October 19 2011 Astronomy Newsletter
There has been a lot of interest in the pictures of the Apollo Moon landing sites taken by the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter. We're fortunate to have an expert in the field to talk us through them. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
Here is this week's article:
NASA sent the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) to the Moon to spy out sites for future manned missions. It doesn't look like they'll be sending anybody to the Moon, but LRO has documented the Apollo landing sites. Astronomy writer and space expert Ian Ridpath takes us to the Moon for a look.
I'll be back next week with the first of several reviews of astronomy-themed books for young people. The first one is by Lucy Hawking with a little help from probably the most famous scientist in the world, Stephen Hawking. (Yes, they are related.)
*The Great Worldwide Star Count*
Here is an international project in which anyone can help. They're mapping global light pollution, so are asking for observations that will establish the viewing conditions in different places over several years. You can do it on your own, with friends or as a family activity. Although you'd be looking at one constellation for the Count, you're certainly welcome to look around at the others!
It started on October 14 and goes through the 28th of the month. Here's where you can get more information, including a downloadable activity guide: http://www.windows2universe.org/citizen_science/starcount/ The activity guide is available in 15 languages. (Although the translations are for last year's star count, the activity is the same.)
I sent my observation in two nights ago after finding a nice clear patch in the sky.
*Kids, teachers and everybody*
This is a 4-minute video about stars. Charlie McDonnell (Britain's most popular You Tuber) is a young man with an enthusiasm for science. The video is not only engaging, but it's also accurate - and I think you'll like Charlie. The level is perfect for young people and anyone who'd like a good introduction to stars. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pag1NdPKcYM&feature=player_embedded
September brought solar activity that caused some spectacular aurorae. This picture taken near Yellowknife in Canada's Northern Territories by Yuichi Takasaka. It has not only a superb aurora – also reflected in a lake – but some beautiful star trails. The star trails are the white lines you can see arcing in the sky. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1109/C404-5244-6082AuroraTakasaka.jpg
That's all for now. Wishing you clear skies.
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