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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner's targets for October General notes For the naked eye in October we have two meteor showers. There is a possible Draconid outburst on the 8th which is predicted to occur around 21:00. However the timing for this event is uncertain and it is best to look as soon as darkness falls. The predicted ZHR is 400, however the presence of a waxing gibbous moon will reduce the number of meteors visible and it is best to keep the moon blocked out by a fence or hedge etc and to look NW where the radiant is visible as soon as darkness falls. The meteors are typically slow and faint and it is unknown how long this event will last for and may only last for a short time. The Orionids peak on the morning of the 22nd with a ZHR of 25. The radiant rises at around 01:00 that morning with a waning crescent moon rising at around 02:00 in Leo causing interference. Telescope Targets The month of October begins with Cassiopeia and Andromeda high overhead in the Northeast. M31 (the Andromeda Galaxy), to locate M31, find the "W" of the Constellation Cassiopeia. The larger part of the base of the "W" points right at the Andromeda Galaxy. Simply follow this line approximately a fist's width and slightly toward the horizon and scan this area with your lowest

The Andromeda Galaxy is considered the Milky Way's twin and is a member of a group of galaxies known as the local group. It's made up of about 300 billion stars and is considerably larger than the Milky Way. M31 is a spiral galaxy, but as we are seeing it edge on no spiral structure can be detected. Within the same low power eyepiece view, you may also detect M32 which is an elliptical galaxy. M32 is a very small smudge just below Andromeda (in the telescope view). It appears to be more of a fuzzy star than a galaxy through most beginners instruments but it's still another distant galaxy composed of millions of stars. M32 is located approximately 20,000 light-years South of Andromeda. It is a dwarf elliptical galaxy. Also within the same low power field of view as Andromeda is the elusive M110, another galaxy. It's located on the opposite side of Andromeda about the same distance as M32. It will take dark skies to see this one. It's

Club Notes Club Observing: The club meets every 1st and 3rd 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

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Issue 47 - October, 2013

power eyepiece.You will see a bright blob in the middle with light extending off of both sides. On a very good night from a dark site, Andromeda will fill the field of view of your eyepiece. The Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant object that can be viewed with the naked eye at 2.2 - 2.9 million light years away, which makes this a very easy first galaxy target for your scope.

Above: Cassiopeia is easily recognizable due to its distinctive 'W' shape formed by five bright stars. a faint oval smudge even in my 8" scope. This is a dwarf elliptical galaxy containing just a few million stars. Both of these galaxies are orbiting M31. Moving over to Cassiopeia, M103 is our next target. To locate M103 find the star that makes up the bottom of the smaller part of the "W" of Cassiopeia (Ruchbah), M103 is located right next to this star in a straight line from it toward the star that makes the end of the "W" (Epsilon Cygni). M103 is a very loose open cluster of about 60 stars. Next, we'll use Ruchbah again, but with the other side of the "W" to find NGC's 869 and 884 (commonly referred to as the Perseus Double- Cluster). Follow this line down approximately a fist's width, and using your lowest power eyepiece, you will be

treated to one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens. NGC 869 and 884 are a pair of Open Clusters each containing approximately 100 stars. It is located a a very rich area of stars which only adds to the beauty of this target. The sight is indeed a memorable one, and one I'm sure you'll return to often to show your friends. Use your lowest power to get the best view of this pair in your eyepiece. Moving back up through Cassiopeia, our next target will be the open cluster M52. Using the large part of the "W", (alpha and beta Cygni) as our pointer, follow this line straight up about the same distance, and M52 will be in you field of view. M52 is an open cluster containing about 200 members.

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


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

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

creation 6.

Comet found hiding in plain sight

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Life on Earth may have come from out of this world

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Hubble uncovers largest known population of star clusters

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Sunrise on the Bay of Rainbows

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Does the Moon have an Atmosphere?

Club News 9.

Front cover image: The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts. Pictured is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire.

Kids Section 10.

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Exercise your brain

Monthly Sky Guide 12.

Credit & Copyright: The Hubble Heritage Team, (STScI/AURA), ESA, NASA

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Kids Korner

Quizzes and Games

The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars.

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Club News

Question 2 Which element was named after the first asteroid to be discovered? • Lithium • Halfnium • Cerium • Nitrogen

Question 7 Which element was named after the asteroid Pallas? • Answer: ______________ (One Word)

Question 3 Which element is named after the moon? • Moonium • Yittrium • Selenium • Luetium Question 4 Which element is named after the seventh planet from the sun? • Iridium • Plutonium • Uranium • Neptunium Question 5 Which element shares the same name as the smallest planet in our solar system? • Krypton • Uranium • Mercury • Plutonium

Question 8 Fusion in the Sun begins with which element? • Hydrogen • Carbon • Helium • Protons Question 9 Which element is found only in small quantities in the Earth's crust but in high concentrations in moon rocks? • Molybdenum • Selenium • Yttrium • Niobium Question 10 Which element is not created in stars through fusion or a supernova? • Hydrogen • Gold • Uranium • Neutrino

Beginners guide for this month

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

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the planet Neptune because of its location on the periodic table. Since neptunium follows uranium in the periodic table, it was named after the planet following Uranus in the solar system (Neptune).

Goodbye Big Bang, hello Black Hole? A new theory of the Universe’s

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Answer 7: The correct answer was Palladium which was named after the large asteroid Pallas and the Greek goddess of wisdom.

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Answer 1: The correct answer was Helium. Each element is known to have a signature light spectrum. Helium had not been discovered on Earth yet because it was very unreactive. So, when they found this new element in the Sun, they used the Greek word "helius" which translates to "sun" to name it.

Ice Volcanoes likely alter Titan’s surface brightness

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Answer 8: The correct answer was Hydrogen. Two hydrogens fuse into one helium.

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Answer 2: The correct answer was Cerium. Ceres and the element cerium were discovered around the same time.

Massive storm reveals water deep within Saturn

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Answer 3: The correct answer was Selenium which was named after the Moon (Greek "selene" translates to "moon").

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SUDOKU

Answer 9: The correct answer was Yttrium. Rocks brought back from the moon by the Apollo astronauts had an unexpectedly high yttrium content. Yttrium is named after the Swedish village Ytterby where it was first identified.

A “Mini Jet” juts from Saturn’s F Ring

Question 6 Which element is named after the furthest planet in our solar system (as of 2007)? • Plutonium • Neptubium • Neptunium • Uranium

Answer 4: The correct answer was Uranium. Uranus was discovered in 1781, the name Uranus was then used to name a new chemical element discovered eight years later.

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Question 1 Which element was discovered on the Sun before it was discovered on Earth? • Helium • Plutonium • Hydrogen • Uranium

Answer 10: The correct answer was Hydrogen which is not created by stars, it is used by them. Uranium and gold are created through supernovae explosions. A neutrino is not an element, it is a particle.

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.

Methane goes missing on Mars

Answer 5: The correct answer was Mercury which is also known as the messenger god.

All are welcome to attend. MAC also holds infrequent Observing Nights at it's Observing Site in Clonminch, or at a member's house (weather permitting) on the first Saturday of every month.

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Answer 6: The correct answer was Neptunium which was named after

Latest Astronomy and Space News

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Kid's Korner

Learn the Constellations

If you're a newcomer to amateur astronomy, eager to begin exploring the night sky, you'll have to overcome one of astronomy's biggest hurdles — learning to identify the constellations. After all, you can't find the Andromeda Galaxy if you can't find Andromeda. Trying to make sense of those myriad stellar specks overhead needn't be a "mission impossible."

Dipper is made up of seven stars — four in the bowl, and three in the handle. If you trace a line from the bowl of the Big Dipper past the North Star and continue it an equal distance beyond, you'll arrive at an eyecatching group of stars that form a distinct letter M or W. This is Cassiopeia, Queen of Ethiopia.

North circumpolar constellations We begin in the northern sky, realm of those always-visible star groups known as the north circumpolar constellations. The most prominent figure is the Big Dipper (Note: The Big Dipper is not a constellation). These bright stars — four forming the "bowl," three more tracing out the "handle" — create one of the most recognizable patterns in the night sky, an ideal guide for locating surrounding constellations.

Winter To see the constellations that come and go with the seasons, we need to turn our backs on the north circumpolar constellations and face south. If the winter sky seems alive with stars, it's no illusion. Besides the obvious facts that the air is clear and dry then, we're looking at a star-rich region that defines one of the spiral arms of our Milky Way Galaxy. Of the twenty-one brightest stars in the entire night sky (so-called 1stmagnitude stars), seven are in this area.

You can find Polaris, the North Star, by tracing a line between the stars Dubhe and Merak at the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper and extending it about five times the distance between them. When astronomical newcomers see this celebrated star for the first time, they are astonished that it isn't much brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper. Polaris is the brightest star in Ursa Minor the Little Bear, which contains the Little Dipper. Like its big brother, the Little

On a winter evening, the sky is home to what most astronomers agree is the grandest of all constellations — Orion the Hunter. A rectangle of bright stars, which includes, at opposite corners, 1st magnitude Betelgeuse and Rigel, is bisected by a diagonal row of three bright stars (the "belt"). Beneath the belt hangs a row of three stars — Orion's "sword." Don't be fooled by their uninspiring naked-eye appearance; the middle star in the sword isn't a

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star at all. It's the Orion Nebula — one of the grandest telescopic showpieces the night sky has to offer. In binoculars, it appears as a fuzzy patch of light. When you gaze at this wondrous glowing cloud, you view creation itself, for within this luminous glow, stars are being born.

