October 26 2013 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Distances in Space – Facts for Kids
How tall are you? How far away is New York City? How far away is the Moon? How about the nearest planet, star, or galaxy? Do we measure them in inches, kilometres or light years? Find out why we choose some measuring units and not others.
October 24, 1851. English astronomer William Lassell discovered two moons of Uranus. Following John Herschel's suggestion, they were later named Umbriel and Ariel. The moons of Uranus have now all been named for characters in English literature. You can find out more in “Literary Moons of Uranus” here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art181335.asp.
October 25, 1671. Italian-French astronomer Jean Dominique Cassini discovered Saturn's moon Iapetus. The Cassini Saturn mission was named for him. Cassini was the first director of the Paris Observatory and three members of his family followed him in this job. It's so confusing that people number them, with Jean Dominique being Cassini I. All of them feature in Paul Murdin's book “The Full Meridian of Glory” which is discussed here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art181703.asp.
*Telescopes on Mauna Kea*
Back in February I wrote about some of the difficulties astronomers had working at high altitudes, such as at the telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. You can read about that here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art179744.asp.
Now here is a timelapse put together by astronomy student Sean Goebel over a number of observing nights earlier this year. Beautiful skies, of course. And you may be surprised to see that there are so many telescopes at the site. You certainly can't help but notice the lasers in operation at some of the telescopes - this is part of the adaptive optics system which smoothes out a lot of the distortion that the atmosphere causes to the image. You can see the video here: http://vimeo.com/75542539
For a variety of astronomy images, follow me on Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/astrobella/
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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