Flaring Super Moon Rising on Mars: June 24th, 2013

Show notes for June 24th, 2013
Hosts: Harrison, Paul, Jen, Ryan
Title: Flaring Super Moon Rising on Mars (made of Lithium)

This week in space/astronomy history:
 1. June 29, 1995 U.S. Space shuttle docks with Russian space station (Launched on June 27th) – also the 100th human space mission in American History.  This was referred to as the beginning of a “new era of friendship and cooperation” between the U.S and Russia.
2. Today in 1982 Soyuz-T-6 launched carrying the first Western European astronaut to go into space. Wonder who it is? The answer is General Jean-Loup Chrétien. In April 1979, the Soviet Union offered France the opportunity to fly a cosmonaut… on board a joint Soviet-French space flight, along the same lines as the agreement to fly non-Soviet cosmonauts from member countries of the Intercosmos program. The offer was accepted, and France began a cosmonaut selection program in September 1979. Chrétien was one of two finalists named on June 12, 1980 and he started training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in September 1980. The following year he was named as the research-cosmonaut for the prime crew of the Soyuz T-6 mission. To learn more about him see http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/chretien.html
3. June 24 1915: Birthday of Sir Fred Hoyle (died August 20 2001).  Coined the term “Big Bang” (March 1949) and as early as 1946 worked out the pioneering details of stellar nucleosynthesis.  Did NOT share in the 1983 Nobel Prize (with Fowler and Chandrasekhar).
1. NASA is preparing to launch a new solar satellite. This satellite will give the necessary observations needed for understanding how energy is delivered to the million-degree outer solar corona, as well as explain how the base of the solar wind is driven. The launch is scheduled for June 26th.  The Interface Region Imaging spectrograph (IRIS) will provide the most detailed look at the Sun’s lower atmosphere (or interface region) by observing how solar material moves, gathers energy, and heats up as it travels through this largely unexplored region of the Solar atmosphere. The IRIS data will fill an important gap in our understanding of the solar interface region. The satellite will carry an ultraviolet telescope that feeds a multichannel imaging spectrograph, this is the first mission designed to use and ultraviolet telescope to  obtain high-resolution images and spectra every few seconds, it will also provide observations of areas as small as 150 km across the Sun.  IRIS will provide information, such as the velocity, temperature, and density of specific jet like structures previously observed within the solar atmosphere. The Satellite will travel in a polar, Sun-synchronous orbit around Earth, at an altitude range 630 to 680 km. this obit will allows for most continuous solar observation during the IRIS’s two- year mission.
Full Moon and the so called “super Moon” phenomenon.  7:32 AM EDT June 23.  Term first used (we think by astrologer Richard Nolle.  14% larger in area than the smallest full Moon of the year (remember the Moon’s elliptical orbit about the Earth causing a significant change in the apparent size of the Moon as seen from Earth).  Also, remember the Moon illusion.  That is, the Moon appears larger at the horizon than when viewed overhead but it is no bigger!
Supermoon, aka “Moon Perigee” – Yesterday (HR)
Making it astronomy:
The June 23 Supermoon! Did you see it?
Supermoons occur by coincidence when the moon is full (or new) at the same time as perigee (when the Moon is closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit). If you’re in the astronomy community, you probably would call this occurrence a “perigee Moon”.
Whatever you call it though, a supermoon can appear as much as 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full Moon!
The science behind it: the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, but an ellipse, so the distance between the Earth and Moon varies from about 357,000km to about 406,000km (the average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,400km).
Supermoons occur on average about one in every 14 full Moons, when a full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth (perigee).
“While it might be difficult to see the difference between a typical full moon and a supermoon with your naked eye, supermoons present a great opportunity to explore how bodies in the universe interact with each other,” says Jesse Rogerson, Host at the Ontario Science Centre.
The next supermoon will be in August 2014.
Thanks to Jim Chung for this photo of the supermoon in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 23, 2013 : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151575891747928&set=a.75194922927.74695.38291872927&type=1&theater
Also: Summer is here! Friday, June 21, 2013 at 05:04 UTC (9:04 AM Eastern Time)

Major Topics Discussed:
1. Flare star gets 15x brighter, 6x hotter, and then returns to normal over a span of about 3 minutes.
Continuing from Variable Star discussion last week, here is a special – and extreme – kind of variable star. Data collected May-June 2012, results just reported in the March 2013 edition of the journal “Astrophysics”.
The star is WX UMa, part of a binary system in the Ursa Major constellation and is 15.6 light years away from Earth. It’s a rare type of variable star called a Flare Star, because it has these large spikes in luminosity/temperature.
SPACE dot com story: http://www.space.com/21567-flare-star-brighter.html?cmpid=514630
sinc story: http://www.agenciasinc.es/en/News/The-flare-star-WX-UMa-becomes-15-times-brighter-in-less-than-3-minutes
Article reference: N. D. Melikian, V. S. Tamazian, R. Sh. Natsvlishvili, A. A. Karapetian. “Spectral observations of flare stars in the neighborhood of the Sun”. Astrophysics 56 (1): 8-18, March 2013. (thanks to JAR, we have the PDF of this article, so ask him or me (HR) for it if you want to read it).

2. Lithium primordial abundance “not so bad”?
Recent studies of Milky Way metal poor stars with improved 3D modeling of stellar atmospheres suggests that the over-abundance of Lithium 6 MAY not in fact be present.  If true, then part of the “lithium problem” (matching observed lithium abundances with Big Bang nucleosynthesis) may in fact have disappeared.
Reference: K. Lind et al. “The lithium isotopic ratio in very metal-poor stars.” Astronomy & Astrophysics, June 2013.

– Mars Had Oxygen-Rich atmosphere 4,000 million (aka 4 billion) Years Ago -The Surface rocks of Mars are five times richer in nickel than the meteorites. After noticing the differences between Martian meteorites and rocks examined by NASA’s Spirit rover it turns out the only explanation is if Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000 million years ago, well before the rise of the atmospheric oxygen on Earth 2500 million years ago.  It is found that Meteorites and surface volcanic rocks are similar with the origins in the deep interior of Mars, but the surface rocks come from a more oxygen-rich environment. Researchers believe this is due to something called Subduction, a process where material is recycled into the interior.When the Martian surface was oxidized early in its history it must have gone through subduction, where the oxygen-rich material was drawn into its shallow interior and recycled back to the surface during eruptions 4000 million years ago. The meteorites, by contrast, are much younger volcanic rocks that emerged from deeper within the planet. As oxidation is what give Mars its distinctive colour, researchers say that it is likely that the ‘red planet’ was wet, warm and rusty billions of years before Earth’s atmosphere became oxygen rich.
and: http://phys.org/news/2013-06-mars-oxygen-rich-atmosphere-million-years.html

Where in the Universe?:
This Weeks Image: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0706/m65_wendel.jpg

Thanks for listening!
-YorkUniverse Team
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