Hi MOM!: November 4, 2013

Show notes for the 4th of November 2013

Hosts: Paul, Ryan, Rob B.
Title: Hi MOM!

This week in space/astronomy history:
1. Nov 6, 1500 – Nicolaus Copernicus observed a Lunar Eclipse while in Rome.

2. Nov 4, 1916 – Walter Cronkite’s birthday. Well known for covering space on television, he famously did 27 hours straight of live television following the Apollo 11 launch. His voice is also widely connected with the Apollo 11 moon landing. For this and other reasons he was the only non-NASA employee or astronaut to receive the Ambassador of Exploration Award on February 8, 2006.

3. Oct 31, 1961 – The second-largest movable dish in the southern hemisphere, the Parkes Observatory, opened on October 31, 1961. The radio telescope has been tracking spacecraft since 1962, beginning with Mariner 2 and continuing with Voyager 2, Giotto, Galileo, and Huygens, among other. Parkes was one of several ground-receiving stations for the Apollo 11 Moon landing, transmitting live video to over 600 million people. Parkes also helped receive signals for Apollo’s 12, 14, 15, and 17, providing emergency assistance for Apollo 13. http://www.csiro.au/science/Parkes-five-decades-of-discovery

4. Nov 3, 1966 – The U.S. Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory program might have been the world’s first space station. Cancelled in 1969, it was intended to perform classified reconnisance missions in Earth orbit; the laboratory would have hosted two crew members launched aboard a modified Gemini capsule. A prototype of the station was launched on November 3, 1966, on a Titan IIIC rocket, which flew a Gemini capsule previously flown on the Gemini II uncrewed test flight. It was the first space capsule to have flown twice in space. The capsule is currently on display at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile History Museum at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Learn more about MOL here:

5. Nov 2, 2000 – Humanity’s current continuous presence in space began on November 2, 2000, when Expedition 1 boarded the International Space Station.


1. India to launch first mission to Mars. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is set for launch at 4 am EST, Tuesday, November 5th, 2013. It will study Mars’ atmosphere and search for signs of methane, amongst other things. (Suggested Reading: CBC article, Universe Today article

2. Partial “Hybrid” Solar Eclipse on Nov 3rd. The rare hybrid began as an annular eclipse over the Atlantic Ocean, transitioning to total over easter Atlantic and parts of Africa. Some from North America were able to catch the partial ecplise near sunries. Next hybrid eclipse will occur on October 17th, 2172. (Suggested Reading: Universe Today article)

3. One in five (22%) Sun-like stars (G and K type) have an Earth-like exoplanet, orbiting in the habitable zone. This is based on new statistical/mathematical work from Kepler data. It appears there is approximately 4 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way. NB: this does not count any potential Earth-like planets around the far more common red-dwarf stars (or any other star type). (Suggested Reading: Bad Astronomy article)

Related: First Earth-sized Rocky planet found http://www.keckobservatory.org/recent/entry/first_earth_sized_rocky_exoplanet_found

4. Soyuz TMA-11M to launch Expedition 38 crew on November 6, 2013. The crew will carry the torch to be used to light the Sochi 2014 Winter games torch.  There have been 2 other olympic torches in space previously, but this one will go on a spacewalk. (Suggested Reading: RT article).

5. A ten year old boy has discovered Supernova. May be the youngest person to discover one!  (Suggested Reading: IFLScience Article)

Major Topics Discussed:

1. Black Holes discovered in Globular Cluster

One of the ideas for globular clusters having black holes came from the theory that galaxies form by mergers of many protogalaxies, and the original centers of the protogalaxies became globular clusters. It’s not a major stretch from there to think black holes could have formed and migrated to the centre of mass of the globular clusters, even back when they were protogalaxies. However, current theory suggests that globular cluster shouldn’t have black holes, due to the tight stellar population. Any black holes would be shot out of the cluster due to interactions with nearby neighbours. It could be that the black holes being found are younger, or that the process of kicking black holes out of globular clusters is happening much slower than we previously thought.
Black holes have been found in globular clusters outside our galaxy since 2007, but for the first time two examples have been identified within our own galaxy’s population of globular clusters.
When it comes to locating black holes, it can be very difficult. Black holes are black, and their existence can only be inferred through their gravitational interactions with nearby objects. In the case with these globular clusters, their existence has been based on radio and X-ray observations of the black hole swallowing up a nearby star.
(Suggested Reading: PhysOrg article)

Thanks for listening!
-YorkUniverse Team
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