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NEW PODCAST: Countdown for Upcoming Solar Eclipses November 15, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Podcast, Sun.
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Description: Noted astronomer Dr. Jay Pasachoff talks about the upcoming solar eclipses through 2017.

Bio: Jay Pasachoff, Chair of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Eclipses, is Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College. He has viewed 53 solar eclipses, and is an expert on both their use for scientific observations and their use for public education. Pasachoff is past president of the International Astronomical Union’s Commission on Education and Development and Chair-Elect of the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society. He received the Education Prize of the American Astronomical Society. Pasachoff is the author of textbooks on astronomy and of the Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, and co-author of Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of Our Sun and, on a more technical level, The Solar Corona. His research at the two eclipses of 2012 is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

NASA’s Latest Image of Asteroid 2005 YU55 November 8, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Asteroid.
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The Latest RADAR image of 2005YU55

This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech.

The Slooh telescope will be hosting a live webcast of the flyby on Nov. 8, 2011. Find out more at the Slooh Events page. Keep track of the latest images gathered by astronomers at the Asteroid and Comet Watch website.

FROM the article at Universe today

16″ Telescope in the Repair Shop November 6, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Observatory, telescopes.
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The campus observatory’s 16″ telescope has been under the weather for the last month or so. We thought it might have been electrical problems in the building, but my two students, Tyler and Hannah traced it to one of the circuit boards that deal with the RA (Right Ascension) drive. That’s the motor that moves the telescope East and West, and also tracks objects as the Earth rotates. You can see the picture below as Hannah puts the mount back together to ship it off to Meade. Sometimes the best education happens when things don’t work. There is no better major than physics to teach problem solving skills.

Hannah and the 16" Mount

We hope to have the telescope back and running in a couple weeks. Until then we can use the 30″ telescope we helped refurbished at ARI, and the 16″ telescopes in Chile.

SKY & TELESCOPE Article on Local Observatory November 4, 2011

Posted by jcconwell in Asteroids, Astronomers, Observatory, telescopes.
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December 2011 Issue

The December Issue of Sky & Telescope has hit the newsstand this week. The feature article is on Bob Holmes, an adjunct professor in the Physics Department here at EIU.  Bob is director of the Astronomical Research Institute (ARI), a private research observatory about 15 miles away from Charleston. He is one of NASA’s principle people who does orbital measurements of Near Earth Object (NEOs). These are potentially hazardous asteroids that intersect near the Earth’s orbit. All done with telescopes that he BUILT! I’ll tell you next week about the his new 50″ telescope, with picture of the mount installation, that will be fully installed next year. It  make ARI the largest privately owned observatory in the world.