany, Processing - Robert Gendler

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 2

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

3. The word gibbous (used to describe the moon during the waxing and waning phases when more than half of the moon can be seen) is a Middle English word meaning what? growing bulging swallowing full 4. The reflecting telescope was first built by what Scotsman? Isaac Newton James Gregory Guillaume Cassegrain Charles Messier 5. What is the angular size of the moon? half of a degree All of the other answers are correct 30 arcminutes 1800 arcseconds

9. What is the parent comet which provides us with the Perseids meteor shower? 1862III (Swift-Tuttle) Halley Encke 3200 Phaeton 10.One particular meteor shower usually produces about 10 meteors per hour. However, once every 33 years the earth intersects the densest part of the debris path producing about 1,000 meteors a minute! What is the name of this extraordinary meteor shower? Orionids Leonids Beta Taurids Draconids

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Check your answers

the sun a star must be to show a parallax of one arcsecond.

Tito Wants to Send Married Couple on Mars Flyby Mission ..... 8

Thomas Edison Edwin Hubble Karl Jansky Clyde Tombaugh

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Answer 1. The correct answer was refractor.

The “Heart and Soul” Nebulae .............................................. 8

8. Who is considered to be the father of radio astronomy?

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Answer 2. The correct answer was sky pollution.

NuSTAR puts new spin on Supermassive Black Holes............. 7

light pollution pollution air pollution sky pollution

10,000-28,000 K 10,000 K 7,000 K 6,000 K

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Answer 7. The correct answer was 10,000-28,000 K. Spectral class B stars are the second hottest stars. The only thing hotter is a class O star.

Amateurs help Hubble unveil spiral galaxy ............................ 6

2. To astronomers anything that interferes with observing, such as smog, fog, and dust, is called what?

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Answer 3. The correct answer was bulging which is a good description of the moon's shape between it's quarter phase and full phase.

A cool discovery about the Sun's next-door twin.................... 6

7. A star of spectral class B has a surface temperature of what?

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Answer 8. The correct answer was Karl Jansky. The basic unit of radio brightness, the Jansky (Jy), is named after him.

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.

Comet PANSTARRS set to shine after sunset in March ........... 5

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A.U. A.U. A.U. A.U.

Answer 9. The correct answer was 1862III (Swift-Tuttle). Comet Encke is the parent comet of the Beta Taurids, Halley is the parent comet of the Orionids, while 3200 Phaeton produces the Geminids.

A new look at Saturn’s northern hexagon.............................. 4

reflector unknown Schmidt-Cassegrain refractor

150,945 302,481 197,694 206,265

Answer 4. The correct answer was James Gregory who first built his reflector in 1663, 5 years before Newton built his. Isaac Newton gets the credit for inventing it, however, because his design is the one that caught on. (If you didn't know, Guillaume Cassegrain and Charles Messier were French.)

Protoplanet spotted inside its stellar womb ........................... 4

SUDOKU

6. One parsec is equal to what?

Answer 5. The correct answer was All of the other answers are correct. Half a degree, 30 arcminutes, and 1800 arcseconds are all equivalent.

Russian meteor's origin and size pinned down....................... 3

1. The first telescope to be used for astronomy purposes by Galileo Galilei was which kind of telescope?

Answer 10. The correct answer was Leonids. The last time that happened was last year. So if you missed them (like me) and hope to see them next time (like me) you have a 32-year wait until 2032. By then I'll be 60!!!

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 Saturday of every month..

Exercise your brain

contents

Answer 6. The correct answer was 206,265 A.U. That is the distance from

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

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 11


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner’s targets for March Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) will hopefully be a naked eye object in the second half of the month. It is at closest point to the sun on the 10th. After this, it then becomes visible in both the morning and evening skies. By the months end it is predicted to have faded to the limit of naked eye. Telescope Targets Orion and the rest of the winter constellations are still placed well for early evening observing. See January's and February's picks for targets in these. March marks the beginning of Spring Galaxy season. Most galaxies will appear as small grey blobs through amateur equipment. The thrill (at least for me) of looking at these is the vast distances and the fact that you're looking at something not of this galaxy. There's something about actually seeing a remote galaxy first hand that cannot possibly be felt by simply looking at pictures in a book. Granted, the pictures in the book are very nice to look at, but viewing them with your own scope gives you the feeling of "being" there. We'll start off in Ursa Major with a very nice pair of galaxies, M81 and M82. M81 and M82 are usually visible in the same low powered field of view, which makes for a fascinating site. Be sure to use your

lowest power eyepiece for this pair. It also shows what 2 different types of galaxies will look like in your scope (an irregular, M82 and a spiral, M81). To find M81 and M82, start with the first star that forms the bowl of the big dipper from the handle (Phecda). Draw a line diagonally to the opposite corner star (Dubhe), now, follow this imaginary line the same distance out, then move slightly North (toward Polaris, the North Star), scan the area slowly, and you should find 2 smudges, one slightly elongated (M81) and one rounded (M82). This particular pair of galaxies were the first I found, the only description I wrote in my log book was "wow." M81 and M82 are located approximately 7 - 8 million lightyears from us. While in the area of the Big Dipper, there's a nice double star to be glimpsed as well. The second star of the handle (Mizar) is a naked eye double (Mizar and Alcor). While not a binary star system still a treat. Point your scope at it and Mizar itself splits into a double star, this one is a true binary system with a rotational period of several thousand years. Moving on to Leo, which is easy to find by looking for the backwards question mark we have another pair of galaxies which will fit into the same field of view in a low powered eyepiece. M65 and

