mac february 2011 magazine

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Midlands Astronomy Club February issue of the REALTA magazine

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  • www.midlandsastronomy.com

    Page - 12

    Midlands Astronomy Club Magazine

    Issue 21- February, 2011

    Latest Astronomy and Space News

    Kids Astronomy

    Quizzes and Games

    Monthly Sky Guide

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    The Zodiacal Light can be seen in the West after evening twilight has disappeared or in the East before

    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

    either side of the new moon as otherwise the moonlight will be sufficient to drown them out.

    Finally check out www.heavens-above.com for the latest passes of the International Space Station and satellites, details of the NanoSail-D and for details of Iridium Flare activity.

    Well, that should get you going in February. Clear skies and good hunting!

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

    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'.

    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.

    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

  • www.midlandsastronomy.com

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    www.midlandsastronomy.com

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    Exercise your brainExercise your brainExercise your brainExercise your brain 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 New light on galactic pair M81 and M82 ............................. 3

    Massive rogue star racing through the Milky Way .................. 3

    Earth may soon have a second sun ...................................... 4

    Hubble spots oldest Galaxy ever seen ................................... 5

    A monster star -100 Million x's power of the Sun ................... 5

    Hubble eyes Hannys Voorwerp ............................................ 6

    Deep, deep look at NGC 891 ................................................ 7

    See NanoSail-D in orbit and maybe win a prize! .................... 7

    "Suicide" Comet storm hits Sun - Is there a bigger Sun-Kisser coming? ............................................................. 8

    The Constellation Taurus ..................................................... 9

    Duelling Supermassive Black Holes observed ........................ 9

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

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

    Monthly Sky Guide Beginners sky guide for January ......................................... 12

    Front cover image: This gorgeous image of M78 was selected as

    the winner of the Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition. Held by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the

    competition challenged amateur astronomers to process data from ESO's astronomical

    archive in search of cosmic gems.

    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

    Nebula is prominent in the scene below and right of centre.

    Credit & Copyright: ESO / Igor Chekalin

    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.

    1. Which of the following

    is a moon of Mars that scientists predict will

    crash into its host planet soon?

    Deimos

    Phobos

    Eros

    Beratos

    2. Clouds on Mars are usually made up of

    what?

    Methane

    Water Vapour

    Frozen Carbon Dioxide

    Carbon Monoxide

    3. Which of the following mountains is NOT

    located on Mars?

    Gunung Lawu

    Albor Tholus

    Charitum Montes

    Scandia Tholi

    4. What Mars lander was

    famous for discovering

    water ice on Mars in 2008?

    Houston Mars Lander

    Phoenix Mars Lander

    Dallas Mars Lander

    Kennedy Mars Lander

    5. Which of the following gases exists in Mars's

    atmosphere?

    Hydrogen

    Oxygen

    Helium

    Fluorine

    6. What did the Babyloni-

    ans name Mars?

    Nergal

    Ares

    Raewt

    Babtran

    7. Mars has no ________.

    Volcanoes

    Atmosphere

    Magnetic field

    Solid Core

    8. The name given to the

    planet we call Mars by the ancient Egyptians

    was:

    Horus the Red

    Isis the Red

    Ra the Red

    Osiris the Red

    9. Both the mantle (not

    as in a synonym of fireplace, but rather as

    the layer of Mars' interior) of Mars and

    the Earth are made up

    chiefly of what?

    Sovite

    Basalt

    Peridotite

    Diorite

    10.Why is Mars red in

    colour?

    The reason is not

    entirely known

    A certain amount of

    pressure creating naturally red rocks and dust

    Rust in the soil, mostly in

    the very upper layers

    Large amounts of copper

    in the soil

    8 1 9

    7 9

    4 8 5 6

    6 8 2

    2 5 4 1

    1 9 3

    1 2 4 3

    2 8

    3 7 2

    SUDOKU

    Check your answers

    Answer 1: The correct answer was Phobo