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Jan Newsletter - Longmont Astronomical Society

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Pleiades by LAS member Brian KimballM31 by LAS member Jim Pollock<strong>Longmont</strong> Astronomy <strong>Society</strong> <strong>Newsletter</strong><strong>Jan</strong>uary 2011


Upcoming EventsThe annual banquet meeting is Sunday, <strong>Jan</strong>uary 23 rd at the Armadillo Restaurant, 700Ken Pratt. Event begins around 5:15 pm, dinner at 6 pm. Bill Possel will give apresentation at 7 pm on the Mars Volatile Evolution or MAVEN mission. Price is $20 perperson including gratuity. Note that we will not meet at the regular time or place this<strong>Jan</strong>uary.After Bill’s presentation we have officer elections for 2011. Those nominated at theDecember meeting are:ALCor: Gary Garzone<strong>Newsletter</strong> Editor: J.D. BirchmeierPresident: Vern RabenTreasurer: Michael FellowsVice President: Bill TschumyWebmaster: Brian SimpsonIn the sky this month:Meteor Showers - nonePlanetsMercury:greatest elongation was on the 9 th , so its starting to sink in the east at sunriseVenus:astoundingly bright in the southeast, high at sunrise, but it's starting to sink, withthe greatest elongation on <strong>Jan</strong> 8 th .Mars:close to the Sun, maybe May?Jupiter:still bright in the south at sunset, sets around 11Saturn:rises about midnight, high in the south at sunrise and the rings are beginning toopen again.Interesting Stars/GalaxiesTake a look at the Horsehead (check out the pictures at the end of the newsletter), watchthe South belt reforming on Jupiter, watch the white spot of Saturn growing,Club Calendar:Next meeting: IHOP in <strong>Longmont</strong> on February 17 th , 7:00, earlier for dinner andconversation.School Star PartiesThe 2011 school star party season is beginning. We have requests for scopes andvolunteers from Carrie Martin Elementary in Loveland on Friday <strong>Jan</strong>uary 28 th and fromLegacy Elementary in Frederick on Tuesday February 15 th .Fiske Planetarium:Admission costs $3.50 for kids and seniors and $6 for adultsColorado Skies: Dwarf Planets Start Time: Thursday, <strong>Jan</strong>uary 20, 2011, 7:30pmMany Faces of Hubble Friday, <strong>Jan</strong>uary 21, 2011, 7:30pmKids in Space Saturday, <strong>Jan</strong>uary 22, 2011, 2:00pm


Colorado Skies: Lunar Science (with Matt Benjamin) Thursday, <strong>Jan</strong>uary 27, 2011,7:30pmThe Crowded Sky (orbital debris) Friday, <strong>Jan</strong>uary 28, 2011, 7:30pmApollo 13: A Successful Failure Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7:30pmMars Revealed Friday, February 4, 2011, 7:30pmInternet Resources:Planet Hunters!Ever dreamed of being the first to make a discovery? Want to find a planet of your own?Thanks to http://www.planethunters.org, the latest Zooniverse project, you might just beable to, using data from NASA's Kepler mission.Kepler's goal is to catch the slight dip in brightness that's caused by a planet passing infront of its parent star. The Kepler Team computers are sifting through the data, but we atPlanet Hunters are betting that there will be planets which can only be found via theremarkable human ability for pattern recognition. This is a gamble, a bet, if you will, onthe ability of humans to beat machines just occasionally - and for us to have a chance weneed your help.Fancy giving it a try? If you do, you could be the first to spot an new planet – it may be aJupiter-size behemoth or even an Earth-sized rock. So, come join our adventure and logon to Planet Hunters now! (http://www.planethunters.org)------------Galaxy Zoo has a tutorial on types of galaxies, etc on their website. It's long on wordsand short on pictures, but you can look at http://www.galaxyzoo.org/explore_galaxies ifyou want.----------------First in a new series of videos on the Astronomy.com website – Liz and Bill run thru thelist of “10 reasons why astronomy is awesome” at http://www.astronomy.com/News-Observing/Liz%20and%20Bills%20Cosmic%20Adventures/2010/12/Episode%201.aspxFirst make your own list, then watch!------------And then there's the “what to watch in the winter sky” video, too.http://www.astronomy.com/News-Observing/Intro Sky/Get to Know the NightSky/2010/12/2010 winter easy observing.aspxhttp://www.astronomy.com/videos has the complete (maybe a hundred) list of all thevideos available – they've redone the website for easier access.Http://www.astronomy.com/skythisweek has the “sky this week” podcasts.-------------http://www.greatchallenges.info/ Welcome to GREAT10, a simulation challenge thataims to improve image analysis algorithms for cosmic gravitational lensing. You areinvited to participate in the Galaxy Challenge and the Star Challenge, for more


