November 2 2011 Astronomy Newsletter
With Christmas coming up – and of course, there are always birthdays - I thought it was time to get in some book reviews. Here's the first of a trio of books written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, with some cool science at beginner levels mixed into the story lines.
George's Secret Key to the Universe – book review
In Lucy & Stephen Hawking's book, the hero George used to have a quiet life, but now he's trying to rescue his next door neighbor from a black hole. Here's a lively illustrated story, beautiful color images of the universe, and from the man who knows, a great explanation of what a black hole is.
*The Great Worldwide Star Count*
The 2011 results aren't ready yet, but here is a map of last year's results. Last year there were 4532 observations from 47 countries. http://www.windows2universe.org/citizen_science/starcount/results/2010/gwwsc2010world_96.jpg
I wonder what this year's will be like.
*See Comet Garradd*
Apparently, Comet C/2009P, (Comet Garradd) is visible in binoculars. The best view will be after sunset for Northern Hemisphere observers. The sky hasn't been clear enough for me to look, but here are some finder charts, courtesy of Steve Cariddi. Northern Hemisphere: http://www.yearinspace.com/images/stories/2011-11-Garradd-NH.jpg Southern Hemisphere: http://www.yearinspace.com/images/stories/2011-11-Garradd-SH.jpg You can get more information about looking for the comet here: http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/.
There was a coronal mass ejection on October 24 which triggered some fantastic auroral displays. In North America there were aurorae as far south as Alabama. Here is picture by Malcolm Park taken near Whitby, Ontario in Canada from Astronomy Picture of the Day: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1110/AuroraOntario_MPark1920.jpg
That's all for now. Wishing you clear skies.
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