Astronomy a Go Go! (Deep Sky Objects)
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November 2014
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Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!



Image courtesy of Randy Brewer

Virgo Galaxies!

Here is a short list of some good Virgo Cluster reference. Each is different and I have used them all! There are literally 100s of articles written about navigating through the Virgo Cluster. My advice is find a good map and then find a route that suits you. I'm presenting only one way to attack the area but it is a way that works for me fairly consistently.

Good luck!

Alan M. MacRobert's "Mastering the Virgo Cluster" Sky and Telescope, May 1994 pg 42
-This is the one I carry in my notebook because I love the route and the map.

Steve Gottlieb's "The Virgo Mainline"
-This one I carry for sharing a different approach for those who get lost at the beginning of the MacRobert's route.

Atlas
Jan Wisniewski's Virgo Galaxy Cluster - Finder Chart

Tonight we are using the WikiSky.org Atlas for our Virgo Tour



Start by arc-ing from the handle of the big dipper to Arcturus and then "Speed on" or "Spike" to Spica. Once at Spica work you way up the body of the Maiden to Porrma, her throat, and then up her outstretched arm to Vindemiatrix.

Another way is to start from the head of Leo the Lion wander west to Denebola and then across to Vindemiatrx.

46 Galaxies?!?!? Okay, here we go....

North is up

Object Magnitude Type Notes
Section 1

The 'on ramp'.....
Epsilon Virginis - Vindemiatrix 2.8
Yellow giant 100 light yrs away
Bunsen Burner 9 and 10th
This asterism point away from Epsilon and in the direction we want to go
Struve 1689 7 and 9.5 29" apart.
NGC 4762 and NGC 4754 10.3 and 10.5 Sp 4754 is off by itself and 4762 is between a 9th and 10th mag star. Use averted vision or tap the scope to get 4762 to pop out
NGC 4694 11.4 Sp Very hard to find 11.4 mag elongated NW-SE
NGC 4660 11.8 E Tiny round cotton ball
M60 8.8 E One of the biggest and brightest ellipticals in tonight's tour. At higher powers you can make out a slight halo as well as the companion galaxy 4647
NGC 4647 11.3 Sp Close companion to M60, 3' to the NW a challenge to pick up unless you use averted vision. It is a spiral but looks much more like a smaller version of its elliptical companion
M59 9.6 E Has a profile more like a spiral but this evening is all about being faint so- 0.4deg W not as bright as M60. Giant elliptical slightly elongated SE-NW
NGC 4638 11.2 Sp Fainter and smaller depending upon your field of view (FOV) you can squeeze it in along with M60 and M59 making an isosceles triangle with the three.
NGC 4606 11.8 Sp A toughie. Look for a fuzzy star with two stars on the south. If you have a larger scope you may have passed over 13.0mag 4607 an edge on spiral galaxy out of reach of our smaller scopes.




North is up

Object Magnitude Type Notes
Section 2

The first 'fork in the road'....
M58 13.0 Sp Spiral galaxy a little fainter and smaller than M59 a dark sky and larger scope (bigger than 8") will start to pick out its smoke like wisps of spiral arm. Take a good look at where you are because we will need to return back to M58 after a detour down the M90 (and friends)side alley.
NGC 4550 and NGC 4551 11.7 and 12.0 Sp and E (Misprint in the MacRobert's narrative where they are referred to as 4450 and 4451) Heading NW from M58 these two sit very close together and are both very faint and tricky to find.
M89 9.8 E A nice break from hunting around for the last two. It will seem to pop into view...strange how perspective does that to you. A round fuzzy blob with a brighter core.
M90 9.5 Sp Just after M89 is a little "W" that runs to the NNW to M90 a giant spiral galaxy with a low surface brightness but it is very large. There is an unrelated 12 mag star sitting between the Earth and the center of this galaxy. Elongated N-S look for a darkened lane on the eastern edge.
NGC 4564 11.1
Backtrack to M58 and then 0.5 deg SW to a tall box asterism just off the NE corner is 4564.
NGC 4567 and 4568 11.3 and 10.8 Sp Another pair of spirals that seem to be joined at the ends. They are nicknamed the "Siamese Twins" (Who am I to argue but they reminded me much more of amoeba from high school biology class)
NGC 4528 12.1 Sp Very tiny and quite faint another candidate for power, aperture and dark conditions
NGC 4503 11.1 Sp Off by itself and very diffuse on 10" or smaller scopes this might take DARK skies, tapping, averted vision...all of your faint fuzzy objects tricks.
North is up

Section 3

Back way in....
NGC 4452 12.0 Sp This galaxy is a tiny little fuzzy. It is in between two rows of stars and there is a third row of stars below it housing...
NGC 4429 10.0 Sp An easier find, still a fuzzy blob but easier than 4452
NGC 4440 11.7 Sp Slid back up to 4452 and then to the NW corner of the three rows (or Arcs) of stars. It sits just SW of the Northern most star in the arc
M87 8.6 E Now we begin to appreciate the "Ms" in front of numbers. After so many faint NGC an "M" gives us hope for something bigger and brighter. Not to disappoint M87 is .75 deg East of 4440 and a nice big bright giant elliptical. The bright nucleus is one of the brightest radio sources in the sky.
NGC 4478 11.4 E Is M87's companion much fainter and again needing your faint object tricks
NGC 4476 12.2 Sp Here we go getting super faint again, another target for larger scopes or darker skies (or sometime more experience) but give it your best because your rewards is...
North is up

Section 4

"The Grand Tour" or "Markarian's Chain"
M84-M86 9.1 and 8.9 E We start with the 'face' of the Chain M84 and M86, both elliptical galaxies, make up the eyes of the face. M86 is distinctly brighter with its own little cluster on the NE corner.
NGC 4388 and 4387 11.0 and 12.1 Sp and E Making an equilateral triangle to the South and forming the mouth is NGC 4388 and edge on E-W spiral galaxy and directly in the middle of the triangle finishing off the nose is NGC 4387 another elliptical galaxy.
NGC 4402 11.8
If the face had an eyebrow then it would be 4402. North 8.5ish' from M86 the E-W edge on spiral galaxy appears to have a slight dust lane and a North leaning bulge. Almost like a ladies broad brim hat.
NGC 4413 12.2 Sp In the opposite direction 9'WSW of 4388, NGC 4413 is an almost face on spiral galaxy
NGC 4425 11.8 Sp From 4388 make and equilateral triangle to the west with M86 and your corner will be roughly in the area of 4425 another edge on spiral galaxy brighter than 4413



Now we can start moving up the Chain in pairs...
NGC 4435 and 4438 10.8 and 10.2 Sp Draw a line WNW from M84 and M86 to the first pair in the chain, both spiral galaxies. Nick-named "The Eyes" 4438 is slightly longer with wispy arms reaching NW-SE and both galaxies mirror each other in orientation NW-SE
NGC 4461 and 4458 11.2 and 12.1 Sp and E The next pair, fainter the elliptical 4458 is all but indistinguishable (for me)from the small 10.95 mag star to its NW. 4461 is slightly brighter spiral galaxy elongated N-S
NGC 4473 10.2 E This slightly brighter elliptical lost her buddy (bad Scout) and lays E-W alone in the middle of the Chain. You may not have noticed but you are now in Coma Berenices.
NGC 4477 and 4479 10.4 and 12.4 Sp About 12' NNW are another pair of spiral galaxies. 4477 is the brighter and Eastern most of the pair
NGC 4459 and 4474 10.4 and 11.5 Sp A wider pair of spirals 4459 is very close to a 8.2 yellow star and look like an elliptical galaxy. 4474 is much fainter but has that familiar central bulge of an edge on galaxy.
M88 9.6 Sp The last two links in the Chain are biggies and brighties! M88 is a partial face on spiral with a multitude of arms making a nice even frisbe disk.
M91 10.2 Sp A particularly appropriate reward at the end. This face on barred spiral is beautiful with two large arms sweeping out on opposite sides.

