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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner's targets for September General notes We'll start our September tour of the heavens overhead in the constellations Andromeda and Cassiopea. M31 (the Andromeda Galaxy), to locate M31, find the "W" of the Constellation Cassiopea. 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 power eyepiece.You will see a bright blob in the middle with light extending off of both sides. I've been told that 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 about 2.2 million light years away, which makes this a very easy first galaxy target for your scope. 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

Moving over to Cassiopea, M103 is our next target. To locate M103 find the star that makes up the bottom of the smaller part of the "W" of Cassiopea (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-Cluser). 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.

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 46 - September, 2013

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 lightyears South of Andromeda. It is an elliptical galaxy.

Above: Cassiopeia is easily recognizable due to its distinctive 'W' shape formed by five bright stars. Planets in September Mercury is not visible this month. Venus is visible in the evening sky this month, albeit it stays very low relative to the horizon. At start of the month, it sets at 21:10 and by month's end at 20:00 as it moves from Virgo to Libra during the month. Mars is visible in the morning sky this month. On the mornings of the 8th-10th, it passes in front of M44 – The Beehive Cluster.

start of the month, it sets at 21:55 and by month's end, it sets at 20:05. Uranus is visible in the evening sky this month in Pisces. At the start of the month, it rises at 21:00 and by month's end, it rises at 19:05. Neptune is visible in the evening sky this month in Aquarius. At the start of the month, it rises at 20:05 and by month's end, it rises during daylight hours.

Jupiter is visible in the morning sky this month in Gemini. At the start of the month, it rises at 01:15 and by month's end, it rises at 23:40.

Enjoy the September skies, this is one of the best months for observing, not too cold, no bugs, and gorgeous sights to be had in just about every area of the sky.

Saturn is visible in the evening sky this month, albeit it will be very low relative to the horizon. At the

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

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.

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.

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Major volcanic eruption seen on Jupiter’s moon Io

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‘Sail Rover’ could explore hellish Venus

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View the Sun Safely

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A medieval conflagration on the Moon

Club News 9.

Club News

Kids Section 10.

Kids Korner

Quizzes and Games Front cover image: The unusual shapes in the Cone Nebula originate from fine interstellar dust reacting in complex ways with the energetic light and hot gas being expelled by the young stars. The brightest star on the right of the above picture is S Mon, while the region just below it has been nicknamed the Fox Fur Nebula for its colour and structure. S Mon is part of a young open cluster of stars named NGC 2264, located about 2500 light years away toward the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros). Even though it points right at S Mon, details of the origin of the mysterious geometric Cone Nebula, visible on the far left, remain a mystery. Credit & Copyright: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ) & DSS

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Exercise your brain

Monthly Sky Guide 12.

Beginners guide for this month

Internet Highlights 13.

Question 3 Who experimentally discovered the relationship between redshift and distance within the universe? • Hewish • Hoyle • Hubble • Hey

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

Question 4 Where is the world's first fully steerable giant radio telescope located? • Jodrell Bank • Arecibo • Green Bank • Mount Wilson

Question 5 What does the 'C' in Einstein's famous equation E=MC^2 stand for? • Redshift • The speed of light in a vacuum • The Doppler Effect • The age of the universe

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Question 7 A Supernova is the explosion of a _______? • Asteroid • Bomb • Star • Planet

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1 Question 8 What is the name of the largest moon of Saturn? • Triton • Titania • Titan • Titus

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Check your answers

Question 9 What is the fuel that powers our sun? • Hydrogen • Oxygen • Helium • Petrol

Question 10 What element is at the bottom of the Energy Well? • lead • mercury • uranium • iron

Confused??? Check your answers on this page.

Answer 1: The correct answer was comet which is a descriptive term for the core of a comet

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.

Question 2 What is the name of the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way? • Andromeda • M33 • Leo • NGC2143

Galileo. Galileo Galilei 1564-1642 was persecuted by the Roman Catholic church for his belief that the Earth circled the sun, rather than the earth centered universal model proposed by Aristotle.

previously thought

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Answer 2: The correct answer was Andromeda, also known as M31 and NGC224 is a spiral galaxy similar to our own but twice as large. It contains about 400 billion stars

“Trojan” asteroids in far reaches of solar system more common than

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Answer 7: The correct answer was Star. One of the most recent Supernovae visible on Earth with the naked eye occurred in the Large Magellanic Cloud in 1987.

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Answer 8: The correct answer was Titan which is the second largest moon in the solar system. First discovered by Christiaan Huygens in 1655.

Maybe Mars seeded Earth’s life, maybe it didn’t

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Answer 3: The correct answer was Hubble. Edwin Hubble, 1889-1953, discovered the true meaning of redshift and first confirmed experimentally that the universe was expanding. The Hubble Space Telescope is named after him.

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SUDOKU

Answer 9: The correct answer was Hydrogen which is turned into Helium by atomic fusion.

Scientists spot Sun's elder "twin"

Question 6 Who was first person recorded as seeing the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn? • Lord Kelvin • Galileo • Kepler • Copernicus

Answer 4: The correct answer was Jodrell Bank. Jodrell Bank, England is the site of the Lovell Telescope a 250ft dish which first came online in 1957.

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Question 1 The term dirty snowball refers to a ______? • meteorite • asteroid • comet • meteor

Answer 10: The correct answer was iron. All heavy elements are created in supernova explosions. Iron is the most stable and the least likely to breakdown by atomic fission.

Evidence of internal Moon water found

Answer 5: The correct answer was The speed of light in a vacuum which is approx 186,000 miles per second or 300,000km per second.

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Answer 6: The correct answer was

Latest Astronomy and Space News

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Above: This Hubble Space Telescope “deep field” image shows about 300 galaxies in a piece of sky only a few millimetres in size!!! instead of erupting at the surface as lava. Bullialdus crater is not the only location where this rock type is found, but the exposure of these rocks combined with a generally low regional water abundance Scientists have detected magmatic water - water that originates from enabled us to quantify the amount deep within the Moon’s interior - on the surface of the Moon.These of internal water in these rocks.”

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Kid's Korner

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

hard to imagine, the trouble with an infinite universe is that no matter where you look in the night sky, you should see a star. Stars should overlap each other in the sky like tree trunks in the middle of a very thick forest. But, if this were the case, the sky would be blazing with light. This problem greatly troubled astronomers and became known as "Olbers' Paradox." A paradox is a statement that seems to disagree with itself. To try to explain the paradox, some 19th century scientists thought that dust clouds between the stars must be absorbing a lot

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

Evidence of internal Moon water found

findings represent the first such remote detection of this type of lunar water, and were arrived at using data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) carried aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter.

