Sunday, November 24, 2013

Astronomy Magazines: Battle Royale

Oh, what a delight to read such... enriching magazines ( I know what I want for  Christmas: subscriptions to these magazines!) But they're being forced against one another for educational purposes which as good as reason as  any other.

First off I need to compare specific areas of the  magazines :

Monthly Sky Map: Well the Sky and Telescope I have is from 2012 and the Astronomy is from last month ( lucky me!!) so the Astronomy  is more recent, and I like the  sky event calendar on the side of the map but I prefer Sky and telescope's map, mostly for the ascetics and coloring of the map.

News Briefs: Astronomy seemed to have more ( in number) in their news briefs. They weren't all lengthy, some were just little blips. Sky and Telescope had  fewer  stories but each one they had was beefier. So quality over quantity was present in Sky and Telescope.

Reader Photo Gallery: I didn't know I was looking at the reader photos in Sky and Telescope. They were magnificent but I didn't  know, they weren't well labeled, unlike Astronomy. They were really well identified and I was impressed with  their selection.

( I'm listening to music as I write and the lyrics " You're made of Stardust"  in a song by Daniel and the lion appeared and it made me really happy  because as I write an astronomy blog,  my music  is fitting the theme, sorry I thought I should add that)

Feature Articles: The Sky and Telescope had a  lovely article on Brown dwarfs and how the  spectral classes are being shifted for the cooler and cooler stars being discovered, which  Mrs. Herrold talked about the  special L, T and Y classes below the M class, formerly the coolest class in the spectral classes. Astronomy had an article of the makings of a spectacular comet in honor of comet ISON's arrival this month ( WE"VE GOT 5 DAYS till ISON passes closest to the son!!!) and they recounted past stunning comet displays.

Monthly columns: Astronomy has a beautiful column on astrosketching ( can I do that on observing nights instead ? ) the quality  of the sketches they had of the moon's craters and maria was stunning. Sky and Telescope had a ho-hum article on observing that involved a lot of eyepiece sizes that to me as one without a telescope weren't too interested in.

Other Ascetics Sky and Telescope had too many telescope ads I found them too frequent  but overall had better graphics. Astronomy had the better writing and information for me.

Personally I would pick Astronomy Magazine  based on the fact that I don't have a telescope so I don't need to read about the latest eyepieces or lenses, I want straight star stuff. Which astronomy provides in a tasteful manner.:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sun Recap

I'm adding to the  solar Trivia I answered back in the middle of 

All Corrected info will be in this pretty Fuchsia color 

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.
Our Star's pretty Average and  while it may travel alone, overall based on it's size, temperature, and composition, The sun is pretty average and it's not as hot as a blue  star so I feel while my answer wasn't really.. in depth here, it wasn't wrong

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.
Well, I  left Plasma out  which  is bad since the sun is technically made of Plasma. But I was right to say  there's Hydrogen and Nitrogen ( MUCH less nitrogen if any) in the sun. IT's Hydrogen, Helium and  about 100 other trace elements.

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.
Really unsophisticated and  I had NO CLUE how  nuclear fusion worked and how  light doesn't emit form the core but  from the photosphere and chromosphere, but Hydrogen and Helium are the main energy sources..... :)

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.
Whew..... I was right about Solar flares, but Sunspots don't really seem to affect us. IT's kinda funny reading about my previous answers.

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
Now knowing there are two separate cycles ( the Magnetic cycle and the sunspot  cycle) I know it depends on the cycle not the season!
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.
I was accidentally  identifying granules here, I think. I really find the  sunspots with their  polarities and their arcs stretching from the north polarity to the south. I also think it's fascination that  the plasma can "break free" of it's magnetic field and that's when it becomes light and that whole  dreams of fields article really helped me comprehend this concept of sunspots.

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
. It's more when the photons  form strong solar flares are absorbed into our atmosphere( thanks to the magnetic field taking them in) and the excess energy makes  the molecules in our atmosphere fluorescent but  I'm glad I know now, better later  than never right?

The Spectral Scavenger Hunt

( I always forget this so I should just put it here now)

The Spectral Scavenger Hunt

1: Why do stars in a  dark nebula look reddish?
A: The stars look "reddish"  in a dark nebula because all the gas atoms scatter the shorter blue and violet photon wavelengths, so only the longer red photons wavelengths penetrate through the dark  gas cloud

2: What ( element or molecule) produces the absorption areas in cool red stars? What about in Hot Blue stars?
A: In super cool red stars ( like Antares), Neutral metals ( like Na) and certain molecules ( like TiO) are the most responsible in visible radiation absorption in cool red star temperature conditions. In  hotter Blue stars, Hydrogen is most responsible ( because of it's abundance  in  blue stars) for the visible radiation absorption in Stars of 10000 K.

3:  Planetary Nebulas often have a strong green light due to what ionized element?
A: Planetary Nebulas that have a strong green light are abundant with ionized Hydrogen which admits a green light. Other elements ( Hydrogen and Helium) give off their own distinctive colors ( respectively red and violet in Hydrogen and red in Helium rich planetary nebulas)

4: What in the ocean looks blue, clear in a glass, but in clouds it appears white. What gives clouds their white color?
A: The clouds appear white because the water droplets absorbing the wavelengths are much bigger than the wave lengths they're absorbing therefore  all the colors become uniformly reflected the clouds appear white to us.

5: Why does Neptune look blue?
A:  What we see of Neptune of reflected from it's atmosphere and gasses because it is not a terrestrial planet.  Methane within  the atmosphere of  Neptune removes a lot of red radiation wavelengths. with so  little red radiation left, the reflected wavelengths cause us to perceive Neptune as blue-green.

6:What makes  emission lines in a Quasar?
A: The emission lines are caused by thin gasses being  heated intensely as they're being sucked into a black hole that accompanies Quasars

My  Own Question about Spectra:  Are there any objects in space that just don't follow these Spectra rules? IF so what are they? Do we know why there such nonconformists...?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Great Worldwide Star Count.

Turn out Friday was the only  clear night we had to participate in the Worldwide Star count. I didn't even realize there wasn't could coverage until I was on the freeway, and I could see the summer triangle at 6:30 or so. Once I was home I went out and matched  the limiting magnitude charts to what I could see in my backyard ( it was a magnitude 4-5 for me, but I  selected the magnitude four to be safe) I found I  was at 42 degrees latitude and -82 degrees longitude and selected the appropriate time when I observed.

 After poking around the results page I found a map the displayed the 2012 results and at the bottom said " 2032 Observations from 31 countries". That's really amazing because of the diversity of the countries that participated but I'm sad to see only 2000 or so people participated. My entry was only 1,249 and that was on the last day at night. I really hop the Star count will continue to collect date from around the world to better understand the light pollution we're surrounded by  in the night. I'm glad I was able to participate in the count though so  my numbers counted as well!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pumkin Carving at JPL

Howdy! As we settle into November,  Halloween linger still! I was on Youtube and as luck had it, I found this cool video of NASA scientists at JPL in a pumpkin carving contest! I only thought should put it out there because they're NASA scientists, it's really cool to see how creative the pumpkins are.

link :