Sun

Current view of the Sun!

Comets

Comets for the Month.

Check out the Sky Hound site.

Music

"Wake the Dragon" by Dragon Ritual Drummers
"Over Again" by Rebecca Loebe
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
-- Shakespeare

Email us at astronomyagogo@gmail.com or leave a note in our show notes at www.astronomy.libsyn.com
Help us out by leaving a donation in the ol' PayPal hat

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering FREE web hosting on our servers for you or your organization's website. In order to promote the hobbies of Astronomy, Astrophotography, Photography, Birding or generally any topic that is of interest to our customer base, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering Hosting Grants.


Direct download: AAGGshow39.mp3
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 7:19 PM

Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!



Image credit:copyright 2006 by Dr. Walter Koprolin (astro.nightsky.at)

ALDEBARAN AT DUSK

Thou art the star for which all evening waits--
O star of peace,come tenderly and soon,
Nor heed the drowsy and enchanted moon,
Who dreams in silver at the eastern gates
Ere yet she brim with light the blue estates
Abandoned by the eagles of the noon.
But shine thou swiftly on the darkling dune
And woodlands where the twilight hesitates.

Above that wide and ruby lake to-West,
Wherein the sunset waits reluctantly,
Stir silently the purple wings of Night.
She stands afar, upholding to her breast,
As mighty murmurs reach her from the sea,
Thy lone and everlasting rose of light.

George Sterling, 1911

Horsehead Nebula -B33



Image credit:sadly I can't remember who's drawing this is! If it is yours please email me so I can give you due credit. The annotations are mine.

Here is the long windbag version of how I find B33!

If you have a smaller scope (8") wait until the belt of Orion is as high as it gets or in the darkest part of the sky for your area. Seeing conditions have more to do with success than just about anything else (IMHO). Half of the time I am parked right on it and can't see it at all which can be both frustrating and tantalizing at the same time...so close and yet....

Start off on the eastern most star in Orion's belt, Alnitak or zeta Ori, move the scope east and look for the Flame Nebula, NGC 2024 Keep moving east and slide Alnitak out of the field of view, now if you can see the Flame nebula chance are that you will be able to see the Horsehead nebula. If you can't see the Flame then see if you can find a bigger scope or darker skies. If you don't see it at first step away close your eyes and let them re-dark adapt after looking at bright Alnitak. (These days I don't start at Alnitak but just to the west of her...)

Starting at Alnitak inch south to two relatively bright stars, the first one fainter, the second one brighter, 7th mag labeled "A" on the picture This is the higher-contrast, eastern edge of IC 434 the bright 'river' of nebulosity streaming south from Alnitak. East of the second star there is another star surrounded by not-so-faint nebulosity designated NGC 2023 start getting ready for looooooow contrast.

Drawing an imaginary line from NGC 2023 to the 7th magnitude star, and extending it across IC 434, you will find another two relatively bright stars (the northern one brighter "B", the southern one fainter) not quite aligned with the eastern edge of IC 434. Exactly there, at the eastern edge of IC 434, B33 is located. Make an equilateral triangle with "A" and "B" and the imaginary 3rd point to the south and just inside the imaginary 3rd point is B33.

To see it, use averted vision and keep the eye steady by fixing one of the stars. If the conditions are excellent and you get a little experience in observing B33, you can even detect the Horsehead shape. Experiment with power and filters but don't give up! If you don't get it then try again another night...you are probably right on top of it!

My mistake each time is to look for something small and contrasty...you need to look for a larger, dark mass protruding (east to west) into IC 434 with optically very little contrast except with a large scope and darker skies (and maybe a little filtering). I can usually make out the flat top and the bulge of the head but not the snout...not on the 8".

Stellarium

We recently had our Student Program learn to write scripts in Stellarium (with a lot of help from one of our super-parents, Bob!) for their annual public night presentation on the "Constellations". If you haven't played with Stellarium scripts it is a lot of fun and somewhat addicting. You will end up spending a lot more time than you think!

Stellarium zip file

Messier_aff.sts -This is one that I wrote (I'm a beginner too!)for our "Get ready for the Messier Marathon" meeting. It goes through an alternate selection of the viewing order, at least the beginning is different. The beginning of the file runs while we talk about what you need for the marathon. Press "K" to advance from object to object (M40 is missing from Stellarium) at each title break it will spin to the next object by itself and then you can continue to advance as you wish. REMEMBER! This was programmed in a hurry and I haven't had a chance to work with it since. But I will get it cleaned up soon.

You will want to comment out the landscape or if you want to see what it is like to view from our observing hill at the college then go to the TAS website and download our landscape files. Follow the directions included in the file to add the TAS Ft. Steilacoom landscape to your Stellarium.

Messier Marathon

The ultimate Messier Marathon site...SEDS!
As far as the order you use there are several lists on the above site but I like the logic behind Tom Polakis' order.

Southern Hemisphere

-September would be a good time for a marathon of "Bennett List" and "Best Sky Objects from SAAO latitude"

Sun

sunspots

Listener Feedback

Cloudy Nights Telescope Review

Quick News

New Horizons - This dramatic image of Io was taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on New Horizons at 11:04 Universal Time on February 28, 2007, just about 5 hours after the spacecraft's closest approach to Jupiter. The distance to Io was 2.5 million kilometers (1.5 million miles) and the image is centered at 85 degrees west longitude. At this distance, one LORRI pixel subtends 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) on Io.



Time again for the Globe at Night program!

