stronomy Wise

August 2012 Edition

Life & Death Of A Star

Interview Ralph Wilkins & Tom Kerss
Active Astronomy Awesome Astronomy

Young Astronomer

AW EZine
August 2012

Rouges Gallery

The Night Sky

Higgs Boson

www.astronomy-wise.com

Astronomy Wise

Welcome to another edition of our monthly online EZine. This month we have the return of the young astronomer feature. We also have a young man who has a keen interest in physics, he will be talking about Higgs Boson. The interview this month features the presenters and writers of the new and popular Awesome Astronomy podcast. John Harper gives us the heads up on the ‘Night Sky’ . There is also a printable sky chart for August. Check out this months featured book by Paul Halpern. We have details on the up coming IAC2012 (Irregular Astro Camp). Author Felicity Lennie and her husband James Lennie talk about stargazing in Devon and stargazy island.

NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, is slated to land on the Red Planet on Aug. 6, 2012

Contents:
Halley's Comet August Occultations The Night Sky Rouges Gallery The Night Sky Assistant Book Review P Halpern Young Astronomer Life & Death of A Star Lets Talk Interview Higgs Boson The Michelson and Morley experiment Neptune the Ice Giant Stargazy Island The 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower “The Tears of St Lawrence” Headlines-What’s in the News Astronomer Profile In the News
Images: NASA

Astronomy Wise

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Credits Editor: David Bood - @AstronomyWise Co Editor– Jason Ives— @jasonives101 Sky Notes: Former director of the occultation section, S.P.A, (Society for popular astronomy). Layout: Edward Dutton— @EddDutton Interview: Ralph Wilkins & Tom Kerss Science: Liam Edwards & Edward Dutton Young Astronomer: Awel– Medi Evans Stargazy Island: Felicity Lennie & James Lennie Astronomer Profile: Neil Samples (Scarborough) Writer: James Adam (Bob the Alien)

Awesome Astronomy

Check out Astronomy Wise News Pages

New Rouges Gallery New this month is Jason Ives Rouges Gallery. Check out our Daily News paper.

We have Science from two young people. A quick look at Neptune

Life and Death of a Star
Astronomy Wise Daily News www.astronomy-wsie.com

And Much More…..

Image Ray Gilchrist- http://www.raygilchrist.co.uk/

August 2012 Occultations by John Harper

Key to the Occultation Table
The columns of the table give data specific to each of the Lunar Occultation events listed. From left to right they are: 1 Day of the Week 2 DATE in the format: dd-mm-yyyy 3 Universal Time of the event (add one hour when British Summer Time is in force for Local Time. The predictions are for Scarborough, which lies midway between London and Edinburgh, on the North Sea coast of the UK. (N54.27 deg., W00.43 deg.) 4 Occulted star’s visual magnitude 5 P = Phase tells you whether the event is a disappearance (D) or reappearance (R) or a Graze (C). 6 L = Limb. This indicates whether the event takes place at the dark (D) or bright (B) lunar limb. 7 Al. = the Altitude of the moon at the time of the occultation event. 8 Az. = The azimuth (angular distance along the horizon, measured from the North Point, clockwise. 9 Sun Alt = the angular distance of the sun, below the horizon at the time of the event. 10, 11 & 12 the name or catalogue number of the star being occulted. XZ Cat No. This is the star’s designation in the US Naval Observatory catalogue of over 32,000 stars that can be occulted by the moon. Proper Name. This is the star’ more common name, if it has one! ZC No. The Zodiacal Catalogue of 3539 stars brighter than visual magnitude +7, within 8 degrees of the ecliptic. Some fainter stars are included in this total as well. 13 PA = Position Angle. This is the angular position on the limb of the moon where the reappearance or disappearance will occur it helps you look at the right part of the moon’s limb. Position Angle is measured from Celestial North (the line of Right Ascension running through the centre of the moon’s disc. It is measured clockwise through west, south , east and back to north, a total of 360 degrees. John Harper Former director of the occultation section, S.P.A, (Society for Popular Astronomy).

John Harper Former director of the occultation section, S.P.A, (Society for Popular Astronomy).

The Night Sky August 2012 As the month begins, the Sun is passing through the stars of Cancer, until around 11h on the 10th, when it crosses the IAU boundary into Leo, where it remains for the rest of the month. Once again from the beginning of the month, truly dark nights begin again in northern UK.

The Moon
There are two full moons in August; the first Full Moon occurring at 03h28 on the 2nd on the Capricornus-Aquarius border. Last Quarter Moon is on the 9th at 18h56 in the constellation of Aries.

New Moon is on the 17th at 15h55 in the constellation of Leo, when the moon passes 5° south of the sun. First Quarter Moon at 13h34 on the 24th is in the constellation of Scorpius, between the stars Graffias and Dschubba. The second Full Moon, the so-called ‘Blue Moon’, occurs on August 31st at 13h59 in the eastern portion of the constellation Aquarius.

The Moon is at perigee, its nearest to the earth, at 19h40 on the 23rd. It is at apogee (furthest from the earth) at 10h53 on the 10th It may be possible to glimpse earthshine on the night hemisphere of the waning crescent moon from the 11th to the 16th, before dawn

The Planets
By the end of the first week of August, Mercury reappears low in the eastern sky before dawn. It rises mid month at 03h and reaches its greatest elongation east of the sun, an angular distance of 8° on the 17th. Try locating it mid month in the hour or so before dawn. The planet should be readily visible to the naked eye, very low down in the eastern sky. The optimum time to look is 04h. August morning twilight will be increasing, but a pair of binoculars will help you find Mercury almost straight away. At the same time on the 15th, there are five planets and the waning crescent moon in the morning sky. They are: Mercury, the Moon, Venus and Jupiter, all in the eastern quadrant of the sky, and the two telescopic planets Uranus and Neptune in the SW. There is a challenging conjunction between Mercury and the thin waning crescent moon on the 16th, but you will really need binoculars for this one as at 04h the waning crescent lies 4° below and slightly to the right of Mercury and only 5° above the ENE horizon. At the end of August Mercury rises at 04h, 80 mins before sunrise, and begins to move in towards the sun to superior conjunction with it next month. Venus is at greatest western elongation of 45° from the sun on the 16th. Throughout the month it rises around 01h each morning. Venus, the brightest of all the planets, dominates the morning sky and can be seen even in twilight. Indeed, as long as you have been following it and know where it is in the sky, the planet can be seen with the naked eye after the sun rises. The waning crescent moon may be seen approaching Venus during the morning Venus is at greatest western elongation of 45° from the sun on the 16th. Throughout the month it rises around 01h each morning. Venus, the brightest of all the planets, dominates the morning sky and can be seen even in twilight. Indeed, as long as you have been following it and know where it is in the sky, the planet can be seen with the naked eye after the sun rises. The waning crescent moon may be seen approaching Venus during the morning the ‘diamond’ of Venus, set in the azure sky. Venus is at its greatest brightness during this month.