Orion is the focal point of a stunning gathering of bright stars and constellations. The belt points down and to the left to a brilliant white star: Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, leader of the constellation Canis Major the Great Dog. Sirius always dazzles, but the star especially captivates when positioned near the horizon. Return to Orion's belt and continue up and to the right, and you arrive at a V-shaped group of stars called the Hyades. This is the "head" of Taurus the Bull. The reddish-orange 1st-magnitude star

at the upper-left end of the V is Aldebaran — the eye of the Bull. Each end of the V extends outward to a star that forms one of the Bull's horns. Continuing past the Hyades, you'll see a little cluster of stars — one of the loveliest nakedeye sights in the night sky. This is the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades. Six are visible to the unaided eye under average sky conditions; binoculars reveal the seventh star, plus dozens more. The uppermost horn of Taurus is part of a pentagon of stars that includes the bright golden-yellow star Capella. This pentagon is the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Auriga lies above Orion and is overhead on a midwinter evening. The fact that these five stars represent a man on a chariot carrying a goat (Capella) attests to the vivid imagination of its ancient discoverers. Oh yes, that little triangle of stars beneath Capella represents the goat's three kids! Orion's heavenly court includes Gemini the Twins. From Orion, extend a line upward from Rigel through Betelgeuse to this neat rectangular constellation, which contains the bright stars Pollux and Castor. Midway and slightly left of a line between Sirius and the stars Pollux and Castor is the 1st-magnitude star Procyon. Procyon forms an

Methane goes missing on Mars Methane gas is easy to detect and a sensitive indicator of biological activity. Based on previous observations, astronomers thought it was present in the Martian atmosphere. But a super-sensitive instrument aboard Curiosity found none at all. NASA sent the beefy Curiosity rover to Mars to find out if the Red Planet is or ever has been a suitable place for life. Mission officials repeatedly stress that it's not looking for life, but even so some just-announced measurements have dealt a setback to the prospects for finding Martian lifeforms. Mission scientists led by Christopher Webster (JPL) reveal that a sensitive instrument on the rover has found no trace of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Officially, the team reports an upper limit of just 0.18 part per billion (by volume). But given the uncertainty of ± 0.67 ppbv, they conclude there's been "no detection of methane." The results involve measurements by a tunable laser spectrometer

(TLS), part of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument housed inside the rover, that can analyse composition of the thin Martian air far more sensitively than has ever been possible before. SAM gulped in six separate samples of the atmosphere over an 8-month stretch that corresponded to late spring and summer at the rover's landing site inside Gale crater.

reported occasional fresh injections from localised sites. Some researchers have questioned whether the ground-based observations are seeing Martian methane, as opposed to the whiffs present in Earth's atmosphere. And there've been debates about how the gas could come and go so quickly, as the ground-based observations suggest, even though it should linger for centuries around Mars. Still, detections by two orbiters, NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and ESA's Mars Express, seemed to confirm the gas's existence at an abundance of roughly 15 to 30 ppbv. Models suggest that any Martian methane

is unlikely to arise from volcanic activity or the occasional splat of a comet, so scientific opinion has been leaning toward biological activity as the most likely source. Understandably, Curiosity's negative finding comes as a surprise. "It would have been exciting to find methane, but we have high confidence in our measurements." Michael Meyer, who oversees NASA's exploration efforts at Mars, points out that Martian life hasn't been ruled out. "As we know," he says, "there are many types of terrestrial microbes that don't generate methane." www.skyandtelescope.com

Methane is the most abundant hydrocarbon in the solar system. The trace amounts in Earth's atmosphere are unstable and must be constantly replenished — almost entirely by biologic activity (decomposing organic matter, flatulent livestock, and so on). Over the past 15 years, various ground-based observers have reported finding spectroscopic evidence for methane in the Martian atmosphere. Some have

A “Mini Jet” juts from Saturn’s F Ring We all know that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has a whole arsenal of geysers jetting a constant spray of ice out into orbit but Enceladus isn’t the only place in the Saturnian system where jets can be found — there are some miniature versions hiding out in the thin F ring as well! This image, captured by the Cassini spacecraft, shows a segment of the thin, ropy F ring that encircles Saturn just beyond the A ring (visible at upper right). The bright barb near the center is what scientists call a mini jet, thought to be caused by small objects getting dragged through the ring material as a result of repeated passings by the moon Prometheus. Coincidentally, it’s gravitational perturbations by Prometheus that help form the objects — half-mile-wide snowball-like clusters of icy ring particles — in the first place. Unlike the dramatic jets on Enceladus, which are powered by tidal stresses that flex the moon’s crust, these mini jets are much more subtle and occur at the casual rate of 4 mph (2 meters/second)… about the speed of a brisk walk. The reflective jets themselves can be anywhere from 25 to 112 miles (40 to 180 kilometers) long. Over 500 of these features have been imaged by Cassini since 2005. And don’t worry, Enceladus… these little jets are interesting but they have nothing on you! www.universetoday.com

A bright “mini jet” spotted in Saturn’s F ring

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Massive storm reveals water deep within Saturn Remember the huge storm that erupted on Saturn in late 2010? It was one of the largest storms ever observed on the ringed planet, and it was even visible from Earth in amateur-sized telescopes.The latest research has revealed the tempestuous storm churned up something surprising deep within Saturn’s atmosphere: water ice.This is the first detection of water ice on Saturn, observed by the near-infrared instruments on the Cassini spacecraft. “The new finding from Cassini shows that Saturn can dredge up material from more than 160 kilometers,” said Kevin Baines, a co-author of the paper. “It

demonstrates in a very real sense that typically demure-looking Saturn can be just as explosive or even more so than typically stormy Jupiter.”

While Saturn’s moons have lots of water ice, Saturn is almost entirely hydrogen and helium, but it does have trace amounts of other chemicals, including water. When we look at Saturn, we’re actually seeing the upper cloud tops of Saturn’s atmosphere, which are made mostly of frozen crystals of ammonia. Beneath this upper cloud layer, astronomers think there’s a lower cloud deck made of ammonium hydrosulfide and water. Astronomers thought there was water there, but not very much, and certainly not ice.

Big storms appear in the northern hemisphere of Saturn once every 30 years or so, or roughly once per Saturn year. The first hint of the most recent storm first appeared in data from Cassini’s radio and plasma wave subsystem on Dec. 5, 2010. Soon after that, it could be seen in images from amateur astronomers and from Cassini’s imaging science subsystem. The storm quickly grew to superstorm proportions, encircling the planet at about 30 degrees north latitude for an expanse of nearly 300,000 km.

But the storm in 2010-2011 appears to have disrupted the various layers, lofting up water vapor from a lower layer that condensed and froze as it rose. The water ice crystals then appeared to become coated with more volatile materials like ammonium hydrosulfide and ammonia as the temperature decreased with their ascent,.

The researchers studied the dynamics of this storm, and realized that it worked like the much smaller convective storms on Earth, where air and water vapor are pushed high into the atmosphere, resulting in the towering, billowing clouds of a thunderstorm. The towering clouds in Saturn storms of this type, however, were 10 to 20 times taller and covered a much bigger area. They are also far more violent than an Earth storm, with models predicting vertical winds of more than about 500 kph for these rare giant storms.

Above: This set of images from NASA’s Cassini mission shows the turbulent power of a monster Saturn storm. The visible-light image in the back, obtained on Feb. 25, 2011, by Cassini’s imaging camera, shows the turbulent clouds churning across the face of Saturn. The inset infrared image, obtained a day earlier, by Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, shows the dredging up of water and ammonia ices from deep in Saturn’s atmosphere. This was the first time water ice was detected in Saturn’s atmosphere.

“The water could only have risen from below, driven upward by powerful convection originating deep in the atmosphere,” said Lawrence Sromovsky, also of the University of Wisconsin, who lead the research team. “The water vapor condenses and freezes as it rises. It then likely becomes coated with more volatile materials like ammonium hydrosulfide and ammonia as the temperature decreases with their ascent.

Ice Volcanoes likely alter Titan’s surface brightness

areas might contain environments that could harbor conditions favorable for life,” Solomonidou added.

weather model of the moon explained many of its features without necessarily needing to rely on cryovolcanoes.

Icy volcanoes are likely responsible for changes in brightness on the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, according to a new study.