Planets



Evening Planets
  • Venus - Mag -3.9 moving from Pisces to Aries absolutely wonderful. The only thing shining through the cloud cover here in the Pacific NW.
  • Saturn - Mag 0.0 on the western edge of Leo just now north-west of Regulus between the curve of the question mark and Regulus. Nice and high in the early evening!
Morning Planets
  • Jupiter - Mag -2.1 in southern Ophiuchus in the south before dawn to the southwest is Antares.
  • Mars - Mag 1.2 in Capricorn just above the Sun's glare in the southeast
  • Mercury - Mag 0.5 in Aquarius very low at dawn between Mars and the horizon
Lost in the Sun's glare
  • Neptune and Uranus

Constellations



Monoceros (moh-NOSS-er-us) - the Unicorn
Introduced by: very old, reported found on Persian spheres
Best known stars: Plaskett's Star-HR 2422 Monocerotis one of the most massive binaries known, with two hugely massive blue-white class O (as best we can tell, O7.5 and O6) supergiants tightly orbiting each other with a period of only 14.40 days.
Beta Mon-triple star system a great triple star system, especially for smaller telescopes. William Herschel, discovered it in 1781
Deep sky objects: The Rosette Nebula, 2237, 2238, 2239, and 2246. Inside the clear center of the rose is open cluster 2244. On the southeast corner of the nebula is 2264 another bright open cluster.
Also the fan/comet-shaped Hubble's variable nebula NGC 2261, which is associated with the very young star R Monocerotis at its southern tip. A friend just brought an image in to our last meeting of Hubble's variable and it was quite impressive!
M50 This is a cluster of about a hundred bright stars, rather tightly grouped, ideal for small telescopes. It can even be seen by the naked eye on a good night. There is a red star near its center.
NGC 2506 is a beautiful , bright mag 7.6, densely packed open cluster...almost a wanna-be globular cluster!
Double stars: Epsilon Mon is a fixed binary
Variable stars: S Monocerotis located at the center of NGC 2264

Viewing

Naked eye and binoculars M44 - Praesepe (the manger) or the Beehive Cluster in Cancer
M31, M32, M110 in Andromeda
NGC 2232 small open cluster in Monoceros, mag 4.2 the stars make a 'wedge' shape

Telescope -

Northern Hemisphere chart Taki's chart Maps 78 and 79
Southern Hemisphere chart Taki's chart Map 55, Map 104, Map 108
M35 in Gemini near Castor's foot but what is more interesting is the neighbor... NGC 2158, NGC 2174 and 2175
IC 418 planetary nebula in Lepus nicknamed the Raspberry Nebula at 9.6 mag in a smaller scope it doesn't appear to have the red color large scope can claim, slightly bluish (bottom of map 104).

Viewing challenges:

NGC 404 just off of beta Andromeda 10.2 mag galaxy, interesting and tough with beta so bright.
NGC 613 10.1mag in Sculptor (map 108) you need a lot of mirror for this one. Galaxy with a very long 'core'.
NGC 2185 in Monoceros a pair of nebula the eastern one looks like a tulip.

Comets

Comets for the Month.

Check out the Sky Hound site.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
-- Shakespeare

Email us at astronomyagogo@gmail.com or leave a note in our show notes at www.astronomy.libsyn.com
Help us out by leaving a donation in the ol' PayPal hat

Music

Celtic Stone's "Drowsy Maggie" (should we re-name it drowsy Alice after this weekend!)
Ariaphonic's Sposa son disprezzata

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering FREE web hosting on our servers for you or your organization's website. In order to promote the hobbies of Astronomy, Astrophotography, Photography, Birding or generally any topic that is of interest to our customer base, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering Hosting Grants.


Direct download: AAGGshow37.mp3
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 5:17 PM

Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!

excerpt from "Works and Days"

"And if longing seizes you for sailing the stormy seas,
when the Pleiades flee mighty Orion
and plunge into the misty deep
and all the gusty winds are raging,
then do not keep your ship on the wine-dark sea
but, as I bid you, remember to work the land."

Hesiod, presumably lived around 700 BCE



Victoria Crater. Image credit: NASA/JPL/HiRISE (Thanks to Fraser at Universe Today)

Michael this one is for you! Does it remind you of the SARLACC PIT from Episode VI? But wait there is more...WHAT makes straight parallel lines on Mars?



Listener Feedback

URL for the 7 Mag Charts Table of Contents
Jim has had great luck with this red light/ white light head lamp from Lowes
I picked up something similar from Home Depot and just love it! Unfortunately I can't find it on the internet site.

Sun

There are two nice sunspots just appearing 926 and 927

Planets



Evening Planets
Be ready around Dec 7th-11th with Mercury, Jupiter and Mars on converge on one another LOW on the pre-dawn sky!
  • Venus - Mag -3.8 but currently lost in the Sun's glare.
  • Neptune - Mag +7.9 in Capricorn will also be better for dark evenings and is less than 1 degree north of the +4.3 magnitude star Iota Capricorni
  • Uranus - Mag +5.8 in Aquarius Uranus is best seen in a dark moonless sky away from artificial lighting. It may be seen looking like a very faint star to the dark-adapted naked eye that shimmers in and out of visibility just under 1 degree east of Lambda Aquarii. Find the tipped over letter Y of Aquarius, go 4 thumbwidths southeast to find Lambda, and then a smidgen Southwest.
  • Saturn - Mag 0.4 on the western edge of Leo just west of Regulus.


Morning Planets
  • Jupiter - Mag -1.6 currently lost in the Sun's glare.
  • Mars - Mag 1.6 just barely above the Sun's glare between the Sun and Mercury
  • Mercury - Mag -0.5 barely 5 degrees off the horizon. Use the bright orange/red Arcturus and "spike" almost horizontally South to Spica. Mercury sits 25 degrees ESE of Spica.
  • Saturn - Mag 0.4 on the western edge of Leo just west of Regulus.

Constellations



Time for a quiz!

Fornax
- the Furnace - Invented by Lacaille during his stay at the Cape of Good Hope in 1751 - 1752 (who else!)

Indus - the Indian (Native American?) Invented by Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman between 1595 and 1597 Epsilon Indi is one of the closest stars (17th)to Earth, approximately 11.82 light years away. Proxima Centauri is the closest at 4.2 light years away.

Viewing

Naked eye - the Pleiades


Mentioned by Homer about 750 B.C.At least 6 member stars are visible to the naked eye, while under moderate conditions this number increases to 9, and under clear dark skies jumps up to more than a dozen

The Pleiades nebulae are blue-colored, which indicates that they are reflection nebulae, reflecting the light of the bright stars situated near (or within) them. The brightest of these nebulae, that around Merope, was discovered on October 19, 1859 by Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht (Wilhelm) Tempel at Venice (Italy) with a 4-inch refractor; it is included in the NGC as NGC 1435.

The Pleiades also carry the name "Seven Sisters"; according to Greek mythology, seven daughters and their parents.

In the Maori language, Matariki is the name of the constellation Pleiades. In traditional times, Matariki was a season to celebrate and to prepare the ground for the coming year. Offerings of the produce of the land were made to the gods, including Rongo. This time of the year was also a good time to instruct young people in the lore of the land and the forest. as well, certain birds and fish were especially easy to harvest at this time.

