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International Dark Sky Week 14 – 20 April, 2012 April 16, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Celestial Events, Current Events, Miscellaneous, News Stories, Projects & Fun Things.
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Celebrate the stars! Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, IDSW has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. The goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.

Light pollution is a growing problem. Not only does it have detrimental effects on our views of the night sky, but it also disrupts the natural environment, wastes energy, and has the potential to cause health problems.

Full Story: http://www.darksky.org/idsw

Eyes on the Sky: Apr 9 thru Apr 15 April 9, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Celestial Events, Current Events, Reblogged.
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Thanks to Heavens With Lamps for the weekly reminder of what to look out for in the skies above 🙂

Heavens With Lamps

Eyes on the Sky: Apr 9 thru Apr 15

Seeing double in Taurus with the Goddess galloping by

Venus continues moving away from the Pleiades star cluster this week, nearby the Hyades instead, setting up both color contrasts with the 1st magnitude Aldebaran and helpfully pointing the way to some binocular double stars in the vicinity.  Saturn reaches opposition at the end of the week on April 15th, and offers up an even more steeply-tilted ring system this year compared to last.  With a handful of bright moons revolving around it – plus the planet splitting some 8th and 10th magnitude stars – there’s plenty to see in the sky naked eye, with binoculars and/or with a small telescope this week.  Wishing you clear and dark skies as you find and see what’s up this week!

Download Saturn chart here (file size is 2.9MB).

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NASA Seeks Hosts for Space Station Interactive Education Events April 4, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in News Stories, Spaceflight.
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NASA is seeking formal and informal education organizations to host live in-flight interactive conversations between the next generation of explorers and astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Comprehensive proposals are being accepted for missions scheduled between September 2012 and March 2013. The deadline to submit is Friday, June 1, 2012.

During ISS Expeditions 33 and 34, NASA crew members Sunita Williams, Kevin Ford and Thomas Marshburn will participate in 20-minute question-and-answer sessions with students who will learn what it is like to live and work in space. While participants see and hear the crew members live from space, the crew does not see the audience.

U.S. education organizations including school districts, museums, science centers, national and regional education organizations and local, state and federal government agencies are eligible to participate. Organizations may apply individually or work together. NASA provides this opportunity at no charge to the host institution and will work with the organization to plan the event.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/apr/HQ_12-105_Hosts_Ed_Downlinks.html

Sounds of Mars & Venus Revealed for 1st Time April 3, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Mars, Projects & Fun Things, Saturn, Solar System, Venus.
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In a world first, the sounds of Mars and Venus are revealed as part of a planetarium show in Hampshire this Easter.

Despite many years of space exploration, we have no evidence of the sound of other planets. While most planetary probes have focused on imaging with cameras and radar and a couple have carried microphones, none of them successfully listened to the sound of another world.

Now, a team from the University of Southampton, led by Professor Tim Leighton, has the answer. Using the tools and techniques of physics and mathematics, they created the natural sounds of other worlds, from lightning on Venus to whirlwinds on Mars and ice volcanoes on Saturn’s moon, Titan. In addition to these natural sounds, they have modelled the effects of different atmospheres, pressures and temperatures on the human voice on Mars, Venus and Titan (Saturn’s largest moon). They have developed unique software to transform the sound of a voice on earth to one that’s literally ‘out of this world’.

Full Story: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/mediacentre/news/2012/apr/12_59.shtml

Live Feed of Venus-Pleiades Conjunction, Apr. 3 April 2, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Celestial Events, Conjunctions, Deep Sky Objects, Open Clusters, Solar System, Venus.
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Slooh Space Camera will broadcast a free, real-time feed of the most famous star cluster in the heavens, the Pleiades, meeting up with our nearest and brightest planetary neighbor, Venus. Slooh’s coverage will begin on Tuesday, April 3rd starting at 1:30 PM PDT / 4:30 PM EDT / 20:30 UT. Slooh will provide an observatory feed from our world class observatory site in Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. The broadcast can be accessed at Slooh’s homepage or by visiting Slooh’s G+ page, where you will be able to see the panel interact live via G+ Hangouts On Air.

