Amateur astronomy equipment, techniques, info, etc

Archive for January, 2010

SKY ATLAS 2000.0 COMPANION (neat new book!)

.
posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

SKY ATLAS 2000.0 COMPANION (neat new book)

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Advice please

Hello,

I will move from Brighton, UK to Guyana, Georgetown in October and want to avail of the
marvellous air quality and low artifical light there to resume my childhood stargazing.

I need your help. Please let me know (by email to ronan…@mistral.co.uk) your thoughts
on the following:

(1) A good book for a beginner which describes what I see when I view the sky

(2) What power and type of binoculars are useful

(3) I have seen a CD-ROM called ‘REDSHIFT’ in the shops here. Have you seen this and
     if so, do you have an opinion on it’s value for money?

Thanks to anyone who takes the 5 minutes to reply. Thanks also to Astronomy Ireland for
advice to date.

regards,
Ronan

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (3)

any opinions on orange Celestron Comet Catcher?

anyone have any experience with the older orange tubed 6" Celestron
Schmidt-Newtonian "Comet Catcher"?

was this instrument of reasonable optical quality? I have heard some negative
comments about the newer black tube versions.

what would be a fair price for an OTA in good condition?

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

Challenge

I have a challenge for you:

I need to know the next 12 hours:

1) How long was cosmonaut Berozovoy in total at space (in minutes)?

2) The same for Pogue (Poque or something similar)?

It’s a challenge, isn’t it?

Please answers to:     cadiz!…@aluxpo.att.com

Thank you

Jose Luis

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Does Hale-Bopp = "Hera" &tc?

Hale-Bopp = Hera?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After striving long to make sense of Greek mythology, I recently twigged
that a lot of the gods of old – Greece, Egypt, Sumeria, parts of S America
– were in fact based on actual comets. I am going against the current here
but I’m confident that this is so. It must sound funny – comparing comets
tails with the headresses of Egyptian deities.

Specifically I am wondering if Hale-Bopp is the Hera of old. Looking at
it all at first I thought maybe Hera clipped Venus last time through,
but I see that H-B comes near to Jupiter’s orbit. Venus may later have
collided with material sent astray in a near miss between Jupiter and
H-B. Is that what gave rise to the Great Red Spot?

Regarding the incident with Venus:          "An asteroid or comet
that strikes any planet is completely vaporized….Venus traps
this vapour…. Many objects strike the surface of a planet
at a shallow angle, and the debris they create tends to move
in the same direction….the probe has even revealed sloping
sites where impacts have created lava flows that seem to go
uphill….After an impact on Venus, the trapped cloud of vapour
produces a rolling fireball that travels close to the planet’s
surface for up to several hundred kilometers… …on Venus….
some flows seem to have contained a lot of molten material…."
[  New Scientist "The Splatter Effect on Venus" 14 Nov 1992 p 17]

There are prominent furrows across Venus that run almost N-S. The
material that struck Venus must have had a high inclination. Venus
is quite radioactive and high in argon, it might have originally
come from either H-B or Jupiter.

The Babylonian "Myth of Creation" dates from pre-9th century bc. It
relates how "Marduk" attacked Tiamut, the sea Goddess. (Venus):

"Then joined issue Tiamat and Marduk, wisest of gods,
 They strove in single combat, locked in battle,
 The lord spread out his net to enfold her,
 The Evil Wind, which followed behind, he let loose in her face.
 When Tiamat opened her mouth to consume him,
 He drove in the Evil Wind that she close not her lips.
 As the fierce winds charged her belly,
 Her body was distended and her mouth was wide open.
 He released the arrow, it tore her belly,
 It cut through her insides, splitting the heart.
 Having thus subdued her, he extinguished her life.
 He cast down her carcass to stand upon it.
[  "Larousse World Mythology" Hamlyn London 1965 ]

The Greeks c 800 bc said that: "Eos, the Dawn…… lived in the
east at Aeaea on the edge of the ocean. She ravished more than one
handsome youth……. she drove Cephalus crazy with love and bore
him a son whom she called Phaeton, the radiant, god-like youth…
Eos became enamoured of Tithonus… They lived happily together on
the waves of the ocean at the end of the earth until old age
descended upon Tithonus and his hair turned white and he began to
shrink. The Goddess continued to feed him with ambrosia and dressed
him in beautiful garments but he drew ever older until he could
hardly move his limbs. Then she shut him in her garments….."
[  F Pfister "Greek Gods and Heroes"  McGibbon & Kee London 1961 ]

If Hera was a comet, and Zeus is the planet Jupiter, they must have
been seen close together at some time, for they were "married".