Binocular -
Drift from the Pleiades through the sword of Orion (M42, NGC 1976, NGC 1977) the Great Orion Nebula
Continue ENE and head to the middle of Cancer and M44 the Beehive Cluster

Telescope -
Northern Hemisphere chart

M38 - open cluster mag 8 (NGC 1912)
M36 - open cluster mag 9 (NGC 1960)
M37 - open cluster mag 11 (NGC 2099)
M35 - open cluster mag 8 (NGC 2168) and near by NGC 2158

Southern Hemisphere chart

The Moon

Images created with Lunar Phase Pro

Our beautiful lunar photos are courtesy of Frank Barrett at celestialwonders.com I recommend visiting his site and checking out his lunar phase photos. You can zoom in for more detail.



Spanning 56 miles and descending 13,800 feet below lunar surface, Tycho�s massive walls are 13 miles thick. As one of the youngest craters, Tycho might not look like much tonight, but it is surely one of the most impressive of all features when the Moon reaches Full. Look around Tycho for six small craters encircling it like an old analog telephone dial. To the southeast, another prominent feature calls attention to itself - Maginus. Power up and look closely at the more than 50 meteoritic impacts that have all but destroyed it. The very largest of the wall craters is on the southwest crest and is named Maginus C. On the outer north wall, look for less conspicuous Proctor. It, too, has been struck many times!

Gifts for the Astronomer!

Do it yourself (DIY) gifts
There are so many creative things you can do for your astronomer, or for yourself, that won't cost and arm and a leg! Consider the following:
  • "Rite in the Rain" paper - perfect for creating your own lists without having to pull them in and out of sheet protectors.
  • Hats, scarves, mitten (especially with flaps so you have finger access)
  • Renovate an old hard sided Samsonite style suitcase for observing! Paint it and find some nice foam padding for the inside.
  • Cold weather observing 'basket' - Be Creative!! a good thermos, hot cocoa, snacks, handwarmers, and maybe a favorite CD all 'wrapped' in a new accessory case
  • Warm weather observing 'basket' - Have Fun!! snacks, a nice wide brim hat, some new shades, Miracool bandana, some oil free sunscreen and bug spray, all 'wrapped' in a Pelican case
  • Online Star Atlases - print them out, put them in protective sleeves, laminate them or print them on waterproof paper and bind them into a book that will open flat!
  • Fraser Cain at Universe Today emailed to let me know that there will be a "What's up 2007" so keep an eye on his site!
  • My favorite give-away Messier Telrad Charts - by John Small courtesy of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston.
  • Messier Telrad Charts - From Utah Skies
  • Caldwell Telrad Charts - From Utah Skies
For the woodworkers out there...

Binocular Mounts
Observing Chair - example or the Cats Perch Plans

On to the shopping...
Telescope accessories

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering a 5% discount for any AAGG listener! Just put "AAGG" in the discount code box at checkout to receive your discount.

Off the scope

References
Atlases
Planisphere
Books
...there are just toooo many but here is a start....

Comets

Comets for the Month.

Check out the Sky Hound site.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
-- Shakespeare

Email us at astronomyagogo   AT  gmail  DOT com or leave a note in our show notes at www.astronomy.libsyn.com
Help us out by leaving a donation in the ol' PayPal hat

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering FREE web hosting on our servers for you or your organization's website. In order to promote the hobbies of Astronomy, Astrophotography, Photography, Birding or generally any topic that is of interest to our customer base, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering Hosting Grants.


Direct download: AAGGshow33.mp3
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 8:00 AM

Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!



Photo by: Jon Bergskog "Mercury Transit" 76mm Televue

Escape at Bedtime

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
There were thousands of millions of stars.
There ne'er were such thousands of leaves on a tree
Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
And that glittered and winked in the dark.

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
And the stars going round in my head.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Listener Feedback

AAGG listener Dan has created a MySpace for AAGG listener AND he has started using TalkShoe and his own live chat show Astro-Tech (I hope I got that right) Check them both out at http://groups.myspace.com/aagglisteners

Constellations

Of the 88 modern constellations we have visited all of the Northern Hemisphere constellations and we are only missing 2 Southern Hemisphere constellation!

Andromeda -Antlia -Apus -Aquarius -Aquila -Ara -Aries -Auriga -Bootes -Caelum -Camelopardalis -Cancer -Canes Venatici -Canis Major -Canis Minor -Capricornus -Carina -Cassiopeia -Centaurus -Cepheus -Cetus -Chamaeleon -Circinus -Columba -Coma Berenices -Corona Australis -Corona Borealis -Corvus -Crater -Crux -Cygnus -Delphinus -Dorado -Draco -Equuleus -Eridanus -Fornax -Gemini -Grus -Hercules -Horologium -Hydra -Hydrus -Indus -Lacerta -Leo -Leo Minor -Lepus -Libra -Lupus -Lynx -Lyra -Mensa -Microscopium -Monoceros -Musca -Norma -Octans -Ophiuchus -Orion -Pavo -Pegasus -Perseus -Phoenix -Pictor -Pisces -Piscis Austrinus -Puppis -Pyxis -Reticulum -Sagitta -Sagittarius -Scorpius -Sculptor -Scutum -Serpens -Sextans -Taurus -Telescopium -Triangulum -Triangulum Australe -Tucana - Ursa Major -Ursa Minor -Vela -Virgo -Volans -Vulpecula

Pictor - The Easel. Invented by Lacaille during his stay at the Cape of Good Hope 1751-1752
Caelum (SEE-lum)- The Artist's chisel.
Dorado - The Swordfish. Dorado was one of the eleven constellations invented by Pieter Diksz Keyser and Fredrich Houtman, during the years 1595-1597. Most famous not for its shape but for a famous inhabitant of its boundaries, the Large Magellanic Cloud
Hydrus - The Southern water snake. The alpha star is very close to Achernar and the right angle seems to bracket the Small Magellanic Cloud



Another cultural tale of the now quickly receding Lyra, Altair and Cygnus.

A young cowherd named Niulang (the star Altair) happens across seven fairy sisters bathing in a lake. Encouraged by his mischievous companion the ox, he steals their clothes and waits to see what will happen. The fairy sisters elect the youngest and most beautiful sister Zhinu ("the weaver girl", the star Vega) to retrieve their clothing. She does so, but since Niulang sees her naked she must agree to his request for marriage. She proves to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang a good husband, and they are very happy together. But the Goddess of Heaven (in some versions Zhinu's mother) finds out that a mere mortal has married one of the fairy girls and is furious. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratches a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever (thus forming the Milky Way, which separates Altair and Vega).

Zhinu must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niulang watches her from afar and takes care of their two children (his flanking stars Beta and Gamma Aquilae). But once a year all the magpies in the world take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, the seventh night of the seventh moon.



