October 24, 2017

AstroEvent of the Week: 64-65 Geminorum.

The head of the Twins…(Photo by Author).

This week, we invite you to leave the telescope behind and instead hunt down a good binocular double in the constellation Gemini. Beneath the brighter stars of Castor and Pollux and near the star Iota Geminorum lies the wide pair 64-65 Geminorum, an often overlooked yellow-white pair. [Read more...]

Astro-Event: Don’t Miss the Geminids!

Looking Northeast at about 10 PM. (Photo by Author).

   This year, believe the hype; this month’s Geminid meteor shower is a sure bet. This shower is one of the few dependable ‘old faithful’ meteor showers of the year. Peaking on the night of December 13th-14th, this year’s apparition sees a well placed northern radiant rising high in the northeast as the first quarter Moon sets about midnite local. [Read more...]

AstroEvent: A Bright Dawn Comet.


Created with NASA/JPL Ephemeris generator).

Created with NASA/JPL Ephemeris generator).


   The dawn skies of October hold a special treat; a possible bright morning comet. 103/P Hartley 2 approaches perihelion on October 28, 2010. Earlier in the month sees it beginning its long dive through dawn skies. Northern hemisphere viewers will have the best view, as the comet passes through the constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus, Auriga, and Gemini in the month of October. [Read more...]

13.10.09:A Hawaiian Mega-scope?

The green light was given earlier this year in mid-July as to the site selection for a telescope that if built, will be the largest in the world. The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will be parked atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, home to a collection of scopes, including the Keck, Subaru, and Gemini instruments. As its name suggests, this telescope will sport a reflecting 30 meter mirror comprised of 492 hexagonal segments and operate in the near infrared as well as visible light. Its to be seen whether this will move the environmental lobby to protest as construction on Mauna Kea did in 2002. A point often missed in these debates is that the telescopes themselves need pristine dark skies to operate; this assures that over-development in the form of Costcos and subdivisions won’t visit the slopes of Mauna Kea anytime soon. A follow-up contender for the TMT is Mt. Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert in Chile, also dubbed the “most eligible mountain without an observatory.” The seeing is also a bit better in the Atacama, but of course that would mean the exodus of more American science (and dollars) overseas. The European Union is also eying Armazones for a possible site for its two main contenders: the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) at 24.5 meters, and the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT) at a whooping 42 meters. Its sobering to think that these mega scopes may be the final say of large aperture on Earth; at a proposed 2 billion dollars to build the TMT, it becomes more cost effective to carry on further “aperture wars” in space!

AstroEvent of the Week: 25.05.09: Castor: a Sextuplet Star!

This week’s astro-challenge is a unique multiple star system…Castor, also known as Alpha Geminorum, rides high in the west of the northern hemisphere sky on clear late May evenings. Shining at a brightness of magnitude +1.6, it forms one half of the pair Castor and Pollux, known as the Twin stars of Gemini.

[Read more...]