Archive for June, 2009

Results from the Summer Solstice Star Party.

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Brighton Astronomy Group Logo

Thanks for everyone that showed up for our Summer Solstice Star Party, although it seem more like spring with the clouds coming and going. We had a few clouds roll in from the south as the sun was setting at about 8:30pm. The clouds broke enough so we could get good views of Saturn and the Moon. Then later on in the night we were able to spot in Messier 13 in Hercules, a Globular Star Cluster, and Messier 57 a Planetary Nebula remnant left from a star that died, We were also able to point out the Summer Triangle, and the consolations that make it up, these things were also described in our monthly International Year of Astronomy Outreach Education.  We also talked about things like how telescopes work the different kinds of telescopes. We finally had to pack in about 12am as the clouds seem to return with a vengeance this time, and did not seem like they were going to leave us alone any time soon.

Happy Summer Solstice and Fathers Day

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Sunday marked the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Online celebrants heated up searches online, sending “summer solstice” spiking 137%. But in England, a crowd of 35,000 gathered at the mysterious rock formation Stonehenge for an all-night pagan party (Druid costume optional). At dawn the crowd cheered as the sun aligned with Heel Stone, a main pillar in the circle of stones. According to the AP, the solstice is one of the few times a year people are allowed in to touch the rocks.

NASA Successfully Launches Lunar Impactor LRO/LCROSS

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

NASA Successfully Launches Lunar Impactor

NASA successfully launched the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, Thursday on a mission to search for water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at the moon’s south pole.

Follow this link for a video brief on this project.


Updates for June 19th

Fri, 19 Jun 2009 06:40:39 PM MDT

Flight operations team has tested payload and instruments are functional. Perfect performance!

First trajectory correction maneuver completed.

LCROSS is currently on its way to swing-by the moon. Closest approach is timed for June 23, 2009 at 6:28 AM EDT. Then LCROSS goes into a Lunar Gravity Assist Lunar Return Orbit (LGALRO) for 113 days until impacting the Lunar south pole on Oct 9, 2009 at 7:30 AM EDT. Flight team will refine impact location and time 30 days prior to impact – so check back then for the most up-to-date and refined info!

Flight operations team (at NASA Ames Research Center in California) is now in control of pointing & orientation in space (attitude).

Solar arrays are deployed and facing the Sun. Communications back to Earth are working.


Observe the LCROSS impacts!

Date & Time:
Projected lunar impact is on October 9, 2009 at 11:30 UT (7:30 a.m. EDT, 4:30 a.m. PDT), +/- 30 minutes.

The impact time will be refined as the mission progresses. Two weeks prior to impact, the impact time will be known to within a second.

14-year old German boy hit by meteorite

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

14-year old German boy hit by meteorite

Gerrit Blank survived a direct hit by a meteorite as it hurtled to Earth at more than 30,000 mph

A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite that scared the bejeezus out of him and left a scar.

“When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road,” Gerrit Blank said in a newspaper account. Astronomers have analyzed the object and conclude it was indeed a natural object from space, The Telegraph reports.

Most meteors vaporize in the atmosphere, creating “shooting stars,” and never reach the ground. The few that do are typically made mostly of metals. Stony space rocks, even if they are big as a car, will usually break apart or explode as they crash through the atmosphere.

There are a handful of reports of homes and cars being struck by meteorites, and many cases of space rocks streaking to the surface and being found later.

But human strikes are rare. There are no known instances of humans being killed by space rocks.

According to a article on the topic a few years, back:

On November 30, 1954, Alabama housewife Ann Hodges was taking a nap on her couch when she was awakened by a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor that crashed through the roof of her house, bounced off a piece of furniture and struck her in the hip, causing a large bruise.

On October 9, 1992, a large fireball was seen streaking over the eastern United States, finally exploding into many pieces. In Peekskill, New York, one of the pieces struck a Chevrolet automobile owned by Michelle Knapp. Knapp was not in the car at the time.

On June 21, 1994, Jose Martin of Spain was driving with his wife near Madrid when a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor crashed through his windshield, bent the steering wheel and ended up in the back seat.