Planets



Evening Planets
Be ready around Dec 7th-11th with Mercury, Jupiter and Mars on converge on one another LOW on the pre-dawn sky!
  • Jupiter - currently lost in the Sun's glare.
  • Venus - currently lost in the Sun's glare.
  • Uranus - Mag +5.8 in Aquarius Uranus is best seen in a dark moonless sky away from artificial lighting. It may be seen looking like a very faint star to the dark-adapted naked eye that shimmers in and out of visibility just under 1 degree east of Lambda Aquarii. Find the tipped over letter Y of Aquarius, go 4 thumb widths southeast to find Lambda, and then a smidgen Southwest.
  • Neptune - Mag +7.9 in Capricorn will also be better for dark evenings and is less than 1 degree north of the +4.3 magnitude star Iota Capricorni


Morning Planets
  • Mercury - Mag -1.7 barely 5 degrees off the horizon. Use the bright orange/red Arcturus and "spike" almost horizontally South to Spica. Mercury sits 20 degrees ENE of Spica.
  • Mars - currently lost in the Sun's glare
  • Saturn - Mag +0.5 on the western edge of Leo just west of Regulus. So when you are out getting ready for the Leonids make sure you bring along your telescope for Saturn!

Famous Astronomers

Abbe Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (March 15, 1713 - March 21, 1762) French astronomer.

He is noted for his catalogue of nearly 10,000 southern stars, including 42 nebulous objects. This catalogue, called "Coelum Australe Stelliferum", was published posthumously in 1763. It introduced 14 new constellations which have since become standard. He also calculated a table of eclipses for 1800 years.

In 1750, an astronomical expedition to the Cape of Good Hope, which was officially sanctioned. Among its results were determinations of the lunar and of the solar parallax (Mars serving as an intermediary), the first measurement of a South African arc of the meridian, and the observation of 10,000 southern stars.*

He lives on in the funny little constellations he re-mapped in the southern hemisphere as well as with a named lunar crater and a named asteroid.

But...he is the one who broke up the ship of the argonauts.....
*main source Wikipedia

Song Break

A DIY Project - The Mag 7 Star Atlas Project

by Andrew Johnson and available on Cloudy Night Telescope Review

"This project is my attempt to produce a free, downloadable set of high-quality star charts -- the Mag-7 Star Atlas -- capable of being printed at reasonable resolutions on the average home printer."

" Yes. And not just free of charge -- you have other freedoms as well. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Basically you are free to download, use, and or distribute this work for non-commercial purposes with appropriate attribution. You can create and distribute derived works if they follow the same license. The Mag-7 Star Atlas

There are 20 primary charts and one supplemental chart (11a for the Virgo Coma Berenices region) comprising the complete Mag-7 Star Atlas. Based on early feedback, I've made two versions available: a black on white version for use in the field (where red light may interfere with different color schemes), and a version with DSO's, constellation lines and boundaries, and grid lines highlighted in different colors. Different colors help to visually break up the charts making for a more relaxed viewing experience (whether viewing on-screen or printing in color for a "desktop" version). Apart from color, the two versions are identical. Enjoy."

Viewing

Naked eye - Leonid Meteor shower Peak time estimates range from 0445 UT to 0630 UT on Nov. 19th (more info at Spaceweather.com)
The mid-November region of Earth's orbit is littered with debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Every time the comet visits the inner solar system (once every 33 years), it leave behind its dirty footprints of pebbles and rock. The Earth navigates this dustpath every November.

Sunspot #923 - Follow safe solar viewing practices! -

The Sun exhibit differential rotation: at the equator the surface rotates once every 25.4 days; near the poles it's as much as 36 days. Similar effects are seen in the gas planets and other non-solid bodies...like stars. The differential rotation extends considerably down into the interior of the Sun but the core of the Sun rotates as a solid body. Sunspots sometimes form and fizzle in a matter of days. Other times they last weeks so we can keep an eye on this one.

Binocular - Comet Garradd C/2006 L1 +9.7 mag comet that will be very near Saturn about the time of the Leonid Meteor Shower. Moving from Leo to the tip of Cancer at month's end. If you want more there is also 4P/Faye Comet Faye that is currently in Cetus not far from alpha Pisces.

Open cluster M52 in Cassiopeia. Extend the last leg of the "W" from Schedar to Caph, one more like distance until you spot a narrow diamond pattern of stars. M52 is just to the south.

NGC 7789 is a misty patch in binoculars but you are looking at one of the most densely packed open clusters north of the celestial equator. There is an estimated 1000 stars crammed into an area 40 light year across

Telescope - Northern Hemisphere chart
NGC 1245 - a swarming open cluster in Perseus. Find Mirfax and it is 1/3rd the way to Algol.

Another fainter swarm is NGC 1528 this time on the other side of Mirfax almost due west. There is a faint trail of brighter stars that make a 'spoon' shape crossing through the cluster.

The last of the open cluster swarms in Perseus is NGC 1513
NGC 581 (M103) in Cassiopeia with its own little 'Orion's Belt'
NGC 663
NGC 659, and
NGC 654.

Tired of clusters, try planetary nebula NGC 7662, the 'Blue Snowball Nebula' you will see a consistently 'glowing' blue tinted perfectly circular disk. From Alpheratz (Sirrah on your chart) head NNE towards Lacerta (the Lizard)use the star chart to help you get to the right spot.

Another fine object in Cassiopeia is NGC 185 and elliptical galaxy at 9.3 mag.

Southern Hemisphere chart
NGC 1261 which sits in the hook of Horoligium (the pendulum clock). Find Caelum, from earlier this evening, and follow the line to the cluster.


Backing up to Caelum and find the small dove between Caelum and the feet of Lepus (the hare) the alpha star, Phact, and epsilon star point right to where you want to globular cluster NGC 1851.

Scanning back up and in between the feet of Lepus is spiral galaxy NGC 1964 and while you are there take a look for M79 a globular cluster not too far away. This GC is so densely packed the center looks solid. One of the more challenging M objects for mid to upper northern latitudes.

What's on your list!

I am putting together an astronomer's "Must have" list for all those folks out there who are worried about the perfect gift for the astronomer on their list! I will divided the list up by skill level (just starting, amateur, with or without scope, astrophotographer, etc) so we need all your ideas! Our sponsor, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is creating a webpage with the ideas we have been bouncing around so far so now is a great time to pitch in your wish list and who knows, maybe if you drop enough hints we can get the right people to view the list and check it twice!

Post your ideas here on the website or send me an email at astronomyagogo AT gmail DOT com!

Comets

Comets for the Month.

Check out the Sky Hound site.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
-- Shakespeare

Email us at astronomyagogo@gmail.com or leave a note in our show notes at www.astronomy.libsyn.com
Help us out by leaving a donation in the ol' PayPal hat

Music

Christopher Burke - Caroline
Hipnotics -I Feel it Too

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering FREE web hosting on our servers for you or your organization's website. In order to promote the hobbies of Astronomy, Astrophotography, Photography, Birding or generally any topic that is of interest to our customer base, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering Hosting Grants.


Direct download: AAGGshow32.mp3
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 3:18 PM

Astronomy a Go Go! is on the road with the Girl Scouts and the students of the Tacoma Astronomical Society for a star party weekend!  Wishing all of you clear skies!
Direct download: AAGGshow25.mp3
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 1:51 PM

Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!