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

The discovery represents an exciting contribution to the rapidly changing understanding of lunar water. “For many years, researchers believed that the rocks from the Moon were ‘bone dry’ and that any water detected in the Apollo samples had to be contamination from Earth,” said Klima, a member of the NASA Lunar Science Institute. “About five years ago, new laboratory techniques used to investigate lunar samples revealed that the interior of the Moon is not as dry as we previously thought. Around the same time, data from orbital spacecraft detected water on the lunar surface, which is thought to be a thin layer formed from solar wind hitting the lunar surface.” “This surficial water unfortunately did not give us any information

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M3 (pronounced “M-cube”) fully imaged the large impact crater Bullialdus in 2009. “It’s within 25 degrees latitude of the equator and so not in a favorable location for the solar wind to produce significant surface water,” Klima explained. “The rocks in the central peak of the crater are of a type called norite that usually crystallizes when magma ascends but gets trapped underground

The internal magmatic water provides information about the Moon’s volcanic processes and internal composition, Klima said. “Understanding this internal composition helps us address questions about how the Moon formed, and

Scientists spot Sun's elder "twin" If you want a picture of how you’ll look in 30 years, youngsters are told, look at your parents.The same principle is true of astronomy, where scientists compare similar stars in different age groups to see how they progress. We have a special interest in learning how the Sun will look in a few billion years because, you know, it’s the main source of energy and life on Earth. Newly discovered HIP 102152 could give us some clues. The star is four billion years older than the sun, but so close in composition that researchers consider it almost like a twin.

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

about the magmatic water that exists deeper within the lunar crust and mantle, but we were able to identify the rock types in and around Bullialdus crater,” said coauthor Justin Hagerty, of the U.S. Geological Survey. “Such studies can help us understand how the surficial water originated and where it might exist in the lunar mantle.”

After examining the M3 data, Klima and her colleagues found that the crater has significantly more hydroxyl — a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom — compared to its surroundings. “The hydroxyl absorption features were consistent with hydroxyl bound to magmatic minerals that were excavated from depth by the impact that formed Bullialdus crater,” Klima writes.

Telescopes have only been around for a few centuries, making it hard to project what happens during the billions upon billions of years for a star’s lifetime. We have about 400 years of observations on the sun, for example, which is a minute

fraction of its 4.6 billion-year-old lifespan so far. ESO’s Very Large Telescope examined HIP 102152 with a spectrograph that broke up the light into various colours, revealing properties such as chemical composition. Around the same time, they scrutinized 18 Scorpii, also considered to be a twin but one that is younger than the sun (only 2.9 billion years old).

how magmatic processes changed as it cooled. There have been some measurements of internal water in lunar samples, but until now this form of native lunar water has not been detected from orbit.” “This impressive research confirms earlier lab analyses of Apollo samples, and will help broaden our understanding of how this water originated and where it might exist in the lunar mantle.” www.universetoday.com

created hydrogen, helium and lithium, only the first two elements are abundant in the Sun.

higher levels of lithium, implying something changes between youth and middle age.

HIP 102152, it turns out, also has low levels of lithium. Why isn’t clear yet, ESO notes, although “several processes have been proposed to transport lithium from the surface of a star into its deeper layers, where it is then destroyed.” Previous observations of young Sun-like stars also show

Better yet, separate observations showed that there are no giant planets close to the star — leaving room for Earth-sized planets to flourish. www.universetoday.com

The life-cycle of a Sun-like star from protostar (left side) to red giant (near the right side) to white dwarf (far right).

So what can we predict about the Sun’s future? One thing puzzling scientists has been the amount of lithium in our closest stellar companion. Although the Big Bang

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Maybe Mars seeded Earth’s life, maybe it didn’t

Mars would have spewed chunks of rock into space, carrying microbial life through the solar system and onto the surface of Earth.

This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny?

The transfer of life is certainly not a new idea. We know that pieces of Mars end up on the Earth, many are found in Antarctica where ice flow and exposure gathers and reveals them to keen human eyes. And we know that four billion years ago the rate of asteroid impact on the inner worlds of the solar system was significantly higher than it is today, part of the tailing off of planetary assembly and orbital evolution. Recent experiments and studies of what survives passage down through Earth’s atmosphere certainly suggest that viable organisms could make it, and impact driven material could have fast transit times through interplanetary space.

The idea that a young Mars, some four billion years ago, was a far more hospitable and temperate place is not particularly controversial – although it is certainly not understood in any great detail. Now, at the annual Goldschmidt conference on geochemistry, the notion that it was Mars, not the Earth, that was the better place for life’s origins has been getting some attention. Indeed it sounds like there might be quite a robust case for martian beginnings. The argument is that young Mars had a more oxygen-rich atmosphere than Earth did 4 billion years ago, and was drier. This would have resulted in a different mineralogical surface environment, one that could have provided a catalyst for the assembly of key RNA molecules and all the biotic chemistry leading to life as we know it. Subsequent asteroid impacts on

“Trojan” asteroids in far reaches of solar system more common than previously thought Astronomers believe the asteroid sharing the orbit of Uranus is part of a larger-than-expected population of transient objects temporarily trapped by the gravitational pull of giant planets. University of British Columbia (UBC) astronomers have discovered the first Trojan asteroid sharing the orbit of Uranus, and they believe 2011 QF99 is part of a larger-than-expected population of transient objects temporarily trapped by the gravitational pull of the solar system’s giant planets.

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Trojans are asteroids that share a planet’s orbit, occupying stable positions known as Lagrangian points. Astronomers considered Trojans’ presence at Uranus unlikely because they thought the gravitational pull of larger neighbouring planets would destabilise and expel any uranian Trojans by now.

However, one problem lies in our understanding of the steps between basic molecules on a planet’s surface and the formation of a complex broth of RNA and proteins that could lead to cell structures and DNA. The hypothesis put forward at Goldschmidt rests on the idea that there To determine how the 37-milewide (60 kilometers) ball of rock and ice ended up sharing an orbit with Uranus, the astronomers created a simulation of the solar system and its co-orbital objects, including Trojans. “Surprisingly, our model predicts that at any given time 3 percent of scattered objects between Jupiter and Neptune should be co-orbitals of Uranus or Neptune,” said Mike Alexandersen from UBC. No one had ever computed this percentage and is much higher than previous estimates. Scientists have discovered several temporary Trojans and co-orbitals in the solar system during the past decade. QF99 is one of those

must have been an inorganic, mineral catalyst to encourage basic molecules to assemble into the first RNA structures. Specifically, these were minerals built around boron and oxidised molybdenum, minerals that would have probably dissolved away in Earth’s early oceans, or simply not existed, but could have fared much better on Mars. But the truth is that our theories about these first steps are themselves hotly contested. For example, other laboratory work indicates that other, common, catalysts can set in motion complex chemical networks that very naturally pop out the sort of stuff that’s going to make RNA, and even rudimentary cell membrane structures. In other words, the precise nature of Earth’s early geo-chemistry might not be quite as critical, nor might that of Mars. So, did Mars seed life on Earth? We simply don’t know. However, by exploring the possibility we certainly stand to gain information from the fact that young Earth and young Mars probably were rather different – chemically and environmentally. Two natural test-tubes rather than one.

Recent Events Perseids StarBQ and Camping Night

More evidence that this Summer was a good one was MAC’s fortunate ability to host another Perseids StarBQ, this year held on Saturday August 10th. Members and friends gathered at our Observing Site in Clonminch to cook some food, enjoy the campfire and then (for some) retire to tents for the night. Clouds and drizzle settled in around 12:30am but before then onlookers were fortunate to spot a few meteors between clouds, and numerous satellites and a few (Iridium) Flares.

