.

Astronomy with Aaron

Articles and commentary on the science of Astronomy Flag as Inappropriate

Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors. What's on your mind? What's on your mind? Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell something
Posts awaiting your approval 0
Location of the Nova in Delphinus
Aaron Turner August 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm
Wow. Awful night for looking for this tonight. Moon is nearly full and too close to Delphinus, andRead More the haze wipes out almost all stars. Should get better later in the week, and the nova should still be visible.
Jaimie Cura August 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm
Thanks Aaron - beautiful night for moon-gazing though!
Lyra, photographed 8/11 from my front yard
Jaimie Cura August 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm
I'm going to look for Lyra because at present, the only constellations I can identify are the BigRead More Dipper and Orion and I think that's pretty lame and needs to be changed!
Jaimie Cura August 18, 2013 at 10:40 pm
I'm going to look for Lyra because at present, the only constellations I can identify are the BigRead More Dipper and Orion and I think that's pretty sad and needs to be changed!
The Whirlpool Nebula (a galaxy) as seen by Lord Rosse
John anderson May 21, 2013 at 09:23 am
Once again, an amazingly interesting report. Question: Mercury, Venus and our moon...they don'tRead More spin on their axis? If not, why not?
Aaron Turner May 21, 2013 at 11:42 am
Ok, let's be a bit careful with the facts. It is not true that Mercury and Venus always have theRead More same side facing the Sun - this was not known in 1909. It is true that the Moon has the same side facing Earth at all times. When a body has this condition, that the same side faces the body it is orbiting at all time, what that really means is that its period of rotation is the same as its orbital period. So, our Moon has a rotation period of 27.3 days, which is precisely its orbital period. (Though not the time between identical phases, but that's another story). For Mercury, the orbital period is 88 days, and its rotational period is 59 days - very, very slow compared to its orbital period. For Venus, the orbital period is 224.5 days, and its rotational period is ... 243 days! Not only is its rotation longer than its orbital period, it is the only planet that rotates "backwards" relative to all of the other planets and their orbits. Now, you asked why. The reason is quite complicated. When we have two bodies, say A and B, where B is smaller than A, and they are relatively close to one another compared to their sizes, the gravity from A will cause tidal distortions of B resulting in bulges forming in B. Then, once these bulges are formed, A's gravity will pull on bulges to gradually "brake" the rotation of B. In the case of the Moon, it was formed from a massive planetary impact billions of years ago, and separated from Earth. At first it was a molten ball, so tidal forces from Earth's gravity immediately caused large tidal distortions, which caused the rapid braking of its rotation into its current condition. Lastly, realize that even when we have the rotation and orbital period matching, it is not the case that the body doesn't rotate - the Moon rotates once per month.
Barb April 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm
Aaron - glad to see you are back! I share you articles with my daughter who currently attendsRead More college in Vermont. We both really enjoy them.
Aaron Turner April 24, 2013 at 01:17 am
I love hearing this. If my posts bring you a taste of science that you enjoy reading, it makes myRead More small effort all the more satisfying.
John anderson April 9, 2013 at 04:28 pm
I live in Woodbridge, retired Latin teacher. I love your post. They make it all local. I've onlyRead More recently become fascinated by what's up there. I get a lot of good articles from Zite, an app on my iPad. Keep us informed. John Anderson
Jaimie Cura March 12, 2013 at 08:41 pm
Too cloudy tonight to see the comet?
Bryan Pack March 14, 2013 at 08:32 pm
I saw it for a while before it dropped out of the sky. I stood on the bank of the river watching it.Read More It looked so weird.
Jaimie Cura February 12, 2013 at 03:16 am
Renee, that's such a neat picture - thanks for posting! Aaron, this blog is really cool!
Sandy Hook February 1, 2013 at 12:38 am
I bet there are 26 brand new stars up there.
Martha Jankovic-Mark February 3, 2013 at 02:27 am
Thank you for posting this information. I'm going outside and having a look. :)
Jaimie Cura January 24, 2013 at 01:56 am
The white dwarf mystery is fascinating, Aaron. So if none of the explanations are accepted by theRead More astronomical community, are there some theories or ideas about the white dwarfs that the community favors more?