Planets

    Evening Planets
  • Saturn - 0.1 mag In Cancer and on the western horizon just after sunset and favored for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere. Up north I haven't been able to see Saturn in the glare of sunset (and clouds) for a while. If you feel like you are missing Saturn because of these long Northern Hemisphere days head on over to the Cassini Imagine website and get yourself a little Saturn fix! For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere there it gets dark super early so you have a few more hours with Saturn that we do.
  • Mars - Mag +1.6 and has moved in to Leo the Lion and this weekend is sitting close enough to Regulus to make it look like a very unique double star system. You will have to look hard in the haze of the horizon.
  • Jupiter - Mag -2.5 in Libra. Clearly visible high in the sky just after sunset, 15 degrees east of Spica. Any telescope can reveal its two widest cloud bands and four Galilean satellites.
    Listener Kevin recommended a piece of free software that I now have on all my computers Jupiter 2 (Thanks Kevin!).
  • Uranus - Mag. 5.9 in Aquarius draw a line between Fomalhaut and Markab (opposite corner of the square of Pegasus from Andromeda) and Uranus is close to the middle.
  • Neptune - Mag. 7.9 in Capricorn half way between Fomalhaut and Theta Aquilli the eastern wing-tip of Aquila the Eagle.
  • Pluto Mag. 14 in Serpens Cauda

    Morning Planets

  • Venus - Mag -3.9 The brightest morning planet visible. Low in the eastern morning sky. This weekend she moves near Zeta Tauri and makes a nice triangle with M1 the Crab Nebula and Zeta. She will continue to move towards Cancer and closer to the sun during the week.

Viewing


The Moon

Maps created with Lunar Phase Pro

Lunar photo is courtesy of Frank Barrett at celestialwonders.com I recommend visiting his site and checking out his lunar phase photos. You can zoom in for more detail.

This weekend waning cresant

New Moon - July 24th
1st Quarter - Aug 2nd

Music

Climbing Mountains - Barb Carbon

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering FREE web hosting on our servers for you or your organization's website. In order to promote the hobbies of Astronomy, Astrophotography, Photography, Birding or generally any topic that is of interest to our customer base, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering Hosting Grants.

Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 1:28 PM

After several weeks of technical problems lets see if this podcast works!!
:-)
Direct download: AAGGshow24.mp3
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 8:23 AM

Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!

Murphy's Law (addendum)
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.

Special thanks to Ron for sticking up for me in the posts, Tom of Tom's Astronomy Blog for keeping an eye on me, Jim (RapidEye) for some great moral support and Tom and Woodland Hills for his support and patience.

Thanks to all of you for waiting so patiently and for your understanding with all of the mess-ups this month.

Listener Feedback

Ron sent an email sharing some information on a new, free, design for a trackball style dobsonian/equatorial hybrid that will be in the August Sky and Telescope magazine.

He also passed along a little trick for using a go-to scope as a teaching aid. He attached a green laser pointer to a go-to scope and had it slew to different objects so that new dobsonian drivers could follow and see where he was pointed to find the objects them selves.

I find this also works well with binoculars! Strap the green laser to your binos and then when you find an object just turn on the laser so those looking in the sky with binos next to you can follow your beam. Much easier then holding the laser pointer with one hand and the binos with the other.

Our friend James from NZ writes:
"Hi Alice,
I hope the house panting has been progressing well !!!
Well it stopped snowing !!!!!!!! here, today we have a tropical 2 degrees with sleet and heavy rain.
I was asked a question over the weekend that I had to Google the answer for - it was, what is a "blue moon". Good question I thought. You might like to mention / expand on it in a podcast - this I got from wikipedia.

All the best
James "

Blue Moons from Wikipedia

"What is a Blue Moon?" from Sky and Telescope

Listener Question

Michael want to know where he could find images of the "face" on Mars. There are some good comparison pictures of the Viking and MGS images on the Mars Global Surveyor website. There are also some amazing Mars images on the PanCam site
and if you want to see something special look at the animated gif file of Earth rising as imaged by rover Opportunity. Is that creepy enough for you Michael?

Planets

    Evening Planets
  • Saturn - 0.1 mag In Cancer and on the western horizon just after sunset and favored for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere. Up north I haven't been able to see Saturn in the glare of sunset (and clouds) for a while. If you feel like you are missing Saturn because of these long Northern Hemisphere days head on over to the Cassini Imagine website and get yourself a little Saturn fix! For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere there it gets dark super early so you have a few more hours with Saturn that we do.
  • Mars - Mag +1.6 and has moved in to Leo the Lion and is 2 degrees west of Regulus. You will have to look hard in the haze of the horizon.
  • Jupiter - Mag -2.5 in Libra. Clearly visible high in the sky just after sunset, just 2.5 degrees east of Spica. Any telescope can reveal its two widest cloud bands and four Galilean satellites.
    Listener Kevin recommended a piece of free software that I now have on all my computers Jupiter 2 (Thanks Kevin!).
  • Uranus - Mag. 5.9 in Aquarius draw a line between Fomalhaut and Markab (opposite corner of the square of Pegasus from Andromeda) and Uranus is close to the middle.
  • Neptune - Mag. 7.9 in Capricorn half way between Fomalhaut and Theta Aquilli the eastern wing-tip of Aquila the Eagle.

  • Pluto Mag. 14 in Serpens Cauda
  • Morning Planets

  • Venus - Mag -3.9 The brightest morning planet visible. Low in the eastern morning sky. This weekend she moves near Zeta Tauri and makes a nice triangle with M1 the Crab Nebula and Zeta. She will continue to move towards Cancer and closer to the sun during the week.

Constellations

Antlia (ANT-lee-uh) - the air pump. The French astronomer Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille created 13 constellations for the southern sky to fill some star poor regions, among them Antlia

Sagitta - the arrow is the third smallest constellation. Other interpretations considered the arrow to have been shot by Centaurus at Aquila but with Sagittarius just to the west it could very well come from that famous archer too.

Delphinus (del-FY-ness)- the Dolphin. According to the first one, Greek god Poseidon wanted to marry Amphitrite, a nereid. She, however, wanting to protect her virginity, fled to the Atlas mountains. Her suitor then sent out several searchers, among them a certain Delphinus. Delphinus accidentally stumbled upon her and was able to persuade Amphitrite to accept Poseidon's wooing. Out of gratitude the god placed the image of a dolphin among the stars.

Notables: Gamma marks one corner of the asterism Job's Coffin. It is one of the best known double stars in the sky. The system consists of a 4th magnitude orange subgiant and a 5th magnitude yellow-white main sequence star.
Alpha Delphinus It also has the name Sualocin, which was given to it as a practical joke by the astronomer Niccolò Cacciatore; the name is the Latinized version (Nicolaus) of his given name, spelled backwards

Equuleus (eh-KWOO-lee-us)- the Colt or Foal is the smallest northern hemisphere constellation and the 2nd smallest constellation after Crux in the S.H. Equuleus is associated with the foal Celaris, who was the brother of the winged horse Pegasus. Celaris was given to Castor by Mercury.