Part of Laois Heritage Week

Saturday August 17th saw the opening of Laois Heritage Week with events kicking off across County Laois for one week. MAC was invited by Stradbally Library to present ‘Laois Under The Stars’. Members Jason Fallon, John Lally, Declan Molloy and Seanie Morris presented a few short talks, captured the ISS going overhead and got numerous targets in John’s massive 16” Dob among other telescopes, to the delight of many locals, adults and children alike. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and we have been asked to come back again very soon!

“This tells us something about the current evolution of the solar system,” said Alexandersen. “By studying the process by which Trojans become temporarily captured, one can better understand how objects migrate into the planetary region of the solar system.” www.astronomy.com

Got an Astronomy lecture suggestion? Email us at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com or get in touch with any committee member. 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... Jupiter: First spotted through a telescope by Galileo in 1610, the Jovian Giant is visible from Irish skies throughout September. Rising after 1:15am at the start of the month, and then after 11:40pm by the end of the month, it is also brightening slightly. Jupiter takes 9 hours and 55 minutes to rotate on its axis, and since our nights are getting longer, and Jupiter rising earlier as the weeks progress, you will get a chance to observe this rotation during the course of only a few hours. Watch out for any of the 4 Galilean moons (Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto) as they will also move hour to hour when seen with binoculars or a telescope.

www.scientificamerican.com temporary objects. And it was only recently — within the last few hundred thousand years — ensnared by Uranus and set to escape the planet’s gravitational pull in about a million years.

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: MAC Secretary Seanie Morris with Ciara from Stradbally looking through the 70mm refractor at the Moon.

Upcoming Club Events Sept 3rd: "Albert Einstein: The 'Relative' Genius", Speaker Declan Molloy. October 1st: “Comet ISON: Comet of the Century?”, Speaker Seanie Morris, MAC Secretary. November 5th: “Photographing The Night Sky”, Speaker Dave Connolly, MAC PRO.

Jupiter’s fast rotation offers a change of view over the space of even an hour. Black dots on its surface like this one here is are shadows from the satellites passing in front. International Space Station: Not always seen over Ireland but rather goes through a series of passes for weeks at a time, either morning or evening, depending on the time of the season. Travelling at close to 27,600km/h at an altitude of 413km, it is the largest manmade structure ever in space. It is also regular in its passes around Earth, seen every 93 minutes. From Ireland for this period, the ISS will be seen as an early predawn object passing twice each morning. See www.heavens-above.com for accurate passes information according to your location (requires free registration). 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

A medieval conflagration on the Moon

Major volcanic eruption seen on Jupiter’s moon Io

In June of 1178 A.D., five monks from Canterbury, England, reported a sudden and violent conflagration near the tip of a crescent Moon, one in which sparks and fire and “hot coals” flew out of the Moon’s surface, before it finally took on an unsettling “blackish appearance”.

Recent observations of Jupiter’s moon Io has revealed a massive volcanic eruption taking place 628,300,000 km from Earth. Io, the innermost of the four largest moons around Jupiter, is the most volcanically active object in the Solar System with about 240 active regions.

Was this astonishing event a meteor impact, one large enough to create a major crater on the Moon? Were the monks simply drinking too much homemade mead on a warm spring night? Or perhaps they saw another astronomical phenomenon closer to home…? Whatever they saw, the five monks promptly reported their sighting to their colleague Gervase, the scribe of the abbey, who wrote of the Moon splitting in two, and… “From the midpoint of the division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out, over a considerable distance, fire, hot coals and sparks… this phenomenon was repeated a dozen times or more, the flame assuming various twisting shapes at random and then returning to normal. Then, after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.

true, the Canterbury monks saw a rare and astonishing event: the formation of a major impact crater on the Moon.

This new eruption definitely caught the eye of Dr. Imke de Pater, Professor of Astronomy and of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California. She was using the Keck II telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii on August 15, 2013 when it immediately became apparent something big was happening at Io.

Or perhaps not. Astronomers have argued such an impact would eject more than 10 million tons of lunar debris, some of which would rain down into Earth’s atmosphere and cause spectacular meteor storms for many days. No Asian, European, or Arabic astronomers, all of whom were all noted for careful observations of unusual celestial events, made any note of unusual meteor activity in the heavens. Nor did anyone else report fireworks on a crescent Moon in the spring of 1178. So what did the monks observe? The most likely theory suggests the monks observed a large meteor in the Earth’s atmosphere accelerating directly towards them

Above: The crater Giordano Bruno as seen from the Kayuga lunar orbiter. along the line of sight of one horn over a small area of the Earth’s of the crescent Moon. The meteor surface. exploded upon entering the upper Whatever they saw, the monks atmosphere, creating the “hot likely did not forget it for the rest coals and sparks”, then obscured of their lives. And if the abbey rules the crescent Moon with a dark allowed, the astonished monks may smoke trail. This would also very well have reached for a cup of explain why only the five monks– mead to settle their nerves… and no one else– witnessed the event. A head-on meteor in the www.oneminuteastronomer.com Earth’s atmosphere would only align with the horn of the Moon

It must have been an amazing and unsettling sight to behold… This event was mostly forgotten until geologist Jack Hartung in 1976 suggested the monks witnessed the impact of a large meteor on the Moon’s surface. According to Hartung, the reported location of the event suggested it may have formed the crater we now call Giordano Bruno near the northeastern limb of the Moon. This 22 km-wide crater is obviously young because it has clearly visible fresh material sprayed out in all directions as a result of the impact. And modern lunar-impact theories suggest a meteor would generate plumes of molten material, which agrees with the observations of the five astonished monks. If this theory is

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output. “We saw a big eruption in 2001, which was in the Surt region, which is well known as the biggest one anyone has ever seen, for this one, the total energy is less but per square meter, it is bigger than the one in 2001, so it is very powerful.”

While Io’s eruptions can’t be seen directly from Earth,infrared cameras on the Keck telescope have been able to ascertain there are likely fountains of lava gushing from fissures in the Rarog Patera region of Io, aptly named for a Czech fire deity. While many regions of Io are volcanically active, researcher’s not been able to find any other previous activity that has been reported in the same area, which the team finds very interesting. Ashley Davies of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and a member of the observing team

“We never know about eruptions – they can last hours, days months or years, so we have no idea how long it will stay active,” she said, “but we are very excited about it.”

Scientists think a gravitational tug-ofwar with Jupiter is one cause of Io’s intense vulcanism.

de Pater said this eruption is one of the top 10 most powerful eruptions that have been seen on this moon. “It is a very energetic eruption that covers over a 30 square kilometer area, for Earth, that is big, and for Io it is very big too. It really is one of the biggest eruptions we have seen.” She added the new volcano appears to have a large energy

www.universetoday.com

deploy a sail that could bring it across the surface.

fundamental elements of a rover for Venus are not beyond the bounds of physics. We could survive the furnace of Venus if we can come up with an innovative concept for a rover that can move on extremely low power levels.”

