RASC Mississauga Meeting This Friday at UTM

The next meeting of the Mississauga Centre of the RASC is this Friday, July 19.  The meeting starts at 8:00 pm and will be held in Room 2082 in the Davis (South) building.

Scheduled Talks:

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Thunder Bay General Assembly Report

Preparing for the Next 12 Years of Solar Eclipses

Constructing a private observatory

Astronomical Points of Interest in Italy

The University of Toronto at Mississauga is at 3359 Mississauga Road (map and directions) Park in lot 4 or the parkade, just south of the Davis Building. Enter through the Fitness centre, walk up the stairs until you reach the main corridor then turn right. Look for the Mississauga Centre sign in front of the lecture room.   The meeting ends at 10:00 pm.

 

 

Cassini to take photo of Earth this Friday

This simulated view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the expected positions of Saturn and Earth on July 19, 2013, around the time Cassini will take Earth's picture. Cassini will be about 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away from Earth at the time. That distance is nearly 10 times the distance from the sun to Earth.

This simulated view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the expected positions of Saturn and Earth on July 19, 2013, around the time Cassini will take Earth's picture. Cassini will be about 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away from Earth at the time. That distance is nearly 10 times the distance from the sun to Earth.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft, now exploring Saturn, will take a picture of our home planet from a distance of hundreds of millions of miles on July 19. NASA is inviting the public to help acknowledge the historic interplanetary portrait as it is being taken.

Earth will appear as a small, pale blue dot between the rings of Saturn in the image, which will be part of a mosaic, or multi-image portrait, of the Saturn system Cassini is composing.

"While Earth will be only about a pixel in size from Cassini's vantage point 898 million [1.44 billion kilometers] away, the team is looking forward to giving the world a chance to see what their home looks like from Saturn," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We hope you'll join us in waving at Saturn from Earth, so we can commemorate this special opportunity."

Cassini created this panoramic view of the Saturn system, with Earth appearing as a pale blue dot, in 2006.

Cassini created this panoramic view of the Saturn system, with Earth appearing as a pale blue dot, in 2006.

Cassini will start obtaining the Earth part of the mosaic at 2:27 p.m. PDT (5:27 p.m. EDT or 21:27 UTC) and end about 15 minutes later, all while Saturn is eclipsing the sun from Cassini's point of view. The spacecraft's unique vantage point in Saturn's shadow will provide a special scientific opportunity to look at the planet's rings. At the time of the photo, North America and part of the Atlantic Ocean will be in sunlight.

Earthlings are encouraged to "Wave at Saturn" from 5:27 to 5:42 p.m. EDT  during which the picture will be taken , some 1.44 billion kilometres away. 

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Saturn and the Moon on display at public star party in Mississauga

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The planet Saturn and the Moon will be the prime targets this Tuesday at The Riverwood Conservancy as the Earthshine Astronomy and Space Science Organization and the Mississauga Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada hold its monthly public star party.

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Several telescopes of various sizes will be set up by amateur astronomers to provide amazing views of the planet Saturn, the Moon and other objects in the sky.   

 

Admission is free and the observing starts at dusk - around 9:00 pm.  Just in case Tuesday night is cloudy, the observing evening will be moved to Wednesday. Check out the Riverwood or RASC web sites Tuesday afternoon for a GO/NO GO announcement. 

For more information visit the Riverwood web site .  Please pre-register by calling 905-279-5878 or email info@TheRiverwoodConservancy.com  Here are directions to Riverwood.  See you there!

Riverwood is a GO for Tuesday night - weather looks good!! 

Telescopes at a Riverwood star party are illuminated by red lights as visitors observe the Moon. 

Telescopes at a Riverwood star party are illuminated by red lights as visitors observe the Moon. 

Hubble Spots Blue Planet

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Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, determined the true color of a planet orbiting another star. If seen up close this planet, known as HD 189733b, would be a deep cobalt blue, reminiscent of Earth's color as seen from space.

But that's where the similarities end. This "deep blue dot" is a huge gas giant orbiting very close to its host star. The planet's atmosphere is scorching with a temperature of over 1000 degrees Celsius, and it rains glass, sideways, in howling 7000 kilometre-per-hour winds.

For more information see Hubble Finds A Cobalt Blue Planet

 

 

Planetarium spotlight - the Peterborough Planetarium

Astronomy educators Peter McMahon and Rick Stankewicz have just completed their first year of offerring planetarium programming in the Durham and Kawarthas area.

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The Peterborough Planetarium is an inflatable dome which can hold 30-40 people during a show. The star patterns and images are projected on the ceiling of the dome. 

"Thanks to the hundreds of educators and other members of the public as well as the thousands of students (nearly 9,000 by our estimates) that made our first year in business a cosmic success!"

 

Here is an interview Rick had with CBC radio last September as the planetarium program began.