The Astronomy Thread

A General discussion about everything other than South Park

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zzyzx 1
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby zzyzx 1 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:51 pm

What's Up for July: Asteroids.

Asteroids are scraps of the original building material of our solar system. So they tell us about our own origins.

After the planets formed, residual material remained. Bits of dust and rock bumped into each other, sometimes sticking together and sometimes scattering.

Most asteroids orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter in a region known as the asteroid belt.

This month NASA's Dawn mission, which launched in 2007, arrives at the asteroid Vesta, the first of two objects it'll explore.

Dawn will study the conditions and processes of the solar system's earliest time. And Vesta and Ceres are the right two bodies to study.

Vesta is an asteroid and Ceres is a dwarf planet, like Pluto.

Vesta and Ceres reside in the boundary area of the asteroid belt, where the composition of bodies changes from being almost dry to showing the effects of hydration.

Scientists believe Vesta is very dry, while Ceres may have a layer of water-ice or even liquid water beneath its crust.

Dawn will study the roles of water -- and size -- in determining the evolution of the planets.

The spacecraft will orbit Vesta for a year. Next July it'll depart for the dwarf planet Ceres, arriving in February of 2015.

You can see Vesta yourself this month and next. It'll be a little brighter in August.

It's the only asteroid bright enough to see with your unaided eye, because of its high albedo. Albedo refers to how well an object reflects light.


Ceres, though larger than Vesta, is farther away and not as bright. You can easily spot Ceres in your telescopes next month. Check out the Dawn mission's Vesta Fiesta event page and find a viewing event near you :)
Ex1lepr0
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby Ex1lepr0 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:32 pm

Fascinating...who knows where we may next discover life?
Can't we all just get along?
zzyzx 1
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby zzyzx 1 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:42 am

NASA Spacecraft To Enter Large Asteroid's Orbit On July 15


PASADENA, Calif. -- On July 15, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will begin a prolonged encounter with the asteroid Vesta, making the mission the first to enter orbit around a main-belt asteroid.

The main asteroid belt lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will study Vesta for one year, and observations will help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system's history.

As the spacecraft approaches Vesta, surface details are coming into focus, as seen in a recent image taken from a distance of about 26,000 miles (41,000 kilometers). The image is at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dawn/ ... 70911.html


Engineers expect the spacecraft to be captured into orbit at approximately 10 p.m. PDT Friday, July 15. They expect to hear from the spacecraft and confirm that it performed as planned during a scheduled communications pass that starts at approximately 11:30 p.m. PDT on Saturday, July 16. When Vesta captures Dawn into its orbit, engineers estimate there will be approximately 9,900 miles (16,000 kilometers) between them. At that point, the spacecraft and asteroid will be approximately 117 million miles (188 million kilometers) from Earth.

"It has taken nearly four years to get to this point," said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Our latest tests and check-outs show that Dawn is right on target and performing normally."

Engineers have been subtly shaping Dawn's trajectory for years to match Vesta's orbit around the sun. Unlike other missions, where dramatic propulsive burns put spacecraft into orbit around a planet, Dawn will ease up next to Vesta. Then the asteroid's gravity will capture the spacecraft into orbit. However, until Dawn nears Vesta and makes accurate measurements, the asteroid's mass and gravity will only be estimates. The Dawn team will refine the exact moment of orbit capture over the next few days.

Launched in September 2007, Dawn will depart for its second destination, the dwarf planet Ceres, in July 2012. The spacecraft will be the first to orbit two bodies in our solar system.

Dawn's mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute are part of the mission team.
zzyzx 1
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby zzyzx 1 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:44 am

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chand ... 1-076.html

A spinning neutron star is tied to a mysterious tail -- but looks can be deceiving.
angeldeb82
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby angeldeb82 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:58 pm

Hate to bring this up but...

Mars, the moon, and a meteor shower all make for a big show early tomorrow morning. Let's hope the world doesn't end.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44983117#.TqDNyHJMjJY
Image

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Ex1lepr0
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby Ex1lepr0 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:51 am

angeldeb82 wrote:Hate to bring this up but...

