Night Sky Calendar - Northern Hemisphere
November 2009
Celestial Object

02 - Full Moon at 19:14 UT
05 - Taurid (south) meteor shower peaks. Active between 25 Sept and 25 Nov.
000 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 bright fireball.
17 - Leonid meteor shower peaks at 9h UT. Arises from debris ejected by
000 Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1533. Expect about 25 to 30 meteors per hour under
000 dark skies. Predictions of enhanced activity between 21-22h UT on 17 Nov
000 (favours sky watchers in Asia).
21 - Alpha Monocerotid meteor shower peaks at 15:25 UT. A usually minor
000 shower active 15-25 Nov. Radiant is near Procyon. Predictions of enhanced
000 activity this year. Timing favours Far East Asia, Australia and across the
000 Pacific to Alaska.
00 0 0 0 0 0// Get the complete calendar version at skymaps.com
7 -

The photo was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows a detail of the nebula. This close-up shows a dense cloud of dust and gas, a stellar nursery full of embryonic stars. This cloud is about 8 light-years away from the nebula's central star, not shown in this picture. Located in Sagitarius, the nebula's name means "divided into three lobes".


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 Spitzer Digs Up Troves of Possible Solar Systems in Orion 

Astronomers have long scrutinized the vast and layered clouds of the Orion nebula, an industrious star-making factory visible to the naked eye in the sword of the famous hunter constellation. Yet, Orion is still full of secrets. A new image from Spitzer Space Telescope probes deep into the clouds of dust that permeate the nebula and its surrounding regions. The striking false-color picture shows pinkish swirls of dust speckled with stars, some of which are orbited by disks of planet-forming dust.

The image can be seen by visiting: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2006-16/ssc2006-16a.shtml .

Spitzer, with its powerful infrared vision, was able to unearth nearly 2,300 such planet-forming disks in the Orion cloud complex, a collection of turbulent star-forming clouds that includes the well-known Orion nebula. The disks, made of gas and dust that whirl around young suns, are too small and distant to be seen by visible-light telescopes; however, the infrared glow of their warm dust is easily spotted by Spitzer's infrared detectors. Each disk has the potential to form planets and its own solar system.

A look at Orion's demographics reveals that the potential solar systems populate a variety of environments. Megeath and his colleagues found that about 60 percent of the disk-sporting stars in the Orion cloud complex inhabit its bustling "cities," or clusters, containing hundreds of young stars. About 15 percent reside in small outer communities, and a surprising 25 percent prefer to go it alone, living in isolation. Prior to the Spitzer observations, scientists thought that up to 90 percent of young stars, both with and without disks, dwelled in cities like those of Orion. Astronomers do not know whether our middle-aged sun grew up in the stellar equivalent of the city or countryside, though most favor a large city scenario. Newborn stars like the ones in Orion tend to drift away from their siblings over time, so it is hard to trace an adult star's origins. Megeath and his colleagues estimate that about 60 to 70 percent of the stars in the Orion cloud complex have disks.

Spitzer's infrared vision also dug up 200 stellar embryos in the Orion cloud complex, most of which had never been seen before. Stellar embryos are still too young to have developed disks. The Orion cloud complex is about 1,450 light-years from Earth and spans about 240 light-years of space. Spitzer's wide field of view allowed it to survey most of the complex, an area of the sky equivalent to 28 full moons. The featured image shows a slice of this survey, the equivalent of four full moons-worth of sky, and includes the Orion nebula itself.

NASA's Spitzer Newsletter

Posted @ 3:22 PM by kinzi



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    ryan kinzi
    Nightsky calendar (a brief version) by Skymaps & NASA's Space Calendar | Image of FCO - credit: NASA. Design & page layout © kinzi - 2009 | Contact me? xeno@(no-spam)cougars.com


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    The 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

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