Jesse’s Excellent Arizonan Adventures!

Episode 186, February 24, 2014
Hosts: Jesse, Paul
Title: Jesse’s Excellent Arizonan Adventures!

After two weeks off, due to Ontario’s statutory holiday Family Day, the York Universe team returns. Jesse was off galavanting around the southwest United States including a trip to Meteor crater and a week at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. The Moon dominated the conversation with Yutu, a car sized object impacting (caught in real time), and of course the Moon and the planets in the night sky for your viewing pleasure. Canadian Men’s and Women’s olympic hockey teams claim gold (again), but the Australians lost in cricket…so Paul didn’t know what to think. Show notes and podcast below. Thanks for listening!

This week in space/astronomy history:
1. February 18, 1930 – the date when Clyde Tombaugh made the blink comparator identification of ‘the ninth planet’ (to be called Pluto on May 1,1930) based upon images taken at Lowell Observatory in the preceding January.
2. February 23, 1987 – Supernova SN 1987A (type II) explodes in the Tarantula Nebula of the Large Magellanic Cloud. This was the closest supernova since 1604 (Kepler’s Supernova).
3. February 28, 2007 – New Horizons flies by Jupiter en route to Pluto and beyond in July 2015.
4. March 1, 1982 – Venera 13 returns first colour photos of Venus. [sidenote: same day 1966, Venera 3 1966 impacts Venus becomes first manmade object to reach another planet].

1a. Observing this week. The Moon is happily cruising along the ecliptic meeting up with multiple planets as it does so. On February 22nd, 2014, the Moon passed by Saturn in the night sky, and on Wednesday February 26th, 2014, the Moon will be very close to the planet Venus in the dawn sky. (Suggested Reading: Sky and Telescope, Universe Today).
1b. Speaking of the Moon, on March 10, 2014 there will be a bright star (lambda Gem) occulted by the Moon. This is a terrific chance to practice your occultation observing skills, as there is a much better occultation happening shortly after that. On March 20, 2014 at 2:05am EDT, asteroid 163 Erigone will be occulting the bright star Regulus (alpha Leo). The Interational Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) has a call out for volunteer observers to time the event. (Suggested Reading: IOTA Call).
1c. more Moon. On April 15th, the Moon, the Earth, and the Sun will align for a spectacular Total Lunar Eclipse. This is where the Moon passes into the shadow cast by the Earth out into space. It is only viewable at night and does not require special glasses for viewing (unlike Total Solar Eclipses). (Suggested Reading: April 2014 wiki).
2. Car sized object smacking into the Moon, caught in REAL TIME. There are two major Moon monitoring projects occuring presently: the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (MIDAS, Spain) and the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory (ALaMO, NASA). The Spanish program recently caught an object of about 0.6m-1.4m in size smashing into the Moon at 60 000 km/h. With a mass of 400 kg, this released a 15 kT sized explosion, appearing as a large flash that lasted about 8 seconds (visible to naked eye). It is expected to have left a crater behind approximately 40 m in size. (Suggested Reading: Universe Today, MNRAS publication, YouTube video).
3. YuTu’s gone and back again. Although the exact nature of the ‘serious malfunction’ remains unclear (Suggested Reading: Universe Today).
4. York Universe host Jesse Rogerson returns. He was using the Steward Observatory’s Bok 90inch telescope. Check out his blog for more on the trip:

Thanks for listening!
-YorkUniverse Team
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