Friday, February 23, 2007

Observing: Friday, January 23

Tonight Boy Scouts visited the observatory! It was cold and icy but they came anyway, and we got to look at winter constellations like Orion, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini, Auriga, and Taurus, as well as the always popular Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and Cassiopeia. Bright stars in these constellations included Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Saiph, Rigel, Sirius, Procyon, Castor, Pollux, Aldebaran, and Polaris. We also saw three things through the telescope: the first-quarter moon in the west, right near the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula (M42) toward the south, and Saturn in a generally east direction.

Lots of good questions were asked, and all links will open in a new window.
What is the Great Red Spot on Jupiter?
Why is Pluto no longer a planet?
What causes meteors, and how are they different from meteorites?
What's a meteor shower?
What is it that they just found on Titan?
Can we see the things left on the moon with a telescope? (scroll down to "The Moon")
How do we know the moon landings weren't a hoax?
Is there a southern pole star?
What is precession?
What's a nebula?
How are stars born?
What will happen to the sun?
Will the sun turn into a black hole?
What are wormholes? (Note: wormholes are more theoretical than these other questions, so there are three links to three different articles: the other two here and here, to provide a variety of explanations at varying levels: the first link is from Scientific American, the second from National Geographic, and the third from the Astronomy Cafe Ask the Astronomer)
Is the Hubble the biggest telescope?

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