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Practical Astronomy

JAN-MAR 2012
Astronomy In A Cup Total Lunar Eclipse Discovering Planets

Practical Astronomy
In this issue..
3 6 8 KITCHEN OBSERVING Astronomy In A Cup READERS PROFILE Eddie Marris ASTRONOMY EDUCATION Inspiring Story From Venezuela

Jan-Mar 2012

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First Light
Happy New Year! Welcome to the rst 2012 issue of Practical Astronomy. We have several new authors to Practical Astronomy this time. Enjoy their interesting contributions. Perhaps YOU would like to be published here too? All you have to do is write a short article about a topic related to astronomy. It can be just your personal experiences - it does not have analyse some hard bit of science! (Although you can, of course.) Then simply send your article and any images to the magazine, via the website form here. Clear skies, Kevin Brown

10 OBSERVING THE RED MOON From The Seven Suites Hotel Observatory 12 DISCOVERING PLANETS Passing Gas 15 READERS IMAGES 17 SKY VIEW January To March 2012 26 OBSERVERS DELIGHTS January To March 2012

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Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012 Editor: Kevin Brown FRAS editor@practicalastronomy.com Website: www.PracticalAstronomy.com Publisher: Structure Ltd

Practical Astronomy magazine is published quarterly online. ISSN 2042-2687 Views expressed are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. May include errors and omissions. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The publisher is not responsible for the conduct of advertisers or external websites. Contains content submitted for publication by readers. No infringement of other copyrights is intended - please inform us of any possibilities. 2012 All contents copyright. No reproduction without express permission.

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Kitchen Observing: Astronomy In A Cup


By Richard W. Julian Every morning I start by having a large mug of strong coffee. I pour the coffee over the sugar in my cup, and then stir, froth is raised centrally, full of varying sized bubbles. To this I add a gently poured stream of milk at the edge of the cup. There I noticed that the central froth revolves more rapidly than the spiral arms formed in the partial coffee/milk mixture. In fact when I stir with my left hand I see a spiral galaxy as seen photographically in a star atlas. My rst question is, does the centre of our galaxy and/or others, revolve more rapidly than the other spiral arms - like in my stirred up coffee/milk mixture? There are certain other related motions I have noticed in my cup of coffee. These are that the spiral arms change shape and of course come to rest within the restricted space, i.e. at the cups edge. However new spiral arms appear, grow larger outwards and repeat the degenerative motion to rest. I have also noted that spirals emerge either as approximately opposing pairs or possibly as triplet arms, probably dependant on speed of rotation. I would appreciate comments on these two or three arm formations. Looking at the frothy bubbles in the centre of my coffee cup, I am aware that they (the froth) are an expression of an underlying vertically conical spinning vortex. This led me to thinking that all vortices have a midline (centripedal) force moving inward and downwards. As they spin faster the centre is drawn into the vortex. While at the surface, rotation behaves as a centrifugal force, moving outwards away from the centre and upwards as spiral arms. (There are several examples of vortexes here on earth). The spiral arms when viewed in my cup form either left or right handed spirals, depending on which hand stirred the coffee. Now when considering the spherical three dimensional galactic hubs, could the same vortices be seen as the (centripedal) force that works in my coffee cup? On examination of the conical vortex of a spiral galaxy, viewed from above the spiral plane, show that left-hand spirals exist. - Yet - when viewed from below opposing directional right-handed spirals also exist. Now could this same vortex, within the galactic hub of opposing directions be seen where and when they meet, possibly create the galactic Black Hole or perhaps is there another singularity force within the plane of galactic rotation? I include two diagrams that may help the reader to better understand my observations and deductions. The rst sketch is to draw a spiral galaxy as viewed from above, complete with spiral arms. Note the direction of galactic rotation and the shape and trailing nature of the spiral arms. - Now - turn the sketch paper over and note how the rotation is reversed as are the spiral arms. A paradox or simply an Einsteinian relativistic point of view? The second sketch depicts two cones that represent the same rotational theoretic vortices of the galactic hub as viewed from the galactic equator (i.e. edge on). The cones however, have a common centre. The upper conical vortex is marked by a left or right rotational arrow. Turn the sketch paper around - so that the top of page is now at the bottom - note now the reversed rotational direction. Where they meet at the common apex they oppose one another and (for me) may add some reenforcement to the singularity or Black Hole suppositions. The vortex at the galactic centre must have a centrally located apex! If the paradox exists, then where does the matter go entering the black hole vortex, as it is drawn toward the apex? I reiterate, is it possible that there is another singularity radiating from the apical vortex in line with the galactic equator? These are my observations and thoughts, I am not an Astronomer. Geology and Geophysics are my elds. But one dabbles in this and that like now, a spark of interest, a remembered reading from somewhere once read that our Milkyway galaxy rotates once around itself approximately every 250 to 300 million years. Now how fast does the galactic centre need to

