Sky and Society Notes for April
See Sky Notes in particular.
Major night sky imaging proposal
The society has been offered a one-hour imaging session of an astronomical object of their choice on the Las Cumbres Global Telescope Network . The offer has come from Carl Pennypacker, one of
the teams whose studies of
supernovae led them to infer in 1998 the existence of dark energy driving the expansion of the universe.
The society is keen to involve any members who wish to engage with this imaging project, including local
schools if appropriate. We have until December to choose an object and conduct the imaging. Please get in touch here if you would like to be part of this
project, or if you have any suggestions for imaging targets.
The meeting was reminded that the upcoming event at UCLAN in Preston: The Jeremiah Horrocks
Spring Lecture Comets, Asteroids and Impacts. Should we worry and what can we do? Tuesday 15th May
2018 – 6:30 pm.
More volunteers are required for a few hours during the proposed Solar System in Kendal event on
Saturday 18th August.
The next Member’s Observing evening will be in autumn when dark nights return.
The next public Moonwatch will be on Saturday 24th November
One member demonstrated an impressive difference in colour hues using
Pixinsight on the Horsehead Nebula Not cheap software package but highly
recommended for colour correction using a star catalogue. Now listed on our Links page under Software used by members
The farthest star ever detected has been imaged by the Hubble telescope, a Blue Giant in a galaxy nine billion
light years distant: Hubble Uncovers the
Farthest Star Ever Seen. Forget the Kepler space
mission , a recent
paper encourages more enthusiastic, if not radical, members to use their standard DLSR cameras to join in
the search for exoplanets.
Guest speaker Robert Ince
“Widefield and time-lapse astrophotography”
After answering to a professional career migrating from explosives to his lifetime interest in
Astronomy, Robert Ince illustrated his personal revival of astrophotography with a camera only – without his 12″
telescope. Beginning with landscapes with star backgrounds and star trails, the talk progressed through driven
exposures, including time-lapse video and panning sequences, to the use of filters. Robert described in detail
his post-exposure processing using a wide range of software. A number of useful links were listed:
The links above are now on our
Software used by members
See Sky Notes in particular: Sunday 11th when the Moon and Saturn rise together, Monday 19th when the Moon, Venus and Mercury set together – suitably viewed from the Scout Scar mushroom and Helsington church grounds, Saturday 24th for the EAS public Moonwatch at the Brewery when the crater Plato will be casting shadows from the terminator division between lunar night and day and see late night 27th for Astronomical gamblers.
See SpaceX landing video for the SpaceX landing.
Astrobites has been added to our links page joining Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Now
Guest speaker Dr Anne Sansom on Dust in Early-Type Galaxies
Dr Sansom discussed the presence of dust in early-type galaxies (lenticulars and ellipticals), and what that can tell us about how these galaxies formed and evolved. Dust is an indicator of what has happened in a galaxy over its life and can be added by galaxy mergers or stars as they age, and is destroyed over time, so how much dust is present can reveal much about what has happened to a galaxy over its life.
Much of the work comes from the Herschel-ATLAS survey, the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) project for three specific areas of the sky, and the Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey (HeVICS). The results so far show that the early-types in the GAMA regions can broadly be split into dusty, with some star formation still underway, and non-dusty. The dusty ones are “green valley” galaxies, as opposed to the “red and dead” ones on the red sequence. In contrast, galaxies in the Virgo cluster have less dust in them, but the galaxies here are closely packed together so galaxy environment could be important in how dust is generated or destroyed in a galaxy. There is still a lot of work to do with this topic, but it is an active topic and more results are on their way.
Created from Cassini images over 20 years, apparently:
Click here for menu of solar system objects
Apologies to last night’s observers for predicting the two iridium satellites that failed to appear. Still not sure why but most probably the low angle, 16°. I ‘mistook’ on the direction – it was NE not NNE but you would have thought that was near enough for a -2.8 mag.
Thanks to Simon for his organising efforts and perseverance with Kendal weather.
Grand night learning a number of member’s techniques very quickly:
ISS kindly flew over to to set the evening off.
Simon W’s easy magnitude benchmark for the evening: Polaris and the rest of Ursa Minor give you: two Mag 2’s, a 3 and a 5 (there are a few near fours – and a nearly six if viewing is that good as well). We’re seeing mag 5 naked eye.
We can now all find the Andromeda galaxy from either Cassiopeia of Pegasus (easy in binoculars, I say).
Graham’s colour index, blue Rigel to red Betelgeuse. We’re all on the look-out for a supernovae from a red giant like Beetlejuice or Aldebaran in the next 1,000 years. Sirius is white, so say most of us.
Ian showed us Uranus near the horizon through a telescope (findable in binoculars noticing that the scope was pointing above a white drainpipe).
Jupiter and its moons rose: a steady image, easy to follow with manual controls on the society’s scopes and more impressive with increasing power in other scopes. On the other hand, the Orion nebula is brighter and more impressive in binoculars – for me, personally.
Graham and Moira kept us informed with the constellation legends. Some of us are stuck in our ways though. Perseus is no warrior but a horse crossing the sky in the direction of all the other characters while Pegasus is just a big (Autumn) square. Taurus is a ‘V’ on its side – okay it’s got a tail.
With a bit of luck, Leo the Lion next month. That’s the backwards question mark although some members see a coat-hanger.
Members may like this ‘simple’ video I found relevant to Monday’s discussion of Rosetta’s convoluted orbital path in order to get to a comet. How to throw Juno at Jupiter: power out past Mars, change course back towards Earth, presumably, to steal a bit of its orbital energy and you’re on you way. Juno spacecraft trajectory animation
If the journet out was convoluted, on arrival Rosetta defies inutition, gyrating around in its own triangle after orbiting the comet