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Astro Advent Calendar 2018

Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 11/30/18 10:48 PM

I've always liked advent calendars, so here's another astro advent for this year. Starting tomorrow, it's based on the days up to Christmas, but will be full of astronomy events and interesting pictures. Sorry about having no windows to open - it'll be click-the-links instead.

And to everyone, Greetings and Good Wishes for whatever winter holidays you celebrate.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/01/18 04:02 PM

1

Galileo Galilei made the first detailed observations of the Moon in 1609 between November 30 and December 18.

Four of the drawings were then engraved for publication in March 1610. 

Here are two of Galileo's drawings of the Moon. He made them while observing using a small telescope with 20x magnification.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/02/18 09:57 AM


2

A winter scene with Orion prominent in a starry sky above a bridge over the river Lielupe in Latvia.

Due to the long exposure, drifting ice shows up as streaks in the river. And, beautifully, there are stars reflected in the river. The sky beams are from a church in the village whose lights line the horizon.

[Image: Juris Sennikovs, first place winner in the 2018 StarSpace astrophotography competition].
Posted By: Francine - German Culture

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/02/18 10:49 AM


Fascinating Mona, what a great idea for Advent, and love the Latvia photo, just beautiful.

Have sent you a message through the internal mail system by the way, the Forum PM facility seems to have disappeared. Or perhaps that is only my connection. computer

I really enjoy Advent, it is such a wonderful time of year isn't it... laugh
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/03/18 09:17 AM


3

On December 3, 1973, Pioneer 10 - the first probe ever to visit Jupiter - made its closest approach to the giant planet.

Here are flyby photos taken by Pioneer 10 of Jupiter. The spacecraft is no longer operational, but continues on its journey out of the Solar System, currently over 121 AU from home. [1 AU = the Earth-Sun distance]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/04/18 09:51 AM


4

The Pioneer Venus Orbiter was inserted into Venus orbit on December 4, 1978 – it returned data until October 1992.

The spacecraft used a surface radar mapper to survey the planet – from the data a complete map of Venus was produced.

[Image: NASA Ames Research Center, U.S Geological Survey and Massachusetts Institute of Technology]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/05/18 10:05 AM


5

Northern lights in northern Norway photographed by noted aurora photographer Ole Salomonsen.

The northern and southern lights are one of Earth's most splendid spectacles. They're created when charged particles from the Sun interact with particles of our atmosphere at an atomic level.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/06/18 03:41 PM


6

In 1876, Ellen Harding Baker, an American astronomer and educator, finished embroidering an amazing quilt. The quilt is a diagram of the Solar System, as known at the time. She used it as a visual aid for the astronomy lectures she gave.

The quilt is made from black woolen fabric, decorated with colorful wool-fabric appliqué, wool braid, and wool and silk embroidery It includes the eight planets, asteroid belt, the larger moons, a comet and numerous stars around the periphery.
Posted By: Angie

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/07/18 02:07 AM

>>

Northern lights in northern Norway<< just beautiful.
Posted By: Angie

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/07/18 02:09 AM

About the quilt, my mother was a phenomenal quilter. She would have enjoyed the quilt you posted.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/07/18 08:06 AM


7

Apollo 17 was launched on December 7, 1972. It was the final Apollo mission and the last time humans have flown beyond low Earth orbit.

Geologist Harrison Schmitt is at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) is in the background. Gene Cernan – the last man on the Moon – took the two photos used to make this mosaic image.

[Image Credit: NASA/Eugene Cernan]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/08/18 10:46 AM


8

In Greenwich, England, the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year for 2018 was announced. Brad Goldpaint of the USA was the winner for his exquisite photo "Transport the Soul".

It was the unanimous choice of the judges, one of whom said "Our planet is of extraordinary beauty and so is the entire Universe. Here we are, standing small, at the edge of a cliff, observing it all."
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/09/18 09:50 AM


9

The Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is a planetary nebula made from material sloughed off by a dying sunlike star.