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Kitchen Observing: Astronomy In A Cup (cont)


By Richard W. Julian rotate to create the theoretical singularity or Black Hole? I would appreciate any-ones comments on my suppositions or should I just drink-up and stop watching the rotations in my coffee cup? ADDENDUM NO. 1 Having written the above - some months have past. I still look into my coffee cup, when another thought came to me. Remember the vortices within the hub of the galaxy, well cosmologists believe or think that at the center of the vortex the singularity takes the form of a black hole. It is here where matter of stars, light, space and dark matter are all combined and compressed on entering the black hole and nothing escapes once within it. The vortex I envisaged came to a common apex, regardless which end it was viewed from. Here I present this empirical hypotheses as another singularity to be at right angles to the center of the vortex that forms the black hole. Could it be that this singularity is where new stars are born within the hub and then slowly migrate out, into forming new star matter for the spiral arms? This thought suggests to me a basis for the continuous creation theory, but only within each individual galaxy. This I know does not cover Novas and SuperNovas that those astronomers of today, describe, and yet may only be a result of gravitational imbalances within the spiral arms of a said galaxy. - Comments please! Any way these are thoughts conjured up from time to time as I look into my coffee cup. Now, I wonder what else is in my coffee cup? ADDENDUM NO. 2 One reads that the universe is expanding, all galaxies are moving away from each other; regardless of which galaxy one is on they are all receding from one another and at possibly different rates of speed. The Hubble telescope combined with radioscopes underpin these events. Then how is it that we have a theory that some galaxies are colliding, when they all behave like or as repelling magnets. Thus a new thought emerged from my coffee cup. The material entering a black hole within a galaxy eventually reaches the apex mid-point of the vortex. Reduction of matter must at some point cease as material is no longer accepted. Then perhaps a new dimension occurs, ie a singularity equivalent to a biological mitosis, by dividing itself by multiplication. Galaxies are therefore not colliding, they are (in fact?) cloning, and a new galaxy is forming as a result of this division. I believe this bears thought if we accept the original expansion theory for the universe; it would be impossible for galaxies to collide if they are all moving away from each other. ADDENDUM NO. 3 And I thought, I was through with gazing into my stirred coffee cup. When once again another observation came into my reective view. It was temperature or rather temperature gradient in my coffee/milk mixture. As boiling water is poured over the coffee at around 85C followed - after stirring - by milk at about 5C poured gently onto the coffee; one liquid cools while the other warms up; we ensure the development of our vortex. The colour distribution is clearly visible at rst as immiscible, then begin to merge and eventually become fully homogenous. In other words galactic stars are hot and deep space cold. Thus within the galaxy a temperature gradient is at work. The central vortex with its black hole is presumably extremely hot, from absorbing matter - visible or black into the galactic hub. Thus, pressure from or through the temperature gradient could or maybe the force required to initiate the cloning of a galaxy. ADDENDUM NO. 4 Another morning when observing the formation of spiral arms in my coffee cup, I was distracted momentarily, later when I resumed my vigil, I noticed the spiral arms where gone. The coffee/milk mixture was complete; ie, it was homogenous - however, the bubbly froth rotation was still visibly present, as noted by its position in the centre of coffee cup.
Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Kitchen Observing: Astronomy In A Cup (cont)