Viewing

Naked eye - After finding the Coat hanger in the binoculars in the last show can you find them now with out optical aids? You will not see its distinctive shape but should still see the fuzziness of the cluster.

Step outside just after sun set and find Jupiter. Now as the stars start to appear see if you can identify the brightest stars without the rest of their constellation. If you were navigating on the ocean without technology it would be important.

Binocular -
In the high northern latitudes it is 11pm or later before it gets dark enough for deep sky binocular work so you can warm up with planets and Re-visit Coma Berenices before it starts getting any lower and then head over to Lyra and catch the first part of the Double-Double

Also swing over to Delta Cygnus and look for a large ring of stars circling that 4th brightest star. Head over to Ophiucus and star gobbling up globulars!

Telescope -
We talked about the Coat hanger asterism on our last show but for telescopes the entire asterism is too large. BUT there is a lovely double star to check out that is just right for scopes. the bright star in the bend of the Coat hanger 'hook' is Struve 2521 a quad star system.

Review - With a dark weekend go back and take a look at Leo, Virgo and Coma Berenices before they disappear!


Also, go and visit the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) near our little Sagitta, to me it looks very much like an apple core. Sliding due south of the Dumbbell is a very nice globular cluster M71. It sits right between the two bright stars that make up the shaft of Sagitta.



The Moon

Maps created with Lunar Phase Pro

Lunar photo is courtesy of Frank Barrett at celestialwonders.com I recommend visiting his site and checking out his lunar phase photos. You can zoom in for more detail. I have numbered the craters in the order we will visit them.

This weekend waning gibbous
Last Quarter - July 17
New Moon - July 24th

Now if you download this after the full moon step out and try to pick up these objects as the terminator passes from east to west across the meridian.
Object Latitude Longitude Comments
Mons Pico 45.7 -8.9 Spanish for "peak"
Mons Piton 40.6 -1.1 Named from Mt. Piton on Tenerife Islands
Crater Archimedes 29.7 -4 Greek physicist, mathematician (c. 287-212 B.C.)
Crater Timocharis 26.7 -13.1 Greek astronomer (unkn-fl. c. 280 B.C.)
In approximately 3rd century BC, with the help of Aristillus, he created the first star catalogue in the Western world. (His worked was predated by that of the Chinese astronomer Gan De.) Over 150 years later, Hipparchus would compare his own star catalogue to Timocharis' and discover that the longitude of the stars had changed over time, which led him to determine the first value of the precession of the equinoxes.
Crater Bullialdus -20.7 -22.2 Boulliau, Ismael; French astronomer (1605-1694)
In 1640, he suggested that the force of gravity follows an inverse-square law. (Isaac Newton made this idea precise in his 1687 work, the Principia)
NASA engineers capture a meteoroid impact on the moon.

Remember latitudes that are negative (-) are South and longitudes that are negative (-) are West!

News

Pluto's two new moons get names. - (from AAAS, read on...)

In mythology, Pluto ruled the underworld. Nyx was the goddess of night and the mother of Charon, the boatsman who takes souls across the River Styx and into Pluto's grasp. Pluto's large satellite, discovered in 1978, is called Charon. Because an asteroid with the name Nyx already exists, the IAU decided to use a slightly different spelling for the inner one of the two small Plutonian moons, to avoid confusion. Hydra was the mythological nine-headed serpent that guarded the underworld. A large but inconspicuous constellation in the spring sky also bears this name.

The first letters, N and H, also refer to NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which was launched in January and is now on its way to an encounter with the Pluto system in the summer of 2015

Hubble's ACS camera fails - (from AAAS, read on...) but not before giving us the best photo yet of Pluto, Charon, Nix-msp and Hydra.

Chandra shows magnetic fields around black hole - (from Chandra site, read on...)

ESA's SMART-1 spacecraft return images of the highly eroded 'far side' of the moon. (from ESA, read on...)

Comets for July.

This month we have comets for everyone except those above 55 degrees north.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
-- Shakespeare

Email us at astronomyagogo@gmail.com or leave a note in our show notes at www.astronomy.libsyn.com
Help us out by leaving a donation in the ol' PayPal hat

Music

Head in the Clouds - Jeff Schram

Same side of the Moon - Corrinne May

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering FREE web hosting on our servers for you or your organization's website. In order to promote the hobbies of Astronomy, Astrophotography, Photography, Birding or generally any topic that is of interest to our customer base, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering Hosting Grants.

Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 7:44 AM

Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!


M87 is an active galaxy, one in which we see interesting objects. Near its core there is a spiral-shaped disc of hot gas. From the spectra of the two sides researchers can determine the speed of rotation of the disk and its size. From this they can weigh the size of the invisible object at the center.

Although the object is no bigger than our solar system it weighs three billion times as much as the sun. This means that gravity is so strong that light cannot escape...aka a black hole.

The faint diagonal line is believed to be the passage out of those fortunate particles which escape along the axis of rotation and avoid being swallowed by the black hole.

Cygnus X-1, Book One: The Voyage

"Prologue:
In the constellation of Cygnus,
there lurks a mysterious, invisible force:
the black hole of Cygnus X-1....

Six Stars of the Northern Cross
In mourning for their sister's loss
In a final flash of glory
Nevermore to grace the night...

1.
Invisible to telescopic eye
Infinity, the star that would not die

All who dare to cross her course
Are swallowed by her fearsome force

Through the void
To be destroyed
Or is there something more?
Atomized...at the core?
Or through the Astral Door?
To soar...

2.
I set a course just east of Lyra
And northwest of Pegasus
Flew into the light of Deneb
Sailed across the Milky Way
On my ship, the "Rocinante"
Wheeling through the galaxies,
Headed for the heart of Cygnus
Headlong into mystery

The x-ray is her siren song
My ship cannot resist her long
Nearer to my deadly goal
Until the black hole
Gains control...

3.
Spinning, whirling,
Still descending
Like a spiral sea,
Unending...

Sound and fury
Drown my heart
Every nerve
Is torn apart...

To be continued..."

- Neil Peart
(a truly amazing drummer!)

Welcome

Hello to Quentin from Denver and welcome to Mary from Oregon.

Star Parties

Stellafane
Table Mountain Star Party
Oregon Star Party
Klickatat Star Party (several dates to choose from)
and many others around the US
In the U.K. I have found a couple StarFest 2006 in the Dalby Forest, and the Autumn Equinox Star Party in Kelling Heath Norfork.

If you have a star party you would like to have mentioned on the show please email me at astronomyagogo AT gmail DOT com and I will give your party a shout-out!

Listener Questions

Send me an email with the subject "Listener Question" or record a short .mp3 file and email that to me and I'll add you to the show asking your own question. Make sure you record your first name, where you are from and if you are associated with a club mention them too! Try not to record urls, email those, and I will put the link in the notes.

