MAC February 2011 Magazine

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Midlands Astronomy Club February issue of the REALTA magazine


<ul><li><p> </p><p>Page - 12 </p><p>Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine </p><p>Issue 21- February, 2011 </p><p>Latest Astronomy and Space News </p><p>Kids Astronomy </p><p>Quizzes and Games </p><p>Monthly Sky Guide </p><p>Sky Guide - Beginners targets for February Telescope Targets Orion and Auriga continue to be in great position for viewing this month. See December's and January's picks for these targets. For this month, we'll add Canis Major and Monoceros to our list. M41 is an open cluster in Canis Major which is quite easy to locate due to it's proximity to Sirius. Simply find Sirius (the sky's brightest star) shining below Orion, about 4 (or about one finderscope field) below Sirius is M41. M41 is a spectacular open cluster, with dozens of stars visible in scopes. </p><p>M50 is another of Messier's open clusters located in the constellation Monoceros. As Monoceros itself doesn't contain any very bright stars, I use Beetlegeuse, Sirius, and Procyon to locate this one. These 3 stars form a nice triangle (the winter triangle?) to aid in locating it. The side of the triangle connecting Procryon and Sirius contains M50. M50 is located slight-ly less than halfway on the way from Sirius to Procryon. </p><p>Two other open clusters in the area are M46 and M47. Using Procryon as the top of the vertical leg and Sirius as the edge of the vertical leg of the letter "L", M46 forms the corner of the "L". Once you've located M46, simply move slightly to the Southeast (about 1 low powered Field of View) to locate M47. </p><p>Planets Saturn can be located in Leo this month. It rises at 20:30 at the start of the month and by months end; it rises at 18:30. It brightens from mag +0.7 to mag +0.5 during the month. With the planets ring plane almost edge on, this is not a good time to try and observe the rings. It is however a good time to try and observe the smaller satellites and details on the planets surface with the rings out of the picture. It lies close to Sigma Leonis (mag +4) through out the month. </p><p>Venus is wel l p laced for observation in the West after sunset this month. At the start of the month it sets at 21:40 and by months end; sets at 21:45. It maintains its brightness at mag -4.6 during the month. </p><p>General notes Always keep an eye out f o r A u r o r a e . C h e c k o u t w w w . s t r o n g e . o r g . u k /spaceweather.html for the most up-to-date information on the aurorae. Other interesting naked eye phenomena to look out for include the Zodiacal Light and the Gegenschein. Both are caused by sunlight reflecting off dust particles which are present in the solar system. </p><p>The Zodiacal Light can be seen in the West after evening twilight has disappeared or in the East before </p><p>the morning twilight. The best time of year to see the phenomenon is late-Feb to early-April in the evening sky and September/October in the morning sky - it's then that the ecliptic, along which the cone of the zodiacal light lies, is steepest in our skies. The Gegenschein can be seen in the area of the sky opposite the sun. To view either, you must get yourself to a very dark site to cut out the light pollution. When trying to observe either of these phenomena, it is best to do so when the moon is below the horizon. If you are observing them when the moon has risen, restrict your efforts to the period 4 days </p><p>either side of the new moon as otherwise the moonlight will be sufficient to drown them out. </p><p>Finally check out for the latest passes of the International Space Station and satellites, details of the NanoSail-D and for details of Iridium Flare activity. </p><p>Well, that should get you going in February. Clear skies and good hunting! </p><p>By Kevin Daly </p><p>Above: Monoceros is a constellation that is not very easily seen with the naked eye, however, Monoceros does have some interesting features to observe with the aid of a small telescope. Beta Monocerotis is an impressive triple star sys-tem, the three stars form a triangle which seems to be fixed. William Herschel discovered it in 1781 and commented that it is 'one of the most beautiful sights in the heavens'. </p><p>Canis Major's alpha star, Sirius, is the brightest object in Earth's sky after the Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Venus. It is also one of the nearest stars to Earth. The star VY Canis Majoris (VY CMa) is a red hypergiant star in Canis Major. It is the largest known star and also one of the most luminous known. It is located about 1.5 kiloparsecs (or 5,000 light-years) from Earth. </p><p>Club Notes </p><p>Club Observing: </p><p>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 who will confirm if the session is going ahead (depending on weather). </p><p>MAC is a proud member of </p></li><li><p> </p><p>Page - 11 </p><p> </p><p>Page - 2 </p><p>Exercise your brainExercise your brainExercise your brainExercise your brain Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine </p><p>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 New light on galactic pair M81 and M82 ............................. 