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.)