By Richard W. Julian EUREKA! Another phenomenon revealed itself. This bubbly froth could possibly represent a cluster galaxy, as they have no spiral arms. These cluster galaxies seem to form with other galaxies into local spacial groups and appear as peripheral to the group. Lack of rapid rotation may illustrate or rather represent an aged form of a galaxy, which is slowing down and can no longer create, by emission, stardust spiral arms. My thoughts then absolutely revert to vortex rotation. Its centripetal force may also be the mechanism for the creation of a black hole, with its inward and downward curving motions. So then, what stops the stars at the rims peripheral edge of the vortex from being sucked into the Maelstrom? Or is it the counter centrifugal force that determines the effect and balances the black hole at Boundary? My thoughts, any comments? It is really marvelous what thought processes happen when one on waking, stares into a morning cup of coffee! Richard W. Julian 19/10/2011

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Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Readers Prole: Eddie Marris


By Eddie Marris Hi All, Let me rst introduce myself to this group of hardy Astronomers. My name is Eddie and of course youll see that listed at the bottom of the page and live in Doncaster. I live in the suburbs so have plenty of light pollution from them dam sodium lights which not only lights up the roads but the whole area casting orange glow into the Atmosphere, not only do i have to contend with that, but also security/ bathroom and bedroom light glaring away like the power was imminent of running out until late the hours of the night, no doubt you have all suffered the same type of astronomers nightmare at some point. Since this is my rst article in Practical Astronomy, I would like to share my childhood hobby. My fascination started way back in October 1957 when sputnik 1 was rst launched, I was just over 4 years old. My interest continued throughout the years and in the early 60s a friend and I purchased our rst Telescope a refractor which cost us 2.10 shillings in old money, and had just a 1 inch objective lens and about 48 inches long, but it was great for viewing the detail of the moon and that was about it, i and am now 58, and still keen, anyway after having various telescopes though my Teens years vowed one day to have something decent. Back in my school days I dont know if some of you will remember Charles Franks he made Telescopes and lived in Glasgow I remember from his catalogue his 6 inch Reectors started around 15.00 In 2007 I purchased a 2.1m dome with half walls from Pulsar and mounted it on my 10x8 shed and set it up as my Observatory, equipped with Skywatchers EQ6 Pro goto mount. I dug the foundation to house the 1.8m pier to attach the EQ6 Pro head. My telescopes consist of the following: 2 Williams Optics Apo refractors of 110mm and 132mm. My main scope is a Celestron Fastar C11, which incorporates a Starizona Hyperstar unit

in connection with a Starlight Xpress M25c ccd camera, mounted at the front of the corrector plate. This gives me a photographic speed between f/1.85 and f/2 which cuts down the exposure times, but I need to re-collimate my system back to f/10 so I can image the planets too. Once thats done I can use either system f/10 or f/1.85. Some of the images I am enclosing is my setup, the latest images of the supernova in M101 Ursa Major taken September 2011 and an image of Comet Garradd and of course you cant miss out M42. The images are processed in Astroart then into Photoshop
Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Readers Prole: Eddie Marris (cont)

By Eddie Marris

Comet Garrad on 27 September 2011 (above) and M42 (right)

M101 and Supernova in Ursa Major taken on 1 September 2011

Eddie Marris, 6th October 2011

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Astronomy Education: Wonderful Story From By Patrick Morton, Venezuela Venezuela


Dear friends at Practical Astronomy, Greetings. My name is Patrick Morton. I am a petroleum engineer, 57 years old and I was born in the city of Maracaibo Venezuela. My father, now deceased, was a WW2 veteran who served in the RAF in Bomber Command. My mother 87, still alive, used to work during WW2 at Shell Oil co here in Venezuela. She was in charge of the delicate job of handling the mail and communications of the tankers leaving the lake of Maracaibo, taking oil and gasoline to the allies in the Western Front ports. I studied in the University of Zulia, but since childhood my parents used to take me to the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium. There I took lots and lots of amateur astronomy courses, activities and lectures, basically those given by the late Jack Horckheimer and colleagues, and that made me fall in love with Astronomy. I couldn't study the subject in my country, because there is not a really strong space tradition and advocacy for astronomy and space exploration. And since this is oil country, I ended up studying Petroleum Engineering, while always keeping in touch and visiting almost every year, the Miami Planetarium and its activities. Then by a strange course of destiny, I was no longer able to work in the petroleum industry. In order not to starve, I had to accept 11 years ago a miraculous post given to me as Natural Sciences teacher during the day and amateur astronomy teacher during the night. I enrolled in The Planetary Society and Astronomical Society of the Pacic, and thanks to Dr's ROBERT HAVLEN, JAMES C WHITE II AND ANDREW FRANKNOI, I received the most precious gift any teacher in the world could desire!! The PROJECT ASTRO BOOK. And I used to be scared giving classes to kids, but thanks to the booklet 'How To Guide For Teachers And Astronomers' (also from ASP), I got to work immediately and since then have had tremendous success!!