Susie January 24, 2013 at 05:02 am
Thank you for the educational post!
Bombur January 24, 2013 at 02:43 pm
This is fascinating!! I'll be out tonight with my binocs
Caty Poole January 17, 2013 at 03:29 pm
Aaron, loved this piece! Are you connected with the NH Astronomical Society that periodically hasRead More public viewing events in Bethany? I spoke with them around Thanksgiving about holding an event at Massaro Community Farm this fall, which they were enthusiastic about, but haven't been able to get back in touch with them. The farm is the perfect open space for viewing the night sky and I'd love to hold an event there. Caty Poole, Outreach & Development Coordinator caty@massarofarm.com
Ralph January 17, 2013 at 10:04 pm
II bought my 5 year old a inexpensive telescope for Christmas and we have enjoyed a few coldRead More evenings outside observing "The King" of the solar system. I have to say she was fascinated and we have really enjoyed the show. Great article, thanks!
Jaimie Cura December 11, 2012 at 12:01 am
Hi Barbara! I've seen early reports that indicate the night will be clear and the moon won't competeRead More - fingers crossed!
Scott F December 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm
Wed. night/Thurs. morning was a bust due to clouds streaming in from the East, but Thursday night isRead More looking better. As an added bonus, an entirely new meteor shower may appear as a result of comet Wirtanen.
Jaimie Cura December 14, 2012 at 03:22 am
My colleague in Stratford says he can see tons of shooting stars right now - it's about 10:20 p.m.
Will Wilkin November 13, 2012 at 05:20 pm
Thanks for a great read on the role of math in the discovery of Neptune. I bet you could writeRead More additional articles on the role of math in so many aspects of astronomy. I think good math teachers are hard to find, so much of the so little math I studied seemed to have no explanation or meaning, maybe that's why the math textbooks today are full of words and the only numbers seem to be for listing ideas.
Jimmie Pursey November 13, 2012 at 09:13 pm
you have some interesting ideas, Bob.
Will Wilkin October 27, 2012 at 01:00 am
Imagine the path of that planet around a double star system that is itself in an orbit with anotherRead More double star system! That cannot be stable....the planet will have to deviate path as the stars change line-ups...eventually I would expect the planet to fly off in another direction, approach too direct and get too close to one of the stars and fall in. Now that WOULD be a serious economic problem, and no doubt completely ignored in any presidential debates on said planet.
Michael Gianfranceschi October 27, 2012 at 02:55 pm
so easy to read, where were you when I was taking all those science courses that left my brainRead More scrambled like so many eggs. Thanks
Jaimie Cura October 3, 2012 at 01:50 am
Aaron, this might be one of the coolest things you've ever said here and you've said a lot of coolRead More things!
Ellen Dages October 3, 2012 at 01:54 am
Interesting photos.
Steven DeVaux October 3, 2012 at 09:53 am
Excellent article and explaination Aaron. Thank you.
Bill Hillman September 23, 2012 at 02:38 pm
@Ken and Aaron, both the impending collision with Andromeda and the toasting of the Earth gives usRead More as a society some time to learn to become an interstellar species. The sort of dream Star Trek was made of. In the grand scale of things, our puny human political events, wars, victories, religion, everything we were and everything we will be will return to that same stellar dust from whence we came. The universe and its cosmic dance will continue (at least till entropic death) without us as if we never were.
Ed Smith September 23, 2012 at 02:57 pm
So your saying our environmental problems are only going to get worse?
Bill Hillman September 23, 2012 at 06:33 pm
Yeppers! Global "warming" will be a HUGE problem when the sun begins to run short ofRead More hydrogen!
Charles September 20, 2012 at 04:55 pm
Very interesting. I love stories like this. Thanks.
