November 9 2011 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Could you survive unprotected in space?
Movies show people being expelled unprotected into space - they explode, they freeze instantly, their blood boils. It's not a pretty sight. Would this actually happen? Not necessarily, but I wouldn't recommend trying it out.
*The Giant Nebula, NGC 3603*
Have a look at this sumptuous picture of a star-forming region in a spiral arm far, far away. The star cluster against the vast clouds of gas and dust is brilliant. Sir John Herschel was the discoverer of this southern sky nebula. He was the son of Sir William Herschel and nephew of Caroline Herschel. All three were prominent astronomers of the 18th-19th centuries.
Carl Sagan was born on November 9, 1934. Here is a video from Callum Sutherland's series of tributes to Sagan's work and ideas. This video is called “Darkness” in which Sagan considers the possibilities of intelligent life elsewhere. (The music is by one of my favorite modern composers Ludovico Einaudi.)
The great English scientist Edmond Halley was born on November 8, 1656.
Halley didn't discover a comet, but he did research and published papers in astronomy and many other fields. Russian Czar Peter the Great liked him as a dining and drinking companion and King William III put this civilian in charge of a Royal Navy ship. You can find out why they named a comet for him here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48305.asp
That's all for now. Wishing you clear skies.
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