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St. Lou, MO Astronomy

Discussion in 'Mid West Regional Discussion' started by _Mike_, Apr 5, 2004.

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  1. yodaismygod

    yodaismygod Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    So hey, Mr. Astronomy, slashdot keeps updating about some rock in space. Now its up to a 1 in 37 shot at hitting earth on April 13, 2029. Is that something thats really out there, or is that slashdot messing with their readers? I believe they said something about the equivalence of a 190 megaton bomb.
     
  2. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    Yep. It's real. It's Asteroid 2004 MN4. It's estimated to be 380 meters in diameter, density of 2.6 g/cm^3 and has a relative velocity of 12.6 km/sec. Such an impact would leave a crater of roughly 3.5 km in diameter and .4 km deep. The earthquake it would cause would be a 7.7 on the richter scale and release an amount of energy equilavent to 1,300 Megatons of TNT. Should it hit the ocean, it would cause a tidal wave very similar to what just happened in India.

    However, the chance of it hitting us has been pretty much ruled out. When first discovered, the probability is high but as it's observed and a better trajectory can be plotted, the chances drop dramatically. The probablitily of it hitting was refined today to be 1:26,000 that it will ever hit Earth (99.9962% chance that we're safe). As for a collision in 2029, the odds are 1:238,095,000 (99.99999958% chance it'll miss).
     
  3. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    If anyone thinks they know their stuff, they may want to take [link=http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/science_quiz_041228.html]this quiz[/link] on Astronomy happenings in the past year.

    I scored a 9/10. Didn't know #7.
     
  4. Jedi_Commander_Faofa

    Jedi_Commander_Faofa Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 17, 2003
    I've taken enough Astronomy quizzes this year, I don't need to take another one. LOL
     
  5. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    [link=http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/12/29/asteroid.ap/index.html]Update on the asteroid situation[/link].
     
  6. Dagobah_Diva

    Dagobah_Diva Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 24, 2002
    What's with the asteroid (or was it a comet?) that they're laying a collision course for with...uh...I don't remember. I saw something on the news around Christmas. Basically, a large rock thing is intentionally going to be impacted with something else.

    I know you'll be reading this and rolling your eyes at me, Jon. ;)
     
  7. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    I think you're referring to the Deep Impact probe.

    Basically it's a mission that will hurl a 820 pound projectile into a comet at 24,000 miles per hour so that we can knock a bit off of it and check if it has a cream filling.
     
  8. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    Today the Eurpoean Space Agency's (ESA) Huygens lander probe touched down on Titan.

    Titan is the largest of Saturns moons and has an atmosphere thicker than that of Earth's. It is special because it exists at the triple point for ethanol. A triple point is a distance from the sun at which a given compound can exist as solid, liquid, and gas, just as on Earth, we have a triple point of water). Because of this, there is a possibility that liquid oceans of ethanol could exist, as well as the possibility of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds.

    The Huygens probe was mostly designed to analyze the atmosphere of Titan. In visible light, the surface of Titan is completely obscured by clouds. Because of this, little about the surface has been known. The probe's mission was to parachute through the atmosphere taking several pictures as it descended, while measuring features such as wind speed, composition, etc...

    Here are the first two images from the probe:

    [image=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/titanshoreline.jpg]
    This image was taken from a height of roughly 150 miles.

    [image=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/titansurface.jpg]
    First ever image from the surface of Titan.
     
  9. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    Two new pictures!

    [image=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/titan3.jpg]

    [image=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/titan4.jpg]
    Shore line?
     
  10. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    There is currently a [link=http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/comet1000/]contest[/link] to correctly guess the date on which SOHO (a sun observing spacecraft) will discover its 1000th comet. Follow the link to put in your guess.
     
  11. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    I got 2 new images back that I really liked how they turned out. I even used one as my new desktop.

    Here they are (Warning: LARGE images)

    [image=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/images/m45(3-1-05).jpg]
    M45 - The Pleiades (in Taurus)

    [image=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/images/orion.jpg]
    The Orion constellation

    The second one has several noteable objects in it. Click [link=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/images/oriondetails.jpg]here[/link] to see them labelled.

    EDIT: I don't know why the first image markup isn't working. It is when I preview it. Strange. [link=http://s94958815.onlinehome.us/astronomy/images/m45(3-1-05).jpg]Here[/link] is the link.
     
  12. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    Would anyone be interested in an Astronomical viewing night on July 3rd, 4th and or 5th?

    I'm planning on heading out those nights (and seeing if I can get a few more people with scopes) to take a series of pictures of Comet Tempel 1 to get "before and after" pictures of it because on July 4th, the Deep Impact probe that Amy asked about, will be hitting it with a giant chunk of copper. The result will be a crater the size of a football field and a huge cloud of debris that should brighten the comet considerably.

    EDIT: And I'll show people a lot of other cool things besides comets. :)
     
  13. Burger_King

    Burger_King Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Wouldn't be cool to make a movie about that asteroid hitting Earth?...Oh wait I think they did...
     
  14. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    The mission "Deep Impact" was around long before the movie.
     
  15. jedi_runya

    jedi_runya Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jan 4, 2005
    I'm interested... but I don't have a scope anymore.
     
  16. Dagobah_Diva

    Dagobah_Diva Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Yeah, no scope here, but I'd be interested in seeing it.
     
  17. Jedi_Dajuan

    Jedi_Dajuan Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Dec 30, 2002
    *Hangs head in shame* Randy, what have I told you about jokes....

    I have a scope but it's old and nowhere near as cool as Jon's.
     
  18. chiss_man

    chiss_man Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 1, 2002
    [link=http://www.newscientistspace.com/article.ns?id=dn7564]Apparently Frodo and co. didn't do nearly a good enough job...[/link]
     
  19. jedi_runya

    jedi_runya Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Now that is cool... :D Nice find Christian.
     
  20. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    I saw that awhile ago. Didn't equate it with LotR though...
     
  21. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    I went out looking for the comet tonight. I knew I was in the right area, but I wasn't able to find it. So apparently it's still really dim and I was in a light polluted area.

    However, I did find some other cool things and got to see two really nice meteors tonight :)
     
  22. jedi_runya

    jedi_runya Manager Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Jon, someday you need to take a trip to Colorado. The night sky is so close and you can find the perfect spot almost anywhere. I sure miss getting away from the light pollution here, and when you can, it seems like the sky is too far away to see anything... :( (I think I am homesick...)
     
  23. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    Anyone interested in taking a road trip out a ways tonight?
     
  24. Dagobah_Diva

    Dagobah_Diva Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Ooooh...road trip would be fun, but I can't get away at the present time. I could in a couple of weeks though. The place I work is closing down for 2 weeks at the end of July.:D
     
  25. VoijaRisa

    VoijaRisa Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2002
    I went out again tonight. Unfortunately the haze + humidity was bad. So I headed home. Oh well. I'll just watch it live online and post pictures for everyone.
     
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