I must also mention that had it not been for the wonderful gifts, donations and diverse articles we received from NASA, PLANETARY SOCIETY, ESA AND KALMBACH PUBLISHERS my work would have been useless!!! Since then, and thanks also to the generosity of the school were I work, the LOS ROBLES ASTRONOMY CLUB was founded, located at LICEO LOS ROBLES SCHOOL (a private school, about 900 students), and the board of directors and parents decided to allow students of both sexes, (it's a boys' school) from any public, charity or private school, to come to my classes and star parties, FREE!! no cost at all !!! Of course the school pays my extra night hours!!

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Astronomy Education: Wonderful Story From By Patrick Morton, Venezuela Venezuela (cont)
Since then I've been a vivid watcher of THIS WEEK AT NASA, WHATS UP TONIGHT BY JANE HOUSTON JONES, AND ALL THE TV AND INTERNET TRANSMIISIONS OF THE LATE JACK HORKHEIMER!!! I learned a lot from PROJECT ASTRO also, and reinforced by a Spanish astronomy professor that came to town some 10 years ago and gave amateur astronomy, licensed classes... well I think I learned something!! transportation vehicle and build an airconditioned ight simulator that sits 6 students with 1 teacher - no windows, just a computer with an image splitter for 3 screens, some paint imitating Space Shuttles, Nasa stickers and voila!! Also I bought all the computer programs I could nd at Kennedy Space Center gift shop!!! And just imagine the "hand to hand" combat between the kids, just to "pilot" a Space Shuttle!! I am annexing some pictures, perhaps you might like them!! I haven't stopped giving amateur astronomy classes to kids and people of all ages and sexes. I even have a few bright kids trying hard to study planetary science subjects. They enter every Nasa contest open to the international public and hope to win a scholarship someday, to enter the planetary sciences world. We also hold a star party almost every month, here in the school lawn and observatory, combined with BBQs and also in some rural areas around our city and Lake of Maracaibo. Right now we are waiting for a possible donation from SARA RADIO JOVE, of a very interesting radio telescope, so we can enter the amateur radio telescope international community (Society of Amateur radio Astronomers) . Well that's all I could think for the moment. Hope you might nd some use for this "article" someday, when you need to ll some space!! Best regards, Patrick in Venezuela

Using the ideas and inspirations from amateur astronomy clubs, Nasa, and ASP and ESA, I invented or applied their ideas and managed to build a small observatory with 2 domes I made from discarded water tanks. Also the school assigned me a quite decent hall with air-conditioning which I transformed into a mini planetarium that sits 33 persons and also serves as PROJECT ASTRO workshops. Also, we managed to buy a couple of solarscopes, and using the same carton box they came in, we built 2 portable solar observatories, to study and observe the Sun!!! We bought two because we have one installed on each side of the lake!! Like that we save lots of fuel!!! And last but not least, using the wrecks of 2 small cars, I tried to copy a Nasa X38 crew

(My pleasure Patrick to share your inspiring story! Ed.)

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

Observing The Red Moon: From The Seven Suites Hotel Observatory By Raven Yu, Philippines
I began my preparation to observe the June 16, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse, as soon as I learned about it several months before. It was a relatively rare opportunity to observe a Total Eclipse of the Moon - not to mention that the duration of totality of this eclipse will be one of the longest in 100 years (totality lasted for 100 minutes, from 3:22 am until around 5:02 am PHT). I immediately checked the eclipse circumstances available in the NASA eclipse website and estimated the location of the Moon for each phase using Stellarium, so as to choose the best place to observe the event. I also reviewed the previous photos Ive taken to see which places have a clear view of the southwest sky - the region where the Moon was mostly located during the course of the whole eclipse event. After considering a few good observing sites, I decided to observe at the Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo. Seven Suites is the rst and only hotel observatory in the Philippines. As it is situated along the hillside route of Sumulong Highway in Antipolo City (not too far away from UP Diliman), it offers a breathtaking view of Manila by night - a stunning view of the metropolis, its city lights and the dazzling night sky. It also houses a 12inch diameter Dobsonian, which is the fourth largest telescope in the country. We arrived at Seven Suites about two hours before the start of the penumbral eclipse. Upon reaching the roof deck, we marveled at the awesome cityscape just below us. Thank God it didnt rain a bit the whole night despite the rainy weather forecast. Only a few patches of clouds could be seen oating amid the moonlit sky. All of us were excited to witness the eclipse. But before it started, a bright reball zoomed in to our view. It came from the northeast direction, near the Summer Triangle so we guessed that it could be a June Lyrid. At the time of the penumbral eclipse, no visible changes in the moons brightness can be easily recognized until it slowly becomes dimmer a few minutes before the umbral phase.