The Pleiades, otherwise known as the Seven Sisters, is a beautiful bright blue open star cluster 440 light years from Earth. The relative tightness of the cluster is indicative of its young age as the member stars were formed some 100 million years ago and will probably travel together through space as a bound cluster for another 250 million years before the gravity of the Milky Way breaks up the cluster into individual field stars. The central core radius of the cluster is only about 4.5 light years but the remote outer regions of the cluster may extend out as far as 52 light years from the center. The brighter members of the cluster, which make up the Seven Sisters, are blue stars with surface temperatures of about 20,000 degrees which is four times hotter than our own Sun.

Venus is sometimes called the Earth’s sister planet because they are so close in size. However, Venus is very different in many ways, with an atmosphere almost 100 times thicker than Earth’s composed of sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide. Even though it is only slightly closer to the Sun, the surface of Venus averages 900 degrees making it the hottest place in the solar system outside the Sun itself.

While Venus and Pleiades are hundreds of light years apart, they will appear together as neighbors in the same field of view. Venus will pass just below the bright blue star cluster. This incredible event happens only once every eight years.

Full Story: http://www.slooh.com/pr/slooh-live-feed-venus-pleiades-conjunction-april-2012.php

Texas Students to Chat Live with Space Station Crew Members March 29, 2012

Posted by thelastsongiheard in News Stories, Spaceflight.
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Students at O. Henry Middle School in Austin, Texas, will learn about living and working in space by speaking with Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday, April 3. The live question-and-answer session will take place at 11:20 a.m. EDT and be broadcast live on NASA Television. Media representatives are invited to attend.

More than 100 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students will participate through their science classes. Texas Congressman Lamar Smith is expected to join the group for this special event.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/mar/HQ_M12-056_Texas_Students_ISS_Downlink.html

Join the 2012 Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Competition March 27, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Competitions, News Stories.
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Over two decades in orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope has made a huge number of observations. Every week, we publish new images on the ESA/Hubble website.

But hidden in Hubble’s huge data archives are still some truly breathtaking images that have never been seen in public. We call them Hubble’s Hidden Treasures — and we’re looking for your help to bring them to light.

We’re inviting the public into Hubble’s vast science archive to dig out the best unseen Hubble images. Find a great dataset in the Hubble Legacy Archive, adjust the contrast and colours using the simple online tools and submit to our Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Contest Flickr group, and you could win an iPod Touch in our Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Competition.

Full Story: http://www.spacetelescope.org/announcements/ann1203/

I need your help :) March 26, 2012

Posted by thelastsongiheard in Site News.
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I’m looking for contributors to this site… I’d like to really get it up and running but I don’t have the time right now to fully devote my attention to it.

If anyone is willing to contribute anything – it can be advice, a news story, photos, reviews – anything that can benefit parents and kids learning astronomy, please feel free to email me at thelastsongiheard@gmail.com

Thanks 🙂

A Little Pas de Deux: Tethys and Dione March 20, 2012

Posted by thelastsongiheard in Saturn, Solar System.
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Jason Major has posted an excellent animated GIF  of the moons Tethys and Dione passing one another, as imaged by the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn.

Check it out 🙂

A Little Pas de Deux: Tethys and Dione.

 

NASA Calls for Student-Designed Deep Space Habitat Proposals March 20, 2012

Posted by thelastsongiheard in Spaceflight.
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NASA is offering college and university students a chance to help design a deep space habitat. The Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge is accepting applications for the 2013 challenge, inviting students to design, manufacture, assemble and test systems for use on NASA’s deep space habitat prototype.

Past projects have included an inflatable loft for crew sleeping quarters, plant growth systems and sample handling tools. This year, students in multiple disciplines can choose projects from a variety of possibilities, including photovoltaic solar arrays, a workstation to support human-robotic collaboration or a telepresence and holodeck conceptual system. Students will work together on potential solutions to needs future astronauts might have living and working outside Earth.

“Students will play a vital role in our critical early system planning and development,” said Alvin Drew, a NASA astronaut and habitat systems project manager at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Their designs could become the basis for the concepts and technologies that will make up the habitat we eventually send to space.”

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/mar/HQ_12-087_X-HAB_2012.html