information follow the links below and read the Challenge Handbook. OK, imaging fans– what happens when the image is blurry? You have to unblur it, of course. Help huntfor dark matter at this website.------------NASA's Mars Odyssey, which launched in 2001, broke the record December 15 forlongest-serving spacecraft at the Red Planet. The probe began its 3,340th day in martianorbit at 8:55 p.m. EST on the 15th to break the record set by NASA's Mars GlobalSurveyor, which orbited Mars from 1997 to 2006.Odyssey's longevity enables continued science, including the monitoring of seasonalchanges on Mars from year to year and the most detailed maps ever made of most of theplanet. In 2002, the spacecraft detected hydrogen just below the surface throughout Mars'high-latitude regions. The deduction that the hydrogen is in frozen water promptedNASA's Phoenix Mars Lander mission, which confirmed the theory in 2008. Odysseyalso carried the first experiment sent to Mars specifically to prepare for human missions,and found that radiation levels around the planet from solar flares and cosmic rays are 2to 3 times higher than around Earth.Upcoming Space Missions:Get ready for the talk on Sunday by studying up on the MAVEN mission athttp://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/maven_20080915.htmlCurrent Space Missions:Year end checkups: Go rooting around on any of these webpages for additional videoand pictures of the current mission.Maybe an Ontario Lacus flyover athttp://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/videos/movies/PIA13173flyover20100712-480cc.mov as Cassini does its Energizer Bunny bit and keeps going and going.....Mars Rovers (talk about the Energizer Bunny) – Spirit is stuck and never going to moveagain, but is still doing science. Opportunity is exploring another crater. If you've stillgot your red/green glasses, you can watch the 3D movie, too. It's athttp://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/opportunity/20101223a.html along withmore video and still pics.Mars Odyssey: still taking pictures after almost 10 years and holding the record forlongest-serving Mars explorer at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey/Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: ever more high res pics athttp://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/Dawn: arriving at Vesta in under 200 days. http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/EPOXI: the recycled Deep Impact, after banging on its comet, is still traveling aroundand doing some science at http://epoxi.umd.edu/Kepler: currently in safe mode after turning itself off. They're working onit....http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/keplerMission.cfmStardust: now extended as the NeXT mission, its on its way to Tempel 1, maybe to seethe hole left by the Deep Impact mission... http://stardustnext.jpl.nasa.gov/


Voyager 1 & 2: still out there (WAY out there) investigating the heliopause at the limitsof the solar system and waiting for that Star Trek I movie stuff to start athttp://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/WISE: looking at the universe in IR at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/wise/Solar Dynamics Observatory has movies on YouTube that are great! Check 'em out athttp://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/youtube.phpHumor Dept:The competition: Looking at the Reflector's awards for best newsletters, we have thefollowingFirst: Texas Astronomy <strong>Society</strong> of Dallas http://texasastro.org/ Their opening page iscluttered up with all kinds of stuff. The newsletter ishttp://www.texasastro.org/spectrum/Spectrum_201012.pdf and it's 30 pages! Who's gotthe time?Second: Fort Worth <strong>Astronomical</strong> <strong>Society</strong> athttp://www.fortworthastro.com/FWAS/Welcome.html Nice opening page and goodlinks. Notice they have an observing site about 40 miles from town with 6 Dobsonianscopes to use and something called a restroom? Can't find the newsletter...Third: Sonoma County <strong>Astronomical</strong> <strong>Society</strong> athttp://www.texasastro.org/spectrum/Spectrum_201012.pdf and their latest newsletter isat http://sonomaskies.org/<strong>Newsletter</strong>/Dec.10_SonomaSkies.pdf only 13 pages for thisone. They have an extensive youth activity section.Fourth: the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club at http://www.okcastroclub.com/ and theGazette at http://www.okcastroclub.com/Gazette/2010/Gazette2010-12.pdf 10 pages forthis one, and a LOT of embedded images, multiple columns and stuff – really uses a niceediting program, and Birch is impressed.Fifth: Roanoke Valley <strong>Astronomical</strong> <strong>Society</strong> at http://rvasclub.org/ andhttp://rvasclub.org/rvas-news/pdf/1210RVASNL.pdf 18 pages this time. A lot ofembedded images and some good discussions of imaging. Nice looking. And WHY didthey use purple on their website for printing? This is a no-no since web designing startedway back in 1990s.Sixth: the Northeast Florida <strong>Astronomical</strong> <strong>Society</strong> at http://nefas.org/ and theirnewsletter at http://nefas.org/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=42&func=fileinfo&id=229 Somewhat clunky website,math in the newsletter that needs a master's degree, and pictures of the Christmas party.


And some purty pictures to get our page count up....Horsehead Nebula by LAS member Gary GarzoneBubble nebula and M52 by LAS member Brian Kimball


NGC 2024 (Flame Nebula) by LAS member Gary GarzoneM51 by the HST, visible and IR at right

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