Mars, the moon, and a meteor shower all make for a big show early tomorrow morning. Let's hope the world doesn't end.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44983117#.TqDNyHJMjJY



Damn! I missed it!
Can't we all just get along?
Joe1101
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby Joe1101 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:55 pm

All this about scale... Watch this youtube movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSL9JCcg1zw, it has got epic music too! :D (I don't know if this was brought up before, I don't have enough time to look at all pages, sorry.)
I'm Swedish, born 1998, so my spelling/grammar may sometimes be incorrect.
James--76
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby James--76 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:06 pm

The planet Jupiter is the brightest thing in the sky this time of year as it gets dark early it looks great through a telescope
Kyle: Why? How could you do this? There are people starving in Alabama and you give Cartman a million dollars?

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angeldeb82
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby angeldeb82 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:46 pm

A solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power. This may be a bit of bad news. I fear for our Internet. :cartmansad:

http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/new ... hero_media
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mo303564
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby mo303564 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:47 pm

I wouldn't worry much about the internet.....just have ethernet cables and broadband (or Verizon FIOS) and you'll be fine. :) I wouldn't worry much about cell phone signals either.

Now, Sattelite Television.....that may be differnet :roll: :P

A class X5.4

Damn! when was the last time that big of a solar storm came close to earth?? 20 years ago?? I'd be darn if it's only been five years when the sun is going through this cycle. :shock:
RTL: I love being a dick to people for no reason. It makes me feel better about how my mom smacks me around with a frozen T Bone steak.
angeldeb82
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby angeldeb82 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:21 pm

mo303564 wrote:I wouldn't worry much about the internet.....just have ethernet cables and broadband (or Verizon FIOS) and you'll be fine. :) I wouldn't worry much about cell phone signals either.

Now, Sattelite Television.....that may be differnet :roll: :P

A class X5.4

Damn! when was the last time that big of a solar storm came close to earth?? 20 years ago?? I'd be darn if it's only been five years when the sun is going through this cycle. :shock:


Yep, I do have ethernet cable and broadband, as do my mom and dad on our computers, so we're fine now. :cartmansmile:
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Bringing sexy back. (Thank you, Drisela, for the pic! :D)
Mamont
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby Mamont » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:07 am

So, did anyone living up north catch any aurora borealis?
angeldeb82
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby angeldeb82 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:26 pm

No, but at least the power is still on during the windy sun-storm, so that's a relief. :cartmansmile:
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Bringing sexy back. (Thank you, Drisela, for the pic! :D)
Pip Tweek
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby Pip Tweek » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:02 pm

I just wanted to update you all on my plans to blow up the moon. I'm still procuring necessary equipment, but I've at least managed to theoretically shrink my time table.

I've decided I'm going to wait until the moon is in a crescent phase - that way there's less of it to blow up and I won't need as much stuff.

So, that's where it stands for the time being. In experimentation, I've successfully blown up a ping pong ball. Gotta start somewhere.
zzyzx 1
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Re: The Astronomy Thread

Postby zzyzx 1 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:10 am

In my area of Los Angeles in Southern California, here are possible times to view from earth with a telescope the international space station:


It's in the following format:

1. Date/time
2. Duration of window of opportunity to see the space station
3. Elevation in the sky from the horizon
4. What part (in degrees) of the sky to look at to see it coming
5. What part (in degrees) of the sky to look at to see it leaving

Hope you get a chance to see it :D

I'm listing the next 10 opportunities for viewing:
[all times PDT]:

(Actually, the first opportunity is over) :(

1. Fri Mar 16/06:01 AM; Duration 4 min; Elevation: 40º; entering 10º above SSW; leaving 33ºabove E.

For #2 to #9, I'm only putting down the numbers in the above format so I don't have to type or copy/paste all the labels so much; it's all:
date&time; duration minutes of viewing; elevation in the sky; entering from; leaving from.

2. Sat Mar 17/05:07 AM; 2; 16; 16 above SE; 13 above E

3. Sat Mar 17/06:41 AM; 1; 23; 12 above WSW; 23 above W

4. Sun Mar 18/05:45 AM; 3; 83; 48 above SW; 15 above NE

5. Mon Mar 19/04:51 AM; less than 1 min; 22; 22 above E; 19 above ENE

6. Mon Mar 19/06:23 AM; 5; 18; 10 above W; 10 above NNE

7. Tue Mar 20/05:28 AM; 3; 36; 36 above NNW; 10 above NNE

8. Wed Mar 21/04:34 AM; less than 1 min; 12; 12 above NE; 12 above NE

9. Wed Mar 21/06:06 AM; 2; 11; 10 above NW; 10 above N

10. Thu Mar 22/05:11 AM; 1; 16; 16 above N; 11 above NNE

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