Will Wilkin September 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm
Excellent meteorological detective work, Mr Turner! I especially appreciate your historicalRead More approach to subjects, not just chronology but insight into qualitative changes in society & human experience brought about by technological development. You included such reflections in your article "To Touch The Moon," as you do here. Regarding the "continually available, distributed knowledge" of the internet, I consider it a giant version of the invention of the printing press, both of which democratized knowledge & learning by making ideas available to a much larger audience than before. The internet has the additional benefit of being interactive, for example the discussions in comment sections such as these below published articles, and the relative ease of publishing itself. Your mention of that distributed knowledge brought to my mind a passage from a book "The Time Before History" by Colin Tudge, in which he discusses our evolution as not just physical but, through language, as a collective intelligence theoretically making available to any individual all the learning & experience of everyone before us. He described the resulting tension between our individual existence & our collective systems on which all individuals depend. The internet is a technological multiplier of that collective intelligence. E.O. Wilson's book "The Social Conquest of Earth" coming from a biological perspective, gives context to this development of "continual distributed knowledge."
Abe September 10, 2012 at 03:38 am
America can rise to the same great glory. We just need to work together and be led by people whoseRead More main goal is is to make America the best place to live for everyone who lives here. As for the sub-thread of the comments... Attacks on the Constitution? You mean laws that usurp the powers of Congress, violate the Bill of Rights, or dereliction of duty by the three branches of government? If you bother to read the Constitution, there is nothing about separation of church and state. Reading this: http://www.tgm.org/mythofseparation.html, is a good start. As for my first questions. Compare the Constitution and Bill of Rights to the "War Powers Act", N.D.A.A. and NAFTA. Dereliction of duty or outright corruption removed the Glass-Steagall Act. Sorry for the short list, it is getting late. Is the country done for yet? I don't think so, but it still can be lost so wake up! Hold politicians accountable for government of the people, by the people and for the people. BTW. Corporations are not people. The Supreme Court is 5/9ths corrupt.
Will Wilkin September 10, 2012 at 05:23 pm
Yes Abe, the Dems and Repubs alike shred our Constitution and export our future. A bipartisanRead More plutocracy is ruining our country. 98% of voters cannot yet face the biggest truths about the ruin of our country because they care more about their "party" than the Constitution or national sovereignty or middle class jobs. If the people actually DID care about the Constitution, they would demand Obama be impeached (rather than subject, along with H. Clinton and J. Lieberman and the top national security staff, to the indefinite detention or assassination described in the NDAA2012 signed by Obama), because they are giving weapons and money and assistance on the ground to alQaida and other terrorists in Syria. If the people ACTUALLY cared about our Constitution than their "party," they would reject BOTH mainstream candidates as offering nothing but renunciation of the Constitution. No Romney condemnation of kill-lists and warrantless-indefinite-detentions-without-due-process because the Repubs also want such unConstitutional dictator powers. If the people actually cared about the economic freefall of our nation, they would renounce Obama and the Dems as 100% complicit with the Republicans to finish the export of every last middle class job that can be moved, to further enrich the owners of the corporations that are already booming and flush with cash, enjoying a renaissance of global manufacturing and funding both parties with $hundreds of millions$.
Will Wilkin September 10, 2012 at 05:24 pm
Yes Abe, continued... Obama's TPP will be the worst FTA of them all, extending the WTO treaty ideasRead More that all of the US and state laws and regulations are subject to overturn by 3 WTO attorneys. 600 corporate reps are writing this deal in scret for Obama right now, keeping the details away from the media and even from Congress. But if we could keep all this in mind while returning to the author's original exhortation to consider the changes in our society since the Apollo Missions, we should recognize the next national goal worth uniting around would be a revival of American manufacturing and prosperity by converting to 100% US-made renewable energy technologies over, say, a 20 year period. Part of a transition from a military economy and militarized diplomacy to a transformed USA of civilian prosperity and leadership of the world by successful example. First we have to apply Constitutional restraints on a global corporate police state run wild, then pull back from the bipartisan project of US global military domination by raiding Social Security and printing dollars that will soon not be an international reserve currency....at which time our economic collapse will be historic and long.
See more »