Focus On: Soccerball Nebula

November 30th, 2017 by Tavi Greiner

Kronberger 61 / Kn61 (aka the Soccerball) is a planetary nebula located some 13,000-LY away, in constellation Lyra, very near the border of Cygnus. Although it was imaged during a 1980s sky survey, our Focus On subject, Kn61, was not discovered until 2011, when amateur astronomer, Matthias Kronberger, noticed it during a collaborative search of the Digitized Sky Survey archives.

Kronberger’s discovery was confirmed by both Kitt Peak National and Gemini North observatories and even considered for target by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. Kroneberger’s amateur-professional collaboration group, Deep Sky Hunters, have found more than 250 planetary nebula candidates, more than half of which were detected in the last three years.

When a low- or intermediate-mass main sequence star, like our Sun, nears the end of its lifetime, it evolves into a red-giant and then into a planetary nebula. While they may appear as graceful bubbles or delicate wings, planetary nebulae are actually in the throes of violent interactions, as extreme winds from a hot stellar core crash into an outer gaseous shell, pushing it outward to create the various colorful shapes that we see. Scientists estimate that our galaxy is home to nearly ten-thousand planetary nebulae, but less than two-thousand have been detected. Some of the most famous examples include the Helix, Cat’s Eye, and Hourglass.

Planetary nebulae are challenging targets for visual observers – they do require serious magnification power and some star-hopping experience – but their ethereal beauty and fascinating science are worth further investigation, even if only through images and articles. You can visit the Hubble Space Telescope website, here, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory website, here, to see more of these cool and crazy “space bubbles”.

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If AFM*Radio is Silent

May 8th, 2017 by Nick Evetts

Skyguide Nick Here,

If you are hearing radio silence on AFM*Radio, please contact me at nick-at-astronomy dot fm, and I will forward your report to our Radio Boffins!

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The Event^ Horizon 2017/12/15

December 16th, 2017 by Nick Evetts

Thank you StarStorm for taking part in  the show tonight

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sta​rtswithabang/2017/12/15/why-nasas​-kepler-mission-is-toast/#630dc29​01da0

https://www.youtube.com/channel/​UCLA_DiR1FfKNvjuUpBHmylQ
https://www.youtube.com/user/ESA
 https://www.youtube.com/user/spa​cexchannel
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/o​bserving/sky-at-a-glance/this-wee​ks-sky-at-a-glance-december-15-23​/
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl​/bright-areas-on-ceres-suggest-ge​ologic-activity
https://scitechdaily.com/nasas-j​uno-spacecraft-probes-jupiters-gr​eat-red-spot/
 https://www.quora.com/Why-do-gas​-giants-like-Jupiter-emit-radiati​on
https://drive.google.com/open?id​=1LDhOvrxmi4S0eXYUQnj5DWN2LZeFwln​8
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Triple-Treat SkyWatching This Week!

December 13th, 2017 by Tavi Greiner

This week’s night sky offers a solar system triple-treat, with the Geminid meteor shower on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (12/13-12/14) – a close grouping of Jupiter, Mars, and the crescent Moon on Thursday morning (12/14) – and a near-Earth pass of the Geminids’ source, 3200 Phaethon, on Saturday night (12/16).

 

GEMINIDS PEAK – DEC 13/14

Geminids, NASA/JPL

The Geminids; so-called because the shower appears to radiate from constellation Gemini; is a typically prolific event, with frequent fireballs and peak rates of dozens of meteors per hour – and the  meteors, themselves, are bright and often leave long trails. This year’s event should be especially fruitful, with a morning crescent moon offering darker skies for better viewing. Spaceweather.com has already reported 40+ fireballs in the past three days, so peak night could be especially exciting. UPDATE: Spaceweather.com reported 475 Geminid fireballs, as of 12/14!

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The Event^Horizon 2017/12/08

December 9th, 2017 by Nick Evetts

My thanks as always  to Starstorm  for the links this week

BlackProjects ISS Image

ISS TRAIL across the Stars

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AFM_SpacePirateRadio_2017/12/06_Its A Space Pirate Cluster

December 9th, 2017 by Nick Evetts

The sun’s blank right now. Not even bothering with a link.What’s up in the sky:
Fri, Dec 08, 23h Regulus 0°.7 S. of Moon, Occn.
Sun, Dec 10, 08h LAST QUARTER
Wed, Dec 13, 02h Mercury in inferior conjunction
Wed, Dec 13, 16h Mars 4° S. of Moon
Thu, Dec 14, 14h Jupiter 4° S. of Moon
Thu, Dec 14, 19h Vesta 0°.2 N. of Moon, Occn.
Times given in UT. These events, and more can be found at:
http://asa.usno.navy.mil

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Wave at NASA’s Planet-Hunting Spacecraft!

December 6th, 2017 by Tavi Greiner

On Sunday, Dec 10 / Monday, Dec 11, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope will be imaging Earth and the Moon for a full 30-minutes, and NASA encourages all of us to wave for the photo!

Launched in 2009 as one of NASA’s Discovery missions, the planet-hunting spacecraft has since discovered thousands of candidates, more than half of which have been confirmed as exoplanets. With the craft’s fuel supply now dwindling, NASA wants to capture an image of a known inhabited planet – and the obvious target is our very own home!

You can visit the Wave at Kepler page to determine the wave time and Kepler’s sky location for your region, and browse NASA’s Kepler and K2 mission pages to learn more about the Kepler Space Telescope’s pursuit.

For a little pre-wave fun, check-out this cool 2009 Kepler lift-off gif by Walter Scriptunas! You can also browse more of Scriptunas’ fantastic launch photography, here.

DON’T FORGET TO WAVE!

 

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The Event^Horizon 2017/12/01

December 2nd, 2017 by Nick Evetts

Thank you Star Storm for the links this week

 

Aqua4U shared 2 of his images

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9ulzJiUTQqLQngzeEZwV3lfanc

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9ulzJiUTQqLREFDQTQyc3BISlE

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-living-on-flat-earth-would-look-like-2017-11

https://www.nasa.gov/image-featu​re/jpl/pia21972/jupiter-blues

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