Of note, Titan also has a freshlooking surface with few craters on it, indicating that something might be altering the surface. “Its landscape is remarkably Earth-like with dunes and lakes, erosion due to weathering and tectonic-like features,” a statement on the research added.

www.universetoday.com

Images with the Cassini spacecraft’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer revealed the brightness, or albedo, of two equatorial areas changing during the study period. Tui Regio (which got darker from 2005 to 2009) and Sotra Patera (which got brighter from 2005 to 2006). The researchers also pointed to “volcanic-like features” in these areas as evidence that the potential cryovolcanoes, as these

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icy volcanoes are known, might be connected to an ocean on Titan. “All of these features, plus a need for a methane reservoir and volcanic activity to replenish the methane in the atmosphere, is compatible with the theory of active cryovolcanism on Titan,” stated Anezina Solomonidou. “These results have important implications for Titan’s potential to support life, as these cryovolcanic

There’s been chatter about cryovolcanoes on Titan before. In 2010, researchers said a chain of peaks found on the moon could be evidence of this type of feature. However, a 2012 preliminary California Institute of Technology

The storm’s ability to churn up water ice from great depths is evidence of the storm’s explosive power, the team said. www.universetoday.com

Recent Events Albert Einstein: The ‘Relative’ Genius

This was our September lecture, presented by Declan Molloy (MAC). Declan gave a thought-provoking lecture about the man who, only since Newton, was considered to be the greatest scientific mind to have ever lived. Some of his achievements were by happenstance, others by hard work. In the end, he was an ordinary man who shunned publicity and yet offered some of the greatest thought a scientific mind could offer mankind.

MAC Member at C.A M.P. for Astronomy Outreach

MAC Secretary Seanie Morris was invited down to Carne Beach in Wexford in Monday September 9th to bring some Astronomy fun to the Cheshire Adventure Motivation Project, enabling those with physical disability through accident or brain injury the chance to experience something they never would have thought of before. See accompanying article the IFAS fourm for a report. http://goo.gl/ pHTWCt

Science Week November 10th-17th This is a nationwide calendar marker every November to give science a big push in Ireland! Schools, colleges, clubs and interest groups are all invited to do something to mark the occasion. Science Week is a Discover Science & Engineering (DSE) project. DSE initiatives are managed by Science Foundation Ireland on behalf of the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. In addition to MAC’s November lecture, we plan to host an extra event to be confirmed.

Keep an eye out for... Comet ISON: Also known as Comet Nevski–Novichonok, is a sungrazing comet discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok using the 0.4-meter (16 in) reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia. This was tipped to be a spectacular comet because of its close pass to Earth, which will be 64million km on December 26th. It passes within 10.8million km of Mars on October 1st. From our perspective, it is a telescopic object at present, and is next to Mars in Leo for much of October, but you will have to get up very early to see it, and with a telescope. It is hoped that by the end of the 1st week of November that it will be a naked eye comet before its November 28th perihelion (closest) pass to the Sun (and in its glare). Also on view will be Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. Lovejoy and ISON will be quite close in comet terms, visually, in the night sky at the beginning of November too.

Unknown Meteor Shower Burst

An unknown meteor burst was witnessed on the night of Monday September 9th by observers around Europe. Possibly connect with the September Epsilon Perseids, themselves associated with a debris trail for the past few years of unknown origin.

Upcoming Club Events October 1st: “Comet ISON: Comet of the Century?”, Speaker Seanie Morris, MAC Secretary. November 5th: “Photographing The Night Sky”, Speaker Dave Connolly, MAC PRO. December 3rd: “Mini Astronomy Expo”, This will be confirmed later, but the committee are currently talking about a planned Astronomy Expo Night ahead of Christmas with information and advice on all aspects of Astronomy, especially telescopes. More details late. All our lecture nights take place on the 1st Tuesday of the month in the Presbyterian Hall, High Street in Tullamore. They start at 8pm, admission is only €2 that includes the latest Réalta and that month’s SkyMaps. Lectures are aimed at all levels of interest.

Above: Sotra Patera, a cryovolcanic candidate on Titan that has a one-kilometer crater.

Got an Astronomy lecture suggestion? Email us at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com or get in touch with any committee member.

Above: ISON as it was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 8th this year, part of a series of exposure by the remote observatory. Got an article to share in Réalta? Our editor, John Lally, is always looking for new material to go into these pages. Your observing report, astrophoto, article, or even an astronomical experience that would make others smile, is most welcome. Contact midlandsastronomy@gmail.com for tips and guidelines (if necessary) for article writing and to also submit your piece.

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sunrise on the Bay of Rainbows

not be able to see this event each month, of course, since it may occur when the Moon appears in the day time in your area, or may have not yet risen.

A day or two after the Moon reaches first quarter, sunlight spreads over a striking region on the Moon known as Sinus Iridum, the “Bay of Rainbows”.

The Jura mountains, like all mountains on the Moon were created by impact of comet or asteroids in the early days of the solar system. The impacts formed large craters and maria and churned lava onto the surface. The material sloshed up at the edges of these impact basins to form lunar mountain ranges which have remained, virtually unchanged, in the airless lunar environment for nearly 4 billion years. The impact that created Sinus Iridum and the Jura mountains created a circular impact crater. Half the crater was obliterated a little later when a larger impact created the Sea of Rains, which itself holds several more mountain ranges along its perimeter. All are visible in a small telescope.

This region, a small semicircle on the northwest corner of the larger Sea of Rains, offers much for casual stargazers, including smooth floors of ancient lava, small symmetric craters, and the rugged peaks of the Jura mountain range. If you catch it at the right time, you can see sunrise catching the peaks of these mountains before it fully lights the floor of the Bay of Rainbows… it’s an unforgettable sight. The Jura mountains lie on the northeast rim of Sinus Iridum (see below). Named after the terrestrial mountain range of the same name in Switzerland and France, this range runs for about

Above: Mare Imbrium, with Sinus Iridum at upper left.

Right: The Jura Mountains (upper left) line the perimeter of Sinus Iridum, the “Sea of Rainbows”.

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420 km around the Bay of Rainbows and features mountains as high as 6,100 meters. Most features on the Moon look best in a telescope when they’re on the “terminator”, the line between night and day. The terminator approaches this region just after first quarter, and the long shadows make for astounding vistas when observed in a small telescope at moderate to high magnification of 150x or more. Sunrise on the Jura mountains is a fleeting event. The peaks take the appearance of a ring of tiny jewels, and you can see changes in illumination over the course of just ten or twenty minutes. You may

www.oneminuteastronomer.com

Does the Moon have an Atmosphere? The Moon doesn’t have a dense atmosphere like Earth, but it does retain just enough of an ultra-thin layer of atoms to make things interesting. This thin gaseous layer, which is some 100 trillion times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere, is called an exosphere. It may be the most common type of atmosphere in the solar system. The Moon does not have enough gravity to hold onto a thick atmosphere like the Earth,. Any atoms around the Moon get boiled off into space very quickly. But the surface of the Moon is blasted with a stream of particles from the Sun– the solar wind– which act like a gentle abrasive which sputters sodium and potassium atoms off the lunar surface. A continuous bombardment of micrometeorites has the same effect. But most of the scant vapors of the lunar exosphere come from the Moon itself as gas is constantly released from its interior as argon which comes from the radioactive decay of potassium atoms within the Moon. Helium atoms enter the exosphere in the same way. Argon and helium are the most abundant atoms in the lunar exosphere.

Goodbye Big Bang, hello Black Hole? A new theory of the Universe’s creation Could the famed “Big Bang” theory need a revision? A group of theoretical physicists suppose the birth of the universe could have happened after a four-dimensional star collapsed into a black hole and ejected debris. Before getting into their findings, let’s just preface this by saying nobody knows anything for sure. Humans obviously weren’t around at the time the universe began. The standard theory is that the universe grew from an infinitely dense point or singularity, but who knows what was there before? So what are the limitations of the Big Bang theory? The singularity is one of them. Also, it’s hard to predict why it would have produced a universe that has an almost uniform temperature, because the age of our universe (about 13.8 billion years) does not give enough time — as far as we can tell — to reach a temperature equilibrium. Most cosmologists say the universe must have been expanding faster than the speed of light for this to happen, but Ashford says even that theory has problems: “The Big Bang was so chaotic, it’s not clear there would have been even a small homogenous patch for inflation to start working on.”

This is what the physicists propose: • The model they constructed has the three-dimensional universe floating as a membrane (or brane) in a “bulk universe” that has four dimensions. (Yes, this is making our heads hurt as well, so it might be easier to temporarily think of the brane as two-dimensional and the “bulk universe” as threedimensional when trying to picture it.) You can read the more technical details in this 2000 paper on which the new theory is based. • So if this “bulk universe” has four-dimensional stars, these stars could go through the same life cycles as the threedimensional ones we are familiar with. The most massive ones would explode as supernovae, shed their skin and have the innermost parts collapse as a black hole. • The 4-D black hole would have an “event horizon” just like the 3-D ones we are familiar with.

These scant collection of atoms in the exosphere collect and intensify roughly halfway between the lunar equator and poles. They become most concentrated just before sunrise, then the solar wind chases the gases away into space. When the sun sets on the Moon, the gases are generated again. Don’t let the term “exosphere” fool you, though. It’s so thin the rocket exhaust released by the Apollo landing craft nearly doubled its content! www.oneminuteastronomer.com

The event horizon is the boundary between the inside and the outside of a black hole. There are a lot of theories of what goes on inside a black hole, although nothing has ever been observed.