By about 2:30 AM, a small part of the Moon on its upper left limb was already being covered by the Earths shadow. This chunk grew larger and larger after several minutes until nally only a small sliver of the Moon remained visible. The Moon entered totality at 3:22 AM. Just before the light on the Moon totally disappeared, an apparent reddening of the lunar disk took place. It became more and more obvious to the eye until the whole lunar disk was transformed to a blood-red orb hanging above
Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Observing The Red Moon: From The Seven Suites Hotel Observatory (cont) By Raven Yu, Philippines
among the stars. It was a breath-taking view. I also created two montages, composed of the images of the Moon during different stages of the eclipse. Totality ended at 5:02 AM. Unfortunately, the fth contact (end of the partial eclipse) and sixth contact (end of the penumbral eclipse) could not be observed from the Philippines since the moonset was at 5:30 AM. Only a small part of the Moon remained visible as it continuously sank near the horizon. A few minutes before sunrise, we noticed another nice atmospheric phenomenon - anti-crepuscular rays. Anti-crepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky during sunrise or sunset. We packed up and prepared to leave at around 6:00 in the morning. I was starting to feel tired then, but I resisted sleepiness, as I still needed to attend my class. Our efforts were not fruitless, anyway. Seeing the Red Moon was truly a priceless experience! Till the next Total Lunar Eclipse on December. Ad astra! (Note: All photos were taken using Nikon D3000 DSLR camera.) Moon and anti-crepuscular rays

Eclipse Montage

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Discovering Planets: Passing Gas


By Ray Mosley, Jr Discoveries are looking up We overlook our neighbors and gaze hopefully into the dark innity of space and proudly wonder: Is another Earth waiting out there? Are we alone in the Milky Way? Then, a wondrous discovery is made. The headlines around the world scream: Another Earth! But once again, the brightness of our zealous curiosity blinds us to reason. The very reason that we so carefully built our science upon. Did you hear that bang? The recent discovery of what has been reported as an Earth-like planet has made headlines around the World. But why do astronomers believe that Kepler-22b is Earthlike? Well, there are many factors that are taken into account in the classication of a planet. One of these factors is based on the hypothesis of our solar systems creation: the Nebular Theory. The University of Washington elegantly describes our solar systems moment of conception as follows: Much as a buttery emerges when its chrysalis is ejected, planetary nebulae are formed when a red giant star ejects its outer layers as clouds of luminescent gas, revealing the dense, hot, and tiny white dwarf star at its core (13Dec-2011, 2). This results in a spinning intergalactic tempest with remnants of the former giants core swirling and crashing about like debris caught in a tornado. This debris, which is mostly dust, helium, hydrogen, and other gases, eventually coalesce to form stars like our Sun, planets, and their atmospheres and in most cases satellites. The solar system that Kepler-22b is located in is believed to have formed in much the same way as ours. Natalie Batahla, a Kepler scientist, said: it orbits a star very, very similar to our own sun. (7-Dec-2011, 5). Classing up Further statements of Keplers similarity to Earth have also been reported. These opinions are based on Keplers proximity to its Sun-like star. According to Bryan Vastag from the Associated Press: The planet is smack in the middle of what astronomers call the Goldilocks zone, that hard to nd place thats not too hot, not too cold, where water, which is essential for life, doesnt freeze or boil. And it has a shopping mall-like surface temperature of near 72 degrees (Vastag, 7-Dec-2011, 2). We classify the planets in our solar system based on location, size, and density. (Lutgen & Tarbuck, 2011, p. 430). The four inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars belong to the terrestrial (Earth-like) group and the four outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus belong to the Jovian (Jupiter-like) group. So, if Kepler was in our solar system; it would belong to the terrestrial group and approximately occupy the space between Earth and Mars. This, however, is not sufcient to classify Kepler as an Earth-like planet without rst considering many other factors. The most important of these factors would be the composition of its atmosphere. Though they belong to the same group; the four terrestrial planets actually have little in common across the board, other than the composition of their cores and their relative close proximity to the Sun. Furthermore, even though it is believed that the terrestrial planets did once have similar atmospheres; there are currently major differences. The largest contrast being that of Earth and Mars. Who has gas? Mercury is almost completely devoid of a discernible atmosphere as a result of its close proximity to our Sun and its relatively small size. The atmospheres of Mars and Venus are characterized by extremely high levels (>90%) of carbon dioxide. Earths atmosphere is approximately 79 percent nitrogen and 21% oxygen.