Hera was the leading goddess, so presumably she was larger. It was
also said that Zeus was very unfaithful. I notice that there are a
considerable number of lesser comets & asteroids that graze Jupiter’s
orbit. It may be that these bodies, being newly formed, were much
brighter at the time these myths were agrowing during 14OO-800 bc.

Meanwhile the constellations hardly look like the shape of the things
they are named after. It was their characteristics that counted.
Saggitarius is an archer. i.e. he fires arrows. We might envisage
meteors as "arrows" fired at us from the direction of Saggitarius.
One story has it that a scorpion was sent to sting Orion on the foot.
A comet originating from near the Scorpion ending up near the feet
of the constellation Orion?

The later fall of debris upon the Earth is said to have taken place on
May 17th when the sun was in conjunction with Sirius. The Chinese have
a legend that 7 suns danced in the sky and scorched the Earth. This
dates from pre 600 bc.

I wonder about the Saggitarids and the Quadrantids and what these
cometary streams might be able to tell us. But I realize now that the
picture is complicated because these streams tend to precess and
undergo sorting over a period of time. So it is all too complicated
for me to work out without suitable skills and software.

If there was a near miss or grazing collision between Jupiter and H-B
then the latter may now be following an altered orbit.

I am fairly sure – based on the fragments of history that have survived –
that this incident took place between 1600 bc and 1490 bc leading to
this account of glowing spheres drawing near to the Earth:

"In the year 22, of the third month of winter, sixth hour of the day…
the scribes of the House of Life found it was a circle of fire that was
coming in the sky….. Now after some days had passed, these things
became more numerous in the sky than ever. They shone more in the sky
than the brightness of the sun, and extended to the limits of the four
supports of the heavens…. It was after supper…. these fire circles
ascended higher in the sky towards the south….. what happened was
ordered by the Pharaoh to be written in the annals of the House of
Life, so that it be remembered forever."
[ "Mysteries of the Unexplained" Readers Digest NY 1982 p 207]

Mars, too, suffered a collision. For a period of time it was
"enclosed in an iron vessel".

But getting back to H-B, there is another significant source.
The state records of Sumeria more or less survived and are now
being translated. A Mr J Sitchin has published a number of books
based on his very scholarly studies of this material. One important
book is "The Twelfth Planet" – about a body said to have a 36OO year
period. Perhaps – *perhaps* – this is H-B. But why the twelfth?

The ancients saw the world differently. They did not count Earth as a
planet. Or the Moon or the Sun. I suspect they included in their count
the visible moons. They also said Chronos – Saturn – had a "sickle" so
I reckon they either had good eyes or telescopes to have seen the ring
system. Some people can see Jupiter’s moons directly while some ancient
observatories seem remarkably modern in layout. The telescope may have
been invented before.

So counting the decently sized worlds outwards: Mercury, Venus, Mars,
Jupiter, Io, Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, Saturn, Titan and – the 12th
"planet".  Other countings I have heard of just do not make sense –
they include the sun and the earth and moon, plus Neptune and Pluto.
But the ancients did not know about Neptune apparently, or Pluto.

Neptune was named in modern times, in ancient times another "Neptune"
was the Old Man of the Sea with a trident – "Oceanus". He also had a
flowing white beard, like the Sumerian "El" and the Judeo-Roman "God".
El was described as living in the "hollow of the abyss", periodically
returning to disturb the lesser gods in their courses. He was "master of
the waters" – nowadays we are just realizing how much H2O gets dumped on
us from space – ultimately from the long period comets. They got it
right. They may also have been influenced by the severe warming episode
that followed the bombardment – which seems to have resulted in massive
melting of ice and the Deluge and a rise in sea level.