Above: This artist’s impression shows the surroundings of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the active galaxy NGC 3783 in the southern constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur). New observations using the Very Large Telescope Interferometer at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile have revealed not only the torus of hot dust around the black hole but also a wind of cool material in the polar regions. • In a 3-D universe, the event horizon appears as a twodimensional surface. So in a 4-D universe, the event horizon would be a 3-D object called a hypersphere. • So basically, what the model says is when the 4-D star blows apart, the leftover material would create a 3-D brane surrounding a 3-D event horizon, and then expand.

Above: Representation of the timeline of the universe over 13.7 billion years, from the Big Bang, through the cosmic dark ages and formation of the first stars, to the expansion in the universe that followed.

But there is at least one limitation. While the model does explain why the universe has nearly uniform temperature (the 4-D universe preceding it would have existed it for much longer), a European Space Agency telescope called Planck recently mapped small temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background, which is believed to be leftovers of the universe’s beginnings.

The long and the short of it? To bring this back to things that we can see, it is clear from observations that the universe is expanding (and indeed is getting faster as it expands, possibly due to the mysterious dark energy). The new theory says that the expansion comes from this 3-D brane’s growth.

The new model differs from these CMB readings by about four percent, so the researchers are looking to refine the model. They still feel the model has worth, however. Planck shows that inflation is happening, but doesn’t show why the inflation is happening. “The study could help to show how inflation is triggered by the motion of the universe through a higher-dimensional reality,” the researchers stated. www.universetoday.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Comet found hiding in plain sight With the help of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered that what was thought to be a large asteroid called Don Quixote is in fact a comet. For 30 years, a large near-Earth asteroid wandered its lone, intrepid path, passing before the scrutinizing eyes of scientists armed with telescopes while keeping something to itself. Astronomers have now discovered that the object, known as Don Quixote, whose journey stretches to the orbit of Jupiter, actually appears to be a comet. The discovery resulted from an ongoing project coordinated by researchers at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, who are using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Through focused attention and a little luck, they found evidence of cometary activity, which had evaded detection for three decades. Their results show that Don Quixote is not, in fact, a dead

Goldman's initial research found that the impact of icy comets

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 6

Hubble uncovers largest known population of star clusters NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered the largest known population of globular star clusters, an estimated 160,000, swarming like bees inside the crowded core of the giant grouping of galaxies Abell 1689. By comparison, our Milky Way galaxy hosts about 150 such clusters. Studying globular clusters is critical to understanding the early intense star-forming episodes that marked galaxy formation. The Hubble observations also confirm that these compact stellar groupings can be used as reliable tracers of the amount of dark matter locked away in immense galaxy clusters. Globular clusters, dense bunches of hundreds of thousands of stars, are the homesteaders of galaxies,

used Hubble's sensitivity and sharpness to discover a bounty of these stellar fossils — roughly twice as large as any other population found in previous globular cluster surveys. The Hubble observations also win the distance record for the farthest such systems ever studied, at 2.25 billion light-years away. The research team found that the globular clusters are intimately

crashing into Earth billions of years ago could have produced a variety of prebiotic or life-building compounds, including amino acids. Amino acids are critical to life and serve as the building blocks of proteins. His work predicted that the simple molecules found in comets (such as water, ammonia, methanol, and carbon dioxide) could have supplied the raw materials, and the impact with early Earth would have yielded an abundant supply of energy to drive this prebiotic chemistry. In the new work, collaborators from Imperial College in London and University of Kent conducted a series of experiments very

similar to Goldman's previous simulations in which a projectile was fired using a light gas gun into a typical cometary ice mixture. The result: Several different types of amino acids formed. "These results confirm our earlier predictions of impact synthesis of prebiotic material, where the impact itself can yield life-building compounds," Goldman said. "Our work provides a realistic additional synthetic production pathway for the components of proteins in our solar system, expanding the inventory of locations where life could potentially originate." Comets are known to harbor simple ices and the organic precursors of amino acids. Glycine - the simplest amino acid — was recently confirmed to be present in Comet 81P/Wild. Goldman's original work used molecular dynamics simulations to show that shock waves due to planetary

impact passing into representative comet mixtures could theoretically drive amino acid synthesis. This synthetic mechanism could yield a wide variety of prebiotic molecules at realistic impact conditions, independent of the external features or pre-existing chemical environment on a planet. The team found that icy bodies with the same compounds created from comet impacts also may be found in the outer solar system. For example, Saturn's moon Enceladus contains a mix of light organics and water ice. The team concluded that it is highly probable that the impact of a comet traveling with a high enough velocity would impart enough energy to promote shock synthesis of more complex organic compounds, including amino acids, from these ices. www.astronomy.com

Although dark matter is invisible, understanding dark matter can yield clues about how large structures such as galaxies and galaxy clusters were assembled billions of years ago. The Hubble study shows that most of the globular clusters in Abell 1689 formed near the center of the galaxy cluster, which contains a deep well of dark matter. Their number decreases the farther Hubble looked from the core, corresponding with a comparable drop in the amount of dark matter.

thought to be a large asteroid called Don Quixote is in fact a comet.

By shock-compressing an icy mixture similar to that found in comets, researchers were able to create a number of amino acids — the building blocks of life.

This is the first experimental confirmation of what Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist Nir Goldman first predicted in 2010 and again in 2013 using computer simulations performed on LLNL's supercomputers.

with a potential impact, which is extremely unlikely in this case, and more with “the origins of water on Earth,” Trilling said. Impacts with comets like Don Quixote over geological time may be the source of at least some of it, and the amount on Don Quixote represents about 100 billion tons of water — roughly the same amount that can be found in Lake Tahoe, California.

comet, as previously believed, but that it has a faint coma and tail. In fact, this object, the third-biggest www.astronomy.com The implications have less to do near-Earth asteroid known, skirts Earth with an erratic, extended orbit, and is “sopping wet,” said David Trilling of Northern Arizona University, with large deposits of carbon dioxide and presumably water ice. Don Quixote is about 18 kilometers long. Above: With the help of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered that what was

Life on Earth may have come from out of this world A group of international scientists has confirmed that life really could have come from out of this world. The team shock-compressed an icy mixture, similar to what is found in comets, which then created a number of amino acids — the building blocks of life.

“This discovery of carbon dioxide emission from Don Quixote required the sensitivity and infrared wavelengths of the Spitzer telescope and would not have been possible using telescopes on the ground,” said Michael Mommert of Northern Arizona University. This discovery implies that carbon dioxide and water ice might be present on other nearEarth asteroids, as well.

containing some of the oldest surviving stars in the universe. Almost 95 percent of globular cluster formation occurred within the first 1 billion or 2 billion years after our universe was born in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. A team of astronomers, led by John Blakeslee of the NRC Herzberg Astrophysics Program,

intertwined with dark matter. "In our study of Abell 1689, we show how the relationship between globular clusters and dark matter depends on the distance from the galaxy cluster's center, in other words, if you know how many globular clusters are within a certain distance, we can give you an estimate of the amount of dark matter."

"The globular clusters are fossils of the earliest star formation in Abell 1689, and our work shows they were very efficient in forming in the denser regions of dark matter near the center of the galaxy cluster. Our findings are consistent with studies of globular clusters in other galaxy clusters but extend our knowledge to regions of higher dark matter density."

Above: Peering deep into the heart of the massive galaxy cluster Abell 1689, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has nabbed more than 160,000 globular clusters, the largest population ever seen. The astronomers used Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys to peer deep inside the heart of Abell 1689, detecting the visible-light glow of 10,000 globular clusters, some as dim as 29th magnitude. Based on that number, Blakeslee's team estimated that more than 160,000 globular clusters are huddled within a diameter of 2.4 million light-years. The brightness of most of the globular clusters is estimated to be 31st magnitude. This is out of reach for Hubble, but not for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, an infrared observatory scheduled to launch later this decade. By going fainter, Webb should be able to see many more of the globular clusters. Blakeslee's quest to use Hubble to conduct a globular cluster census began 10 years ago after astronauts added the Advanced Camera for Surveys to Hubble's arsenal of science instruments. While analysing some gravitational lensing data of Abell 1689 obtained with the newly installed camera, Blakeslee spotted dots of light peppered throughout the images. The dots turned out to be the brightest members of a teeming population of globular clusters. www.astronomy.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Comet found hiding in plain sight With the help of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered that what was thought to be a large asteroid called Don Quixote is in fact a comet. For 30 years, a large near-Earth asteroid wandered its lone, intrepid path, passing before the scrutinizing eyes of scientists armed with telescopes while keeping something to itself. Astronomers have now discovered that the object, known as Don Quixote, whose journey stretches to the orbit of Jupiter, actually appears to be a comet. The discovery resulted from an ongoing project coordinated by researchers at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, who are using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Through focused attention and a little luck, they found evidence of cometary activity, which had evaded detection for three decades. Their results show that Don Quixote is not, in fact, a dead