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Discovering Planets: Passing Gas (cont)


By Ray Mosley, Jr The rst two Jovian planets, Jupiter and Saturn have similar atmospheric characteristics consisting of mostly helium and hydrogen. Like the preceding Jovian planets, Uranus and Neptunes atmospheres also contain helium and hydrogen; but they also contain higher amounts of methane and ammonia than the other Jovian planets. So, the question that must be asked is: what is the composition of Kepler-22bs atmosphere, if it even has one? Before we can answer that question we must take into account that popular belief states: during the formation of the planets; solar heating and the planets gravity greatly inuence the attraction and subsequent retention or elimination of gases. This is plainly evident across both the terrestrial and Jovian groups. Bigger than life? We know that Kepler-22b is in orbit around a Sun-like star and that it is in approximately the same zone in which Earth is located. Thus, we can make an educated guess as to its atmosphere based on what we would believe its solar heating to be. But that is only one factor that we must consider. The other factor is the size of Kepler-22b. Again, according to Bryan Vastag from Associated Press: The planet is about 2.4 times the size of Earth (7-Dec-2011, 9). This, of course, is a great point for consideration; as the mass of an object highly inuences the amount of gravity that the object produces. This, in turn, affects what a planets escape velocity is and subsequently the possibility of development of life as we know it. Escape velocity Escape velocity, as the name suggests, is the speed in which something must attain to escape the gravitational pull of a planet. Logically, the larger the planets mass, the higher the escape velocity would have to be. A quick comparison of Earth and Jupiters escape velocities shows how signicant this can be. NASA has calculated Earths escape velocity to be 11.19 kilometers per second (25,200 miles per hour); and Jupiters escape velocity is 51.5 kilometers per second (115,200 miles per hour). (2010). If Kepler-22bs solar system possessed large amounts of hydrogen and helium like ours in its infancy; and it is logical to think it did, then its escape velocity instantly becomes a concern. This is because in our own system, as mentioned earlier, the mass of the Jovian planets are such that those gases were unable to achieve escape velocity and subsequently be eliminated from the atmosphere. So, it is very possible that Kepler-22-bs atmosphere may consist of gases that are not compatible for human life. Whats in a name? Considering the data that has been presented; why would NASA refer to Kepler-22b as an Earth-like planet? The problem can be reasonably tracked back to the language which the science of Astronomy utilizes. In fact, the many differences that we have found in the planetary atmospheres of our solar system should not only negate making authoritative classications of newly discovered planets based on our current planetary classication system; but we should also consider reclassifying our own planets. Quite simply, our current system could be seen as an example of a galactic comparison of apples and oranges. The idea of revising astronomical language is not a new concept; Astronomy has made similar changes in the past with the 2006 demotion of Pluto from planetary status to that of dwarf planet occurring most recently. Though this met with opposition by a few, the whole of Astronomy saw a need for this change and it has been accepted. Proponents of this change like: Jean-Luc Margot of the UCLA Physics and Astronomy Department has been quoted as saying: Many branches of science require a precise classication scheme (taxonomy); otherwise

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Discovering Planets: Passing Gas (cont)


