When students make you feel wonderful
I gave a crash-course presentation about spectroscopy to students in my after-school astronomy club – quite a trick for students that have not yet covered the electromagnetic spectrum… so I covered that too!
The student I mentioned last week said to me “MAN! I wish you and your wife could teach at my Air Force youth program at Selfridge Air National Guard Base!” I told him to tell the organizer about us, and that the Warren Astronomical Society has several members who will set up telescopes and lecture about astronomy and space science too!
My wife had students start designing a cardboard geodesic dome planetarium – something like this:
I asked my students “what is the closest planet to Earth?” Then I showed them this video – it always gets “wows!”
Venus, Saturn and Mars continue to appear in the southeastern predawn sky all week.
On March 28th, Saturn appear very near Venus, and a crescent Moon joins the planets in and eye-catching conjunction.
The Moon appears near the star Antares in the southern sky before sunrise on March 23rd.
The Moon appears in the middle of the constellation Sagittarius in the southern sky before sunrise on March 25th.
- The Moon is a Waxing Gibbous – rising after sunset, visible high in the sky after midnight, and visible to the southwest after sunrise.
- The Third Quarter Moon occurs on March 25th – rising around midnight, and visible to the south after sunrise.
- After March 25th, the Moon will be a Waning Crescent – visible low to the east before sunrise.
If you click on the Moon image above, or click this link, you will go to NASA’s Moon Phase and Libration, 2022 page – it will show you what the Moon looks like right now. If you click the image on that page, you will download a high-rez TIFF image annotated with the names of prominent features – helpful for logging your lunar observations!
Latest Moon Image from Rik Hill:
We’re down a couple spots! The Sun has three named sunspots, down from five last week.
Spaceweather.com says: “Another CME is heading for Earth, and it’s a little off target. A glancing blow (or near miss) is possible during the late hours of March 23rd, according to NOAA forecasters. This will be the 3rd time in the past week that a CME has almost landed a direct hit. Even a near miss can produce bright Arctic auroras. Best case scenario for auroraphiles: A minor G1-class geomagnetic storm.”
The Sun seen in 193 angstroms on March 20th.
Seething… roiling… with a blast sending a shock across the Sun’s face! A large coronal hole is right in the middle of the Sun’s face.
The Sun seen in 304 angstroms on March 20th.
Lots of small prominences over the last few days – the sunspot rotating out of view has a lot of coronal loop activity. An active region in the northern hemisphere is spitting flares wildly.
Videos courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
You can view the Sun in near real-time, in multiple frequencies here: SDO-The Sun Now.
You can create your own time-lapse movies of the Sun here: AIA/HMI Browse Data.
You can browse all the SDO images of the Sun from 2010 to the present here: Browse SDO archive.
Historic Solar Drawing
Solar wind speed is 308.0 km/sec ▼ with a density of 6.9 protons/cm3 ▲ at 1510 UT.
Click here to see a near real-time animation of the corona and solar wind from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
- Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) discovered this month: 149, this year: 721 (+93), all time: 28,646 (+12)
- Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs): 2256 (-7 updated 2022-03-22)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (MPC): 1,165,905 (-51 updated 2022-03-22)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (NASA): 1,113,527 (updated 2021-08-17) – This value has not changed for months. I emailed the site manager offering to keep it updated for them.
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid||Date(UT)||Miss Distance||Velocity (km/s)||Diameter (m)|
|2022 EA5||2022-Mar-23||14.9 LD||8||19|
|2013 BO76||2022-Mar-24||13.3 LD||13.8||271|
|2011 GE3||2022-Mar-26||7.6 LD||7||22|
|2012 FX35||2022-Mar-26||13.7 LD||5.9||25|
|2022 EL5||2022-Mar-29||7.1 LD||3||12|
|2010 GD35||2022-Mar-29||17.7 LD||12.5||43|
|2020 FW5||2022-Mar-30||8.9 LD||13.1||27|
|2022 EK1||2022-Mar-30||19 LD||7.6||43|
|2022 DX4||2022-Mar-31||16.7 LD||6||38|
|2007 FF1||2022-Apr-01||19.4 LD||12.8||155|
|2021 GN1||2022-Apr-02||14.4 LD||14.3||19|
|2016 GW221||2022-Apr-02||9.8 LD||5.9||41|
|2022 EN2||2022-Apr-04||18.7 LD||5.6||41|
|2012 TV||2022-Apr-05||19.2 LD||18.1||32|
|2020 GH1||2022-Apr-09||16.8 LD||7.2||28|
|2017 TO2||2022-Apr-10||17.9 LD||11.6||78|
|2020 TQ6||2022-Apr-18||13.4 LD||15.4||43|
|2017 UR2||2022-Apr-22||19.4 LD||9.3||10|
|2020 VN1||2022-Apr-25||19.3 LD||2.3||9|
|2017 XO2||2022-May-01||18.8 LD||12.4||118|
|2017 HG1||2022-May-04||18.2 LD||6||11|
|2019 JE||2022-May-11||4.9 LD||7.2||20|
|2012 UX68||2022-May-15||2.8 LD||8.2||54|
|2013 UX||2022-May-17||16.8 LD||16.3||141|
|2021 WY||2022-May-18||16.9 LD||9||65|
WGSBN Bulletin Volume 2, #4 (2022 Mar 21) with newly named asteroids has been published:
On March 21 2022, the NASA All Sky Fireball Network reported 7 fireballs!