Goldman's initial research found that the impact of icy comets

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 6

Hubble uncovers largest known population of star clusters NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered the largest known population of globular star clusters, an estimated 160,000, swarming like bees inside the crowded core of the giant grouping of galaxies Abell 1689. By comparison, our Milky Way galaxy hosts about 150 such clusters. Studying globular clusters is critical to understanding the early intense star-forming episodes that marked galaxy formation. The Hubble observations also confirm that these compact stellar groupings can be used as reliable tracers of the amount of dark matter locked away in immense galaxy clusters. Globular clusters, dense bunches of hundreds of thousands of stars, are the homesteaders of galaxies,

used Hubble's sensitivity and sharpness to discover a bounty of these stellar fossils — roughly twice as large as any other population found in previous globular cluster surveys. The Hubble observations also win the distance record for the farthest such systems ever studied, at 2.25 billion light-years away. The research team found that the globular clusters are intimately

crashing into Earth billions of years ago could have produced a variety of prebiotic or life-building compounds, including amino acids. Amino acids are critical to life and serve as the building blocks of proteins. His work predicted that the simple molecules found in comets (such as water, ammonia, methanol, and carbon dioxide) could have supplied the raw materials, and the impact with early Earth would have yielded an abundant supply of energy to drive this prebiotic chemistry. In the new work, collaborators from Imperial College in London and University of Kent conducted a series of experiments very

similar to Goldman's previous simulations in which a projectile was fired using a light gas gun into a typical cometary ice mixture. The result: Several different types of amino acids formed. "These results confirm our earlier predictions of impact synthesis of prebiotic material, where the impact itself can yield life-building compounds," Goldman said. "Our work provides a realistic additional synthetic production pathway for the components of proteins in our solar system, expanding the inventory of locations where life could potentially originate." Comets are known to harbor simple ices and the organic precursors of amino acids. Glycine - the simplest amino acid — was recently confirmed to be present in Comet 81P/Wild. Goldman's original work used molecular dynamics simulations to show that shock waves due to planetary

impact passing into representative comet mixtures could theoretically drive amino acid synthesis. This synthetic mechanism could yield a wide variety of prebiotic molecules at realistic impact conditions, independent of the external features or pre-existing chemical environment on a planet. The team found that icy bodies with the same compounds created from comet impacts also may be found in the outer solar system. For example, Saturn's moon Enceladus contains a mix of light organics and water ice. The team concluded that it is highly probable that the impact of a comet traveling with a high enough velocity would impart enough energy to promote shock synthesis of more complex organic compounds, including amino acids, from these ices. www.astronomy.com

Although dark matter is invisible, understanding dark matter can yield clues about how large structures such as galaxies and galaxy clusters were assembled billions of years ago. The Hubble study shows that most of the globular clusters in Abell 1689 formed near the center of the galaxy cluster, which contains a deep well of dark matter. Their number decreases the farther Hubble looked from the core, corresponding with a comparable drop in the amount of dark matter.

thought to be a large asteroid called Don Quixote is in fact a comet.

By shock-compressing an icy mixture similar to that found in comets, researchers were able to create a number of amino acids — the building blocks of life.

This is the first experimental confirmation of what Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist Nir Goldman first predicted in 2010 and again in 2013 using computer simulations performed on LLNL's supercomputers.

with a potential impact, which is extremely unlikely in this case, and more with “the origins of water on Earth,” Trilling said. Impacts with comets like Don Quixote over geological time may be the source of at least some of it, and the amount on Don Quixote represents about 100 billion tons of water — roughly the same amount that can be found in Lake Tahoe, California.

comet, as previously believed, but that it has a faint coma and tail. In fact, this object, the third-biggest www.astronomy.com The implications have less to do near-Earth asteroid known, skirts Earth with an erratic, extended orbit, and is “sopping wet,” said David Trilling of Northern Arizona University, with large deposits of carbon dioxide and presumably water ice. Don Quixote is about 18 kilometers long. Above: With the help of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered that what was

Life on Earth may have come from out of this world A group of international scientists has confirmed that life really could have come from out of this world. The team shock-compressed an icy mixture, similar to what is found in comets, which then created a number of amino acids — the building blocks of life.

“This discovery of carbon dioxide emission from Don Quixote required the sensitivity and infrared wavelengths of the Spitzer telescope and would not have been possible using telescopes on the ground,” said Michael Mommert of Northern Arizona University. This discovery implies that carbon dioxide and water ice might be present on other nearEarth asteroids, as well.

containing some of the oldest surviving stars in the universe. Almost 95 percent of globular cluster formation occurred within the first 1 billion or 2 billion years after our universe was born in the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. A team of astronomers, led by John Blakeslee of the NRC Herzberg Astrophysics Program,

intertwined with dark matter. "In our study of Abell 1689, we show how the relationship between globular clusters and dark matter depends on the distance from the galaxy cluster's center, in other words, if you know how many globular clusters are within a certain distance, we can give you an estimate of the amount of dark matter."

"The globular clusters are fossils of the earliest star formation in Abell 1689, and our work shows they were very efficient in forming in the denser regions of dark matter near the center of the galaxy cluster. Our findings are consistent with studies of globular clusters in other galaxy clusters but extend our knowledge to regions of higher dark matter density."

Above: Peering deep into the heart of the massive galaxy cluster Abell 1689, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has nabbed more than 160,000 globular clusters, the largest population ever seen. The astronomers used Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys to peer deep inside the heart of Abell 1689, detecting the visible-light glow of 10,000 globular clusters, some as dim as 29th magnitude. Based on that number, Blakeslee's team estimated that more than 160,000 globular clusters are huddled within a diameter of 2.4 million light-years. The brightness of most of the globular clusters is estimated to be 31st magnitude. This is out of reach for Hubble, but not for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, an infrared observatory scheduled to launch later this decade. By going fainter, Webb should be able to see many more of the globular clusters. Blakeslee's quest to use Hubble to conduct a globular cluster census began 10 years ago after astronauts added the Advanced Camera for Surveys to Hubble's arsenal of science instruments. While analysing some gravitational lensing data of Abell 1689 obtained with the newly installed camera, Blakeslee spotted dots of light peppered throughout the images. The dots turned out to be the brightest members of a teeming population of globular clusters. www.astronomy.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sunrise on the Bay of Rainbows

not be able to see this event each month, of course, since it may occur when the Moon appears in the day time in your area, or may have not yet risen.

A day or two after the Moon reaches first quarter, sunlight spreads over a striking region on the Moon known as Sinus Iridum, the “Bay of Rainbows”.

The Jura mountains, like all mountains on the Moon were created by impact of comet or asteroids in the early days of the solar system. The impacts formed large craters and maria and churned lava onto the surface. The material sloshed up at the edges of these impact basins to form lunar mountain ranges which have remained, virtually unchanged, in the airless lunar environment for nearly 4 billion years. The impact that created Sinus Iridum and the Jura mountains created a circular impact crater. Half the crater was obliterated a little later when a larger impact created the Sea of Rains, which itself holds several more mountain ranges along its perimeter. All are visible in a small telescope.

This region, a small semicircle on the northwest corner of the larger Sea of Rains, offers much for casual stargazers, including smooth floors of ancient lava, small symmetric craters, and the rugged peaks of the Jura mountain range. If you catch it at the right time, you can see sunrise catching the peaks of these mountains before it fully lights the floor of the Bay of Rainbows… it’s an unforgettable sight. The Jura mountains lie on the northeast rim of Sinus Iridum (see below). Named after the terrestrial mountain range of the same name in Switzerland and France, this range runs for about

Above: Mare Imbrium, with Sinus Iridum at upper left.

Right: The Jura Mountains (upper left) line the perimeter of Sinus Iridum, the “Sea of Rainbows”.

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 8

420 km around the Bay of Rainbows and features mountains as high as 6,100 meters. Most features on the Moon look best in a telescope when they’re on the “terminator”, the line between night and day. The terminator approaches this region just after first quarter, and the long shadows make for astounding vistas when observed in a small telescope at moderate to high magnification of 150x or more. Sunrise on the Jura mountains is a fleeting event. The peaks take the appearance of a ring of tiny jewels, and you can see changes in illumination over the course of just ten or twenty minutes. You may

www.oneminuteastronomer.com

Does the Moon have an Atmosphere? The Moon doesn’t have a dense atmosphere like Earth, but it does retain just enough of an ultra-thin layer of atoms to make things interesting. This thin gaseous layer, which is some 100 trillion times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere, is called an exosphere. It may be the most common type of atmosphere in the solar system. The Moon does not have enough gravity to hold onto a thick atmosphere like the Earth,. Any atoms around the Moon get boiled off into space very quickly. But the surface of the Moon is blasted with a stream of particles from the Sun– the solar wind– which act like a gentle abrasive which sputters sodium and potassium atoms off the lunar surface. A continuous bombardment of micrometeorites has the same effect. But most of the scant vapors of the lunar exosphere come from the Moon itself as gas is constantly released from its interior as argon which comes from the radioactive decay of potassium atoms within the Moon. Helium atoms enter the exosphere in the same way. Argon and helium are the most abundant atoms in the lunar exosphere.

