Monday, October 28, 2013


I want to apologize. I know when these blogs are due and i for some reason forgot we had one this week. It's a bummer because I had a lot of fun doing it, wish I would've done it sooner! Better late than never,  but I know this will never happen again!

1:  Monday -What Do the Colors in the Composite image of the Sun mean?

A: Orange and Blue represent Opposite Polarity  of a magnetic field and the puce green hue represents the UV light coming off the Arcs moving from one end of the magnetic field to the other.

2: Tuesday-What Does TRACE Stand for? How many pixels are in a TRACE image?

A: The Acronym TRACE ( TRACE CHRISM HiRISE….. I see an naming pattern….) stands for Transition Region And Coronal Explorer, which contains mirrors coated with special materials which block certain wavelengths from being seen by the instrument while letting in others, a revolutionary thing in 1998. Each TRACE Image contains 1.05 million pixels representing an area on the sun of 360,000km x360,000km.

3: Wednesday- What are CME’s? ( Again with the Acronym names, well I guess for them) and how  do they become cannibals?

A: A CME is a Coronal Mass Ejection, where electrified magnetic gas is spewed from a solar eruption into space. What makes a CME “cannibalistic” is that lager, faster CMEs can “devour” their smaller slower counterparts, which cause longer nastier sun storms for  us if they are directed towards Earth. Normal sun storms distort the magnetic field of earth, sending today’s technology ‘s into enough of a tailspin, but cannibalistic CMEs have longer more severe storms that are more harmful to the magnetic field.
4: Thursday- How is the nighttime aurora created?

A: The nighttime aurora begins  at the sun. Within the sun’s convection cells, gross amounts of energy (plasma) from the Hydrogen being fused into Helium in  the Core,  create strong magnetic fields. Powerful fields push up through the layers of the sun and become sunspots, the magnetic field arching out of the sun. I (f the field is powerful enough it will bend and stretch, like a rubber band until it breaks and will release a huge gassy cloud of plasma called a solar storm. After about 18 hours the Solar storm will hit Earth. Earth has it’s own magnetic field that will deflect the storm. The culmination of two forces funnels the plasma towards the poles of earth, creating the nighttime aurora ( and also the daytime aurora too). ( That is such a cool thing! )

5: Friday- What’s the Job Title ( from the NASA job search). What’s the expected salary? Where is it located?

A: Well I found a Geologist Job…… In Mobile, Alabama? The job title isn’t directly linked to NASA but  the job’s recipient will “Assist NASA” in 4-5 sates as well as central and south America, the scope of this job is quite broad. The expected salary is $68,350-$89,450.
6: What was the best part of the Scavenger hunt?
A: I really liked  learning about the  Nighttime Aurora. I've seen pictures of them before and I've always been so mystified by their curly wisps across the inky black sky. Learning why they happen does take away a bit of that mystical aspect it once held for me ( Like when you realize mom is the tooth fairy) but it also excites me. I want to see the Aurora in person,  to see the plasma bend into pretty hues. I have a newfound  reverence for the Aurora, one rooted more in science than in mystery.   

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Solar Trivia

I need to answer these questions before Friday so... I'm going to do just that! Lets get ready for some Solar Trivia!!!! * assorted applause like on those game shows*

1.) How does the sun compare to other Stars in the sky?
A: We do know that Stars don't  often travel alone,  yet in pairs or triplets, but usually not alone. The "Bachelor" sun we have is unique in this aspect. I also know our Sun isn't as hot at other stars. It's a yellow-y star so it wouldn't be as hot as... say a blue star. I this is what I think now. It could all be false.

2.) What is the Sun Made of ?
A: Gases? I bet I should know all of this from  that earth science class I was supposed to take but if I took earth science I wouldn't have taken astronomy this year. Pretty sure Hydrogen & Nitrogen are  some of the gases that make up the sun.

3.) What Powers the Sun? What gives it Energy?
A: The gas would be a perfect fuel supply for the Star to emit light with, which this backs the Gas notion.

4.) Besides giving light and heat, how else can the Sun affect Earth?
A: Sun spots and Solar flares where the  Sun messes up all different kinds of wavelengths and frequencies which disrupts satellite signals, causing electronic devices to become unresponsive.

5.) What cycles of activity does the Sun have?
A: I honestly have no definite answer on this one. I would believe whenever you face closer to it  ( Summer)  that is when  the activities of the Sun affect you the most but I don't know what separate plans the sun has for itself in the lieu of regular activity

6.)What are sun spots?
A: Another question I can't answer with any real certainty. I want to say the "spots" are gas bubbles within the sun that may and or may not burst. I could be far off. I know I am.

7.) What are the Northern Lights and how are they caused
The Northern lights are  what happens when  light hits the Atmosphere in such a way it causes the rippling colors. I really know squat about the Northern lights other than the fact that they are pretty.

I want to know what this is all about,  my suspicion levels are piqued and I am anxious to find out  the meaning of this assignment.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Galileoscope : a Beginner's Approach

First of all, putting together the Galileoscope  was HARD. I was so afraid to break the itsy bitsy lenses, but the final product is worth it. Whole our first assignment of this blog was to find an object in the daylight and focus on it, I went straight for the moon the first but I did finally go back and worked the Galileoscope in the day. I had to share Gabi's  scope ( she is so wonderful for letting me use it) and we focused the Galileoscope of the metal ball atop the flagpole.

The lowest power lens ( I am working with microscopes in Physiology and I  want really badly to call  this lens Scanning power but I usually say the name correctly) is inverted   ( as is the high power lens) so the ball is upside down and looks a bit mind boggling. Thankfully we switch lenses to  medium power to see how  small the  field of view was as compared to   Low power ( which has the  largest field of view ( FOV)). Feeling gutsy Gabi inserted the high power lens after assembling it and took in  the inverted view. In the daylight it wasn't too impressive to either of us.

Going back to my moon observation, I've learned tripods are a pain if you cant see where your placing them. It took me  a little while to get the moon in my sights as I was eager to see as much of the detailed moon surface before . This was October 8th at about 8 o' clock and I felt a surge of pride in focusing it correctly. There are craters but also darker impressions in the surface, which I'm guessing are old "lava lakes" or lava channels from when there was lava on the moon.  the Darker areas might also very well be a thicker layer of dust in those areas.

I sketched  the moon on my paper ( the way it normally looks not inverted) and I redrew the sketch on  my computer here is what I saw , the first quarter moon : My drawing program crashed but I have the general idea of what I saw down.

Other than putting the Telescope together, which kept me flustered as putting telescopes together isn't my strong suit, I really like the Galileoscopes because  I am making my own observations with something  I built, which is a good feeling. I don't   really like the inverted lenses because it takes my brain a second or two longer to process where everything is and such but it's a welcome challenge, I especially to someone who doesn't have and really has no clue how to work professional grade telescopes. I am so lucky as to have gotten to use a Galileoscope, as you mentioned we might be the last class to use them.

I can see how Galileo would be completely awed by  the sight of the moon magnified in his telescope. To see the bumps and ridges that are blurred and softened with only the naked eye. I know I felt a chill down my spine seeing  the moon like that, that sense of discovery  surely ran through the great Galileo himself that first glimpse of the moon and all of it's glory. He must've diagrammed and observed  with the aide of his telescope ( as we did) making it very vital to him. I would hope he was excited ( I am not at liberty to  as him).