As Mars continues to approach Saturn in Virgo, it continues to fade and on the evening of the 14th at around 20h, (and here binoculars will help), you will find Saturn Mars and Spica forming a straight line in that order, top to bottom in the WSW at an altitude of just over 10°. All three are of almost the same brightness, with Spica being marginally brighter than the two planets. Look for the colour contrast between the three – Saturn, ivory, Mars, red dish, and Spica sparkles bluish white. By the 21st Mars has moved towards the east, so that the three form an equilateral triangle, and on that day, the waxing crescent moon joins the company to lie 2° below Spica, and almost touching the horizon. The next night at the same time around 20h, the broader waxing crescent lies 7° to the left of Mars. At the start of the month, Mars sets two hours after the sun, reducing to 70 mins after the sun at the month’s end. This is because of the low altitude of the planet in relation to the sun’s position. Jupiter now rises before midnight and is a splendid object in the morning sky. Never attaining the brilliancy of Venus, it nevertheless is the second brightest star-like object in the morning sky. The planet lies in the constellation of Taurus between the horns of the bull. After midnight, look for the ever-changing positions of the Galilean satellites in binoculars, which will also show Jupiter’s disc. The waning crescent moon, 5° below the Pleiades (Seven Sisters), may be seen approaching Jupiter on the 11th, during the morning. There is a pretty configuration between the waning crescent moon and Jupiter during the early morning of the 12th, when the angular distance separating the two is some 3°, enhancing the sky as you observe the Perseid meteors. Saturn remains at a low declination in the SW sky during the evening as twilight fades. It sets two hours after the sun at the beginning of the month, and one hour at the end. This is perhaps the last time until November you will be able to see the planet with its rings because it is running into sunlight, ending its evening apparition for the year.

As last month, Uranus in Pisces, and Neptune in Aquarius, the two remote gas giants can be seen as star like points in binoculars, but you need a good star map or computer programme to locate these distant worlds.

One of the best shooting star showers of the year peaks overnight between the 11th and 12th and the 12th to 13th. The maximum is predicted for 10h on the 12th.These meteors are called the Perseids, or the ‘Tears of St Lawrence’. Expect to see 75 or more shooting stars each hour, and especially in the early morning sky. Seeing conditions are good this year for this rich shower of fast meteors. There is always a high proportion of bright events which leave persistent trains. The Perseid meteors are associated with the Swift-Tuttle comet discovered in the nineteenth century. Constellations visible in the south around midnight, mid-month, are as follows: Capricornus, Aquarius, Equuleus (the Little Horse), Delphinus (The Dolphin) and Cygnus. The Milky Way is at the zenith, and spans the sky from the NE to the SW. All times are GMT 1° is one finger width at arm’s length. Add one Hour for Local Time (BST)

The Night Sky– John Harper: Sky Chart

Images Adrian Jennetta Hydrogen alpha view of the Sun with my little PST. About 10 images stacked from the Nikon D80 and processed with GIMP. Below: NexStar 102SLT with Baader solar film. Nikon D80, ISO800 1/320s (10 images) all at prime focus. Stacked and deblurred in

GIMP using the method I showed the other night at NASTRO

This months book comes from Paul Halpern ( http://phalpern.com ). Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond by Paul Halpern (John Wiley & Sons, 2012). Synopsis: These are extraordinary times for humanity's quest to understand the universe. Cosmology has entered an age of unprecedented precision. Long sought questions such as the age and shape of the universe have finally been resolved. We now know that the time since the Big Bang is 13.75 billion years. In contrast to earlier views that space could be curved or saddle-shaped, we now know that it is as flat as a pancake. Yet, despite these tremendous advances, science has come to realize that much of the universe is made of unknown substances and influences. More than 95 percent of the universe is made of dark energy and dark matter, with less than 5 percent constituting the familiar stuff of atoms, molecules, people, and planets. Dark energy makes itself felt through its unseen influence on galaxies, causing them to move away from each other at a faster and faster pace. Dark matter, on the other hand, steers the outer stars of galaxies, binding them to galactic cores. It also supplies the gravitational "glue" needed to keep clusters of galaxies intact. Experiments have failed so far to reveal the true nature of these mysterious entities. These are far from the only cosmological enigmas. A strange dark flow seems to be driving galaxy clusters toward an unknown destination. Scientists wonder if it could be a sign of tugs from regions beyond the observable universe. Indeed the theory of inflation, the leading explanation for why the observable is relatively uniform, offers the intriguing possibility that our universe is a mere drop in a vast cosmic sea called the multiverse. Researchers are examining the cosmic microwave background searching for signs of collisions with other universes. The cosmic microwave background offers ample conundrums. A strange alignment, called the "axis of evil," has perplexed astronomers. While other oddities, such as Stephen Hawking's initials displayed in the radio sky, can be explained by coincidence, could the "axis of evil" represent a preferred direction in the cosmos? Cosmic dragons, unidentified sources lurking in the gamma-ray fog, offer another intriguing puzzle. Is time travel possible? Does the universe have unseen extra dimensions? Could an advanced civilization construct traversible wormholes to expedite interstellar travel? What is the fate of the universe? Could there have been cycles of time before the Big Bang?

Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond explores these strange mysteries and more. It offers a passport to the frontiers of contemporary cosmology, examining the latest discoveries and debates in the scientific quest to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

Website: http://edgeofuniverse.com Amazon (USA): http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Universe-Voyage-Cosmic-Horizon/dp/0470636246 Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edge-Universe-Paul-Halpern/dp/0470636246

Young Astronomer Is Back…
Due to school and college exams we postponed young astronomer for a month or two, however this month we have a young astronomer Awel-Medi Evans.

My name is Awel-Medi Evans, I'm 16 and I'm very passionate about the universe & beyond. My passion for Astronomy & Planetary science is immeasurable. I absolutely love to gaze at the stars and to work out the constellations. I have had a very big interest in the subject since I was very young and throughout my childhood my interest and passion for astronomy and planetary science has kept growing. I find it so fascinating that the universe is so vast, our planet (Earth) is only a speck of dust in this galactic field. I don't really know what clicked my interest in astronomy, but I do remember seeing a comet when I was about 4 years old. I still remember its vibrant colours now. It's possible that that is the reason why I was so fascinated with space at a very young age. I also had a slight obsession with the moon, the stars and the clouds when I was young; I used to study them all the time, in the garden, out with family. They just kept drawing my attention. When I was 6 years old, I made a space book and I showed it to my teachers in school, they made me show it to all the teachers in year 3 & 4 and they were very impressed. I remember being the only one that had an interest in space in primary school (that I know of).. I also remember when another class were playing 'the weakest link' and a question associated with space popped up, they used to come get me from my class to answer the question for them! Oh, also I remember one day, when we got asked what we wanted to be in the future.. I answered 'an astronaut' many people were laughing at the time, but now I realise that it really isn't something to be laughed at. One of my idols, Cady Coleman was on board the ISS for 159 days! What an inspiration. My other inspirations are Dr Lucie Green, Professor Brian Cox, Professor Iain Stewart , Sir Patrick Moore and Dr Helen Czerski. They all specialise in the subjects I love the most and I love how they engage the public with their immense passion for space, geology, physics and more. Twitter has helped me interact with space enthusiasts around the world, it makes me feel a part of something big. Before twitter, I genuinely thought that I was the only one in Wales that had an interest in such a subject.. I have made many new helpful contacts via twitter, such as Jane MacArthur, Geraint Jones, Nick Howes, Virtual Astronomer and other really inspiring people. I would like to thank all of them for there kindness and advice through out my twitter 'career'. OK moment of truth I made a twitter account in 2010 as a belieber - how cringe worthy - I then noticed that people that had the same enthusiasm as me for space had a twitter too, so in