Goodbye Big Bang, hello Black Hole? A new theory of the Universe’s creation Could the famed “Big Bang” theory need a revision? A group of theoretical physicists suppose the birth of the universe could have happened after a four-dimensional star collapsed into a black hole and ejected debris. Before getting into their findings, let’s just preface this by saying nobody knows anything for sure. Humans obviously weren’t around at the time the universe began. The standard theory is that the universe grew from an infinitely dense point or singularity, but who knows what was there before? So what are the limitations of the Big Bang theory? The singularity is one of them. Also, it’s hard to predict why it would have produced a universe that has an almost uniform temperature, because the age of our universe (about 13.8 billion years) does not give enough time — as far as we can tell — to reach a temperature equilibrium. Most cosmologists say the universe must have been expanding faster than the speed of light for this to happen, but Ashford says even that theory has problems: “The Big Bang was so chaotic, it’s not clear there would have been even a small homogenous patch for inflation to start working on.”

This is what the physicists propose: • The model they constructed has the three-dimensional universe floating as a membrane (or brane) in a “bulk universe” that has four dimensions. (Yes, this is making our heads hurt as well, so it might be easier to temporarily think of the brane as two-dimensional and the “bulk universe” as threedimensional when trying to picture it.) You can read the more technical details in this 2000 paper on which the new theory is based. • So if this “bulk universe” has four-dimensional stars, these stars could go through the same life cycles as the threedimensional ones we are familiar with. The most massive ones would explode as supernovae, shed their skin and have the innermost parts collapse as a black hole. • The 4-D black hole would have an “event horizon” just like the 3-D ones we are familiar with.

These scant collection of atoms in the exosphere collect and intensify roughly halfway between the lunar equator and poles. They become most concentrated just before sunrise, then the solar wind chases the gases away into space. When the sun sets on the Moon, the gases are generated again. Don’t let the term “exosphere” fool you, though. It’s so thin the rocket exhaust released by the Apollo landing craft nearly doubled its content! www.oneminuteastronomer.com

The event horizon is the boundary between the inside and the outside of a black hole. There are a lot of theories of what goes on inside a black hole, although nothing has ever been observed.

Above: This artist’s impression shows the surroundings of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the active galaxy NGC 3783 in the southern constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur). New observations using the Very Large Telescope Interferometer at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile have revealed not only the torus of hot dust around the black hole but also a wind of cool material in the polar regions. • In a 3-D universe, the event horizon appears as a twodimensional surface. So in a 4-D universe, the event horizon would be a 3-D object called a hypersphere. • So basically, what the model says is when the 4-D star blows apart, the leftover material would create a 3-D brane surrounding a 3-D event horizon, and then expand.

Above: Representation of the timeline of the universe over 13.7 billion years, from the Big Bang, through the cosmic dark ages and formation of the first stars, to the expansion in the universe that followed.

But there is at least one limitation. While the model does explain why the universe has nearly uniform temperature (the 4-D universe preceding it would have existed it for much longer), a European Space Agency telescope called Planck recently mapped small temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background, which is believed to be leftovers of the universe’s beginnings.

The long and the short of it? To bring this back to things that we can see, it is clear from observations that the universe is expanding (and indeed is getting faster as it expands, possibly due to the mysterious dark energy). The new theory says that the expansion comes from this 3-D brane’s growth.

The new model differs from these CMB readings by about four percent, so the researchers are looking to refine the model. They still feel the model has worth, however. Planck shows that inflation is happening, but doesn’t show why the inflation is happening. “The study could help to show how inflation is triggered by the motion of the universe through a higher-dimensional reality,” the researchers stated. www.universetoday.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Massive storm reveals water deep within Saturn Remember the huge storm that erupted on Saturn in late 2010? It was one of the largest storms ever observed on the ringed planet, and it was even visible from Earth in amateur-sized telescopes.The latest research has revealed the tempestuous storm churned up something surprising deep within Saturn’s atmosphere: water ice.This is the first detection of water ice on Saturn, observed by the near-infrared instruments on the Cassini spacecraft. “The new finding from Cassini shows that Saturn can dredge up material from more than 160 kilometers,” said Kevin Baines, a co-author of the paper. “It

demonstrates in a very real sense that typically demure-looking Saturn can be just as explosive or even more so than typically stormy Jupiter.”

While Saturn’s moons have lots of water ice, Saturn is almost entirely hydrogen and helium, but it does have trace amounts of other chemicals, including water. When we look at Saturn, we’re actually seeing the upper cloud tops of Saturn’s atmosphere, which are made mostly of frozen crystals of ammonia. Beneath this upper cloud layer, astronomers think there’s a lower cloud deck made of ammonium hydrosulfide and water. Astronomers thought there was water there, but not very much, and certainly not ice.

Big storms appear in the northern hemisphere of Saturn once every 30 years or so, or roughly once per Saturn year. The first hint of the most recent storm first appeared in data from Cassini’s radio and plasma wave subsystem on Dec. 5, 2010. Soon after that, it could be seen in images from amateur astronomers and from Cassini’s imaging science subsystem. The storm quickly grew to superstorm proportions, encircling the planet at about 30 degrees north latitude for an expanse of nearly 300,000 km.

But the storm in 2010-2011 appears to have disrupted the various layers, lofting up water vapor from a lower layer that condensed and froze as it rose. The water ice crystals then appeared to become coated with more volatile materials like ammonium hydrosulfide and ammonia as the temperature decreased with their ascent,.

The researchers studied the dynamics of this storm, and realized that it worked like the much smaller convective storms on Earth, where air and water vapor are pushed high into the atmosphere, resulting in the towering, billowing clouds of a thunderstorm. The towering clouds in Saturn storms of this type, however, were 10 to 20 times taller and covered a much bigger area. They are also far more violent than an Earth storm, with models predicting vertical winds of more than about 500 kph for these rare giant storms.

Above: This set of images from NASA’s Cassini mission shows the turbulent power of a monster Saturn storm. The visible-light image in the back, obtained on Feb. 25, 2011, by Cassini’s imaging camera, shows the turbulent clouds churning across the face of Saturn. The inset infrared image, obtained a day earlier, by Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, shows the dredging up of water and ammonia ices from deep in Saturn’s atmosphere. This was the first time water ice was detected in Saturn’s atmosphere.

“The water could only have risen from below, driven upward by powerful convection originating deep in the atmosphere,” said Lawrence Sromovsky, also of the University of Wisconsin, who lead the research team. “The water vapor condenses and freezes as it rises. It then likely becomes coated with more volatile materials like ammonium hydrosulfide and ammonia as the temperature decreases with their ascent.

Ice Volcanoes likely alter Titan’s surface brightness

areas might contain environments that could harbor conditions favorable for life,” Solomonidou added.

weather model of the moon explained many of its features without necessarily needing to rely on cryovolcanoes.

Icy volcanoes are likely responsible for changes in brightness on the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, according to a new study.

Of note, Titan also has a freshlooking surface with few craters on it, indicating that something might be altering the surface. “Its landscape is remarkably Earth-like with dunes and lakes, erosion due to weathering and tectonic-like features,” a statement on the research added.

www.universetoday.com

Images with the Cassini spacecraft’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer revealed the brightness, or albedo, of two equatorial areas changing during the study period. Tui Regio (which got darker from 2005 to 2009) and Sotra Patera (which got brighter from 2005 to 2006). The researchers also pointed to “volcanic-like features” in these areas as evidence that the potential cryovolcanoes, as these

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icy volcanoes are known, might be connected to an ocean on Titan. “All of these features, plus a need for a methane reservoir and volcanic activity to replenish the methane in the atmosphere, is compatible with the theory of active cryovolcanism on Titan,” stated Anezina Solomonidou. “These results have important implications for Titan’s potential to support life, as these cryovolcanic

There’s been chatter about cryovolcanoes on Titan before. In 2010, researchers said a chain of peaks found on the moon could be evidence of this type of feature. However, a 2012 preliminary California Institute of Technology

The storm’s ability to churn up water ice from great depths is evidence of the storm’s explosive power, the team said. www.universetoday.com

Recent Events Albert Einstein: The ‘Relative’ Genius

This was our September lecture, presented by Declan Molloy (MAC). Declan gave a thought-provoking lecture about the man who, only since Newton, was considered to be the greatest scientific mind to have ever lived. Some of his achievements were by happenstance, others by hard work. In the end, he was an ordinary man who shunned publicity and yet offered some of the greatest thought a scientific mind could offer mankind.

MAC Member at C.A M.P. for Astronomy Outreach

MAC Secretary Seanie Morris was invited down to Carne Beach in Wexford in Monday September 9th to bring some Astronomy fun to the Cheshire Adventure Motivation Project, enabling those with physical disability through accident or brain injury the chance to experience something they never would have thought of before. See accompanying article the IFAS fourm for a report. http://goo.gl/ pHTWCt

Science Week November 10th-17th This is a nationwide calendar marker every November to give science a big push in Ireland! Schools, colleges, clubs and interest groups are all invited to do something to mark the occasion. Science Week is a Discover Science & Engineering (DSE) project. DSE initiatives are managed by Science Foundation Ireland on behalf of the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. In addition to MAC’s November lecture, we plan to host an extra event to be confirmed.

