November 12 2013 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Young Astronomers at Work
Telescopes are essential for astronomy, but you don't need one of your own. A computer can be the right instrument. Big telescopes collect data faster than professionals can process it, so amateurs can help. There is also room for individual ingenuity. See what some young astronomers have done.
(1) Vesto Slipher was born on November 11, 1875. His name isn't well known today, but he was a prominent astronomer in his day. Slipher received many prestigious awards, among them the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in Britain, the Lalande Prize of the French Academy of Sciences, and the Henry Draper Medal of the US National Academy of Sciences. Slipher - not Edwin Hubble - was the first to discover galactic redshifts. He and others also realized that they showed that these galaxies were moving away from us. Slipher was the director of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona for over a quarter of a century.
(2) William Herschel was born on November 15, 1738. He was, with the assistance of his sister and protegee, Caroline, one of the founders of modern astronomy. William was the first person in history to discover a new planet, which was Uranus. He was the first person to study double stars and the first to try to use quantitative methods to work out the shape of the Milky Way. Although there wasn't enough information to do much with this, he did conclude correctly that it was disk-shaped. William Herschel was the first person to discover a kind of radiation other than visible light. He discovered infra red radiation. The European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory was observing in infra red. It completed its three-year mission (and then some), but finally ran out of coolant earlier this year.
You can read more about the Herschels at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48626.asp
And here is something about the Herschel Space Observatory: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art66753.asp
*Follow-up on the Golden Record*
(1) The audio and pictures from the record all seem to be here on this site: http://goldenrecord.org/ There aren't any user instructions. I played around with it and found that you need to find and click on the small set of revolving circles. Once it takes you to a screen with the record, run the mouse around it. You'll see some things glowing white as you do this. Click on the disk in the upper left, and the audio files run. Click on the right hand side, and you'll get the picture files. They're labelled, but there's no menu choice, they come in a set order.
(2) The TV show Saturday Night Live had a sketch that included a comment on the contents of the Golden Record. In it the cover of Time magazine shows the aliens' response to the record: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250090585531345056/
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I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I welcome your feedback!
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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