2011, I suddenly 'stopped' being a belieber and I began chasing the dream I always wanted to come true. I began to tweet NASA, and I have been fortunate enough to get some replies! I began to follow those with the same interests as me and people then began to follow me... I changed my twitter username to @Astro_Awel because I wasn't ashamed of being so enthusiastic about space.. Also, I noticed that many astronauts at NASA have 'astro_' before their name and that made me feel a closer to them. I had some help off my friend Glen to give me a boost with some publicity.. He gave me a shout out and I gained many followers, coincidently, many of them had an interest in space too! Recently, I have switched accounts to @AwelEvans Feel welcome to follow me! In the future, I hope to be a planetary scientist or a science TV presenter for the BBC. I want to do the same as Lucie Green; I want to engage the public with my passion for space & beyond. I want to draw the public's attention to the stars, to the planets and I want them to realise how lucky we are to live on such a unique and beautiful planet. Some people just don't realise how lucky we are and some don't have a clue about the vast complexity of the universe we belong to. As Bill Watterson said, “If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently.” At the moment, I don't have a very good telescope, I've has it since I was VERY young. It doesn't have a make. I'm currently searching for a new one and I'd love a Celestron C8 telescope or a telescope that is decent for planetary and some deep sky observing. My birthday is coming up so cross fingers that I get a telescope then! My favourite astronomical wonders are the Helix nebula, Aurora Borealis, Saturn's magnificent rings, Io's beautiful volcanic behaviour and Enceladus. I have always been interested in extra-terrestrial life and I believe that if we were to search for less complex life or traces of some less complex life forms, Enceladus would be one of the best places to look. You can follow Awel at http://astroawel.wordpress.com/

Life and Death of A Star
By D Bood

The universe is a vast and complex place. From earth we can look out and view the splendour of stars, planets and other astronomical objects. Technology has enabled us to look beyond our solar system and view the complex systems of clouds ,gas and dust. From the ‘Big Bang’ these clouds have been the interstellar nurseries for stars and planets alike.

Within this vastness of the universe nature is at hard at work creating and destroying. When a massive star dies and explodes it provides the building blocks for new stars and planets.

The Orion Nebula in Infra Red Spectroscopy Image: NASA

How does a star die? And Why?
Before we can look at the process of star death we need to look how a star is formed, what conditions start the process, which then lead to nuclear fusion. After the big bang the early universe was filled with cooling hydrogen, helium and degraded radiation. There may have been some high density objects such as black holes. As the gas and dust expanded, density fluctuations may have caused early galaxies and stars to form. The formation of a star starts when molecular clouds start to collapse; this can be caused by galaxies colliding, supernovas or gravitational energy from other stars. When the cloud collapses it becomes denser and generates internal heat. We could say the collapse occurs when its gravitational potential energy is greater than the internal thermal energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed however it can be transformed from one type of energy to another.

Birth of a Star
Molecular cloud begins to collapse slowly

Denser areas form in the cloud, these areas are where new protostars will form

As the collapse occurs protostars form, they are cool and very red (shown in orange for this illustration). The radiated energy comes from gravitational collapse.

Once the core becomes hot enough nuclear fusion will begin, converting Hydrogen (H) in Helium (He).

The new star is called a protostar, however what happens next depends on its size, if the newly formed star is too small it cannot reach stable luminosities by thermonuclear fusion of normal hydrogen. All stars and brown dwarfs produce energy by fusion of a rare isotope called deuterium in their first few million years, as the core contracts and gets hotter fusion of hydrogen begins. However a brown dwarf’s core may be dense enough to stop this contraction. Slightly larger brown dwarfs above 60 masses of Jupiter do begin hydrogen fusion then stabilise and fusion stops (Britannica Encyclopaedia). The brown dwarf will cool over billions of years and will become the same temperature

as the background universe (universe today).

Stars such as our sun will fuse hydrogen until the fuel source runs out. They will then start to fuse helium. This process is called proton – proton fusion. When hydrogen fusion ends the core will slightly collapse, fusion of the outer core and shell occur (helium), the star expands into what is called a red giant. When the red giant finishes expanding the outer layers cool, after a few more million years the star will become a white dwarf. It will lose its outer layers which may become planetary nebula.

Image above: Proton—Proton Fusion
Stars with medium to large masses will continue to fuse hydrogen. Depending on their size depends on the route they take for fusion. The life span of a star depends on how hot it becomes, the hotter the star the faster it fuses hydrogen, these stars will have a shorter life span than a slower fusing star. minor source of energy. In much more cooler stars this process does not work at all. Because of the size of these huge stars they have enough fuel to produce larger quantities of carbon and oxygen. The carbon and oxygen core will have enough mass that the gravitational forces are strong enough to collapse the core Massive stars go through beyond the white dwarf what is called a CNO cycle stage. The carbon and (Carbon-Nitrogen-Oxygen) oxygen will then fuse this is a sequence of creating heavier elements thermonuclear reactions. such as neon, sodium and This energy provides most magnesium. This fusion of the energy radiated by process emits energy, hotter stars. The process enough to keep the star does not work so well in burning. The process cooler stars and is only a eventually starts to

produce silicon and sulphur, when these start to fuse they form Iron. Iron is like poison to a nuclear reaction, once iron is produced the star begins to die. Fusion stops at the very centre of the core. With no fusion the star goes into the death throws, the outer layers begin to collapse towards the centre, the pressure becomes so great that the iron nuclei begin to touch. An immense shockwave is created. The shockwave high in energy particles spreads throughout the outer layers fusing together particles to create different elements; the shockwave also penetrates the core converting the iron protons and electrons into neutrons. The result is a powerful explosion resulting in a super nova which illuminates for a time period after the explosion. The end result which again depends on the core mass is a black hole, or a neutron star. A neutron star can be small in size but massive in density, they can rotate at phenomenal speeds. Where a star took a month to rotate (our sun 27 days) the neutron star can rotate one revolution per second. (Image credit: Demetris Nicolaides.) Information Sources: Wikipedia, Britannica, Cambridge University, Windows2universe.org,NASA, Universe Today

LETS TALK……
Astronomy Wise is always on the look out for interesting people to interview and this month is no exception. Well this month we have gone one better because we have two people, so all the way from the deep south (London Area) we have the chaps who write, produce and present the Awesome Astronomy podcast.