Position of the planets & several spacecraft in the inner solar system on March 22nd:
Position of the planets in the middle solar system – March 2022:
Position of the planets in the outer solar system first half of 2022:
Solar System News
James Webb Space Telescope
SLS Core Stage
3-mile trek ahead
HiRISE - Beautiful Mars
International Space Station
417.84 ppm #CO2
See a list of current NASA missions here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions?mission_status=current
ex·o·plan·et /ˈeksōˌplanət/, noun: a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.
* Confirmed Planets Discovered by TESS refers to the number planets that have been published in the refereed astronomical literature.
* TESS Project Candidates refers to the total number of transit-like events that appear to be astrophysical in origin, including false positives as identified by the TESS Project.
* TESS Project Candidates Yet To Be Confirmed refers to the number of TESS Project Candidates that have not yet been dispositioned as a Confirmed Planet or False Positive.
March 21, 2022
5,000+ Alien Worlds and Counting
Today’s update marks a major milestone for exoplanet science: the archive has more than 5,000 planets!
In the 30 years that have passed since two planets were found orbiting pulsar PSR1257+12, the field of exoplanet science has exploded. New missions, instruments, and detection techniques have proliferated, and with them the discoveries of all sorts of alien worlds. This week’s milestone marks 30 years of discovery that shows no signs of ebbing, as current missions like NASA’s TESS and upcoming missions like NASA’s Roman and ESA’s Gaia and PLATO will require the NASA Exoplanet Archive to expand and scale for the onslaught of more planets and bigger data sets. We accept the challenge—and we can’t wait!
In celebration of today’s milestone, our friends and colleagues at NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration program have created some fun and educational media about our search for new worlds:
- This NASA media release reflects on what we’ve learned about exoplanets over three decades.
- This video shows how we’ve managed to find exoplanets everywhere we’ve looked.
- What do 5,005 exoplanets sound like? Turn up the volume for this sonification, where instrumental melodies and tones play according to a chart of every exoplanet discovered. Be sure to check out the version for mobile devices for a 360-degree experience. – NASA
SpaceWeather.com Realtime Aurora Gallery: https://spaceweathergallery.com/aurora_gallery.html
Latest Aurora Oval Forecast
- Visit an International Dark Sky Park: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/
- If you live in Michigan, visit the Michigan Dark Skies site: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/darkskies/
The Detroit Observatory is reopening!
Messier Tour: M10
Messier 10 (M10) is a rich, bright globular cluster located in the constellation Ophiuchus. It lies at a distance of 14,300 light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 6.4. Its designation in the New General Catalogue is NGC 6254.
Messier 10 lies about 16,000 light years, or 5,000 parsecs, from the galactic centre. It takes roughly 140 million years to complete an orbit around the Milky Way Galaxy. It crosses the plane of the Milky Way’s disk every 53 million years. M10 is moving away from the solar system at a velocity of 69 km/s. The cluster’s estimated mass is 200,000 solar masses. – messier-objects.com
M10 was discovered by Charles Messier on May 29, 1764. Messier added it to his catalogue as object number 10, describing it as a “nebula, without stars, in the belt of Ophiuchus; near the 30th star of that constellation, of sixth magnitude, according to Flamsteed. This nebula is beautiful & round; one can only see it with difficulty in an ordinary telescope of 3-feet [FL].
Messier 10 has a spatial diameter of 83 light years, but small telescopes (3-inch) reveal about half the cluster’s size – roughly 8 to 9 minutes of arc – and its bright central region, which spans roughly 35 light years. 6-inch or 8-inch telescopes show the cluster extending across 15.1 arc minutes and reveal a large, bright central core. Meanwhile, deep images reveal M10 to span some 20 arc minutes of apparent sky and resolve stars across the entire area of the cluster.
The cluster is about two thirds the size of the full Moon, but its outer regions are very dim. With a visual magnitude of 6.4, even the cluster’s bright core is too faint to be seen without binoculars. – messier-objects.com
Cover Image: Messier 10. Credit: Sven Kohle and Till Credner of Bonn, Germany on May 7, 1995
Messier Object List: [Link]
Software Apps used for this post:
NASA Eyes on the Solar System: an immersive 3D solar system and space mission simulator – free for the PC /MAC.
Stellarium: a free web-based planetarium app. It’s a great tool for planning observing sessions.
SpaceEngine – Explore the universe in 3D and VR!
Worldwide Telescope – operated by the American Astronomical Society (AAS).