“A sail rover would be extraordinary for Venus. The sail has only two moving parts-just to set the sail and set the steering position-and that doesn’t require a lot of power. There’s no power required to actually drive. The

If this gets to the mission phase, this would represent the first time that any robot landed on Venus since the Soviet Venera

‘Sail Rover’ could explore hellish Venus A windsailing rover could use the high speeds and hot temperatures of Venus to a robotic explorer’s advantage, according to an idea funded by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program.

Milkyway shot taken by club member Michael O'Connell on a recent trip to Queensland Astroparty in Brisbane.

de Pater and other astronomers will be taking more data soon with Keck and perhaps more telescopes to try and find out more about this massive eruption.

No data or imagery has been released on the new eruption yet since the team is still making their observations and will be writing a paper on this topic.

“When you are right at the telescope and see the data, this is something you can see immediately, especially with a big eruption like that.”

The rover would not only be able to move around Venus, but would also have electronics inside able to withstand the temperatures of 450 degrees Celsius. The rover, which is nicknamed Zephyr, would spend most of its time on Venus doing analysis on the ground. Whenever the science team wants to move some distance, however, it would

say that Rarog Patera was identified as a small, relatively innocuous hot spot previously in Galileo PPR data and possibly from Earth, but at a level way, way below what was seen on August 15, and reported in New Scientist.

landers; the last attempt was in the 1980s. www.universetoday.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

View the Sun Safely Learn how to see the solar disk worry-free, whether it's during an eclipse or on an ordinary sunny day. For special events such as solar eclipses, we must always choose our words very carefully when advising people on how to safely view the Sun. We want people to enjoy the beauty, but on the other hand, there’s a natural tendency to be overly cautious. After all, we don’t want anyone to suffer eye damage. The problem with observing the Sun is obvious: it’s so bright that prolonged, direct exposure can cause permanent damage to the retina, leading to loss of vision or blindness. To observe the Sun safely, you need to filter out more than 99% of the Sun’s light before it reaches your eyes. Given these caveats, here’s some practical advice on how to safely observe sunspots and solar eclipses alike. This article covers a wide range of options: Viewing an Eclipse Directly There are numerous ways you can observe the beauty of the Sun with complete confidence that nothing bad will happen to your eyes. If you’re observing the Sun with your naked eyes, all you really need are low-cost solar observing glasses.You can often order such glasses in bulk quantities at dirtcheap per-unit prices. We’d suggest you order as soon as possible, in

case companies start running out of glasses prior to an eclipse or transit. Alternatively, you can go to a welding-supply store and buy a piece of #14 arcwelder’s glass, which reduces sunlight enough for safe direct naked-eye viewing. But no matter what, do not use “filters” such as smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, polarized filters, camera filters, candy wrappers, or compact discs. They might reduce the Sun’s glare, but enough harmful radiation can sneak through to damage your eyes. Only use materials specifically manufactured for safe solar viewing. Projecting an image of the Sun If you’re still queasy about using filters, or if you want to show the Sun to many people at the same time, you can use a small telescope or binoculars to project an image of the Sun onto a screen or white sheet of paper (almost any flat surface will suffice). A big telescope lets in a lot of sunlight, which poses the risk of overheating internal components. So it's recommend either using a telescope with an aperture no larger than 4 inches, or using a mask with a 3- to 4-inch-wide hole

Above: If you’re observing the Sun with your naked eyes, all you really need are low-cost solar observing glasses like these.

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to block the opening of any telescope with an aperture greater than 4 inches.

Above: A solar prominence erupts in August 2012, as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

Remove the finderscope and place an eyepiece at the telescope’s focuser. Aim the telescope in the general direction of the Sun (without looking at the Sun

scope. The concentrated sunlight will probably destroy such a filter, followed shortly thereafter by your vision. The easiest and least expensive option is solar filter

Above: These binoculars are fitted with home-made Baader filters and although it looks like common household tin foil, it's most defiantly not. showing you the Sun’s visible surface (the photosphere) in white light. Besides seeing the eclipsed Sun or Venus’s silhouette, you will probably see scads of sunspots as well, which are fascinating in their own right. Make sure your filter is securely attached to the front of the scope,

so there is zero possibility that it will come off while viewing. And to avoid damaging your finderscope, either remove it or place a cap or solar filter at its front end. Also note that safe solar filters work equally well with binoculars.

High-End Filters for Telescopes Last but certainly not least, many amateurs are currently using specialized solar equipment that allows them to observe the Sun at very narrow wavelengths, particularly the hydrogen-alpha line at 656.3 nanometers or the calcium-K line at 393.3 nanometers. Such filters are rather costly, but they allow you to see different layers of the Sun, and they can provide spectacular views of prominences and filaments that you can’t see in white light.You’ll want to use these filters frequently for solar viewing even when the Sun is not being eclipsed or transited.

I wish you safe viewing of the Sun, and most of all, clear skies! After all, even sunlight can’t poke through heavy clouds in Earth’s atmosphere --- the ultimate natural solar filter. www.skyandtelescope.com

Above: This clever design uses a cardboard box to both block unnecessary sunlight and to also hold a white sheet of paper for the image to be clearly projected onto. Very simple and easy to construct for little or no price.

through the telescope!) and move it around until sunlight streams out of the eyepiece. Believe me, you’ll know when you hit the sweet spot. You can also use binoculars mounted on a camera tripod, but make sure to cover one lens. A sunshade that blocks ambient light from falling on the projection surface will improve your view. Using a Telescope or Binoculars If you want to observe the Sun through a telescope, there are many options. Because binoculars and telescopes concentrate the Sun’s blazing light, it’s even more crucial to use safe filters. Make sure to avoid any filter that is placed at the eyepiece end of the

material from a company such as Baader. Make sure to place the filter material at the front end of your telescope, and to cover the entire opening. If you plan to use a large telescope, no problem - simply create a mask with a 3 or 4-inchwide hole and cover the hole with your filter material. Many different companies sell safe solar filters (often made of glass, plastic, or Mylar) that go on the front end of scopes, where they block more than 99% of sunlight before it ever enters the telescope tube. These filters allow you to gaze at the Sun for hours with no risk whatsoever, and are basically

www.midlandsastronomy.com 7 Page -xxx


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

View the Sun Safely Learn how to see the solar disk worry-free, whether it's during an eclipse or on an ordinary sunny day. For special events such as solar eclipses, we must always choose our words very carefully when advising people on how to safely view the Sun. We want people to enjoy the beauty, but on the other hand, there’s a natural tendency to be overly cautious. After all, we don’t want anyone to suffer eye damage. The problem with observing the Sun is obvious: it’s so bright that prolonged, direct exposure can cause permanent damage to the retina, leading to loss of vision or blindness. To observe the Sun safely, you need to filter out more than 99% of the Sun’s light before it reaches your eyes. Given these caveats, here’s some practical advice on how to safely observe sunspots and solar eclipses alike. This article covers a wide range of options: Viewing an Eclipse Directly There are numerous ways you can observe the beauty of the Sun with complete confidence that nothing bad will happen to your eyes. If you’re observing the Sun with your naked eyes, all you really need are low-cost solar observing glasses.You can often order such glasses in bulk quantities at dirtcheap per-unit prices. We’d suggest you order as soon as possible, in

case companies start running out of glasses prior to an eclipse or transit. Alternatively, you can go to a welding-supply store and buy a piece of #14 arcwelder’s glass, which reduces sunlight enough for safe direct naked-eye viewing. But no matter what, do not use “filters” such as smoked glass, stacked sunglasses, polarized filters, camera filters, candy wrappers, or compact discs. They might reduce the Sun’s glare, but enough harmful radiation can sneak through to damage your eyes. Only use materials specifically manufactured for safe solar viewing. Projecting an image of the Sun If you’re still queasy about using filters, or if you want to show the Sun to many people at the same time, you can use a small telescope or binoculars to project an image of the Sun onto a screen or white sheet of paper (almost any flat surface will suffice). A big telescope lets in a lot of sunlight, which poses the risk of overheating internal components. So it's recommend either using a telescope with an aperture no larger than 4 inches, or using a mask with a 3- to 4-inch-wide hole