Club Notes Club Observing: Remember the next club meets the first Saturday 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

Issue 41 - March, 2013

Above: Ursa Major is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. Its name means the Great Bear in Latin. It is dominated by the widely recognised asterism known as the Big Dipper or Plough, which is a useful pointer toward north, and which has mythological significance in numerous world cultures. M66 can be located by finding the hindquarters of Leo which is a right triangle to the left (east) of the question mark. The star at the bottom right of the triangle is known as Chort. A dimmer star can be seen down and to the left of Chort (South and East). M65 and M66 can be found halfway between these 2 stars. M65 and M66 are located about 20 million lightyears away.

month's end. It fades from mag 2.3 to mag -2.1 during the month.

There are tons of galaxies in the Leo area, scan around the area with a low powered eyepiece and see how many you can detect. One note, you'll need good dark skies to start looking for galaxies so head out to your favourite country observing spot and begin your galaxy hunting there.

Neptune is not visible this month.

Planets Mercury is not visible this month. It is at inferior conjunction on the 4th and at greatest western elongation on the 31st. Venus is at superior conjunction on the 28th and is not visible this month. Mars is 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 00:50 by

Saturn becomes a late evening object this month in Libra. At the start of the month, it rises at 23:25 and by month's end, rises at 22:25. It brightens from mag +0.4 to mag +0.2 during the month. Uranus is at conjunction on the 29th and is not visible this month.

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. Finally check out www.heavensabove.com for the latest passes of the International Space Station and satellites, details of Space Shuttle launches and passes and for details of Iridium Flare activity.

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Club News Kids Astronomy Quizzes and Games Monthly Sky Guide

Clear skies and good hunting!

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

www.midlandsastronomy.com

Latest Astronomy and Space News

Internet Highlights


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Internet Highlights 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 – February 24th

Cosmic Journeys: Plasma Rockets and Solar Storms Join a small team of rocket designers as they open a window into the future of space travel. Modern science has linked polar light shows, called auroras, to vast waves of electrified gas hurled in our direction by the sun. Today, researchers from a whole new generation see this dynamic substance, plasma, as an energy source that may one day fuel humanity's expansion into space. What can we learn, and how far can we go, by tapping into the strange and elusive fourth state of matter? http://youtu.be/tWXR0lVtliw

ScienceCasts: What exploded over Russia?

How Big is the Universe?

ScienceCasts: A Naked-Eye Comet in March 2013

It has NO EDGE. And NO CENTER... or does it?

Scientists are making progress understanding the origin and make-up of the unexpected space rock that hit Russia recently.

http://youtu.be/5NU2t5zlxQQ

http://youtu.be/grEeiWxlCKk http://youtu.be/-TMGmXi9JW8

http://youtu.be/OZlenAvqLCI

NASA Long-Distance Google+ Hangout to connect with ISS

Podcast: How to debunk an End-of-the-World Myth Everyone is always predicting the end of the world. Someone's going to tell you that this the year that it's all going to end… the end of planet Earth… and they're always wrong. But, someone will eventually be right. Planet Earth is doomed, lets figure out how. http://www.astronomycast.com/

Podcast: The Jodcast

http://youtu.be/u8LI5JiWEfs

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

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 13

Useful free astronomy resources Midlands Astronomy Club have created a Facebook 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. Find us on www.facebook.com

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/ www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 14


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Internet Highlights 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 – February 24th

Cosmic Journeys: Plasma Rockets and Solar Storms Join a small team of rocket designers as they open a window into the future of space travel. Modern science has linked polar light shows, called auroras, to vast waves of electrified gas hurled in our direction by the sun. Today, researchers from a whole new generation see this dynamic substance, plasma, as an energy source that may one day fuel humanity's expansion into space. What can we learn, and how far can we go, by tapping into the strange and elusive fourth state of matter? http://youtu.be/tWXR0lVtliw

ScienceCasts: What exploded over Russia?

How Big is the Universe?

ScienceCasts: A Naked-Eye Comet in March 2013

It has NO EDGE. And NO CENTER... or does it?

Scientists are making progress understanding the origin and make-up of the unexpected space rock that hit Russia recently.

http://youtu.be/5NU2t5zlxQQ

http://youtu.be/grEeiWxlCKk http://youtu.be/-TMGmXi9JW8

http://youtu.be/OZlenAvqLCI

NASA Long-Distance Google+ Hangout to connect with ISS

Podcast: How to debunk an End-of-the-World Myth Everyone is always predicting the end of the world. Someone's going to tell you that this the year that it's all going to end… the end of planet Earth… and they're always wrong. But, someone will eventually be right. Planet Earth is doomed, lets figure out how. http://www.astronomycast.com/

Podcast: The Jodcast

http://youtu.be/u8LI5JiWEfs

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

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 13

Useful free astronomy resources Midlands Astronomy Club have created a Facebook 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. Find us on www.facebook.com

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/ www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 14


MAC March 2013 Magazine