A New Light on Jupiter

Two of our gas giants in solar system are certainly not keeping a low profile recently. Saturn is experiencing storms, while the long-lost south equatorial belt of Jupiter is finally returning to our sight after having disappeared for almost a year. What caused Jupiter’s south equatorial belt to fade? Scientists are trying to find out the answer, and it seems that the alternation of wind pattern is the cause of the disappearance of south equatorial belt. However, we still need the supportive data of the movement of Jupiter’s atmosphere in order to verify this theory. The main challenge of obtaining the information is in procuring high-resolution pictures of Jupiter’s thermal radiation. Normally, scientists lock their telescope to the target through projecting an artificial guide star in Earth’s atmosphere using a powerful laser, very near to Jupiter’s position. However, the brightness of Jupiter is so high that the artificial star would be drowned in the light of Jupiter. Guess how scientist tackled this problem? They took advantage of the Jupiter’s moon Europa which is close enough to Jupiter. With the aid of Europa, they finally got high-resolution pictures of Jupiter. Check out the following link to see what scientists discovered about Jupiter’s south equatorial belt.
 

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Weighing the Black Hole

Recently, astronomers from the University of Texas Austin successfully measured the known heaviest black hole in space. At the centre of the galaxy M87, there exists a massive black hole measured at 6.6 billion solar masses. Scientists used a large-diameter telescope combined with a smaller one to collected data from thousands of dim stars and formed images that clearly depicts the influence the black hole exerts on its surrounding region. For now, there is still no direct evidence of the existence of black hole (no one has actually seen one). But scientists believe that soon, the event horizon of black hole will be detected in the future.

 

 

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/News-Observing/News/2011/01/Astronomers%20weigh%20heaviest%20known%20black%20hole%20in%20our%20cosmic%20neighborhood.aspx 

The Fifth Session

Dear Members,

Welcome back!
This Friday, NUS Astronomical Society sincerely invites you to our first session of the semester. Our Research Head, Mr. Soh Rong’en, has prepared for you a very exciting talk on the famous Big Bang Theory. (You are advised to have watched seasons 1-3 first.)
We will also be announcing our upcoming activities for this semeste.
 
Details of the session are:

Date:    Friday, 14th January, 2011
Time:   7:00pm
Venue: E5 03-21 (near the Engin Bridge, refer to the map attached)
Topic:  The Big Bang Theory
We look forward to seeing you there in our first get-together of the semester!
Best regards,
NUS Astronomical Society
 
session 4

Win a trip to Very Large Telescope

Have you ever complained about the amateur level of your instruments? Do you want to have a glimpse into how professional astronomers manipulate those giant telescope? Here is your chance! The European Southern Observatory is holding the “Hidden Treasures Competition” for astronomy fans to play around with the immense picture database they have amassed for the past many years. All you need to do is to use process these pictures into a masterpiece in any way you want (“no painting”) and submit it to the official website. All entries submitted will be judged on aesthetics, processing and originality qualities and winner will be awarded an all expenses paid trip to Very Large Telescope in Chile and participate in the observation for one night ! Don’t miss it!

 
http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/hiddentreasures/
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/106972728.html 

An “exploding” telescope

Have you ever left your telescope pointing to a target after you had enjoyed an exciting observation, and gone to sleep? Well, I know you are probably too tired to pack things up, but once you take a look what happened to this guy, you won’t be so careless again. Mike Lynch, an avid amateur astronomer at Minneapolis, left his giant 14.5″ Starmaster at the observation site and went to sleep. Of course, he didn’t just leave it the way it was, as a veteran, he slewed the tube to the horizontal direction, covered it, and placed a towel at the eyepiece opening. Well, you would think this should be sufficient enough right? But guess what, during the night, the wind blew off the cover, changed the pointing of the tube up to the sky, and what is more coincidental, the sun passed through the field of view of the 14.5” Starmaster next morning! The result? With its powerful light-focusing ability, the telescope burnt itself into ashes. Next time, after you are done with your equipment, treat it nicer – I am sure you don’t want that to happen to you.  

 http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/105515108.html 

This week’s sky at a glance

Hi, fellow astronomers! Hope your had a fruitful stargazing session last night.  Well, this week, according to the forecast, it looks like we are in for a lot of exciting sights. This week, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot will be visible at its central meridian. To better enjoy the Great Red Spot, it is better use a light blue or green filter during observation. Another potential target to watch is periodical comet Harley 2. Around 20th Oct, it will pass its closet to Earth. Look for it in Auriga and you shall find it in a night with clear sky.

 

 

 For some more information about this week’s sky forecast, click the link:

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/home/105039989.html 

Pan-STARRS discovered its first potential hazard asteroid

 

 

 

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