The Greek account of this incident is found in the myth of Phaeton, who
drove Helios’ sun-chariot too close to us, scorching the world. When he
was destroyed his sisters were said to have wept tears of amber which
is still to be found associated with "drift" material from Scandanavia
to the U.S.A. Debris from Mars and the Moon has been identified, it is
not hard to accept that we have also been hit with portions of H-B,
Jupiter and/or Venus.

If H-B is also the Neptune or Oceanus of old then he might again
develop a trident – a leading streak of meteors and a twin prong
following the magnetic field?

I am aware that there are people who seek to place mystical or
religious interpretations on all this. I am just not interested in
that. In fact I’m pretty sure now that the christian mythology arose
from that collision with Venus (Mir and Crius!) such that one of these
"new born gods" came and "died on the world tree" – i.e. smashed into
the Earth. (So we eat his body &tc)

I hope this turns out to be valid because modern astronomy might
be assisted from a most unusual quarter. It might also help to pin
down ancient dates, which seem to have slipped somewhat when known
civilization suffered a major set-back followed by a major boost.
(Warmer world, vast areas denuded of forest, fresh nitrates and
basaltic fallout to enrich the soil, as well as the enormous
psychological impact.

Anyway, what do others think of this approach?

Lawrie Williams
__________________________________________________

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

New Book on Milky Way: Southern California

        Ken Croswell, author of the new book The Alchemy of the Heavens
(Doubleday/Anchor, 1995), will be speaking about the Milky Way Galaxy,
its role in creating the elements on Earth, and what it reveals about the
universe.

THURSDAY SEPT 7:  Live on NPR station KPCC (89.3 FM) in Pasadena
                  5:50 to 6:30 PM

FRIDAY   SEPT 8:  For the Orange County Astronomers
                  Chapman University, Hashinger Hall of Science, Orange
                  7:30 PM
                  This talk is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

About The Alchemy of the Heavens:

        "A superb book.  It tells a long and complicated story in an
engaging and accurate fashion.  Highly recommended."
                             –John Barrow

        "An engaging account of the continuing discovery of our Galaxy."
               –Owen Gingerich, The New York Times Book Review

        "There are few science writers who can match Croswell’s skills
when explaining the latest findings about the structure, origin, and
destiny of our home galaxy.  Highly recommended."
                    –Terence Dickinson, The Toronto Star

        "An excellent synthesis of current knowledge on the Milky Way,
made all the more interesting by first-hand interviews."
                               –Astronomy

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

(no subject)

Author : a.dopp…@uriela.in-berlin.de (Andreas Doppler)

Daily conjunction ephemerides for the period of : Monday, 1995 Sep. 11 – Sunday,
1995 Sep. 18. The conjunctions are sorted by time (UT). All known asteroids and
objects of the NGC 2000.0 are included in the list which meets the following
criteria : The minimum elongation to the sun has to exceed 30 degrees, the
maximum elongation to the NGC/IC Object is 10 arcmin and the limiting magnitude
of the asteroid is brighter or equal than 14.0 mag. The Ephemerides were
calculated with a step of 10 min. Coordinates are for J2000.0 and FK5. Detailed
explanations are given at the end of the ephemerides.

—————————-< Monday, 1995 Sep. 11 >————————–
 (UT) MinorPl R.A.(2000)Decl Magn NGCICType R.A.(2000)Decl Magn  Size Dist Pos
 h  m     Num  h   m    o  ’ Step ID    OBJ  h   m    o  ’ Step    ’    ’    o
10:50     532  8:22.3 +19:14 11.1 I2329  Gx  8:22.4 +19:24 15.0   2.2  9.5 175
18:30     653 23:39.0 -13: 1 13.7 N7723  Gx 23:38.9 -12:58 11.1   3.6  3.7 216
22:30     105 14:50.8 – 0:45 13.1 I1059  Gx 14:50.7 – 0:52 16.0 —–  6.6 345