One listener asked about how to tell if a particular site is dark...the best way is to talk to people who use the site or go to Clear Sky Clocks and look up the site.

Here are a couple of examples of clear sky clocks for Ft. Steilacoom, our city viewing site for TAS public nights:

or

Click on the larger Clear Sky Clock to learn more about how to use them and how to get one for your favorite star gazing spot!

The Moon

The Moon is full this weekend and if you remember our conversation about libration from Show #19 it is the Northwest corner that is healed over towards us this weekend. So put on your sunglasses and pick up your binoculars or telescopes with a moon filter and see if you can pick out some of the following.

Images created with Lunar Phase Pro

  • Oceanus Procellarum - Ocean of Storms
  • Mare Frigoris - Sea of Cold
  • Mare Imbrium - Sea of Showers
  • Sinus Iridum - Bay of Rainbows
  • Sinus Roris - Bay of Dew
  • Crater Plato -named after the great Greek philosopher Plato, the crater was also called the Greater Black Lake by Johannes Hevelius
    With a telescope see if you can find...
  • Crater Harpalus - named after a treasurer for Alexander the great who had problems differentiating between Alexander's money and his own. This was the crater chosen as a rocket landing site in the 1950s science fiction film Destination Moon.
  • Crater Pythagoras - named after the Greek mathematician and father of numbers. Pythagoras was well aware of the numerical significance of periods of the planets, sun and moon and the spheres of which produced a mathematical harmony he called the music of the spheres. Kepler would later attempt to formulate a model of the then known solar system in his work the "Harmony of the Worlds" based on some of the ideas of Pythagoras.
  • Crater Xenophanes - Greek philosopher, poet and critic

My new favorite Lunar Field Map

The Sun

If you are interested in sunspots and solar activity you MUST add SpaceWeather.com to your daily reads.

Sun Dogs

A couple of weeks ago a listener emailed in questions about a large beautiful ring around the moon. If you remember the conversation we talked about how ice crystals high in the atmosphere refract the light from the moon into large halos. Sun dogs are halo companions.


Halos

The 22 degree radius( from your thumb to your pinky) halos are visible anywhere on the planet and created by sun or moon. Always complete circles although sometimes the horizon can block some of the ring. They are caused by light refracting through ice crystals at high altitude.


Photos courtesy of Lauri A. Kangas www.photon-echos.com

Corona (not the surface of the sun Corona)

On the other hand, corona are caused by water droplets they are very bright in the center and ringed with the subtle hues of rainbow colors and will grow larger or smaller as the cloud passing in front changes in density. Corona is produced by the diffraction of light. Small particles like water drops fine dust, ice can cause light to scatter light

Planets

    Evening Planets
  • Mars is in Gemini creeping closer to the belly of Pollux.
  • Saturn - Is in Cancer and tonight and moving East. It appears as a yellowish star that rivals Capella in brightness, A small telescope will always show Titan, Saturn's largest and most extraordinary moon. It sits just west of the Beehive cluster
  • Jupiter - The largest of our planets Jupiter sits in Libra just west of Zubenelgenubi. Even with the full moon you should be able to see Jupiter. Any telescope can reveal its two widest cloud bands to you, along with its four Galilean satellites.
    Morning Planets
  • Mercury - Lost in the morning glare 30degrees from Venus towards the sun
  • Venus - The brightest planet visible this month. Venus is outstanding in the Eastern morning sky and you will want to grab a pair of binoculars or even just a finder scope to check out her phase. Just over half full she is intensely bright in her gibbous phase.
  • Uranus - is west of Venus (about 28 degrees) in Aquarius. Neptune is 24 degrees further along in Capricorn.

Black Holes!

Gravity 101
Wikipedia Gravity
Newtonian
Issac Newton
Every point mass attracts every other point mass by a force directed along the line 
connecting the two. This force is proportional to the product of the masses and inversely
proportional to the square of the distance between them:

F = G (m1*m2)/r2


where:

F is the magnitude of the (repulsive) gravitational force between the two point masses
G is the gravitational constant
m1 is the mass of the first point mass
m2 is the mass of the second point mass
r is the distance between the two point masses

In other words if one mass gets larger or the two masses get closer together the gravitational force is stronger, or if one mass decreases or the objects get further apart the gravitational force is weaker!

Stellar Evolution -the short course
Stellar Evolution - java script
Wikipedia article
Cornell Astronomy Class

References
Night Sky Network
Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and NASA
John Mitchell
Pierre Simon LaPlace
Einstein
Black Holes
Einstein's Legacy
Cambridge
Berkley
Kids sites

News

There are so many great space and astronomy news sites out there I won't try and duplicate them all, I'll just report things that really strike my fancy or that I think you might be interested in.

Our friend Brian from the The Southern California Science Café sent us a little event news to share. If you are going to be any where near UC-Irvine the evening of May 19th the Observatory there is hosting a Visitor Night! UC-Irvine Observatory is hosting a Visitor Night on Friday, May 19, from 8-10 PM. They will looking at Saturn and the Sombrero Galaxy (M104), among other objects.

New images of SW3 on the ESA site
ESA Mars Express

From the Planetary Society website we have some wonderful images from the Mars Express Orbiter but the images I found most interesting are at the bottom of the page where they show animated frames of dust devils in action.

Not to be out done...Wed, 10 May 2006 - After a month of maneuvering, ESA's Venus Express has reached its final science orbit. The spacecraft made its final maneuver on May 6th tighten its orbit above the planet. Its scientific instruments will now be turned on and tested over the course of May. This will make the spacecraft ready for its science phase, due to begin on June 4, 2006.

Two new distant companion galaxies have been discovered with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The first was found in the direction of the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dog) by SDSS-II researcher Daniel Zucker at Cambridge University (UK). His colleague Vasily Belokurov discovered the second in the constellation Bootes (the Herdsman). The Sloan telescopes live at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico The two astronomers also used the data to identify "Fields of Streams" star streams in our galaxy that may be the remnants of other galaxies consumed by our own galaxy.

Comets visible with binoculars/telescopes in the northern hemisphere.

Pojmanski
and 73P/ Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 and chart
and Sky Hound comets for May and Seiichi Yoshida's observable comets (both hemispheres)
Hello Alice,

Last Sunday, two club members and I went to our observatory to look at
Schwassmann - Wachmann 3 pass near the Ring Nebula. We used a Stellacam EX camera
on a Meade LX200 10 inch scope to display the pair on a TV monitor.
I took pictures of the monitor with a regular digital camera. Enjoy.

Brian Gray


Photo courtesy of Brian Gray (AAGG listener) Philip Hoyle and Phil Creed

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
-- Shakespeare

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Music

Monika Herzig -Pauls Vesper - Schnell!
Josh Woodward -Goodbye To Spring
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 11:04 AM

Talking about the moon, star parties, gravity, stellar evolution and black holes!
Direct download: AAGGshow20A.mp3
Category:Deep Sky Objects -- posted at: 11:01 AM