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HAUNTED OBSERVATORY TONIGHT! October 30, 2009

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Come see what REAL mad scientists do! Rain or shine. We either look at the stars or we will use the lightning for reanimation. Either way it’s mad science! 8:00 PM at the observatory, look for the ring of Jack O Lanterns around the observatory. Others just have zombies…

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BEFORE

 

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After the successful Transplant....Pumpkin-Head !

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Astronomy Club Tonight. October 28, 2009

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Room 2153, Physical Science Bld. at 8:00 PM . We will move to a lab for the ritual pumpkin slaughter!

30 This Is A Jack O Lantern

Recent Meteor Impacts ?! October 26, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, meteor.
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Inga Vetere of the Fire and Rescue Service said they received a call about the alleged meteorite on Sunday evening from an eyewitness. She said a military unit was dispatched to the site and found that radiation levels were normal. There were no injures.  The planet is constantly bombarded with objects from outer space, but most burn up in the atmosphere and never reach the surface.

meteor-hoax?

Latvia meteor ?

Suspicion grew on Monday about the nature of the crater.  There are reports of shovel marks and doubt that a meteor would be flaming after impact with the ground.

Asta Pellinen-Wannberg, a meteorite expert at the Swedish Institute of Space Research, said she didn’t know the details of the Latvian incident, but that a rock would have to be at least three feet (one meter) in diameter to create a hole that size. Henning Haack, a lecturer at Copenhagen University’s Geological Museum said more information was needed to confirm that the crater was indeed caused by a meteorite.

“With all these kind of reports we get there always is a pretty large margin of error,” he said.

There have been cases that were not hoaxes. Just two years ago in 2007, a meteorite crashed near Lake Titicaca in Peru, causing a crater about 40 feet (12 meters) wide and 15 feet (five meters) deep.

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Peruvian Crater near Lake Titicaca(Photo: Miguel Carrasco/La Razon, via AP)

Tests confirmed that the crater contained telltale magnetic fragments of a meteorite, and Peru’s Geophysics Institute recorded a large tremor in the area at the moment of impact, according to The Associated Press.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar October 20, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomers, Astronomy, white dwarf.
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One Hundred years ago, yesterday, October 19, 1910, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Arguably the greatest astrophysicist of the twentieth century, his name is in every astronomy book. From the upper mass limit of a white dwarf, Chandrasekhar’s limit, to the orbiting Chandra X-ray telescope, he left his mark on the very concepts and vocabulary that physicists and astronomers use today.

Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930. Chandrasekhar was educated  at the University of Madras, and at Trinity College, Cambridge. From 1933 to 1936 he held a position at Trinity.

By the early 1930s, scientists had concluded that, after converting all of their hydrogen to helium, stars lose energy and contract under the influence of their own gravity. These stars, known as white dwarf stars, contract to about the size of the Earth, and the electrons and nuclei of their constituent atoms are compressed to a state of extremely high density. Using the new theory of Quantum Mechanics, Chandrasekhar determined what is known as the Chandrasekhar limit—that a star having a mass more than 1.44 times that of the Sun does not form a white dwarf but instead continues to collapse. Later it was found that more massive stars cores collapse blows off its gaseous envelope in a Type II supernova explosion, leaving a neutron star. An even more massive star continues to collapse leaving a black hole. Type Ia supernova use the same mechanism in a different way.If a binary star system has a white dwarf stealing matter from its companion, and it exceeds Chandrasekhar limit, the white dwarf will collapse and detonate. For this contibuttion he was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics

Chandra  receives Nobel prize (1983)

Chandra receives Nobel prize (1983)

These calculations contributed to the eventual understanding of supernovas, neutron stars, and black holes, and the production of the elements in the periodic table.

Congratulations to Bill Wolf !! October 15, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, physics.
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Bill Wolf is this years Lincoln Laureate for EIU. He is a double major in Physics (Astronomy Option ) and Mathematics, and a past president of the Astronomy Club and SPS, and my advisee.  🙂

EIU's Lincoln Laureate William Wolf

EIU's Lincoln Laureate William Wolf

To quote the Dean Bonnie Irwin of the Honors college. “A little bit of money, a medallion, and a great honor. Luncheon in Springfield after a ceremony at the Old State Capitol building!”

Oblers’ Paradox Podcast! October 11, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in IYA 2009, Podcast.
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The October 10 podcast at 365 days of Astronomy is sponsored by EIU Physics department. Learn about Obler’s paradox, its solution, and what that means about the life of stars.

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http://365daysofastronomy.org/2009/10/10/october-10th-i-know-why-its-dark-at-night-do-you/

Lcross, the next Day…Not everything you can see is visible. October 10, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, moon.
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Visible light that is. For humans that’s from 380nm to 740nm in wavelength. If you’ve been watching the news, you know that the Lcross lunar impacts did not give off a spectacular plume that would be visible to the many amateurs. Heck, not even the Hubble space telescope or Mt. Palomar saw anything in the visible. I take a small consolation, since the EIU observatory was clouded over and I was home drinking a cup of coffee and watching NASA TV.

But sometimes visable is not where the action is, Infrared and ultraviolet are, as you can see below.

The picture below is from The Planetary Society Blog By Emily Lakdawalla

Uncalibrated Diviner thermal maps of the LCROSS impact region Credit: NASA / GSFC / UCLA

Uncalibrated Diviner thermal maps of the LCROSS impact region Credit: NASA / GSFC / UCLA

Pictured above is the preliminary, uncalibrated Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner thermal (infrared) maps. These four channels operate in a band from 12.5nm to 200nm in the infrared.  Look for the small dot just below the center. The impact site pictures were acquired two hours before the impact, and 90 seconds after the impact.The detection is consistent with the notion that the LCROSS impact resulted in significant local heating of the lunar surface.

View the Lcross Lunar Impact October 8, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, moon.
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Guide to Lcross Impact Site

Guide to Lcross Impact Site

When: Following the latest trajectory correction maneuvers, the time of impact on Friday, October 9, 2009 is 11:31:19 UTC for the Centaur and 11:35:45 for LCROSS spacecraft.

7:31:19 a.m. EDT and 7:35:45 a.m. EDT.

6:31:19 a.m. CDT and 6:35:45 a.m. CDT

5:31:19 a.m. MDT and 5:35:45 a.m. MDT

4:31:19 a.m. PDT and 4:35:45 a.m. PDT

But if your area is going to be cloudy you can see it live on NASA TV http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

For a more detailed guide to tomorrow morning event go to the article at Universe Today


Astronomy Night at the White House October 8, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, IYA 2009.
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Last night, October 7, President Obama hosted the first star party at the white house.

Open House for Parents Weekend! October 2, 2009

Posted by jcconwell in Astronomy, Observatory.
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Tonight at 9:30 PM. Rain or Shine, we will look at the full moon and Jupiter, it’s clear. If it’s cloudy we will still be having tours of the observatory.