—————————< Tuesday, 1995 Sep. 12 >————————–
 (UT) MinorPl R.A.(2000)Decl Magn NGCICType R.A.(2000)Decl Magn  Size Dist Pos
 h  m     Num  h   m    o  ’ Step ID    OBJ  h   m    o  ’ Step    ’    ’    o
 4:10     403 21:27.8 – 1: 6 13.8 I1383  Gx 21:27.7 – 1: 5 16.0 —–  1.8 211
 8:30     289  1:43.4 + 8:51 12.9 I1723  Gx  1:43.2 + 8:53 —-   3.5  3.6 246
14:40     403 21:27.5 – 1: 8 13.8 I1381  Gx 21:27.6 – 1:11 15.0   0.5  2.6  32
16:40     674 13:17.2 – 2:14 13.3 I4218  Gx 13:17.1 – 2:16 14.0   1.4  1.5 330
16:40    2174 22:14.1 -17:11 13.5 N7230  Gx 22:14.3 -17: 4 14.0 —–  8.1 161
22:20     187 12:54.1 – 6:28 12.8 N4775  Gx 12:53.8 – 6:37 12.0   2.2  9.8 333

————————-< Wednesday, 1995 Sep. 13 >————————–
 (UT) MinorPl R.A.(2000)Decl Magn NGCICType R.A.(2000)Decl Magn  Size Dist Pos
 h  m     Num  h   m    o  ’ Step ID    OBJ  h   m    o  ’ Step    ’    ’    o
 1: 0     243 23:56.1 + 0:34 13.9 N7787  Gx 23:56.2 + 0:33 15.0 —–  2.1  23
22: 0      69 13:54.2 – 7:26 13.1 N5343  Gx 13:54.0 – 7:34 14.0 —–  7.9 342

————————–< Thursday, 1995 Sep. 14 >————————–
 (UT) MinorPl R.A.(2000)Decl Magn NGCICType R.A.(2000)Decl Magn  Size Dist Pos
 h  m     Num  h   m    o  ’ Step ID    OBJ  h   m    o  ’ Step    ’    ’    o
 4:40     674 13:19.1 – 2:30 13.3 I4224  Gx 13:19.1 – 2:31 15.0   0.8  0.7 332
 5:10     187 12:56.6 – 6:47 12.8 N4813  Gx 12:56.6 – 6:48 15.0 —–  0.3 315
21:20     116 22:10.3 -16:45 12.6 N7218  Gx 22:10.2 -16:40 12.1   2.5  5.5 197
21:50      30 14:41.2 -17:22 13.1 N5716  Gx 14:41.1 -17:29 13.0   1.9  7.0 343
22: 0      50 23:30.5 – 2:57 10.6 I1492  Gx 23:30.7 – 3: 2 14.0   0.8  5.6  36

—————————-< Friday, 1995 Sep. 15 >————————–
 (UT) MinorPl R.A.(2000)Decl Magn NGCICType R.A.(2000)Decl Magn  Size Dist Pos
 h  m     Num  h   m    o  ’ Step ID    OBJ  h   m    o  ’ Step    ’    ’    o
13:20     243 23:54.2 + 0:23 13.8 N7783  Gx 23:54.2 + 0:23 14.0   1.9  0.3  24
20:40      72 23:45.2 + 4:36 11.0 I1506  Gx 23:44.8 + 4:44 15.0   0.6  9.2 215
20:40     230 14:59.7 -16: 5 12.5 N5817  Gx 14:59.6 -16:11 15.0 —–  6.0 348

————————–< Saturday, 1995 Sep. 16 >————————–
 (UT) MinorPl R.A.(2000)Decl Magn NGCICType R.A.(2000)Decl Magn  Size Dist Pos
 h  m     Num  h   m    o  ’ Step ID    OBJ  h   m    o  ’ Step    ’    ’    o
 2:40     895  7:31.7 +18:15 13.9 N2407  Gx  7:31.9 +18:21 15.0 —–  6.3 153
 4:10     895  7:31.8 +18:14 13.9 N2406  Gx  7:31.9 +18:18 15.0 —–  3.6 152
14: 0     225 23:44.5 +10:43 12.5 N7742  Gx 23:44.3 +10:46 11.5   2.0  3.5 233
19: 0     235  1: 2.9 – 6:11 13.1 N 355  Gx  1: 3.2 – 6:20 15.0 —–  9.2  24
21:40      32 23:30.6 + 3:39 11.3 N7687  Gx 23:30.9 + 3:32 15.0 —–  8.3  29

