Monday, March 11, 2013

Comet L4 PanSTARRS artist's concept
Check this website for news about Comet L4 PANSTARRS.  The weather doesn't look good for observing from Portland but please give it a try.  From the website tell me when and what direction to look for the comet.

Monday, March 4, 2013

see caption
Tunguska in 1908 was the site of another meteor strike in Russia.  Check the website and tell me which meteor (1908 or 2013) did more damage.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

April 2013 S&TQOTW 19
Check the Sky and Telescope website to find where to look in the night sky for Mars this week.  Sky and Telescope is one of the leading magazines for astronomy buffs.  Every month it has a star map of the night sky for that month showing where to look for the various planets and other astronomical highlights.

Monday, February 18, 2013

QOTW 18  The meteor that exploded over Russia last week was the largest one to hit the earth since 1908. Check this article from the Wall Street Journal to find its weight and how the explosion compared with the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima to end World War II.

Monday, February 11, 2013

composite view of continental United States showing Suomi NPP observations of nighttime illuminationQOTW 17  Night time photo of the United States from NASA.  Check this link for the original.  I drove from Portland to Pasco,  WA Friday after school and saw far more stars than I ever do from Portland.  Do your best to find Portland and Pasco in the image and then tell me why I enjoyed excellent stargazing before I reached Pasco.

Monday, February 4, 2013

QOTW 16 
Check this website to learn a little about skin cancer from the Center for Disease Control.  UV radiation is one of the forms of energy coming from the sun and the earth's atmosphere helps protect us from it.  Of the three forms of skin cancer, melanoma is the most dangerous.  What percent of melanoma cases are caused by exposure to UV radiation (either sunlight or tanning beds)?

Monday, January 28, 2013

AR1654: A monster sunspot aiming our wayQOTW 15  A giant sunspot is shown both in a photo and a video on this website.  The sunspot has already emitted a large solar flare.  Read the article to tell me what effects from the flare may be felt on earth.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jupiter with a shadow from one of its moonsQOTW 14  Jupiter is easy to find on these cold, clear nights: it is the brightest object in the sky (except for the sun and moon).  Look southeast around 7 PM and find Orion's belt.  Follow the line of the belt to the left and see the bright star Sirius.  It is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Big Dog).  Start back at Orion's belt and  look about an equal distance in the opposite direction and find bright Jupiter in the horns of Taurus the bull (one of the constellations of the Zodiac).  Check this NASA website to find the range of temperatures and tell why Jupiter is not a likely candidate for a colonization.  (There are many reasons--I just want the temperature range.) 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Neptune is the most distant planet from the sun.  In class I said that light from the sun takes a little more than eight minutes to reach the earth.  Check out this site and tell me how long it takes for light from the sun to reach Neptune.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Orion Nebula - Hubble 2006 mosaic 18000.jpgQOTW 12   This image of the Orion Nebula comes from NASA/ESA.  It is easy to spot on a clear night: find Orion, his belt, and his sword hanging from his belt.  The nebula is the brightest part of Orion's sword.  The view is much more impressive with binoculars or a telescope.  The Orion Nebula is also known as M42.  Check here to answer, "What does the M in M42 stand for?"
Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo.  Click back to my website and look for the page "Regulus in Leo" under the science page.  On this larger image it will be easier to spot the declination numbers on the vertical sides and the right ascension numbers on the horizontal sides.  Regulus is at the bottom of the backwards question mark which forms the front and head of the lion.  Give the declination to the nearest degree and the right ascension to the nearest hour.  (Remember that the declination will be a positive number because Leo is north of the celestial equator.)  Note that declination is like latitude on earth and that right ascension is like longitude except it is measured in hours from right to left.  (I apologize for disappointing those who were eagerly awaiting fresh questions during the Christmas holiday.  I will count answers for this one double and enter them as first term grades.)