02 - Full Moon
at 19:14 UT
05 - Taurid
(south) meteor shower peaks. Active
between 25 Sept and 25 Nov.
Associated with Comet 2P/Encke.
09 - Moon near
Mars (morning sky) at 14h UT. Mag. +0.3.
12 -Taurid (north) meteor
shower peaks. May produce the occasional
17 -Leonid meteor shower
peaks at 9h UT. Arises from debris ejected
Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1533. Expect about 25
to 30 meteors per hour under
dark skies. Predictions of enhanced activity
between 21-22h UT on 17 Nov
(favours sky watchers in Asia).
21 -Alpha Monocerotid meteor
shower peaks at 15:25 UT. A usually minor
shower active 15-25 Nov. Radiant is near Procyon.
Predictions of enhanced
activity this year. Timing favours Far East
Asia, Australia and across the
Pacific to Alaska.
00 0 0
0 0 0//
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Thursday, November 17, 2005
Betelgeuse and Aldebaran, Stars that on the Show in My Nighttime
If you are in the Southern Hemisphere and sitting down in your backyard at 10 o'clock at night, looking up and seeing the dark sky as far as you can, you might end up staring at these two eye-catching bright stars located at 2 o'clock direction, Betelgeuse and Aldebaran. The orangish looking stars seem to outshine the nearby stars and indeed classified as the brightest stars in the dark sky. Betelgeuse and Aldebaran are of particular interest of me. Both are now in the red phase, that means they are now at the end of their life cycle. A supernova explosion will erase their existance in their respective constellation, Orion and Taurus. But wait a minute, this will happen in the next thousands of years, if not, even longer. What will happen when Betelgeuse (sound like "beetle juice") explode as a supernova? What will it look like when viewing from our planet?
Betelgeuse would brighten at least 10,000 times as a supernova, causing it to shine with the luminosity of a crescent Moon. Some sources predict a maximum apparent magnitude equal to about that of the full Moon (mv = -12.5). This would likely last for several months. It would look like a brilliant point, the brightness of a full Moon with the color of an incandescent bulb at night, and easily visible in daylight. After that period the star will gradually diminish until after some months or years the star completely disappears, and Orion's left shoulder vanishes (quoted from Wikipedia). Betelgeuse is located 427 light years away in the constellation Orion. 1 light year is approximately equal to 10 trillion km.
Meanwhile, Aldebaran has diameter 38 times than that of Earth, and is located 65,1 light year away. Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and one of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky. In 1997, a possible large planet (or small brown dwarf) companion was reported, with a minimum mass of 11 Jupiters and orbiting at a distance of 1.35 AU. 1 AU is the distance of Earth to the Sun. The unmanned Pioneer 10 spacecraft was last reported to have been heading toward Aldebaran. Assuming the spacecraft avoids some form of collision, the spacecraft will arrive at Aldebaran in 2 million years (info from Wikipedia). That's interesting.
These two stars are always night companions in my journey into admiring God's creation of the vastness and richest of universe. I'm always looking at these two stars and wondering if they speak to me and conveying message "kinzi, we are late old stars, and soon to die but the greatness of us will always prevail forever on your inhabitants' mind." Well, just my humble words.;)
Yesterday I roamed the night sky with my naked-eyes. I was trying to see the Andromeda galaxy, which in ideal condition, it will prevail its gigantic feature. But I am not at the right place at the time, I am in the heart of city light. So to see it with the naked-eyes is not possible. But I am eager to watch it because according to the night sky calendar, this month of the year, the island of universe is at its best for viewing. Then, I took out my telescope and search for a dark spot. Well, It's an ardous effort to locate the galaxy. With the sky map in hand, I was trying to figure out its location by following the path of the constellation Aries and Pegasus and tracking the individual star on the constellations. Then I found it after couple of minutes try. Only white speck was seen. I was excited although it's not so impressive image. Well, next time, I think I can go out to remote place away from the city to see this celestial object again.
Sorry for not having time to update this journal for couple of months due to loss of enthusiasm in both real and blogging life. Anyway, we have a rather exciting news from NASA informing us that now Pluto, the ninth and debatable planet in solar system, has possible two new moons in addition to Charon. The news came from the recent observation of Hubble space telescope on this tiny planet. The new moons, dubbed respectively as S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2, are only between 45km and 160km in diameter. By comparison, Charon's diameter is about 1,200km. The objects is hard to discern as it is 5000 fainter than Pluto itself. Orbital distance of these moons from Pluto is at least twice than Charon's one. P2 stays about 49,000km from the planet, P1 lies even further away at 65,000km. Pluto lies in the Kuiper Belt object, a vast region containing icy objects beyond Neptune's orbit. With the discovery, Pluto will be the first object in Kuiper Belt region known to have more than one satellite.
Oort cloud, is a postulated spherical cloud
of comets situated about 50,000 to 100,000 AU from
the Sun. This is approximately 1000 times the distance
from the Sun to Pluto or roughly one light year, almost
a quarter of the distance from the Sun to Proxima
Centauri, the star nearest the Sun. The Oort cloud
would have its inner disk at the ecliptic from the
Kuiper belt. Although no direct observations have
been made of such a cloud, it is believed to be the
source of most or all comets entering the inner solar
system (some short-period comets may come from the
Kuiper belt), based on observations of the orbits
of comets. Source: Wikipedia