—————————-< Sunday, 1995 Sep. 17 >————————–
 (UT) MinorPl R.A.(2000)Decl Magn NGCICType R.A.(2000)Decl Magn  Size Dist Pos
 h  m     Num  h   m    o  ’ Step ID    OBJ  h   m    o  ’ Step    ’    ’    o
 0:40      68 13: 8.1 – 4:58 12.9 N4975  Gx 13: 8.0 – 5: 1 —-   0.5  2.8 334
 0:50     187 13: 2.2 – 7:30 12.8 I4071  Gx 13: 2.0 – 7:35 15.0   0.5  5.1 333
 6: 0     148 22:47.2 -22:13 11.0 N7377  Gx 22:47.8 -22:19 11.6   2.2  9.2  59
21:30      97 14:58.2 – 6:39 14.0 I1080  Gx 14:58.1 – 6:42 14.0   0.4  2.6 340

Following flags for NGC/IC-Object type are used :

Gx  : Galaxy
OC  : Open star cluster
Gb  : Globular star cluster, usually in the Milky Way Galaxy
Nb  : Bright emission or reflection nebula
Pl  : Planetary nebula
C+N : Cluster associated with nebulosity
Ast : Asterism or group of a few stars
Kt  : Knot or nebulous region in an external galaxy
*** : Triple star
D*  : Double star
*   : Single star
?   : Uncertain type or may not exist
x   : Unidentified at the place given, or type unknown
–   : Object called nonexistent in the RNGC
PD  : Photographic plate defect

Used orbital elements  ( 2000.0 ) .
Asteroid  JDate    M    Halfax. Eccentr Perihel   Node  Inclin   H     G   Source
[Number] YeMoDa Degrees   A.U.      e   Degrees Degrees Degree Magn    -        
———————————————————————————
      30 94 9 5 112.387 2.36515 0.12766  85.871 308.098  2.096  7.6 0.15 MPC24085
      32 951010 156.444 2.58572 0.08497 338.229 220.663  5.531  7.6 0.15 EMP 1995
      50 94 217 217.218 2.65385 0.28587 199.735 173.897  2.835  9.2 0.15 MPC23226
      68 95 324 193.080 2.78004 0.18755 303.909  44.525  7.964  6.8 0.05 MPC24548
      69 951010  95.397 2.98173 0.16602 286.334 185.900  8.539  7.1 0.19 MPC25408
      72 94 9 5 287.221 2.26679 0.12078 102.277 208.247  5.411  8.9 0.15 MPC24219
      97 951010 168.179 2.67013 0.25759 268.043 160.100 11.749  7.6 0.15 EMP 1995
     105 95 324 315.649 2.37271 0.17712  56.112 188.538 21.485  8.6 0.10 MPC24371
     116 95 324 139.478 2.76755 0.13974  94.028  64.091  3.573  7.8 0.15 MPC25033
     148 951010 327.179 2.77162 0.18594 252.545 145.267 25.284  7.6 0.15 EMP 1995
     187 95 324 315.679 2.73206 0.23607 195.768  22.017 10.593  8.2 0.15 MPC25186
     225 95 324   4.332 3.37800 0.27044 104.608 197.291 20.908  8.7 0.15 MPC25033
     230 951010 239.496 2.38338 0.06103 138.786 240.049  9.439  7.3 0.27 EMP 1995
     235 951010  90.017 2.88134 0.06065 206.623  66.398  9.047  8.8 0.15 EMP 1995
     243 951010 289.177 2.86083 0.04449 112.891 324.434  1.137  9.9 0.15 EMP 1995
     289 951010   5.128 2.87446 0.20353 189.894 182.358  6.686  9.5 0.15 EMP 1995
     403 95 324 160.316 2.80928 0.09773 253.584 244.935  9.162  9.1 0.15 MPC25187
     532 951010 309.130 2.77329 0.17508  74.938 108.032 16.345  5.8 0.26 EMP 1995
     653 951010 166.362 3.01203 0.04854  54.025 133.312 11.282  9.2 0.15 EMP 1995
     674 951010  91.692 2.92238 0.19460  40.275  58.805 13.538  7.4 0.15 EMP 1995
     895 94 217 266.457 3.20080 0.14842 181.265 264.874 26.053  8.3 0.15 MPC22666
    2174 951010 352.193 2.53770 0.27084   5.296   0.228  8.097 11.6 0.15 EMP 1995