Above: If you’re observing the Sun with your naked eyes, all you really need are low-cost solar observing glasses like these.

www.midlandsastronomy.com Page - 6

to block the opening of any telescope with an aperture greater than 4 inches.

Above: A solar prominence erupts in August 2012, as captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

Remove the finderscope and place an eyepiece at the telescope’s focuser. Aim the telescope in the general direction of the Sun (without looking at the Sun

scope. The concentrated sunlight will probably destroy such a filter, followed shortly thereafter by your vision. The easiest and least expensive option is solar filter

Above: These binoculars are fitted with home-made Baader filters and although it looks like common household tin foil, it's most defiantly not. showing you the Sun’s visible surface (the photosphere) in white light. Besides seeing the eclipsed Sun or Venus’s silhouette, you will probably see scads of sunspots as well, which are fascinating in their own right. Make sure your filter is securely attached to the front of the scope,

so there is zero possibility that it will come off while viewing. And to avoid damaging your finderscope, either remove it or place a cap or solar filter at its front end. Also note that safe solar filters work equally well with binoculars.

High-End Filters for Telescopes Last but certainly not least, many amateurs are currently using specialized solar equipment that allows them to observe the Sun at very narrow wavelengths, particularly the hydrogen-alpha line at 656.3 nanometers or the calcium-K line at 393.3 nanometers. Such filters are rather costly, but they allow you to see different layers of the Sun, and they can provide spectacular views of prominences and filaments that you can’t see in white light.You’ll want to use these filters frequently for solar viewing even when the Sun is not being eclipsed or transited.

I wish you safe viewing of the Sun, and most of all, clear skies! After all, even sunlight can’t poke through heavy clouds in Earth’s atmosphere --- the ultimate natural solar filter. www.skyandtelescope.com

Above: This clever design uses a cardboard box to both block unnecessary sunlight and to also hold a white sheet of paper for the image to be clearly projected onto. Very simple and easy to construct for little or no price.

through the telescope!) and move it around until sunlight streams out of the eyepiece. Believe me, you’ll know when you hit the sweet spot. You can also use binoculars mounted on a camera tripod, but make sure to cover one lens. A sunshade that blocks ambient light from falling on the projection surface will improve your view. Using a Telescope or Binoculars If you want to observe the Sun through a telescope, there are many options. Because binoculars and telescopes concentrate the Sun’s blazing light, it’s even more crucial to use safe filters. Make sure to avoid any filter that is placed at the eyepiece end of the

material from a company such as Baader. Make sure to place the filter material at the front end of your telescope, and to cover the entire opening. If you plan to use a large telescope, no problem - simply create a mask with a 3 or 4-inchwide hole and cover the hole with your filter material. Many different companies sell safe solar filters (often made of glass, plastic, or Mylar) that go on the front end of scopes, where they block more than 99% of sunlight before it ever enters the telescope tube. These filters allow you to gaze at the Sun for hours with no risk whatsoever, and are basically

www.midlandsastronomy.com 7 Page -xxx


Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

A medieval conflagration on the Moon

Major volcanic eruption seen on Jupiter’s moon Io

In June of 1178 A.D., five monks from Canterbury, England, reported a sudden and violent conflagration near the tip of a crescent Moon, one in which sparks and fire and “hot coals” flew out of the Moon’s surface, before it finally took on an unsettling “blackish appearance”.

Recent observations of Jupiter’s moon Io has revealed a massive volcanic eruption taking place 628,300,000 km from Earth. Io, the innermost of the four largest moons around Jupiter, is the most volcanically active object in the Solar System with about 240 active regions.

Was this astonishing event a meteor impact, one large enough to create a major crater on the Moon? Were the monks simply drinking too much homemade mead on a warm spring night? Or perhaps they saw another astronomical phenomenon closer to home…? Whatever they saw, the five monks promptly reported their sighting to their colleague Gervase, the scribe of the abbey, who wrote of the Moon splitting in two, and… “From the midpoint of the division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out, over a considerable distance, fire, hot coals and sparks… this phenomenon was repeated a dozen times or more, the flame assuming various twisting shapes at random and then returning to normal. Then, after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.

true, the Canterbury monks saw a rare and astonishing event: the formation of a major impact crater on the Moon.

This new eruption definitely caught the eye of Dr. Imke de Pater, Professor of Astronomy and of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California. She was using the Keck II telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii on August 15, 2013 when it immediately became apparent something big was happening at Io.

Or perhaps not. Astronomers have argued such an impact would eject more than 10 million tons of lunar debris, some of which would rain down into Earth’s atmosphere and cause spectacular meteor storms for many days. No Asian, European, or Arabic astronomers, all of whom were all noted for careful observations of unusual celestial events, made any note of unusual meteor activity in the heavens. Nor did anyone else report fireworks on a crescent Moon in the spring of 1178. So what did the monks observe? The most likely theory suggests the monks observed a large meteor in the Earth’s atmosphere accelerating directly towards them

Above: The crater Giordano Bruno as seen from the Kayuga lunar orbiter. along the line of sight of one horn over a small area of the Earth’s of the crescent Moon. The meteor surface. exploded upon entering the upper Whatever they saw, the monks atmosphere, creating the “hot likely did not forget it for the rest coals and sparks”, then obscured of their lives. And if the abbey rules the crescent Moon with a dark allowed, the astonished monks may smoke trail. This would also very well have reached for a cup of explain why only the five monks– mead to settle their nerves… and no one else– witnessed the event. A head-on meteor in the www.oneminuteastronomer.com Earth’s atmosphere would only align with the horn of the Moon

It must have been an amazing and unsettling sight to behold… This event was mostly forgotten until geologist Jack Hartung in 1976 suggested the monks witnessed the impact of a large meteor on the Moon’s surface. According to Hartung, the reported location of the event suggested it may have formed the crater we now call Giordano Bruno near the northeastern limb of the Moon. This 22 km-wide crater is obviously young because it has clearly visible fresh material sprayed out in all directions as a result of the impact. And modern lunar-impact theories suggest a meteor would generate plumes of molten material, which agrees with the observations of the five astonished monks. If this theory is

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output. “We saw a big eruption in 2001, which was in the Surt region, which is well known as the biggest one anyone has ever seen, for this one, the total energy is less but per square meter, it is bigger than the one in 2001, so it is very powerful.”