Keep an eye out for... Comet ISON: Also known as Comet Nevski–Novichonok, is a sungrazing comet discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok using the 0.4-meter (16 in) reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia. This was tipped to be a spectacular comet because of its close pass to Earth, which will be 64million km on December 26th. It passes within 10.8million km of Mars on October 1st. From our perspective, it is a telescopic object at present, and is next to Mars in Leo for much of October, but you will have to get up very early to see it, and with a telescope. It is hoped that by the end of the 1st week of November that it will be a naked eye comet before its November 28th perihelion (closest) pass to the Sun (and in its glare). Also on view will be Comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy. Lovejoy and ISON will be quite close in comet terms, visually, in the night sky at the beginning of November too.

Unknown Meteor Shower Burst

An unknown meteor burst was witnessed on the night of Monday September 9th by observers around Europe. Possibly connect with the September Epsilon Perseids, themselves associated with a debris trail for the past few years of unknown origin.

Upcoming Club Events October 1st: “Comet ISON: Comet of the Century?”, Speaker Seanie Morris, MAC Secretary. November 5th: “Photographing The Night Sky”, Speaker Dave Connolly, MAC PRO. December 3rd: “Mini Astronomy Expo”, This will be confirmed later, but the committee are currently talking about a planned Astronomy Expo Night ahead of Christmas with information and advice on all aspects of Astronomy, especially telescopes. More details late. All our lecture nights take place on the 1st Tuesday of the month in the Presbyterian Hall, High Street in Tullamore. They start at 8pm, admission is only €2 that includes the latest Réalta and that month’s SkyMaps. Lectures are aimed at all levels of interest.

Above: Sotra Patera, a cryovolcanic candidate on Titan that has a one-kilometer crater.

Got an Astronomy lecture suggestion? Email us at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com or get in touch with any committee member.

Above: ISON as it was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 8th this year, part of a series of exposure by the remote observatory. Got an article to share in Réalta? Our editor, John Lally, is always looking for new material to go into these pages. Your observing report, astrophoto, article, or even an astronomical experience that would make others smile, is most welcome. Contact midlandsastronomy@gmail.com for tips and guidelines (if necessary) for article writing and to also submit your piece.

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Kid's Korner

Learn the Constellations

If you're a newcomer to amateur astronomy, eager to begin exploring the night sky, you'll have to overcome one of astronomy's biggest hurdles — learning to identify the constellations. After all, you can't find the Andromeda Galaxy if you can't find Andromeda. Trying to make sense of those myriad stellar specks overhead needn't be a "mission impossible."

Dipper is made up of seven stars — four in the bowl, and three in the handle. If you trace a line from the bowl of the Big Dipper past the North Star and continue it an equal distance beyond, you'll arrive at an eyecatching group of stars that form a distinct letter M or W. This is Cassiopeia, Queen of Ethiopia.

North circumpolar constellations We begin in the northern sky, realm of those always-visible star groups known as the north circumpolar constellations. The most prominent figure is the Big Dipper (Note: The Big Dipper is not a constellation). These bright stars — four forming the "bowl," three more tracing out the "handle" — create one of the most recognizable patterns in the night sky, an ideal guide for locating surrounding constellations.

Winter To see the constellations that come and go with the seasons, we need to turn our backs on the north circumpolar constellations and face south. If the winter sky seems alive with stars, it's no illusion. Besides the obvious facts that the air is clear and dry then, we're looking at a star-rich region that defines one of the spiral arms of our Milky Way Galaxy. Of the twenty-one brightest stars in the entire night sky (so-called 1stmagnitude stars), seven are in this area.

You can find Polaris, the North Star, by tracing a line between the stars Dubhe and Merak at the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper and extending it about five times the distance between them. When astronomical newcomers see this celebrated star for the first time, they are astonished that it isn't much brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper. Polaris is the brightest star in Ursa Minor the Little Bear, which contains the Little Dipper. Like its big brother, the Little

On a winter evening, the sky is home to what most astronomers agree is the grandest of all constellations — Orion the Hunter. A rectangle of bright stars, which includes, at opposite corners, 1st magnitude Betelgeuse and Rigel, is bisected by a diagonal row of three bright stars (the "belt"). Beneath the belt hangs a row of three stars — Orion's "sword." Don't be fooled by their uninspiring naked-eye appearance; the middle star in the sword isn't a

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star at all. It's the Orion Nebula — one of the grandest telescopic showpieces the night sky has to offer. In binoculars, it appears as a fuzzy patch of light. When you gaze at this wondrous glowing cloud, you view creation itself, for within this luminous glow, stars are being born.

Orion is the focal point of a stunning gathering of bright stars and constellations. The belt points down and to the left to a brilliant white star: Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, leader of the constellation Canis Major the Great Dog. Sirius always dazzles, but the star especially captivates when positioned near the horizon. Return to Orion's belt and continue up and to the right, and you arrive at a V-shaped group of stars called the Hyades. This is the "head" of Taurus the Bull. The reddish-orange 1st-magnitude star

at the upper-left end of the V is Aldebaran — the eye of the Bull. Each end of the V extends outward to a star that forms one of the Bull's horns. Continuing past the Hyades, you'll see a little cluster of stars — one of the loveliest nakedeye sights in the night sky. This is the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades. Six are visible to the unaided eye under average sky conditions; binoculars reveal the seventh star, plus dozens more. The uppermost horn of Taurus is part of a pentagon of stars that includes the bright golden-yellow star Capella. This pentagon is the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Auriga lies above Orion and is overhead on a midwinter evening. The fact that these five stars represent a man on a chariot carrying a goat (Capella) attests to the vivid imagination of its ancient discoverers. Oh yes, that little triangle of stars beneath Capella represents the goat's three kids! Orion's heavenly court includes Gemini the Twins. From Orion, extend a line upward from Rigel through Betelgeuse to this neat rectangular constellation, which contains the bright stars Pollux and Castor. Midway and slightly left of a line between Sirius and the stars Pollux and Castor is the 1st-magnitude star Procyon. Procyon forms an

Methane goes missing on Mars Methane gas is easy to detect and a sensitive indicator of biological activity. Based on previous observations, astronomers thought it was present in the Martian atmosphere. But a super-sensitive instrument aboard Curiosity found none at all. NASA sent the beefy Curiosity rover to Mars to find out if the Red Planet is or ever has been a suitable place for life. Mission officials repeatedly stress that it's not looking for life, but even so some just-announced measurements have dealt a setback to the prospects for finding Martian lifeforms. Mission scientists led by Christopher Webster (JPL) reveal that a sensitive instrument on the rover has found no trace of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Officially, the team reports an upper limit of just 0.18 part per billion (by volume). But given the uncertainty of ± 0.67 ppbv, they conclude there's been "no detection of methane." The results involve measurements by a tunable laser spectrometer

(TLS), part of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument housed inside the rover, that can analyse composition of the thin Martian air far more sensitively than has ever been possible before. SAM gulped in six separate samples of the atmosphere over an 8-month stretch that corresponded to late spring and summer at the rover's landing site inside Gale crater.

reported occasional fresh injections from localised sites. Some researchers have questioned whether the ground-based observations are seeing Martian methane, as opposed to the whiffs present in Earth's atmosphere. And there've been debates about how the gas could come and go so quickly, as the ground-based observations suggest, even though it should linger for centuries around Mars. Still, detections by two orbiters, NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and ESA's Mars Express, seemed to confirm the gas's existence at an abundance of roughly 15 to 30 ppbv. Models suggest that any Martian methane

is unlikely to arise from volcanic activity or the occasional splat of a comet, so scientific opinion has been leaning toward biological activity as the most likely source. Understandably, Curiosity's negative finding comes as a surprise. "It would have been exciting to find methane, but we have high confidence in our measurements." Michael Meyer, who oversees NASA's exploration efforts at Mars, points out that Martian life hasn't been ruled out. "As we know," he says, "there are many types of terrestrial microbes that don't generate methane." www.skyandtelescope.com

Methane is the most abundant hydrocarbon in the solar system. The trace amounts in Earth's atmosphere are unstable and must be constantly replenished — almost entirely by biologic activity (decomposing organic matter, flatulent livestock, and so on). Over the past 15 years, various ground-based observers have reported finding spectroscopic evidence for methane in the Martian atmosphere. Some have

A “Mini Jet” juts from Saturn’s F Ring We all know that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has a whole arsenal of geysers jetting a constant spray of ice out into orbit but Enceladus isn’t the only place in the Saturnian system where jets can be found — there are some miniature versions hiding out in the thin F ring as well! This image, captured by the Cassini spacecraft, shows a segment of the thin, ropy F ring that encircles Saturn just beyond the A ring (visible at upper right). The bright barb near the center is what scientists call a mini jet, thought to be caused by small objects getting dragged through the ring material as a result of repeated passings by the moon Prometheus. Coincidentally, it’s gravitational perturbations by Prometheus that help form the objects — half-mile-wide snowball-like clusters of icy ring particles — in the first place. Unlike the dramatic jets on Enceladus, which are powered by tidal stresses that flex the moon’s crust, these mini jets are much more subtle and occur at the casual rate of 4 mph (2 meters/second)… about the speed of a brisk walk. The reflective jets themselves can be anywhere from 25 to 112 miles (40 to 180 kilometers) long. Over 500 of these features have been imaged by Cassini since 2005. And don’t worry, Enceladus… these little jets are interesting but they have nothing on you! www.universetoday.com

A bright “mini jet” spotted in Saturn’s F ring

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

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

creation 6.