In 2004, a 2,000-pound space rock bigger than a refrigerator exploded in the late-night sky over Chicago, producing a large flash and a sound resembling a detonation that woke people up. Fragments rained down on that wild Chicago night, and many were collected by residents in a northern suburb.

14-year-old student discovers a supernova

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Peculiar, Junior-sized Supernova Discovered By New York Teen
ScienceDaily (2009-06-11) — In November 2008, Caroline Moore, a 14-year-old student from upstate New York, discovered a supernova in a nearby galaxy, making her the youngest person ever to do so. Additional observations determined that the object, called SN 2008ha, is a new type of stellar explosion, 1000 times more powerful than a nova but 1000 times less powerful than a supernova. Astronomers say that it may be the weakest supernova ever seen. … > read full article

Build a telescope this weekend!

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I hope everyone escaped the tornados over the weekend. I was in downtown Denver for the Capital Hill People’s Fair. Lots of fun to be sure!

For those of you that just don’t have a dog-gon thing to do over Father’s Day (June 21st) or the July 4th weekend, you might want to try your hand at making a telescope! Yes you heard me right, you can build your very own 4.5″ f8 telescope… and the best part of all… it will cost you under $100! How you ask? HOW under the stars can I make my own scope for under $100??? In the wonderful world of cyberspace all you have to do is point and click…

Visit The $90 Porta-Bowl Telescope! for the full scope, err… I mean scoop!



Arietid meteor shower this weekend

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Brighton Astronomy LogoThe annual Arietid meteor shower peaks on Sunday, June 7th. The Arietids are unusual because they are daytime meteors; they stream out of a point in the sky not far from the sun.

The best time to look is just before dawn on Sunday morning when it may be possible to spot a small number of Arietids skimming the top of Earth’s atmosphere. Such “Earthgrazing” meteors tend to be long, colorful, and very pretty.

After daybreak, when the meteors are no longer visible to the human eye, you can listen to radar echoes from the Arietids by tuning in to our online meteor radar:

The Summer Solstices Star Party Saturday June 27th

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

The Summer Solstices Star Party

Come an enjoy an evening under the stars with us on Saturday June 27th at our Observatory Park located at 22nd and Bromley Lane. Since it is around the summer solstices, the sun will set about 8:30pm and will not be dark until about 9:30pm.

Our star parties are free, every one is welcome to come and enjoy an evening under the stars with us. If you have a telescope or binoculars and would like help with them, we will have someone in the group that can help you out. You do not need to have a telescope or binoculars to be part of the group, you can view through ours. We will also be presenting educational outreach lectures to.

Review of “Vault of the Heavens” by James Kaler.

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

 I have purchased an audio lecture  series “Vault of the Heavens” by James B. Kaler,  from the Barnes & Noble audio portable professor series.

He is very easy to listen to, he keeps it very simple. Even though I have been interested in astronomy since 1977, I find he explains thing on a simple level that I can understand. Plus he reveals things I did not know or have thought about. He starts out explaining the solar system and universe at a high level, then each lecture after that zooms in, starting with the early models of the solar system from Ptolemy to Galileo, and then how Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein through their work, advance physics and astronomy. Then after building you a back ground on astronomy the final lectures takes you on a grand tour of the solar system explaining the Sun and each planet of the solar system in detail, and finally ending out at the edge of the solar system where comets come from. You do not need any computers or calculators, to process equation, or math to help you under stand any of the principles, theories or scientific laws he talks about, he leaves all of that out. It comes with 8 CD’s and 105 page study guide. I found my self not needing the study guide, but it is a nice thing to reflect on later.  I have listened to “Vault of the Heavens” about 4 times now, and enjoy it every time. If you liked Carl Sagan’s Cosmos this is a nice follow up program. A quick internet search on James Kaler, and you will find out he has also produced several other books and audio lectures on different astronomy subjects. If you are new to astronomy I would definitely recommend this product, or if your are a amateur astronomer, this would be a great product to add to your library.








News Letter

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I’m currently working on getting the New Letter for June out A.S.A.P…

The Calendar is up to date except for the Star Party for June…

Thanks for your support…