AW: Ralph when did you first become interested in Astronomy and Science? Science has always been a passion of mine, whether it’s the history of the geniuses who brought us out of the darkness of ignorance or a personal exploration of the natural world, there’s a battle going on inside every one us between the urge to explore and discover new things and the hard to suppress urge to accept the established ‘wisdom’. I remember as a kid using a toy telescope at my bedroom window to observe the moon – there were a lot of entries in my astronomy log book stating ‘Observations obscured due to cloud’! I wanted to be Patrick Moore back then. But recently it’s been moving to London, ironically, that has led to becoming more active in astronomy and astronomy outreach in particular. And the podcast’s a wonderfully informal and fun forum for astronomy education. AW: When did Tom first become interested in Astronomy and Science? I was fortunate enough to be gifted a passion for science and astronomy at a young age by my Dad. His childhood interest in the Apollo Programme would inspire him to join the RAF as a Fighter Pilot, and from the moment I could read, he was sharing his space books with me (Sir Patrick Moore’s ‘Moon Flight Atlas’ is a memorable favourite!) In many ways, the Moon and Man’s exploration of it was my gateway drug to the rest of astronomy, and I became addicted to stargazing as a hobby, quickly collecting far too many telescopes and eyepieces! I focused my Higher Education on Astrophysics and Space Technology, but after all of that, it is experience of being at the eyepiece that I regard as my true calling, and, not surprisingly, my career.

AW: Can you tell us about the astronomy scene in London? Ralph: Counter-intuitively, it’s incredible! We have some of the most light polluted skies in the world but it has so many people to introduce to astronomy. Having the RAS, BAA, many experienced astronomers and most of the country’s media outlets based here also helps to get the message out. Of course, the moon, Saturn and Jupiter look the same wherever you view them from and nothing sells astronomy better than letting someone see them for themself. Tom: Over the years, I’ve been a member of several societies, having moved around the UK quite a bit, but nothing could prepare me for London. Of course the skies are probably the worst in Europe, but I’ve never encountered a hungrier and more enthusiastic scene! I think the massive (and massively diverse) population yearns to push past the soupy orange skies with a level of determination not commonly seen in areas that enjoy much better conditions. AW: You have several websites can you tell us briefly about each one? Sure, it’s all about getting the astronomy message out. www.BakerStreetAstro.org.uk is home-base for the BSIA online, featuring the society news, info and forums, as well as special events and spin-off projects. The BSIA is central, both literally to the geography of London, but also figuratively to London’s astronomical community, providing free star parties in Regents Park each month attended by hundreds of people, and promoting astronomy in every way it can, including the launch for 2012 of a new UK Star Party, the Irregular AstroCamp in the Brecon Beacons. www.Astros.org.uk is the listings, a directory for Astronomers in the Pub - a young spin-off project from the BSIA, which periodically hosts free talks in a pub-setting with an astronomy speaker, and the occasional pub-quiz from Ralph, the astro quiz master! www.AwesomeAstronomy.com is the website for a Tom & Ralph collaboration to spread the astronomy word further through a podcast. We’ve been floored by the positive response to (and download figures for) this project, which shows that the astronomy community is still on a very sound footing. www.ActiveAstronomy.org is my (Ralph’s) website focused squarely on providing beginner to mid-level astronomy advice and help through free software, apps, podcasts, sky guides, citizen science projects and tutorials. www.TomKerss.co.uk is my (Tom’s) personal website, which is an essential tool as a freelancer. Most people who ask me to work on their projects, write or present for them, find me through this page, where they can also find out what I’m currently involved with. Astrophilosophy.co.uk is the site for my (Tom’s) upcoming book, which in the spirit of an ambitious interplanetary mission, will probably take years to complete! At the risk of making a bad

pun, you’ll have to watch this space for news about the release, which I very much hope will be some time in 2013. AW: Looking at the new Awesome Astronomy Podcast what made you both decide to write, produce and present a podcast? Ralph: We just love talking about astronomy and through the outreach we run, we get no shortage of questions and a good feel for what astronomy enthusiasts want to know. I like the more sensational side of astronomy, you know, exoplanets, asteroid impacts & space missions - the popular science, if you like. Tom’s the astrophysicist with a love of pure astronomy and has a background as an astronomy communicator on TV and radio. We discussed doing something like this almost as soon as we met, so it was only a matter of time until it happened. Tom: I can only mirror Ralph’s sentiments here. All of astronomy, from the staggering progress of the last 400 years, to the near daily discoveries - so awesome, that they flirt with the science-fiction dreams of our childhoods – and the mere fact that we can gaze out at innumerable other worlds… the whole field just catalyses great discussions. Deep discussions, about everything in the universe (even that yet to be discovered) and about ourselves. We relish the conversation, as many others do, and we decided to put it on the internet, and, so far, it seems to have been well received! AW: How do you think social media has changed Astronomy and science? Ralph: Oh, beyond belief! You only have to see the dynamic astronomy community on Twitter to realize how much energy’s being created by astroimagers, curious novices and astro-news junkies. If you’re not using Twitter and Facebook as a minimum, you’re going nowhere because it’s the greatest communication tool in the history of mankind! If you have the time and ability to do something like Astronomy-Wise online, you’re making an even more welcome contribution. But everyone has a voice now and that’s the exciting thing – the freeflow of ideas from Tahrir Square to the ATLAS detector at CERN – because we all have the ability to filter out the noise and concentrate on the content we’re interested in. We have exponentially more information now and, if we want to, we can read, write or listen to astronomy stories all day with just an internet connection. Tom: First and foremost, I think social media has raised the profile of astronomy in the minds of young people. What has, for many years, been somewhat stigmatised as an antiquated hobby has now regained its rightful status as a very cool pursuit. More importantly, however, the Internet has facilitated astrojournalism in a way that traditional media still largely fails to do. Remarkable and awe-inspiring things are discovered, reiterated and shared every day to millions online, most of which go unreported in the papers, or on news channels, whose primary focus is on a wholly more depressing catalogue of human affairs. Lastly, social networks have enabled the creation of a global astronomical community. Societies can be born out of a handful of emails, and instantly placed on the map for all to see and engage with. Social networks bring like-minded astronomers

closer together, and as Ralph and I favour a social approach to astronomy, we’ve always agreed that this is a great thing.

(The Widescreen Centre) so I get to use everything from small refractors to huge Newtonians but I’m currently found imaging mostly with a 4.5” triplet refractor, which is great for mid-sized DSO, lunar & planetary work. You’d be AW: Apart from internet based hard pushed to persuade me to swap the projects what else do you both do? contrast of lenses for the aperture of mirrors. Ralph: I work in R&D, so there’s a Tom: Oh boy, that’s a big question! I’m a science link there, but travelling and committed refractor man, and like Ralph skiing are my other passions – oh, and tutting at people who don’t walk fast I just adore the deep contrast and rich enough in the London underground. saturation of a small apochromat, even Tom: I work in astro-equipment over a larger mirror. In the interest of consultancy and freelance portability, I typically use refractors from communication. Like Ralph I love to about 4.5” down to 1” (yes, really!) or a travel, but I’m not so keen on skiing pair of 10x50 binoculars. I’m a bit of a (sorry mate!) I love culture, museums, gear-freak for astronomy equipment, so cinema and just generally spending time it’s best not to get me talking about it with my girlfriend and my family. I’m also unless you have a lot of free time! keen on meditation and mindfulness. AW: (Tom) Can you tell us something about your recent trip to Hawaii? It was a truly unforgettable experience. Between hanging out with sea turtles, flying in a doors-off heli over an active volcano, and the last transit of Venus in my lifetime, I’ve never been so happy to suffer days of flying and jetlag! You can hear all about the more astronomically themed experiences in Episode 3 of Awesome Astronomy, as well as reading a little about the event hosted on Mauna Kea in the July issue of Astronomy Now.