3 </p><p>Massive rogue star racing through the Milky Way .................. 3 </p><p>Earth may soon have a second sun ...................................... 4 </p><p>Hubble spots oldest Galaxy ever seen ................................... 5 </p><p>A monster star -100 Million x's power of the Sun ................... 5 </p><p>Hubble eyes Hannys Voorwerp ............................................ 6 </p><p>Deep, deep look at NGC 891 ................................................ 7 </p><p>See NanoSail-D in orbit and maybe win a prize! .................... 7 </p><p>"Suicide" Comet storm hits Sun - Is there a bigger Sun-Kisser coming? ............................................................. 8 </p><p>The Constellation Taurus ..................................................... 9 </p><p>Duelling Supermassive Black Holes observed ........................ 9 </p><p>Kids Section Kids Korner ....................................................................... 10 </p><p>Quizzes and Games Exercise your brain ............................................................ 11 </p><p>Monthly Sky Guide Beginners sky guide for January ......................................... 12 </p><p>Front cover image: This gorgeous image of M78 was selected as </p><p>the winner of the Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition. Held by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the </p><p>competition challenged amateur astronomers to process data from ESO's astronomical </p><p>archive in search of cosmic gems. </p><p>The winning entry shows off amazing details within bluish M78 (centre) embraced in dark, dusty clouds, along with a smaller reflection nebula in the region, NGC 2071 (top). Yellowish and even more compact, the recently discovered, variable McNeil's </p><p>Nebula is prominent in the scene below and right of centre. </p><p> Credit &amp; Copyright: ESO / Igor Chekalin </p><p>MAC meets on the first Tuesday of the month in the Presbyterian Hall, High Street, Tullamore from 8pm. </p><p>All are welcome to attend. It also holds infrequent Observing Nights at its Observing Site in </p><p>Clonminch, or at a members house (weather permitting) on the first </p><p>Friday of every month.. </p><p>You can see more about the club and its events on </p><p> or contact the club via e-mail at Meetings are informal and are </p><p>aimed at a level to suit all ages. </p><p>1. Which of the following </p><p>is a moon of Mars that scientists predict will </p><p>crash into its host planet soon? </p><p> Deimos </p><p> Phobos </p><p> Eros </p><p> Beratos </p><p> 2. Clouds on Mars are usually made up of </p><p>what? </p><p> Methane </p><p> Water Vapour </p><p> Frozen Carbon Dioxide </p><p> Carbon Monoxide </p><p> 3. Which of the following mountains is NOT </p><p>located on Mars? </p><p> Gunung Lawu </p><p> Albor Tholus </p><p> Charitum Montes </p><p> Scandia Tholi </p><p> 4. What Mars lander was </p><p>famous for discovering </p><p>water ice on Mars in 2008? </p><p> Houston Mars Lander </p><p> Phoenix Mars Lander </p><p> Dallas Mars Lander </p><p> Kennedy Mars Lander </p><p> 5. Which of the following gases exists in Mars's </p><p>atmosphere? </p><p> Hydrogen </p><p> Oxygen </p><p> Helium </p><p> Fluorine </p><p>6. What did the Babyloni-</p><p>ans name Mars? </p><p> Nergal </p><p> Ares </p><p> Raewt </p><p> Babtran </p><p> 7. Mars has no ________. </p><p> Volcanoes </p><p> Atmosphere </p><p> Magnetic field </p><p> Solid Core </p><p> 8. The name given to the </p><p>planet we call Mars by the ancient Egyptians </p><p>was: </p><p> Horus the Red </p><p> Isis the Red </p><p> Ra the Red </p><p> Osiris the Red </p><p> 9. Both the mantle (not </p><p>as in a synonym of fireplace, but rather as </p><p>the layer of Mars' interior) of Mars and </p><p>the Earth are made up </p><p>chiefly of what? </p><p> Sovite </p><p> Basalt </p><p> Peridotite </p><p> Diorite </p><p> 10.Why is Mars red in </p><p>colour? </p><p> The reason is not </p><p>entirely known </p><p> A certain amount of </p><p>pressure creating naturally red rocks and dust </p><p> Rust in the soil, mostly in </p><p>the very upper layers </p><p> Large amounts of copper </p><p>in the soil </p><p> 8 1 9 </p><p> 7 9 </p><p> 4 8 5 6 </p><p> 6 8 2 </p><p> 2 5 4 1 </p><p>1 9 3 </p><p> 1 2 4 3 </p><p> 2 8 </p><p>3 7 2 </p><p>SUDOKU </p><p>Check your answers </p><p>Answer 1: The correct answer was Phobos. Mars has only two moons, </p><p>Phobos and Deimos. Phobos, the larger of the two small moons, orbits very </p><p>close to Mars. Many astronomers predict that it could crash into Mars in as little as 50 more years. Neither Eros </p><p>nor Beratos are moons of Mars. 433 Eros is the name of an asteroid with an </p><p>orbit near Earth (known as NEA, or Near-Earth asteroid) and is notable as </p><p>the first NEA to be discovered, and Beratos is not the name of any celestial body. </p><p>Answer 2: The correct answer was </p><p>Frozen Carbon Dioxide although, there is sometimes fog of water vapour. </p><p>Answer 3: The correct answer was </p><p>Gunung Lawu which is a mountain located in the island of Java. Mars has </p><p>tons of mountains, and larger canyons than Earth. Its tallest point is the inactive volcano Olympus Mons, at </p><p>thrice the height of Mt. Everest. </p><p>Answer 4: The correct answer was Phoenix Mars Lander which touched </p><p>down on Mars on May 25, 2008, and the discovery of water ice was con-firmed in June. </p><p>Answer 5: The correct answer was Oxygen. 