While Io’s eruptions can’t be seen directly from Earth,infrared cameras on the Keck telescope have been able to ascertain there are likely fountains of lava gushing from fissures in the Rarog Patera region of Io, aptly named for a Czech fire deity. While many regions of Io are volcanically active, researcher’s not been able to find any other previous activity that has been reported in the same area, which the team finds very interesting. Ashley Davies of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and a member of the observing team

“We never know about eruptions – they can last hours, days months or years, so we have no idea how long it will stay active,” she said, “but we are very excited about it.”

Scientists think a gravitational tug-ofwar with Jupiter is one cause of Io’s intense vulcanism.

de Pater said this eruption is one of the top 10 most powerful eruptions that have been seen on this moon. “It is a very energetic eruption that covers over a 30 square kilometer area, for Earth, that is big, and for Io it is very big too. It really is one of the biggest eruptions we have seen.” She added the new volcano appears to have a large energy

www.universetoday.com

deploy a sail that could bring it across the surface.

fundamental elements of a rover for Venus are not beyond the bounds of physics. We could survive the furnace of Venus if we can come up with an innovative concept for a rover that can move on extremely low power levels.”

“A sail rover would be extraordinary for Venus. The sail has only two moving parts-just to set the sail and set the steering position-and that doesn’t require a lot of power. There’s no power required to actually drive. The

If this gets to the mission phase, this would represent the first time that any robot landed on Venus since the Soviet Venera

‘Sail Rover’ could explore hellish Venus A windsailing rover could use the high speeds and hot temperatures of Venus to a robotic explorer’s advantage, according to an idea funded by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program.

Milkyway shot taken by club member Michael O'Connell on a recent trip to Queensland Astroparty in Brisbane.

de Pater and other astronomers will be taking more data soon with Keck and perhaps more telescopes to try and find out more about this massive eruption.

No data or imagery has been released on the new eruption yet since the team is still making their observations and will be writing a paper on this topic.

“When you are right at the telescope and see the data, this is something you can see immediately, especially with a big eruption like that.”

The rover would not only be able to move around Venus, but would also have electronics inside able to withstand the temperatures of 450 degrees Celsius. The rover, which is nicknamed Zephyr, would spend most of its time on Venus doing analysis on the ground. Whenever the science team wants to move some distance, however, it would

say that Rarog Patera was identified as a small, relatively innocuous hot spot previously in Galileo PPR data and possibly from Earth, but at a level way, way below what was seen on August 15, and reported in New Scientist.

landers; the last attempt was in the 1980s. www.universetoday.com

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Maybe Mars seeded Earth’s life, maybe it didn’t

Mars would have spewed chunks of rock into space, carrying microbial life through the solar system and onto the surface of Earth.

This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny?

The transfer of life is certainly not a new idea. We know that pieces of Mars end up on the Earth, many are found in Antarctica where ice flow and exposure gathers and reveals them to keen human eyes. And we know that four billion years ago the rate of asteroid impact on the inner worlds of the solar system was significantly higher than it is today, part of the tailing off of planetary assembly and orbital evolution. Recent experiments and studies of what survives passage down through Earth’s atmosphere certainly suggest that viable organisms could make it, and impact driven material could have fast transit times through interplanetary space.

The idea that a young Mars, some four billion years ago, was a far more hospitable and temperate place is not particularly controversial – although it is certainly not understood in any great detail. Now, at the annual Goldschmidt conference on geochemistry, the notion that it was Mars, not the Earth, that was the better place for life’s origins has been getting some attention. Indeed it sounds like there might be quite a robust case for martian beginnings. The argument is that young Mars had a more oxygen-rich atmosphere than Earth did 4 billion years ago, and was drier. This would have resulted in a different mineralogical surface environment, one that could have provided a catalyst for the assembly of key RNA molecules and all the biotic chemistry leading to life as we know it. Subsequent asteroid impacts on

“Trojan” asteroids in far reaches of solar system more common than previously thought Astronomers believe the asteroid sharing the orbit of Uranus is part of a larger-than-expected population of transient objects temporarily trapped by the gravitational pull of giant planets. University of British Columbia (UBC) astronomers have discovered the first Trojan asteroid sharing the orbit of Uranus, and they believe 2011 QF99 is part of a larger-than-expected population of transient objects temporarily trapped by the gravitational pull of the solar system’s giant planets.

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Trojans are asteroids that share a planet’s orbit, occupying stable positions known as Lagrangian points. Astronomers considered Trojans’ presence at Uranus unlikely because they thought the gravitational pull of larger neighbouring planets would destabilise and expel any uranian Trojans by now.

However, one problem lies in our understanding of the steps between basic molecules on a planet’s surface and the formation of a complex broth of RNA and proteins that could lead to cell structures and DNA. The hypothesis put forward at Goldschmidt rests on the idea that there To determine how the 37-milewide (60 kilometers) ball of rock and ice ended up sharing an orbit with Uranus, the astronomers created a simulation of the solar system and its co-orbital objects, including Trojans. “Surprisingly, our model predicts that at any given time 3 percent of scattered objects between Jupiter and Neptune should be co-orbitals of Uranus or Neptune,” said Mike Alexandersen from UBC. No one had ever computed this percentage and is much higher than previous estimates. Scientists have discovered several temporary Trojans and co-orbitals in the solar system during the past decade. QF99 is one of those

must have been an inorganic, mineral catalyst to encourage basic molecules to assemble into the first RNA structures. Specifically, these were minerals built around boron and oxidised molybdenum, minerals that would have probably dissolved away in Earth’s early oceans, or simply not existed, but could have fared much better on Mars. But the truth is that our theories about these first steps are themselves hotly contested. For example, other laboratory work indicates that other, common, catalysts can set in motion complex chemical networks that very naturally pop out the sort of stuff that’s going to make RNA, and even rudimentary cell membrane structures. In other words, the precise nature of Earth’s early geo-chemistry might not be quite as critical, nor might that of Mars. So, did Mars seed life on Earth? We simply don’t know. However, by exploring the possibility we certainly stand to gain information from the fact that young Earth and young Mars probably were rather different – chemically and environmentally. Two natural test-tubes rather than one.

Recent Events Perseids StarBQ and Camping Night

More evidence that this Summer was a good one was MAC’s fortunate ability to host another Perseids StarBQ, this year held on Saturday August 10th. Members and friends gathered at our Observing Site in Clonminch to cook some food, enjoy the campfire and then (for some) retire to tents for the night. Clouds and drizzle settled in around 12:30am but before then onlookers were fortunate to spot a few meteors between clouds, and numerous satellites and a few (Iridium) Flares.

Part of Laois Heritage Week

Saturday August 17th saw the opening of Laois Heritage Week with events kicking off across County Laois for one week. MAC was invited by Stradbally Library to present ‘Laois Under The Stars’. Members Jason Fallon, John Lally, Declan Molloy and Seanie Morris presented a few short talks, captured the ISS going overhead and got numerous targets in John’s massive 16” Dob among other telescopes, to the delight of many locals, adults and children alike. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and we have been asked to come back again very soon!

