Yes, I know the image to the left is a meme that is almost as old as TNG itself. I couldn’t resist posting it since this semester’s finals are particularly rough. The nice thing is, next year I only have two classes (and my senior thesis), then I’m DONE with undergrad work.
Since it’s finals season, I haven’t had much time to blog the few weeks. Bear with me while I concentrate on getting my coursework wrapped up and my finals knocked out.
On top of everything else, I’ve been accepted to a pretty awesome observational observatory workshop at Mt. Wilson Observatory. I’m trying to make travel arrangements and come up with around a thousand dollars so I can cover part of the tuition, as well as plane tickets. Looks like I need to write some more (paying) articles!
That all being said, everything should be back on track by early May, and I’ll be back to posting regular content by then. I have some pretty cool stuff I’m working on. Keep your eyes peeled good buddies, 10-4?
Carnival of Space #246 is available at Links Through Space!
This edition features great articles about:
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Many of you know by now, I’m quite the citizen science junkie. Any way that people can make contributions to real science is a major “win” in my book. Recently, NASA announced a new outreach project that aims to enlist the help of amateur astronomers in discovering near-Earth objects, and study their characteristics. The project is aptly named, “Target Asteroids!” and will help support NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission.
Scheduled for launch in 2016, the OSIRIS-Rex mission will help our understanding of near-Earth objects by studying the properties of asteroids, measuring their non-gravitational forces and provide observations that can be compared with data obtained by telescope observations from Earth. In 2023, OSIRIS-REx will return back to Earth at least 2.11 ounces (60 grams) of surface material from the asteroid.
“Asteroids are a rich and accessible historic archive of the origin of our Solar System and life, a valuable source of mineral resources, and potentially hazardous Earth impactors that civilization must learn to deal with,” said Dante Lauretta (University of Arizona). “Our mission will address all these issues.”
If you’d like to catch Orion before it sets, look to the south-west after dark. With a moderate telescope, you should still be able to catch somewhat decent views, simply aim your telescope at the middle “star” in Orion’s sword. Additionally, from April 11th – 20th, you can participate in GLOBE at Night by viewing Orion and reporting your findings at http://www.globeatnight.org
Astronomers use the term “metallicity” in reference to elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, such as oxygen, silicon, and iron. In the “core accretion” model of planetary formation, a rocky core gradually forms when dust grains that make up the disk of material that surrounds a young star bang into each other to create small rocks known as “planetesimals”. Citing this model, Johnson and Li stress that heavier elements are necessary to form the dust grains and planetesimals which build planetary cores.
Additionally, evidence suggests that the circumstellar disks of dust that surround young stars don’t survive as long when the stars have lower metallicities. The most likely reason for this shorter lifespan is that the light from the star causes clouds of dust to evaporate.
You can read my full Astrobiology Magazine article at: http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/4681/when-stellar-metallicity-sparks-planet-formation
For me, this experience was very memorable, as it was my first experience using a “big” telescope. Interestingly enough, the experience wasn’t all that different from using my 8″ reflector on a computerized german equatorial mount. Hell, the Perkins sounded about the same as my telescope does when slewing, just a lot louder!
I plan on doing a feature-length blog post about my experience with the Perkins, but wanted to at least post this pic as a “teaser” for the upcoming post.
If you want to read more about the Perkins Telescope, visit: http://www.lowell.edu/research_telescopes_perkins.php