0.13% of the Martian atmos-</p><p>phere is oxygen. </p><p>Answer 6: The correct answer was Nergal. Nergal meant one who is great </p><p>and heroic. </p><p>Answer 7: The correct answer was Magnetic field. Mars has an atmos-</p><p>phere, but not one that can sustain human life. The thinness of it may cause this lack of magnetosphere. This </p><p>may also show that Mars is solid throughout. Mars does have volcanoes </p><p>(most notably Olympus Mons, the volcano that's thrice as high as Mt. Everest). </p><p>Answer 8: The correct answer was Horus the Red. It was also sometimes known as the backwards traveller. </p><p>Answer 9: The correct answer was </p><p>Peridotite which is in turn mostly made up of a mineral known as olivine. </p><p>Answer 10: The correct answer was </p><p>Rust in the soil, mostly in the very upper layers. The rust is better known </p><p>as iron oxide. Usually it is only found on the surface, so if you were to dig down a few inches you'd probably find </p><p>dust/rock that's not red. </p></li><li><p> </p><p>Page - 3 Page - 10 </p><p>The WISE mission completed its main goal of mapping the sky in infrared light in October 2010, covering it one-and-one-half times before its frozen coolant ran out, as planned. During that time, it snapped pictures of hundreds of millions of objects, the first batch of which will be released to the astronomy community in April 2011. WISE is continuing its scan of the skies without coolant using two of its four infrared channels the two shorter-wavelength channels not a f f e c t e d b y t h e w a r m e r temperatures. The missions ongoing survey is now focused primarily on asteroids and comets. Because WISE has imaged the entire sky, it excels at producing large mosaics like this new picture of Messier 81 and Messier 82, which covers a patch of sky equivalent to three-by-three full Moons, or 1.5 by 1.5 degrees. </p><p>It is likely these partner galaxies will continue to dance around each other, and eventually merge into a single entity. They are both spiral galaxies, but Messier 82 is seen from an edge-on perspective, and thus appears in visible light as a thin, cigar-like bar. (To me it has always looked like a childs dirty kite string wrapped around a stick, eh?) When viewed in infrared light, Messier 82 is the brightest galaxy in the sky. It is what scientists refer to as a starburst galaxy because it is churning out large numbers of new stars. The WISE picture really shows how spectacular Messier 82 shines in the infrared even though it is relatively puny in both size and mass compared to its big brother, Messier 81, said Tom Jarrett, a member of the WISE team at the </p><p>California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. </p><p>In this WISE view, infrared light has been color coded so that we can see it with our eyes. The shortest wavelengths (3.4 and 3.6 microns) are shown in blue and blue-green, or cyan, and the longer wavelengths (12 and 22 microns) are green and red. Messier 82 appears in yellow hues because its cocoon of dust gives off longer wavelengths of light (the yellow is a result of combining green and red). This dust is made primarily of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are found on Earth as soot. </p><p>Messier 81, also known as Bodes Galaxy, appears blue in the infrared image because it is not as dusty. The blue light is from stars in the galaxy. Knots of yellow seen dotting the spiral arms are dusty areas of recent star formation, most likely triggered by the galaxys encounter with its rowdy partner. Its striking how the same event stimulated a classic spiral galaxy in Messier 81, and a raging starburst in Messier 82, said WISE Project Scientist Peter Eisenhardt of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. WISE is finding the most extreme starbursts across the whole sky, out to distances over a thousand times greater than Messier 82. </p><p>Next time you view M81 and M82, perhaps youll see them in a new light? </p><p> </p><p>Almost every amateur astronomer has viewed the ghostly glow of galactic pair, Messier 81 and Messier 82. Theyre easily visible in small binoculars from a dark sky site and reveal wonderful details in a telescope as aperture increases. Weve marvelled over M81s smooth, star-rich structure and the disturbed spindle-shaped structure of M82. We know the pair have interacted and the huge spiral has ingested stars from its companion but today we know a whole lot more </p><p>in yellow hues. The Cigar Galaxy is pictured above Messier 81. Whats unique about the WISE view of this duo is that we can see both galaxies in one shot, and we can really see their differences, said Ned Wright of UCLA, the principal investigator of WISE. Because the Cigar Galaxy is bursting with star formation, its really bright in the infrared, and looks dramatically different from its less active companion. </p><p>According to todays press release from the American Astronomical Society, when th...</p></li></ul>