Comet found hiding in plain sight

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Life on Earth may have come from out of this world

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Hubble uncovers largest known population of star clusters

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Sunrise on the Bay of Rainbows

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Does the Moon have an Atmosphere?

Club News 9.

Front cover image: The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts. Pictured is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy. This fairy, however, is ten light years tall and spews radiation much hotter than common fire.

Kids Section 10.

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Exercise your brain

Monthly Sky Guide 12.

Credit & Copyright: The Hubble Heritage Team, (STScI/AURA), ESA, NASA

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Kids Korner

Quizzes and Games

The greater Eagle Nebula, M16, is actually a giant evaporating shell of gas and dust inside of which is a growing cavity filled with a spectacular stellar nursery currently forming an open cluster of stars.

www.midlandsastronomy.com

Club News

Question 2 Which element was named after the first asteroid to be discovered? • Lithium • Halfnium • Cerium • Nitrogen

Question 7 Which element was named after the asteroid Pallas? • Answer: ______________ (One Word)

Question 3 Which element is named after the moon? • Moonium • Yittrium • Selenium • Luetium Question 4 Which element is named after the seventh planet from the sun? • Iridium • Plutonium • Uranium • Neptunium Question 5 Which element shares the same name as the smallest planet in our solar system? • Krypton • Uranium • Mercury • Plutonium

Question 8 Fusion in the Sun begins with which element? • Hydrogen • Carbon • Helium • Protons Question 9 Which element is found only in small quantities in the Earth's crust but in high concentrations in moon rocks? • Molybdenum • Selenium • Yttrium • Niobium Question 10 Which element is not created in stars through fusion or a supernova? • Hydrogen • Gold • Uranium • Neutrino

Beginners guide for this month

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

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the planet Neptune because of its location on the periodic table. Since neptunium follows uranium in the periodic table, it was named after the planet following Uranus in the solar system (Neptune).

Goodbye Big Bang, hello Black Hole? A new theory of the Universe’s

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Answer 7: The correct answer was Palladium which was named after the large asteroid Pallas and the Greek goddess of wisdom.

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Answer 1: The correct answer was Helium. Each element is known to have a signature light spectrum. Helium had not been discovered on Earth yet because it was very unreactive. So, when they found this new element in the Sun, they used the Greek word "helius" which translates to "sun" to name it.

Ice Volcanoes likely alter Titan’s surface brightness

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Answer 8: The correct answer was Hydrogen. Two hydrogens fuse into one helium.

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Answer 2: The correct answer was Cerium. Ceres and the element cerium were discovered around the same time.

Massive storm reveals water deep within Saturn

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Answer 3: The correct answer was Selenium which was named after the Moon (Greek "selene" translates to "moon").

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SUDOKU

Answer 9: The correct answer was Yttrium. Rocks brought back from the moon by the Apollo astronauts had an unexpectedly high yttrium content. Yttrium is named after the Swedish village Ytterby where it was first identified.

A “Mini Jet” juts from Saturn’s F Ring

Question 6 Which element is named after the furthest planet in our solar system (as of 2007)? • Plutonium • Neptubium • Neptunium • Uranium

Answer 4: The correct answer was Uranium. Uranus was discovered in 1781, the name Uranus was then used to name a new chemical element discovered eight years later.

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Question 1 Which element was discovered on the Sun before it was discovered on Earth? • Helium • Plutonium • Hydrogen • Uranium

Answer 10: The correct answer was Hydrogen which is not created by stars, it is used by them. Uranium and gold are created through supernovae explosions. A neutrino is not an element, it is a particle.

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.

Methane goes missing on Mars

Answer 5: The correct answer was Mercury which is also known as the messenger god.

All are welcome to attend. MAC also holds infrequent Observing Nights at it's Observing Site in Clonminch, or at a member's house (weather permitting) on the first Saturday of every month.

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Answer 6: The correct answer was Neptunium which was named after

Latest Astronomy and Space News

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner's targets for October General notes For the naked eye in October we have two meteor showers. There is a possible Draconid outburst on the 8th which is predicted to occur around 21:00. However the timing for this event is uncertain and it is best to look as soon as darkness falls. The predicted ZHR is 400, however the presence of a waxing gibbous moon will reduce the number of meteors visible and it is best to keep the moon blocked out by a fence or hedge etc and to look NW where the radiant is visible as soon as darkness falls. The meteors are typically slow and faint and it is unknown how long this event will last for and may only last for a short time. The Orionids peak on the morning of the 22nd with a ZHR of 25. The radiant rises at around 01:00 that morning with a waning crescent moon rising at around 02:00 in Leo causing interference. Telescope Targets The month of October begins with Cassiopeia and Andromeda high overhead in the Northeast. M31 (the Andromeda Galaxy), to locate M31, find the "W" of the Constellation Cassiopeia. The larger part of the base of the "W" points right at the Andromeda Galaxy. Simply follow this line approximately a fist's width and slightly toward the horizon and scan this area with your lowest

The Andromeda Galaxy is considered the Milky Way's twin and is a member of a group of galaxies known as the local group. It's made up of about 300 billion stars and is considerably larger than the Milky Way. M31 is a spiral galaxy, but as we are seeing it edge on no spiral structure can be detected. Within the same low power eyepiece view, you may also detect M32 which is an elliptical galaxy. M32 is a very small smudge just below Andromeda (in the telescope view). It appears to be more of a fuzzy star than a galaxy through most beginners instruments but it's still another distant galaxy composed of millions of stars. M32 is located approximately 20,000 light-years South of Andromeda. It is a dwarf elliptical galaxy. Also within the same low power field of view as Andromeda is the elusive M110, another galaxy. It's located on the opposite side of Andromeda about the same distance as M32. It will take dark skies to see this one. It's

Club Notes Club Observing: The club meets every 1st and 3rd 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

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Issue 47 - October, 2013

power eyepiece.You will see a bright blob in the middle with light extending off of both sides. On a very good night from a dark site, Andromeda will fill the field of view of your eyepiece. The Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant object that can be viewed with the naked eye at 2.2 - 2.9 million light years away, which makes this a very easy first galaxy target for your scope.

Above: Cassiopeia is easily recognizable due to its distinctive 'W' shape formed by five bright stars. a faint oval smudge even in my 8" scope. This is a dwarf elliptical galaxy containing just a few million stars. Both of these galaxies are orbiting M31. Moving over to Cassiopeia, M103 is our next target. To locate M103 find the star that makes up the bottom of the smaller part of the "W" of Cassiopeia (Ruchbah), M103 is located right next to this star in a straight line from it toward the star that makes the end of the "W" (Epsilon Cygni). M103 is a very loose open cluster of about 60 stars. Next, we'll use Ruchbah again, but with the other side of the "W" to find NGC's 869 and 884 (commonly referred to as the Perseus Double- Cluster). Follow this line down approximately a fist's width, and using your lowest power eyepiece, you will be

treated to one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens. NGC 869 and 884 are a pair of Open Clusters each containing approximately 100 stars. It is located a a very rich area of stars which only adds to the beauty of this target. The sight is indeed a memorable one, and one I'm sure you'll return to often to show your friends. Use your lowest power to get the best view of this pair in your eyepiece. Moving back up through Cassiopeia, our next target will be the open cluster M52. Using the large part of the "W", (alpha and beta Cygni) as our pointer, follow this line straight up about the same distance, and M52 will be in you field of view. M52 is an open cluster containing about 200 members.

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


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Internet Highlights Each month we will try and bring you the best if 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 September 22nd, 2013

Weekly Space Hangout September 27th, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFcKLHgMII&feature=share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFv4g9Yfp80&feature=share

Cosmic Journeys: Attack of the Sun

Podcast: Acceleration Put that pedal to the metal and accelerate! It’s not just velocity, but a change in velocity. Let’s take a look at acceleration, how you measure it, and how Einstein changed our understanding of this exciting activity. http://www.astronomycast.com/

Podcast: The Jodcast 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://youtu.be/fMUHkz5nx8g

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

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine Telexploration: How video game technologies can take NASA to the next level The goal of the Telexploration project is to make us better explorers by building immersive environments that feel like we are really there. By drawing together technologies from sources as unlikely as the video game industry and advancing the state of the art in human-system interaction, we are working towards low-cost "holodecks" - not only for every NASA mission scientist, but for every person who longs to explore space with us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeSGuGw4aJU

100k People want to fly to Mars and never come back

http://youtu.be/UDSfoiCA93Y

Tonight's Sky for October

The universe has long captivated us with its immense scales of distance and time. How far does it stretch? Where does it end, and what lies beyond its galaxies extending as far as telescopes can see? http://youtu.be/yaX4iGw-b_Y

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.

IFAS Website

http://www.irishastronomy.org

Stellarium

http://www.stellarium.org

Virtual Moon Atlas

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

Celestia

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

Sky Maps

http://skymaps.com/index.html

Heavens-Above

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

• See photos of all club events and activities. http://goo.gl/jajnw

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Mac october 2013 magazine