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Midlands Astronomy Club's November issue of the REALTA magazine

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  • www.midlandsastronomy.com

    Page - 12

    Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

    Issue 39 - December, 2012

    Latest Astronomy and Space News

    Kids Astronomy

    Quizzes and Games

    Monthly Sky Guide

    Internet Highlights

    The good news in December is that it gets dark nice and early allowing for long observing sessions. The bad news for those of us in the North is that the price we pay for the early evenings is the cold that accompanies it. So, fill your thermos with some nice hot coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy the wonderful winter skies.

    We'll start off again this month naked eye. The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks on the 13th. This is usually one of the best meteor showers of the year and should offer excellent viewing this year as the moon is in good position (waning crescent). The Geminids will seem to radiate from a point near the stars Castor and Pollux. Castor and Pollux are to the upper right of the famed Betelgeuse in Orion. Watch this area of the sky from a dark site and you can expect to see as many as 60 - 80 meteors an hour.

    Telescope Targets December continues to offer wonderful views of Cassiopea, Andromeda, Auriga and Perseus. See October's and November's picks pages for targets in these constellations.

    The Pleiades (M45) or also known as the Seven Sisters is a wonderful low power open cluster in the constellation Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters, and is

    probably the best known, and is certainly the most obvious to the naked eye.

    It is easily identified high in the Southeast early after sunset. Look for 6 stars that appear to be a miniature version of the big dipper. Point your telescope with it's lowest power eyepiece at this and you'll be shocked at how many stars are visible. They are located at a distance of 400 light years from us and contain 100 stars. This cluster is approximately 78 million years old.

    Also in the same area of sky are the Hyades. This is one of those targets best seen with binoculars. The Hyades are a huge open cluster of 350 stars located at a distance of 150 Light years from us. The Hyades are below the Pleiades. Look for the "V" shaped grouping of stars and point your binoculars or your telescope toward them. The Hyades hold the distinction of being the closest open cluster to us.

    Planets Jupiter is in excellent position for viewing right after sunset positioned high in the southern sky.

    Saturn is also in great position for viewing in the Southeast in the early evening. Show some family or friends this superstar of the sky.

    Well, that's about it for this month. Orion is rising in the south and will offer lots of targets for late evening this month also. I will detail these in January's picks.

    Clear skies and good hunting!

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

    Sky Guide - Beginners targets for December

    The Pleiades cluster is dominated by hot blue stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster, but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium that the stars are currently passing through. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighbourhood.

    Club Notes

    Club Observing:

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

    MAC is a proud member of

    Taurus is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It sits large and prominent in the Northern Hemisphere winter sky, between Aries to the west and Gemini to the east; to the north lie Perseus and Auriga, to the southeast Orion, to the south

    Eridanus, and to the southwest Cetus.

    Behind the star Aldebaran lie the Hyades, the nearest distinct open star cluster, that with it form a V, or an A, in the sky marking the bull's head. In the west of the constellation lie the Pleiades, one of the best known open clusters, easily visible to the eye. Another object, visible in a telescope, is the Crab Nebula (M1), a supernova remnant northwest of Tauri. The explosion, seen on Earth on July 4, 1054, was bright enough to be seen by day. It is mentioned in Chinese history texts.

  • www.midlandsastronomy.com

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    www.midlandsastronomy.com

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    Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

    c o n t e n t sc o n t e n t sc o n t e n t sc o n t e n t s Latest Astronomy and Space News A newly identified separate star cluster in front of the Orion Nebula Cluster ...................................................... 3

    New bright and blue Supernova in NGC 1365 ........................ 3

    Black Hole blast biggest ever recorded ................................. 4

    "Orphan Planet" spotted ...................................................... 4

    Jupiter brightens the December sky ...................................... 5

    NGC 6362: stars ancient and modern ................................... 6

    Hot gas bridge discovered connecting galaxy clusters ............ 6

    Life and death in a star-forming cloud .................................. 7

    Makemakes mysteriously missing atmosphere ...................... 7

    New super-Earth in six-planet system may be just right to support life ..................................................................... 8

    A colourful and unexpected reversal at Titan ......................... 8

    The Saturn Nebula .............................................................. 9

    The Outer Limits Galaxy .................................................... 9

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

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

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

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

    Front cover image:

    The suggestively shaped reflection nebula commonly known as the Witch Head Nebula is associated with the bright star Rigel in the

    constellation Orion, spans about 50 light-years and is composed of interstellar dust

    grains reflecting Rigel's starlight.

    In this cosmic portrait, the blue colour of the Witch Head Nebula and of the dust

    surrounding Rigel is caused not only by Rigel's intense blue starlight but because the dust grains scatter blue light more efficiently than red. The same physical process causes Earth's daytime sky to appear blue. Rigel, the Witch Head Nebula, and gas and dust that surrounds them lie about 800 light-

    years away.

    Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo

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

    All are welcome to attend. It also holds infrequent Observing Nights at its Observing Site in

    Clonminch, or at a members house (weather permitting) on the first

    Friday of every month..

    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.

    Exercise your brainExercise your brainExercise your brainExercise your brain 1. What state of matter is

    our Sun mainly consisted of?

    Gas Plasma Solid Liquid

    2. We have all heard of the Hubble space telescope.

    What was the first name of the astronomer with

    the last name Hubble?

    Mercutio Galileo Edwin Isaac

    3. What in our solar system

    is the Cassini Division?

    White layers of clouds on Jupiter

    The division of the large and small planets

    Space between the asteroids and Mars

    A gap in Saturn's rings 4. The smaller, Earth-like

    planets are called 'terrestrial' planets.

    What are the larger planets called?

    Saturnine Jovian Torrential Uranian

    5. Which moon of Saturn

    is one of the only

    two moons in the

    solar system with an atmosphere?

    Titan Io Triton Charon

    6. The constellation 'Crux'

    is probably better known as what?

    Northern Crown Northern Cross Southern Cross Southern Crown

    7. P o r t i o n s o f t h e constellations Ursa

    Major and Ursa Minor are also known as

    what?

    Great and little dog Big and little dipper Orion and his dog Big and little lion

    8. What is it called when

    we have a second full moon within one

    month?

    Blue moon New moon Full moon To the moon Alice!

    9. The galaxy known as IRAS F10214+4724 is

    how many times bright-er than the sun?

    500 7,000 5,000 300,000,000,000,000

    10.What was the name of the comet that made its

    closest approach to Earth on March 22,

    1997?

    Hale-Bopp Encke's comet Halley's comet Herschel's comet

    8 4 2

    9 3 8 4

    5 7

    6 4 1 7

    4 7 2

    5 6 2 9

    9 8

    2 8 4 7

    3 2 1

    SUDOKU

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    Answer