“This tells us something about the current evolution of the solar system,” said Alexandersen. “By studying the process by which Trojans become temporarily captured, one can better understand how objects migrate into the planetary region of the solar system.” www.astronomy.com

Got an Astronomy lecture suggestion? Email us at midlandsastronomy@gmail.com or get in touch with any committee member. 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... Jupiter: First spotted through a telescope by Galileo in 1610, the Jovian Giant is visible from Irish skies throughout September. Rising after 1:15am at the start of the month, and then after 11:40pm by the end of the month, it is also brightening slightly. Jupiter takes 9 hours and 55 minutes to rotate on its axis, and since our nights are getting longer, and Jupiter rising earlier as the weeks progress, you will get a chance to observe this rotation during the course of only a few hours. Watch out for any of the 4 Galilean moons (Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto) as they will also move hour to hour when seen with binoculars or a telescope.

www.scientificamerican.com temporary objects. And it was only recently — within the last few hundred thousand years — ensnared by Uranus and set to escape the planet’s gravitational pull in about a million years.

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: MAC Secretary Seanie Morris with Ciara from Stradbally looking through the 70mm refractor at the Moon.

Upcoming Club Events Sept 3rd: "Albert Einstein: The 'Relative' Genius", Speaker Declan Molloy. October 1st: “Comet ISON: Comet of the Century?”, Speaker Seanie Morris, MAC Secretary. November 5th: “Photographing The Night Sky”, Speaker Dave Connolly, MAC PRO.

Jupiter’s fast rotation offers a change of view over the space of even an hour. Black dots on its surface like this one here is are shadows from the satellites passing in front. International Space Station: Not always seen over Ireland but rather goes through a series of passes for weeks at a time, either morning or evening, depending on the time of the season. Travelling at close to 27,600km/h at an altitude of 413km, it is the largest manmade structure ever in space. It is also regular in its passes around Earth, seen every 93 minutes. From Ireland for this period, the ISS will be seen as an early predawn object passing twice each morning. See www.heavens-above.com for accurate passes information according to your location (requires free registration). 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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Above: This Hubble Space Telescope “deep field” image shows about 300 galaxies in a piece of sky only a few millimetres in size!!! instead of erupting at the surface as lava. Bullialdus crater is not the only location where this rock type is found, but the exposure of these rocks combined with a generally low regional water abundance Scientists have detected magmatic water - water that originates from enabled us to quantify the amount deep within the Moon’s interior - on the surface of the Moon.These of internal water in these rocks.”

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Kid's Korner

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

hard to imagine, the trouble with an infinite universe is that no matter where you look in the night sky, you should see a star. Stars should overlap each other in the sky like tree trunks in the middle of a very thick forest. But, if this were the case, the sky would be blazing with light. This problem greatly troubled astronomers and became known as "Olbers' Paradox." A paradox is a statement that seems to disagree with itself. To try to explain the paradox, some 19th century scientists thought that dust clouds between the stars must be absorbing a lot

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

Evidence of internal Moon water found

findings represent the first such remote detection of this type of lunar water, and were arrived at using data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) carried aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter.

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

The discovery represents an exciting contribution to the rapidly changing understanding of lunar water. “For many years, researchers believed that the rocks from the Moon were ‘bone dry’ and that any water detected in the Apollo samples had to be contamination from Earth,” said Klima, a member of the NASA Lunar Science Institute. “About five years ago, new laboratory techniques used to investigate lunar samples revealed that the interior of the Moon is not as dry as we previously thought. Around the same time, data from orbital spacecraft detected water on the lunar surface, which is thought to be a thin layer formed from solar wind hitting the lunar surface.” “This surficial water unfortunately did not give us any information

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M3 (pronounced “M-cube”) fully imaged the large impact crater Bullialdus in 2009. “It’s within 25 degrees latitude of the equator and so not in a favorable location for the solar wind to produce significant surface water,” Klima explained. “The rocks in the central peak of the crater are of a type called norite that usually crystallizes when magma ascends but gets trapped underground

The internal magmatic water provides information about the Moon’s volcanic processes and internal composition, Klima said. “Understanding this internal composition helps us address questions about how the Moon formed, and

Scientists spot Sun's elder "twin" If you want a picture of how you’ll look in 30 years, youngsters are told, look at your parents.The same principle is true of astronomy, where scientists compare similar stars in different age groups to see how they progress. We have a special interest in learning how the Sun will look in a few billion years because, you know, it’s the main source of energy and life on Earth. Newly discovered HIP 102152 could give us some clues. The star is four billion years older than the sun, but so close in composition that researchers consider it almost like a twin.

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

about the magmatic water that exists deeper within the lunar crust and mantle, but we were able to identify the rock types in and around Bullialdus crater,” said coauthor Justin Hagerty, of the U.S. Geological Survey. “Such studies can help us understand how the surficial water originated and where it might exist in the lunar mantle.”

After examining the M3 data, Klima and her colleagues found that the crater has significantly more hydroxyl — a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom — compared to its surroundings. “The hydroxyl absorption features were consistent with hydroxyl bound to magmatic minerals that were excavated from depth by the impact that formed Bullialdus crater,” Klima writes.

Telescopes have only been around for a few centuries, making it hard to project what happens during the billions upon billions of years for a star’s lifetime. We have about 400 years of observations on the sun, for example, which is a minute

fraction of its 4.6 billion-year-old lifespan so far. ESO’s Very Large Telescope examined HIP 102152 with a spectrograph that broke up the light into various colours, revealing properties such as chemical composition. Around the same time, they scrutinized 18 Scorpii, also considered to be a twin but one that is younger than the sun (only 2.9 billion years old).

how magmatic processes changed as it cooled. There have been some measurements of internal water in lunar samples, but until now this form of native lunar water has not been detected from orbit.” “This impressive research confirms earlier lab analyses of Apollo samples, and will help broaden our understanding of how this water originated and where it might exist in the lunar mantle.” www.universetoday.com

created hydrogen, helium and lithium, only the first two elements are abundant in the Sun.

higher levels of lithium, implying something changes between youth and middle age.

HIP 102152, it turns out, also has low levels of lithium. Why isn’t clear yet, ESO notes, although “several processes have been proposed to transport lithium from the surface of a star into its deeper layers, where it is then destroyed.” Previous observations of young Sun-like stars also show

Better yet, separate observations showed that there are no giant planets close to the star — leaving room for Earth-sized planets to flourish. www.universetoday.com

The life-cycle of a Sun-like star from protostar (left side) to red giant (near the right side) to white dwarf (far right).

So what can we predict about the Sun’s future? One thing puzzling scientists has been the amount of lithium in our closest stellar companion. Although the Big Bang

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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.

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.

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Major volcanic eruption seen on Jupiter’s moon Io

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‘Sail Rover’ could explore hellish Venus

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View the Sun Safely

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A medieval conflagration on the Moon

Club News 9.

Club News

Kids Section 10.

