April 8 2012 Astronomy Newsletter
The Magic Furnace - book review
What is everything made of? What makes the Sun shine? “The Magic Furnace” relates the tale of how science answered these questions. The book tells a good detective story with great characters, and clues include the Big Bang and the biggest explosions in the universe.
*The most astounding fact about the Universe*
Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME magazine, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?" This video is his answer – and it’s related to the subject of the book I reviewed this week. It’s also a stunning video with a beautiful selection of astronomical images to look at and some inspiring words to think about.
*An extra sister*
Recently, we’ve been seeing some beautiful conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter and sometimes the Moon as well. But last week there was a new one. Venus seemed to be a dazzling member of the Pleiades (Messier object 45,) known since ancient times as the Seven Sisters.
The Pleiades is an open star cluster with over a thousand stars, only six of which are easily viewed with the unaided eye. So Venus wouldn’t necessarily have seemed like an eighth pleiad, but perhaps the missing one returned! Here is a picture taken through a telescope by Doug Zubenel for TWAN (The World At Night): http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1204/IMG_2496zubenel.jpg
I wish you clear skies. Please visit astronomy.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Astronomy.
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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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