Pan-STARRS — the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System has discovered its first potentially hazardous asteroid this month. This project was initiated by the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii to use its wide field imaging facility to detect those asteroids that will come near Earth within a dangerous distance. This newly discovered asteroid is about 45m in diameter and is now 32 million km away from us. What is assuring is that this asteroid will not pose an threat to us in the immediate future. However, it is estimated that there are more potentially hazardous asteroids out there yet to be discovered. Although these asteroids could be too small in terms of size and brightness for our amateur astronomers to detect, it is not impossible, that we could discover them combining the power of all the amateur astronomers together. So watch out, maybe next time, when you aim your telescope at the sky, you will be the lucky guy to discover one.
Here is the original story: http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=10273
Hey fellow astronomers, have you noticed something strange in the sky these days? Did you see a “star” which outdazzled all its peers, shining around the zenith at midnight? Yes! That is the biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. On a normal night, when Jupiter rises above the horizon, you should be able to immediately differentiate it from other real stars because of its brightness and colour. But this month, Jupiter is reaching perihelion, which means it will be closest to the sun in its orbit. This time, Jupiter will be on the opposite side of earth with respect to the sun, which means observers will have virtually the entire night to closely appreciate this giant. The estimated magnitude of Jupiter at perihelion is -2.9 and it will be at its brightest in 50 years, so don’t miss this once in 50-years opportunity to check it out!
By the way, Happy Mid-autumn Festival to all fellow astronomers!
Einstein once predicted there was a cosmological constant that governs the
destiny of our universe, but later Hubble’s discovery of red shift made him
abandon this magic constant. Recently, however, it seems that the cosmological constant
introduced by Einstein is very favoured by scientists in explaining the existence
of dark energy (that could possibly make up 73% of our universe!)and the speeding
up of the expansion of our universe. Click here and take a look at the latest research
about the mysterious dark energy:
As an amateur astronomer, we all like to check those best-sights lists. Recently, a Sky and Telescope editor published a book “The 50 Best Sights in Astronomy”. What’s new about this best-sights list is that the author
organised celestial objects according to the equipment you need to watch them, from naked eye to medium and narrow field telescope. It is noteworthy
that some of the object are very easy to see, but because of it, people may
overlook the opportunity to appreciate their beauty. Do check out the list
to see if there are something easy target that you missed!
To celebrate the up-coming Mid-Autumn Festival, NUS Astronomical Society will be conducting a Lantern Walk to Kent Ridge Park (near Carpark B) for our second session. You are most welcome to join us. Details are as follows:
Date: Friday, 17 September 2010
Time: 7 pm
Meeting Point: Engine Bridge (Outside LT3)
Activity:Lantern Walk to Kent Ridge Park
Food, drinks, sparklers and most importantly, mooncakes will be provided!The Lantern Walk will be a 3km which lasts about 45 minutes. The session will end at around 9 pm and Bus 200 is available to take you to Bouna Vista MRT Station.
You may deposit your belongings in our storage room at YIH, but if so please arrive at 6:45 pm instead of 7 pm.
Hope to see you all there!
Earlier this year, amateur astronomers were the first to detect objects about10 metres in diameter crashing into Jupiter, rather than major astronomical and space organisations such as NASA. In fact, scientists were unaware that objects that small could be detected. While the significance of these events is that the impact rate of objects of sizes about 10 metres diameter on Jupiiter is approximately 1 few times a month instead of once a decade for Earth, another important point to note is that even amateur astronomers have much to offer to the scientific community. Everyone can play a part in discovering something new in the big, big universe we live in.
For the original article, you may read it at http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=10206.