AW: What equipment do you both use for viewing the wonders of the universe? Ralph: We’re really lucky to run the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers with the owner of a telescope shop

AW: Higgs Boson what does it mean to you (Ralph/Tom)? Ralph: There were a few tears on the 4th July, I have to admit. It strengthens the case for the standard model but more importantly we understand mass and gravity better now. We knew how sub atomic particles stick together to form matter but, until we confirmed the existence of the Higgs, we had no particle to make large scale matter clump together – eek no universe! But actually it’s the unexpected stuff that’ll come out of CERN when they crank it up to 14TeV IN 2014 that gets me most excited. Tom: Science is awesome. Discoveries like this are awesome-er. Whilst I’m fairly confident that the Standard Model, with its experimentally robust but ultimately messy fleet of particles and fields, will inevitably be subsumed into more elegant physics, there can be no denying that a “Higgs-like” confirmation is a major stride, and will enable both new answers and new questions on the nature of mass, one of the most mysterious properties of matter in established theory. Hearty congratulations to all involved! (Image top left: The Baker Street Irregulars, BBC Sky At Night )

Irregular Astro Camp 2012
Dr Watson, tell me about the Irregular Astro Camp? Well, dear chap, the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers - who also go by the moniker Central London’s Astronomical Society - gather each month in Regent’s Park for a free observing evening. It’s a social gathering of likeminded folk!

For the Irregular Astro Camp, we’re adding the one thing that London can’t offer – truly light pollution free skies. But there’ll still be the usual party atmosphere, friendly help to get the best from the night sky, an opportunity for some astrophotography and, for some, an opportunity to see the splendours of the night sky for the 1st time.

And what’s more, it’s an open invitation for anyone to come along!

What if people don’t have scopes of their own or don’t know their way around the night sky? Don’t worry one bit. We know that astronomy can be daunting at first. We’ll have plenty of scopes for you to look through and you can learn from others at your own pace. Astronomers enjoy talking about astronomy so don’t be afraid to ask anything.

I guarantee you’ll leave knowing a lot more about astronomy and the night sky than when you arrived!

That sounds fun. Where and when will it be? Fun is our primary aim – we often call our gatherings ‘social occasions with astronomy thrown in’, but the dark skies of the Brecon Beacons will allow us to fully explore the night skies - and allow the more serious astronomers and astrophotographers to join the Irregularities on 8th and 9th September 2012.

We’ll arrive on the Friday and stay for two nights, leaving on the Sunday.

Will it be expensive? Heavens, no! We'll be heading over to a campsite where you can bring a motorhome, caravan or pitch a tent for just £25 – and that’s for both nights!

Of course, if camping strikes fear into your hearts, there are a few hotels within ten miles of the campsite. This option is just £10 - but we'd much rather you had a sleepover with us.

Isn’t this all a bit daunting for dwellers of one of the finest cities in the world? Not a bit of it (…well, maybe just a bit). Although we’ll be miles away from any towns, we’ve ensured there’ll be free wifi covering the whole camp so you can leave the city but take civilisation with you.

But this event isn’t just for members of the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers. We welcome anyone to join us from the experienced astronomer to the 1st timer. The Brecon Beacons are centrally(ish) located to make it easier for anyone, wherever they live, to come along. We love making new friends and look forward to meeting new people.

This all sounds very nocturnal. What will there be to do during the day? Sleep! Lots of lovely sleep after a long night exploring the universe!

We’ll have safe solar observing throughout the day and we’re planning an Astronomers in the Pub event with speakers and an astro pub quiz. If the weather permits we’ll round off the Saturday with a free group barbeque - or starbeque, if you’ll permit me a bon mot!

So give me the skinny: what do people need to know in a nutshell? 7th & 8th September 2012 Brecon Beacons £25 per person (camping on site) or £10 per person (if not camping on site) More info available from www.ActiveAstronomy.org, Twitter: @2012IAC, or ralph@bakerstreetastro.org.uk

Come one, come all - the game is afoot!

Irregular Astro Camp 2012

Science Talk….
Physics 101—Liam Edwards talks about Higgs Boson There is a little corner on the internet called YouTube. This social media outlet gives people to opportunity to create media about their chosen subject. One such person is young Liam Edwards who as a passion for science. Liam is running a series called Physics 101, where he talks on different subjects. Episode 2 talks about Higgs Boson. So we have all seen the main stream media take on the Higgs Boson subject. So lets look at Higgs Boson from a young enquiring mind. Physics 101 Ep. 2 Click on Image to See Video

Hello again viewer! Welcome to Physics 101’s second episode. In this episode I will be talking about something that some of you probably have never heard of and that is the Higgs Boson. I was going to make a Higgs Boson video but it would be a later video, but because of a seminar that took place at CERN in Geneva on the 4th of July this year, I thought I

would release the video sooner than planned. So without further ado, let’s get this video started. Firstly, I need to tell you about something called the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Physicists have developed a theory called The Standard Model that explains what the world is and what holds it together. It is a simple theory that explains all the hundreds of particles and complex interactions between them. Imagine the Standard Model as a jig-saw where

all the particles in it are pieces that fit together. Now imagine there is one piece missing in that jig-saw. This piece is the Higgs Boson. The Higgs Boson is an elementary particle whose possible discovery was announced on July 4th, 2012. It was predicted by the Standard Model. More investigation is needed to confirm whether or not the particle exists. All the Higgs Boson’s in the Universe combine to make something called the Higgs Field. The Higgs Field is everywhere! And all the other particles (except photons which are particles of light) interact with this field and therefore acquire mass. Here’s an analogy describing the Higgs Boson: The Higgs Field is shown here as a room of physicists chatting among themselves. A well-known scientist walks into the room and causes a bit of a stir - attracting admirers with each step and interacting strongly with them - signing autographs and stopping to chat. As he becomes surrounded by admiring fans, he finds it harder to move across the room - in this analogy, he acquires mass due to the "field" of fans, with each fan acting like a single Higgs boson. If a less popular scientist enters the room, only a small crowd gathers, with no-one clamouring for attention. He finds it easier to move across the room - by analogy, his interaction with the bosons is lower, and so he has a lower mass. As I said before, the Higgs is the particle which gives every other particle (except photons) mass. The main place where experiments are held to try to find the Higgs is at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and on the 4th July 2012, physicists at CERN have revealed that they have found a new boson, but whether or not it is the Higgs remains to be seen. The way particle physicists were looking for the Higgs was by colliding 2 seven-Terra electron volts (TeV) (equivalent to 110,000 Joules) proton beams. But the LHC is shutting down at the end of this year until 2015 because they are upgrading the power of the LHC from 7-TeV to 14-TeV which gives us the hope of discovering new things e.g. new particles, answers to dark matter and super symmetry. So that’s the end of the video and I would like to thank you for watching and I hope you have learnt something from this video. Please leave a like, favourite the video and leave a comment telling me what physics-related topics you would like me to cover next. Thanks.