It also has an enormous halo of very faint gaseous material more than three light-years across. This probably formed tens of thousands of years ago in an earlier stage of the star's evolution.

[Image credit: Data: Michael Joner,  Romano Corradi, Hubble Legacy Archive Processing – Robert Gendler]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/10/18 01:48 PM


10

Once again the Juno spacecraft provides an image of Jupiter's cloudtops with all the beauty and drama of a brilliant abstract painting.

Juno explores a slightly different part of Jupiter each time it comes close to the planet in its looping elliptical orbit.

[Image credit & copyright: NASA, Juno, SwRI, MSSS; Processing & License: Matt Brealey, Seán Doran]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/11/18 09:46 AM


11

American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon was born on December 11, 1863.

She devised the Harvard Classification System for stars, and classified around a quarter of a million stars for the Henry Draper Catalog. It was said that she recognized stars the way other people remember faces.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/12/18 06:51 PM


12

The Winter Hexagon is an impressive asterism of the northern winter sky.

An asterism is a reognizable group of stars that are part of one or more constellations. The Winter Hexagon is made up of six of the brightest stars in the sky: Sirius in Canis Major, Procyon in Canis Minor, Pollux in Gemini, Capella in Auriga, Aldebaran in Taurus and Rigel in Orion. Inside the hexagon is Orion's red giant Betelgeuse

[Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/13/18 11:55 AM


13

Beautiful dramatic scene in Kvaløya, near Tromsø, Norway when a Geminid fireball streaks through an auroral sky.

The photo was taken during the Geminid peak on December 13, 2009. The Northern Lights aren't likely to show up except for people in the far north. But in 2018 observers with a clear sky should see meteors – maybe even a bright fireball.

[Credit & Copyright: Bjørnar G. Hansen]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/14/18 12:24 PM


14

China's Change'e-3 mission landed on the Moon on December 14, 2013.

It landed in the Sinus Iridum region and was the first unmanned soft landing on the Moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 sample return vehicle in 1976. The Chinese mission consisted of a lander and the rover Yutu (Jade Rabbit). Chang'e is a Chinese Moon goddess and Yutu was her pet.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/15/18 09:22 AM


15

Shipwreck at Moonset , skyscape taken off the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.

Just look at that skyful of stars! And the Moon, low in the sky as it's setting, is reddened while brilliant Venus looks like it's a full Moon. It's so bright that it's light is even reflected in the water. And there's one more treat. Look above and to the right of Venus and you can see Jupiter.

[Credit & copyright: Vikas Chander]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/16/18 12:43 PM


16

Comet 46P/Wirtanan – nicknamed the “Green Christmas Comet” – makes its closest approach to Earth on December 16.

The comet is a small short-period comet that visits every 5.4 years, but this is its closest visit for decades. It was the original target for Rosetta's comet mission. It may be bright enough to see with the naked eye, but that depends on local sky conditions.

[Photo credit: taken by Gerald Rhemann through a telescope in the dark skies Namibia on November 26, 2018]

Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/17/18 11:34 AM


17

NASA's Kepler Space Observatory revolutionized our view of exoplanets. When it became crippled, a daring innovation gave it a brand new mission. The mission ended this year when Kepler ran out of fuel in October.

One of the discoveries was the Kepler-22 system. The diagram shows how it compares to the Solar System. The habitable zone is where water can exist as a liquid. The star Kepler-22 is very similar to our Sun, but slightly smaller, so it's habitable zone is closer in.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/18/18 12:51 PM


18

”Two worlds, one Sun” - sunset on Earth and on Mars.

On Earth, our atmosphere scatters the blue of the Sun's light more than the red. So the sky directly overhead is blue, but when sunlight travels the long path along the horizon, it's mostly the red light that's left. Mars has very little atmosphere, but what it has is dusty. At sunset on Mars, sunlight is traveling through more fine dust particles. These particles scatter the red light more than the blue.

[Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Damia Bouic][ Brian Koberlein]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/18/18 12:51 PM


19

In the the tomb of Rameses VI (1151-1143 BCE) in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, the ceiling depicts Nut, the sky goddess.

The elongated body of Nut is shown at night and in daytime, as she regulates the light and the dark. By day, we can see the solar disk is red. The solar god sails in his barge along Nut's body until evening. Then Nut swallows the Sun, taking it with the stars through the hours of night. At dawn it appears anew as a winged scarab.

[Credit: Jim Zuckerman / Alamy Stock Photo] [Explanation: Dr Amanda-Alice Maravelia]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/20/18 11:59 AM


20

From me to you, here are Hubble greetings from the Veil Nebula. Greetings from the world's most famous telescope can also be yours to send.

The Veil Nebula, 110 light-years across in the constellation Cygnus the Swan, is a supernova remnant. It's what remains of a massive star when it ran out of fuel and exploded – the blast wave is still expanding. The Hubble image above shows an area roughly two light years across.

[The Hubble site has a selection of winter greetings. If it's too late to print them, they can be adapted as e-greetings.]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/21/18 01:06 PM


21

Does the Sun always rise in the east? Yes and no. It always rises in an easterly direction, but it only rises due east at the equinoxes.

In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice sunrise is to the northeast, and at its most northerly. Sunrises then move gradually southwards, so that autumn equinox sunrise is due east, and after that they're occurring moving to the southeast. The sunrise is at its most southerly at the winter solstice. In this composite photo by astrophotographer Anthony Ayiomamitis, you can see sunrise in a Greek village at three different times of year.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/22/18 11:11 AM


22

Two interesting astronomical events put on a show together on July 27th this year. This picture shows a total lunar eclipse and Mars at opposition.

(1) The lunar is eclipse was the longest one of the 21st century. Totality lasted 1 hr 43 min, four minutes shorter than the theoretical limit of a lunar eclipse. (2) Mars was at opposition – that's when it's at its closest to Earth.

[Photo: lunar eclipse, Mars, and the Mole Antonelliana in Turin, Italy – photographed by Stefano De Rosa]
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/23/18 09:22 PM


23

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson celebrated her 100th birthday this year on August 26th.

An African-American mathematician who worked for NASA and its predecessor for 35 years, she made calculations for US manned spaceflights. Starting with Alan Shepard's suborbital flight, Johnson worked through to the beginning of the Space Shuttle program before her retirement. In 2015 President Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/24/18 03:26 PM


24

Fifty years ago, on Christmas Eve 1968, three men broadcast their seasonal good wishes to planet Earth from the Moon.

Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were farther from home than any human being before them. Unexpectedly, they saw the Earth rising above the Moon, and the photo they took remains one of the most memorable images of the Space Age.
Posted By: Mona - Astronomy

Re: Astro Advent Calendar 2018 - 12/25/18 12:41 PM

Last night was the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8's Christmas Eve broadcast. For the anniversary, Bill Anders has reflected on the journey and I've edited some of it for a Christmas message.
Quote
The Earth we saw rising over the battered grey lunar surface was small and delicate, a magnificent spot of color in the vast blackness of space. Borders that once rendered division vanished. All of humanity appeared joined together on this glorious-but-fragile sphere.

Another vision made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I held my fist at arm's length. That stunning vision disappeared. From one lunar distance our world was easily obscured. At 100 — then and now far beyond human reach — Earth would no longer be visible to the naked eye. Here was everything humans had been, everything we were, and everything we might become — and yet our home planet was physically insignificant in space.

I thought of my wife and five children on that little planet. The same forces that determined their fates worked on the other three-and-a-half-billion inhabitants. From our tiny capsule, it seemed as if the whole Earth was smaller even than the space the three of us inhabited. From there, the blue-and-white glory of Earth, the only color amidst the blackness of space, became a beacon.

The most significant revelation of Apollo 8's journey extends far beyond our scientific-and-technological achievements, beyond our "records" and "firsts."

We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth.
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