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Hurtigruten - Hunting the Light
Imagine a three thousand-mile astronomy voyage “hunting the light”. Usually, astronomers avoid the light, but not when it's the aurora borealis, the famed northern lights. Here is the first of two articles about the Norwegian ships that carry cargo and people between the towns of the Arctic Circle.
I am currently in northern Norway. This morning we were in Kirkenes, which is slightly farther east than Istanbul. I'm not quite sure where we are now. There will be a second part to this week's article, telling more about what those on the astronomy tour saw in the sky. But here is a bit of a preview. The Norwegian guide for the astronomy tour took this Thursday night: http://pinterest.com/pin/250090585528955427/ And Frederik Broms (known for his aurora photography) took this picture of our ship leaving Tromso earlier Thursday evening: http://pinterest.com/pin/250090585528950346/
Jupiter has been a very bright object near the Moon this week and it will continue to be visible in the eastern sky. So if you're wondering about that bright “star,” it could well be our largest planet that you're seeing.
The Taurid meteor shower has already started. You can find out more about meteor showers here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art27461.asp The Taurids produce a large number of slow-moving fireballs which are well worth seeing.
*The beginning *
On November 2, 1917 the 100-inch Hooker telescope on Mt Wilson saw first light. It was this telescope that Edwin Hubble used to take the photographs from which he calculated that some nebulae were not part of our galaxy, but entirely separate galaxies. Working with Milton Humason, he was also able to establish redshifts for a number of galaxies, showing that they were moving away from us.
On November 3, 1957 the first living thing to be sent into space was the dog Laika. You can read more about this in “Who Let the Dogs out?” at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art23640.asp.
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