Science Talk….
By Edward Dutton
The Michelson and Morley experiment has been classified as the one of the largest failed experiments of the 20th Century. But was it?... For those who are unaware of this experimentation it was initial performed by a Polish physicist named Albert Abraham Michelson and a physical chemist named Edward Williams Morley. It involved of the construction of the interferometer which was designed to discover changes in the Ether - a theoretical body in space that could be measured to determine Absolute Motion. This Absolute Motion is the concept of when there is no motion, at all, none whatsoever. This means that the real speed of the Earth, the Sun, the Moon etc can be calculated and discovered. This also means that the speed of light could be altered by its position against this Ether. An experiment was made to research this. Using a source of light that was fired into a partial mirror. This was used so that there would be 2 coherent (exactly the same) light sources could be created from one light source. The mirror was used so they went into perpendicular directions, so one could be tested against the Ether. All together, they called this contraption the Interferometer. With this bit of kit they manage to record whether or not there was an Ether (using very complicated techniques such as diffraction which I will not go into). If there was light travelling against the Ether it would be slower than the light travelling perpendicular to it. If this hypothesis was correct the Ether would completely revolutionise all of the physics laws and require a completely new slate to work with completely destroying Einstein's idea of relativity. It is very important to understand This would mean that being able to go faster than the speed of light without altering the spacetime continuum would be possible. How awesome! Unfortunately, the experiment was a disaster. The differences in the shift were so small that the predicted error was greater. In conclusion this experiment has been named the biggest failed experiment of all time (Google it if you don't believe me). Michelson was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for hiscreation of the interferometer but not the work with this experiment. He got something at least, 'ey?

Blackpool & District Astronomical Society (BADAS) is a growing and active society in the North West of England and has around thirty members from novices to experienced observers and imagers. Meetings take place on the first Wednesday of every month, at St Kentigerns Parish Centre, Newton Drive, Blackpool. Meetings are friendly, quite informal and beginners are especially welcome. Joining an astronomy club can be daunting to those just starting out in the hobby. So BADAS tries to encourage new members by advising them each month what fascinating wonders can be seen in the night sky, either with modest equipment or none at all. BADAS also help and advise members who are considering purchasing astronomical equipment. In addition they try to engage and enthuse established members who are trying to progress in the hobby by having regular "members' sessions" after the main speaker has finished on their meeting nights. The society hold regular star parties and observing sessions, weather permitting, either where they meet at the club or at a rural location near Blackpool. Membership subs are £20 per year, and unlike many other societies they meet all year round. Visitors are welcome and your first meeting is free.

Please see the BADAS website for further details - www.blackpoolastronomy.org.uk - You can also follow their twitter account @badas_tweets.

www.blackpoolastronomy.org.uk

NEPTUNE is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. It is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass.
Atmosphere Hydrogen 80% +/- 3.2% Helium 19% +/- 3.2% Methane 1.5% +/- 0.5% Hydrogen Deuteride 0.019% Ethane 0.00015%

Ices
Ammonia Water Ammonium Hydrosulfide Methane (possible)

Neptune Compared to the Earth

How Big?
Mass 1.0243×1026 kg Volume 6.254×1013 km3 Diameter 49,500 km Mean Density 1.638 g/cm3

Orbit
A day on Neptune lasts 16 hour and 7 minutes One year on Neptune is about 165 Earth years, or 60,265 day

Credits Image: NASA Facts: Universe Today & Wikipedia Click links to view

http://stargazyisland.blogspot.co.uk/
The mysterious Stargazy Island is deserted save for an Astronomy Complex but it is currently empty and needs equipment. Shipwrecked astronomers are invited to complete 10 questions for the Visitors Register then nominate one piece of equipment they would donate for others to use. Some 22 Astronomers /Scientists have now been castaways on Stargazy Island. They represent a wide-range of backgrounds and interests that include Astro-Physics; Cosmology; Space Engineering; Art; Poetry, and Novels but one thing we (since I am one of them) all share is a passion for Astronomy and the Allied Sciences. How fascinating it has been to learn how each person first became interested, some from childhood and some from later on in life! How exciting it has been to learn what they feel they could bring to a deserted Island particularly one boasting an empty Astronomy and Science Complex! No-one has chosen the same item to donate. There has always been a wide variety in the island (particularly position-wise) chosen and a wide variety in the famous Scientist each would take as a Man Friday too. Every story is inspiring. The answers show contagious enthusiasm, visionary ideas, forward-looking optimists and a general belief that it is only a matter of time before Life is found outside this planet. As a child at school I was told you could not be an artist and a scientist at the same time; that the two do not sit well together. I believe Stargazy Island proves once and for all that this is not the case. You have to be an artistic dreamer or a visionary to postulate theories, ideas and engineering concepts. It helps too if you have the analytical, logical mind of a scientist when writing fiction (particularly crime or sci-fi) and accurate AstroPaintings or Astro- Poetry. As a musician too I first heard the ‘sounds’ of the Universe at an Astro-Fair locally and think this is a new and exciting aspect of Astronomy. I would love to play in a group that included Einstein on his violin; Feynman on his drums; Brian May on his electric guitar and Patrick Moore on his xylophone. Bach showed mathematical genius in his Fugues. Whether an Astronomer or Scientist or an artist who loves Science, please know there is a welcome waiting for you on Stargazy Island. Here are the

questions I posed on the Visitor’s Book Questionnaire :VISITORS BOOK QUESTIONNAIRE 1. How did you get inspired to take up Astronomy or Science? 2.When did you get your first piece of Astronomy or Scientific equipment and what was it ? 3.What was the first thing you identified other than the Moon? 4.What is the most exciting astronomical or scientific experience you have had to date? 5.What object in the night-sky or experiment would you like to see that you haven't seen yet? 6.What sort of island would you like to be shipwrecked on and where? 7. Which famous Astronomer or Scientist would you take as your Man Friday? 8. What discovery would you most like to make or wish you had made? 9. Do you think there is extra-terrestrial life in the Universe? 10.What piece of equipment would you most like to donate to the empty Astronomy & Science Complex on the island? STARGAZY ISLAND has also an offshoot on Facebook though it is in its infancy. There are 5 members already and I haven’t yet had time to promote it. The idea is to take that island community further with discussion about how scientists stranded on an island would actually structure a new community from scratch. What would we build? What priorities would we have? Could we be on an island in Space colonising? What would our priorities be then? All these questions really interest me greatly. As a toddler I always told my parents I intended to live on a desert island alone (well with imaginary friends as I had quite a few of them as a child). All through my life the idea has fascinated me and I have visited many Islands (even been stranded on a deserted one). Colonising Space interests me. I wonder how humans would fare surviving in Space. Would we create something new or just re-create what we have on Earth? As scientists and Engineers would be key I wondered if we could create online a little experiment on Stargazy Island. There are 5 of us there already. Do you want to join us? I am thinking of creating a second parallel experiment for the ISLAND OF BOOKS, a challenge to the authors to do likewise. What sort of colony would writers create? How would it differ if at all? I have been interested in survival all my life, to be honest you have to be living on this planet. Would we create a new colony or re-create what we left behind? It’s such an interesting thought to me. If others feel the same I hope you would take up the challenge to join me on both islands on FB.