These ephemerides should promote the observing of conjunctions.

These ephemerides were computed with a program by Andreas Doppler with an Apple
Performa 630 computer (Version of 1995 Aug 28th).

Please let me know if you observed a conjunction (or not).
You can reach me at a.dopp…@uriela.in-berlin.de (InterNet).

If you want to subscribe to the list, send an E-mail message to
a.dopp…@uriela.in-berlin.de consisting of a single line reading:
SUB MPNGCIC YourFirstName YourLastName

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

AstroNet digest 9/1/95 released.

The September 1, 1995 issue of AstroNet on-line astronomy digest is now
available.

Details may be obtained by retreiving ASTRONET.TXT from:

http://www.rahul.net/resource (see access directory)
ftp://ftp.rahul.net/pub/resource/ASTRONET.TXT
or by e-mail at: resou…@rahul.net

AstroNet is a twice monthly digest format newsletter by and for amateur
astronomy enthusiasts, containing a wide selection of articles, files and
products.


m…@resource-intl.com

  ————————————————————————–
  |   A s t r o N e t    O n – L i n e   A s t r o n o m y   D i g e s t   |

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have No Comments

Re: Precession,UTC->TDT,etc.

In article <41va0i$…@pecos.msfc.nasa.gov>,
Tim DeBenedictis <tim…@netcom.com> wrote:
>I am the author of a well-known shareware planetarium program for the Mac and
>(soon) Windows.  I have a large number of users who are trying to use the
>program for computing planetary phenomena many thousands of years ago,
>and the classical expressions for precession, which involve polynomials
>in time, seem to blow up for timespans more than a few thousand years
>from the present.  I know that over very long timespans, the earth’s
>precessional motion can be approximated as a circular rotation around the
>ecliptic north pole.  But superimposed on this there is a wobble in the
>tilt of the ecliptic plane (obliquity), etc.

First of all, you should be aware that there are some planetary theories
around that are not valid for more than a few 100 years in the past
(e.g. Newcombs theories). If you’re using the VSOP 87 or some other
professional ephemeris, you should be fine for about +/- 4000 years or so
(but not more than that because the initial values aren’t known well
enough), so I’d limit the program to this time-span.

What concerns the precession parameters you might want to take a look at

 J. Laskar, F. Joutel, and F. Boudin: Orbital, precessional, and insolation
 quantities for the Earth from -20 Myr to +10 Myr, Astron. Astrophys., 270,
 522-533, 1993

and references therein. To my knowledge, this is the newest and best
reference so far.

>The conversion of UTC->TDT is also, I am aware, an area of great
>uncertainty for timespans more than  few 100 years from the present.  
>Currently I am using a quadratic approximation, which again blows up over
>very large time intervals.

There is not much known about that. There is some information around from
ancient solar eclipse observations, but that’s about it. I’d have to dig up
the references for this.

>Does anyone out there have any references or papers which have better
>solutions to these problems?  I am aware that this is still an area of
>ongoing research, but if anyone could point me toward the state of the
>art in current thinking on the earth’s very-long-term dynamical motion,
>I’d appreciate it.

>-Tim DeBenedictis
>tim…@netcom.com


Joern Wilms
IAA Tuebingen, Waldhaeuser Str. 64, D-72074 Tuebingen
JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
wi…@astro.uni-tuebingen.de; wi…@colorado.edu

posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)