Kids Korner

Quizzes and Games Front cover image: The unusual shapes in the Cone Nebula originate from fine interstellar dust reacting in complex ways with the energetic light and hot gas being expelled by the young stars. The brightest star on the right of the above picture is S Mon, while the region just below it has been nicknamed the Fox Fur Nebula for its colour and structure. S Mon is part of a young open cluster of stars named NGC 2264, located about 2500 light years away toward the constellation of the Unicorn (Monoceros). Even though it points right at S Mon, details of the origin of the mysterious geometric Cone Nebula, visible on the far left, remain a mystery. Credit & Copyright: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ) & DSS

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Exercise your brain

Monthly Sky Guide 12.

Beginners guide for this month

Internet Highlights 13.

Question 3 Who experimentally discovered the relationship between redshift and distance within the universe? • Hewish • Hoyle • Hubble • Hey

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

Question 4 Where is the world's first fully steerable giant radio telescope located? • Jodrell Bank • Arecibo • Green Bank • Mount Wilson

Question 5 What does the 'C' in Einstein's famous equation E=MC^2 stand for? • Redshift • The speed of light in a vacuum • The Doppler Effect • The age of the universe

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Question 7 A Supernova is the explosion of a _______? • Asteroid • Bomb • Star • Planet

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1 Question 8 What is the name of the largest moon of Saturn? • Triton • Titania • Titan • Titus

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Check your answers

Question 9 What is the fuel that powers our sun? • Hydrogen • Oxygen • Helium • Petrol

Question 10 What element is at the bottom of the Energy Well? • lead • mercury • uranium • iron

Confused??? Check your answers on this page.

Answer 1: The correct answer was comet which is a descriptive term for the core of a comet

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.

Question 2 What is the name of the closest large spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way? • Andromeda • M33 • Leo • NGC2143

Galileo. Galileo Galilei 1564-1642 was persecuted by the Roman Catholic church for his belief that the Earth circled the sun, rather than the earth centered universal model proposed by Aristotle.

previously thought

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Answer 2: The correct answer was Andromeda, also known as M31 and NGC224 is a spiral galaxy similar to our own but twice as large. It contains about 400 billion stars

“Trojan” asteroids in far reaches of solar system more common than

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Answer 7: The correct answer was Star. One of the most recent Supernovae visible on Earth with the naked eye occurred in the Large Magellanic Cloud in 1987.

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Answer 8: The correct answer was Titan which is the second largest moon in the solar system. First discovered by Christiaan Huygens in 1655.

Maybe Mars seeded Earth’s life, maybe it didn’t

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Answer 3: The correct answer was Hubble. Edwin Hubble, 1889-1953, discovered the true meaning of redshift and first confirmed experimentally that the universe was expanding. The Hubble Space Telescope is named after him.

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SUDOKU

Answer 9: The correct answer was Hydrogen which is turned into Helium by atomic fusion.

Scientists spot Sun's elder "twin"

Question 6 Who was first person recorded as seeing the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn? • Lord Kelvin • Galileo • Kepler • Copernicus

Answer 4: The correct answer was Jodrell Bank. Jodrell Bank, England is the site of the Lovell Telescope a 250ft dish which first came online in 1957.

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Question 1 The term dirty snowball refers to a ______? • meteorite • asteroid • comet • meteor

Answer 10: The correct answer was iron. All heavy elements are created in supernova explosions. Iron is the most stable and the least likely to breakdown by atomic fission.

Evidence of internal Moon water found

Answer 5: The correct answer was The speed of light in a vacuum which is approx 186,000 miles per second or 300,000km per second.

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Answer 6: The correct answer was

Latest Astronomy and Space News

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

Sky Guide - Beginner's targets for September General notes We'll start our September tour of the heavens overhead in the constellations Andromeda and Cassiopea. M31 (the Andromeda Galaxy), to locate M31, find the "W" of the Constellation Cassiopea. 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 power eyepiece.You will see a bright blob in the middle with light extending off of both sides. I've been told that 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 about 2.2 million light years away, which makes this a very easy first galaxy target for your scope. 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

Moving over to Cassiopea, M103 is our next target. To locate M103 find the star that makes up the bottom of the smaller part of the "W" of Cassiopea (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-Cluser). 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.

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 46 - September, 2013

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 lightyears South of Andromeda. It is an elliptical galaxy.

Above: Cassiopeia is easily recognizable due to its distinctive 'W' shape formed by five bright stars. Planets in September Mercury is not visible this month. Venus is visible in the evening sky this month, albeit it stays very low relative to the horizon. At start of the month, it sets at 21:10 and by month's end at 20:00 as it moves from Virgo to Libra during the month. Mars is visible in the morning sky this month. On the mornings of the 8th-10th, it passes in front of M44 – The Beehive Cluster.

start of the month, it sets at 21:55 and by month's end, it sets at 20:05. Uranus is visible in the evening sky this month in Pisces. At the start of the month, it rises at 21:00 and by month's end, it rises at 19:05. Neptune is visible in the evening sky this month in Aquarius. At the start of the month, it rises at 20:05 and by month's end, it rises during daylight hours.

Jupiter is visible in the morning sky this month in Gemini. At the start of the month, it rises at 01:15 and by month's end, it rises at 23:40.

Enjoy the September skies, this is one of the best months for observing, not too cold, no bugs, and gorgeous sights to be had in just about every area of the sky.

Saturn is visible in the evening sky this month, albeit it will be very low relative to the horizon. At the

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

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 August 25th, 2013

Weekly Space Hangout August 16th, 2013

http://youtu.be/cSu9KDcbSS4

http://youtu.be/MCKMZd2M2PY

Origin of life in Hydrothermal Vents and implications for Mars

Podcast: The Inverse-Square Law and other strangeness Why don’t we have insects the size of horses? Why do bubbles form spheres? Why does it take so much energy to broadcast to every star? Let’s take a look at some non-linear mathematical relationships and see how they impact your day-to-day life. 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/6BfYv_h9RxA

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

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Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine Curiosity's First Year on Mars Since successfully landing on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012, PDT (Aug. 6, 2012, EDT), Curiosity has been r5Mning much of what we know about the Red Planet. The car-sized rover has already achieved its main science goal of revealing that ancient Mars could have supported life. Curiosity is currently en route to investigate the base of 3-mile-high (about 5 kilometers) Mount Sharp, whose exposed layers might hold intriguing information about Mars' history. http://youtu.be/Q8fQr_Hat8o

Could we stop an Asteroid?

Tonight's Sky for September

Could we stop an asteroid on a collision course for Earth? Have a look 1DD89CF945?D?Mnd out what we can do. Lets hope it's not too late!!! http://youtu.be/Agdvt9M3NJA

Backyard stargazers get a monthly guide to the northern hemisphere's skywatching events with "Tonight's Sky." Look for dense star cluster M2, home to 150,000 stars. http://youtu.be/lWFyRA9FR1E

Useful free astronomy resources Midlands Astronomy Club have created a Google+ page so that our members and non-members alike can: K Keep up-to-date on future outreach events. K Be informed of upcoming lectures. K 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/

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

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MAC September 2013 magazine