FELICITY LENNIE
Science-wise as a child my passion was Volcanoes (after Paricutin grew from fissure I kept checking our garden for cracks) and Earthquakes (inspired by Clark Gable/Jeanette McDonald movie 'San Francisco seen with my Gran on a wet Sunday afternoon). I knew stars etc but from a rural background not Astronomy as such. The older members of my family could read ‘signs’ in Nature, the countryside, the sky (weather) and particularly the night sky since ‘planting’ in the old days was geared to it. I eagerly learned from them. It has often come in handy through my life. Wanting to impress a boyfriend, James I sat in on Astronomy classes but my teacher, Captain Day was so totally brilliant, his infectious passion for the subject rubbed off on me. Unfortunately he died of cancer and Plymouth Planetarium was named after him. James & I were married within two months of his class. Carl Sagan inspired me into Cosmology and the housewife in Monty Python into collecting Theories as a hobby. Chaos Theory is a favourite since I’m a fan of Jeff Goldblum and being in hospital when ‘Jurassic Park’ was on, read the book instead which was filled with Chaos Theory. I love the bit where he says ‘Life will always find a way.’ Too right!! At High School I volunteered to be a guinea pig for Logic lessons after A Levels and found a love that has lasted my whole life. I love creating vast complex puzzles within my brain and that is one of the reasons I like to write novels. I don’t keep notes. Everything is in my head like some gigantic labyrinth of data. The secret is what information you give out and when; what mis-information ‘red herrings’ you can get away with. It is like being a magician … all sleight of hand. Is the reader paying attention to the right data or are they being distracted by the realistic quirks and vagaries of the characters. How long can I keep the reader completely in the dark? I love writing for all these reasons and though I suspect I shall never make a living from it, I actually love it most when a reader comes to me and says ‘I didn’t see that coming but now I look back I can see the pattern.’ Life is about patterns so are puzzles …. Codes (which I love) … mathematics … my heroine Ada Byron understood this….. and so are novels. Like Ada I do tapestries and they help me weave my storylines. My Books are here

http://www.felicity-lennie.com/

JAMES LENNIE I was inspired into Astronomy through my father. His family were all engineers and also had a business making telescopes, opera glasses, spectacles, drawtube refractors in Edinburgh since 1830. My Grand Father was a navigating officer and he also taught me about the stars when I was 5-6 years old My first astronomical equipment was a 1.5 inch refractor and I was 6 years old, still remember the sense of amazement when I turned it towards the Moon. I also saw the 4 moons of Jupiter with it. After this when I was 8, I made my own telescope, a 4 inch reflector including grinding the main mirror and building the mount and mirror cell which my father supervised of course ! After seeing the Moon landing in 1969 I really believed colonisation of Space would take place in my lifetime so I am quite disappointed that I am still living on this planet as I had big plans. I love my telescopes, binoculars and camera since it is my only way to journey into Space at the moment. My wife bought me a ticket to the Moon for real but so far nothing has come of those grand plans. I have been an Engineer all my life and I like invention so I have been responsible for various improvements in machinery over the years (including my own at home). My aunt worked at Woomera Rocket range as a Chemical Engineer and for some years I built amateur rockets myself with my wife. I am writing a large epic novel about Dinosaurs because they are another of my long-term interests and I have some theories about both their contribution to our development and their demise. Another great hobby of mine is Radio-Controlled Model Helicopters though lately I do not get much chance to fly as the weather has not let me. My great ambition in life is to end it on another planet in another Star System but not the one featured in ‘Alien’ (which with ‘Predator’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ is probably my favourite series of films.) I like to read and watch films in the Sci-Fi and Horror genres. On the quiet though my favourite character in any novel is ‘Darcy’ in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ who my wife thinks I resemble. I also like my wife’s character ‘Edison Landrake’ as she says it is based on me. (one of the perks of having a novelist wife.)

The 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower “The Tears of St Lawrence”
The night sky by John Harper F.R.A.S President, and founder of Scarborough & Ryedale Astronomical Society (1976)

Peaking overnight between the 11th and 12th and again over the night of the 12th and 13th, we have the maximum of perhaps the greatest ‘shower’ of shooting stars in the whole year; ‘The Tears of St Lawrence’, known astronomically as the ‘Perseids’. The Perseid season starts in late July and continues to well past the middle of August. Sky watchers outdoors at the right time, and for the nights just before and immediately after the night of 11th/12th may see occasional outbursts, and almost always, long hours of gracefully streaking meteors. The alternative and poetic name “the Tears of St Lawrence” originated following the martyrdom of that saint on August 10th in the year 258 AD, in Rome. The early Christian Church was being persecuted at the time, by order of the Emperor Valerian, and its leaders arrested and put to death. The churches were looted for their treasures to fill the emperor’s coffers to pay his soldiers. Lawrence was a Christian deacon in one of Rome’s churches, and was arrested. The Prefect ordered him to go back to his church for the valuables and to return with them straight away. Lawrence however, gathered together the poor people of his ‘parish’ and brought them to the prefect saying, “These people are what the Church values most!”. Obviously, the Prefect was not amused, and ordered that Lawrence should be burned to death on a gridiron. After he had been martyred in this rather barbaric way, his followers saw the Perseid shooting stars during the following nights. They believed them to be from Lawrence, who was shedding tears in Heaven for the persecution and suffering that the early Christians were undergoing at the time. Scalby parish church is dedicated to St. Lawrence, and scenes from his life and martyrdom are depicted in the east window above the high altar. The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle, a dirty snowball, 17 miles in diameter that crosses the Earth’s path every 133.25 years. Although this comet is nowhere near Earth at the present moment, the debris from the comet’s wide tail does intersect Earth's orbit around now. We pass through it each year in July and August, and tiny bits of comet dust hit Earth's atmosphere travelling at 132,000 mph. At that speed, even a tiny speck of dust makes a vivid streak of light when it disintegrates, resulting in a bright shooting star, which we can see. The shower is most intense as Earth passes through the dustiest part of the comet’s path, and this happens during the morning of the 12th, at 10h UT this year Perseid meteors seem to radiate from the direction of the constellation of Perseus, named after the Greek hero who severed the fearsome head of Medusa the Gorgon, hence their name. The best time to watch is from the late evening on Saturday 11th, and as the night progresses, shooting star numbers increase as the constellation of Perseus climbs higher in the eastern sky. Most meteors will be seen during the hours before sunrise, when Perseus is high in the sky, between 2 a.m. and dawn on Sunday, August 12th. Make sure you are in the darkest part of your garden, well away from streetlights. Moonlight should not interfere, as the moon is a waning, crescent, a couple of days after Last Quarter. Rising in the early hours Given fine weather, before morning twilight gets too bright, it may be possible to see several dozen meteors an hour before dawn. Just get the sun lounger out, lie on it, and look straight up. However, I would advise you to warn the neighbours, otherwise they may begin to worry about the state of your health if by chance they

see you lying there at a strange hour! Finally, a word about Comet Swift –Tuttle, the parent body of the August shooting stars Americans, Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, working independently, discovered the comet in 1862. Three years later Giovanni Schiaparelli (of Martian "canali" fame. He was the first man to “see” the fictitious “canals”) realized that this comet was the source of the Perseid meteors. He also realised that the comet could come quite close to Earth, but in those days no one worried about such things. The idea that comets and asteroids might threaten our planet was not widely accepted until the 1980s. Then astronomers began to wonder. Comet Swift-Tuttle is big, almost twice as big as the asteroid or comet that wiped out dinosaurs 65 million years ago. In 1992, when the comet made its last crossing of the earth’s orbit, new computer technology, working on observations of the comet’s path and its movements, indicated that the very next time the comet returns, on August 14th in the year 2126, Swift-Tuttle might strike the earth or moon. Chances are that this will not happen, due to a number of variables, but the comet will be a spectacular object filling much of the sky. The situation in 4479 however, could be very different, when the comet is predicted to come even nearer on September 15 th in that year! So the question is; does comet Swift – Tuttle have the earth name written all over it? But for now, relax in your sun lounger, and. enjoy the show - weather permitting, as always!. Articels: John Harper Graphic generated using Stellarium Software