By Ray Mosley, Jr people cannot talk to each other effectively. Astronomy is no different (12-Dec-2011, 3). Further evidence for this proposed revision can be found in the atmospheric data for our planets. The presented information should make it evident to even non-scientists that the current system is not only inadequate but also illogical. A suggestion of how to change the language lies in the adoption of a system based on the ve different atmospheric classes of our planets. A template for such a system would read similar to the following: Mercury-like, Venus/ Mars-like, Terrestrial, Jovian, and Neptune/ Uranus-like. To some, this call for revision may seem trivial or semantic. However, when discussing matters of science, one would expect to encounter the use of precise language across all elds of study. So, in conclusion, precisely cataloging discoveries made during our continued search for planets outside of our solar system supports a re-classication of planets based on their atmospheric characteristics instead of the traditional method which only considers location, size, and density. References V astag, B. (5-Dec-2011). A new Earth? NASA nds planet outside solar system in a spot just about right for life. Retrieved &om: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ politics/a-new-earth-nasa-nds-planet-outside-solarsystem-at-comfy-72-degrees-with-sunlike-star/ 2011/12/05/gIQA3Z0fWO_story.html Batahla, N. (7-Dec-2011). NASA nds new planet Kepler 22b outside solar system with temperature right for life. Retrieved &om: http:// www.washingtonpost.com/national/nasa-nds-newplanet-kepler-22b-outside-solar-system-withtemperature-right-for-life/2011/12/07/ gIQAPfzFdO_story.html Lutgen, F. K. & Tarbuck, E. J. (2011). Foundations of earth science (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Ha) Margot, J. (12-Dec-2011). What makes a planet? Retrieved &om: http://www2.ess.ucla.edu/~jlm/epo/ planet/planet.html NASA. (2010). Jupiter fact sheet. Retrieved &om: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/ jupiterfact.html University of Washington. (13-Dec-2011). Planetary nebulae and the future of the solar system. Retrieved &om: http://www.astro.washington.edu/users/balick/ WFPC2/

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and become a worldwide published author (no joke) www.PracticalAstronomy.com/submit-article
Use the above link, to contribute articles and/or images to Practical Astronomy. Or send by email, if you prefer to: editor@practicalastronomy.com

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Readers Images
Lunar eclipse 10th Dec 2011 - by Asadollah Ghamarinezhad Location: Abyane village, Kashan, Iran 60D Canon camera 100-400 Canon usm IS lens Manfrotto tripod

Lunar eclipse 10th Dec 2011 from Chennai, India - by Murali Krishna Kanagala

Camera : SONY DSC H-50 Shutter speed : 1/320 to 2.5 sec Aperture: f/8 to f/4.5 ISO: 100 to 400

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Readers Images (cont)


Solar images of AR1283 taken by Sheri Lynn Karl in September 2011

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Readers Images (cont)

Sun Spot 1302 taken on 25th September 2011 by Dhinakar Rajaram

Contribute Your Articles And Images


and become a worldwide published author (no joke) www.PracticalAstronomy.com/submit-article
Use the above link, to contribute articles and/or images to Practical Astronomy. Or send by email, if you prefer to: editor@practicalastronomy.com

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Sky View: Northern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 51N)

Looking East
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Sky View: Northern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 51N)

Looking South
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Sky View: Northern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 51N)

Looking West
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Sky View: Northern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 51N)

Looking North
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

21

Sky View: Southern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 30S)

Looking East
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

22

Sky View: Southern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 30S)

Looking North
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

23

Sky View: Southern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 30S)

Looking West
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

24

Sky View: Southern Hemisphere

Mid-Feb 21:00 GMT (lat. 30S)

Looking South
These maps show the sky view in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-Feb, for an observer at latitude 51deg North (northern hemisphere) or 30deg South (southern hemisphere). In Jan/Mar? Objects rise later/earlier. Closer to the equator? Objects are higher above your local southern/northern horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 9pm in your local time.
Maps generated with Stellarium

Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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Observers Delights
MOON New 23rd Jan Full 7th Feb New 21st Feb Full 8th Mar New

Jan-Mar 2012

Full 6th Apr

22nd Mar

VENUS Prominent in the evening in the West

MARS Bright (1st mag) in Leo

JUPITER Very bright in Aries in the western sky

SATURN Bright object (1st mag) in Virgo in the East

METEOR SHOWERS

No major showers until the Lyrids in April 2012

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Practical Astronomy Jan-Mar 2012

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