Astronomer Profile….
This month we are featuring Astronomer profile, this is something we featured when we started the Astronomy Wise newsletter. I am pleased that Neil Samples from Scarborough has finally agreed to feature in this months EZine. time and time again which would revolutionize space travel, from that moment I couldn't wait for the future to get here and witness the flight of the Space Transport System, the Space Shuttle. Anyway on the 4th June 1983 my radio alarm clock woke me up at the preset time of So without further a do 7am the news was on and here is Mr Samples. I wasn't paying too much interest and it was only I'd had an interest in when i had got to work and astronomy to a degree having a conversation with when i was young like someone that a thought most people, I remember popped into my head and when i was 10 and Neil that the space was coming Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to England landed on the moon, I also somewhere...had I remember that as a child dreamed it or was it real? in 1971 my mum collected Sheepishly I rang East Midlittle cards that used to lands airport which was my come with packets of tea, local airport at the time Brook Bond tea it was, and asked them if they had there was one set called heard anything about it, "race into space" and it half expecting to be had different rockets etc. laughed at, but no it was etc. but there was a true and it was travelling picture of this new on the back of a 747 futuristic looking space aircraft from the Paris vehicle that could be used airshow landing at Stansted airport and then back home to America. Where's Stansted airport? I asked, It's a very little airport down in Essex. So that was it early the next morning Tina and i and two friends set off for this little airport in Essex apparently along with another 200 000 to witness this spectacle. Armed with my camera we waited the arrival of this 747 with the Space Shuttle on it's back.....and it didn't disappoint either, it was jaw dropping, I nearly forgot that i had a camera with me and was just mesmerised by the majestic beauty that this vehicle displayed, but I managed to take the photographs that you see below. This one is called ENTERPRISE and was actually named this because of the tv show but this one never actually made it into space, it has flown into the upper reaches of our atmosphere

but this was a development Shuttle and not intended for space flight. My only regret was that I never actually went to America to witness one of these taking off for a space journey but never mind, hope you enjoy the pictures. As a footnote to this story, security wasn't as strict then as it is now. It's unthinkable how close we were allowed to get to witness this event, can you imagine how far away you have to be in this current security climate?

In The News from World Wide Web

A fishy Tail…. Science Daily reported on
July 25th 2012, that an Aquatic Habitat sponsored by The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) will study microgravity impacts on marine life on the ISS. Scientists will study multiple implications of the microgravity on fish. They will look at the impacts of radiation, bone degradation, Muscle atrophy and development biology. Source Science Daily

Titan……
July the Cassini spacecraft flew past Titan at a distance of 629 miles or 1012 Km. The mission was to detect Reflected light coming off one of Titan’s lakes Kivu Lacus in the northern hemisphere. Using visible and infrared spectrometer or VIMS the spacecraft

will analyse the reflected light.

Dust Devil On Mars
Click image to see YouTube Video

The above image shows an Aquatic Habitat, or AQH, specimen chamber housing Medaka fish for study. (Credit: JAXA)

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Univ. of Arizona A dust devil was photographed on the Martian surface last month. From the shadow the dust plume was 800m high. The image was photographed by the High Resolution Imagining Science Experiment or HiRISE for short.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

In The News from World Wide Web

Curiosity Rover

Curiosity Landing Site

August 6th 2012 sees what has been dubbed “7 minutes of Terror” , the Curiosity Rover hopefully descending and landing on the Martian surface. Images: NASA

Image Above: NASA Click Youtube icon To see video

Building My Solar Tube for A Meade ETX 70 Scope
With summer in full swing (oh dear), getting out to view the stars can mean staying up late, which is not always easy or practical. So why not view our nearest star, the sun. Now to view the sun you need the correct equipment, never look at the sun directly or you will cause your eyes damage or blindness. Equipment can be expensive, however you can make a solar tube or funnel for under £10 or under a fiver.

Materials
1. 2. 3. 4. Cardboard tube Tracing paper Black card Tape or glue

Equipment
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Hacksaw Scissors Tape Measure Pencil Drill

Firstly I had to get a tube, so I popped to my local B&Q and asked if they had any cardboard tubes. To my delight they gave me two tubes approx. 1 meter in length. Each tube had a closed plastic end, ideal for the eyepiece. I then purchased some black card and tracing paper.

Method
Taking the tube I measured 250mm from the end and marked with a pencil. I then cut the tube with the hacksaw. For safety I made sure the tube was secure so it could not move.
250mm

The tube I obtained had a diameter of100mm. This tube had a plastic end cap, however you could make an end cap using thick card or plywood. I wanted to find the centre of the end cap so I could fit the eye piece in a central position.
Fig 2.

Fig 1.

The simplest way to find the centre of a circle is to measure the diameter then half for the radius. Mark the centre point as shown if Fig. 2 Again securing the tube drill a pilot hole in the marked place. Depending on your eye piece drill a hole so the eyepiece fits snuggly into position. Test your eyepiece for fitting and tidy the drilled hole as required. Remove the eyepiece and remove any swarf form the tube. Next using the black card I inserted the card into the tube, I then marked off its length and diameter so the card had a nice fit inside the tube. Once trimmed I inserted the card into the tube and using sellotape I taped the card where the two ends joined. Using the tracing paper I put it over the other end of the tube, the tracing paper needs to be tight, The tracing paper is where the sun image will be projected, so get out as many creases as possible. Using sellotape secure the tracing paper. For cosmetic reasons I used black card on the outer of the tube. Observing the sun safely Whenever you observe the sun, with any technique, you must put safety first. The key to successful solar projection, including use of the Sun Tube, is to use the right kind of telescope – one that can tolerate having full-strength sunlight pass through the optical train – and to use an eyepiece that doesn’t have any plastic in it. We’ll say it again: we recommend using a refractor (a telescope with a front lens) – not a reflector (unless you stop it down to a 1 or 2 inch aperture), and never a mirror-lens telescope – and a decent-quality commercial eyepiece. Also, remove any finder scopes. Disclaimer: Astronomy Wise is not responsible for damage to equipment or persons. The article is for reference only. Viewing the sun should only be done by a competent person. The tube was fitted and used on a Meade ETX 70 scope. light passes through the lens and eyepiece, the image is then projected onto the tracing paper. Using your focuser Adjust the image so it becomes in focus. Sun spots can be observed using this method.

And Finally...
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