Lisa Beightol — Space Stuff—The

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has found evidence of what could be the youngest black hole in our “neighborhood”. The object itself is only about thirty years old and appears to be a remnant of supernova SN 1979C in the galaxy M100, located about 50 million light-years away. According to NASA, data from Chandra, Swift, XMM-Newton and ROSAT have shown that a bright X-ray source in the region has been steady between 1995 and 2007, which suggests that the source is a black hole that is either receiving material from the supernova, or a binary companion. The hypothesis of the formation of SN 1979C is that a star about twenty times the mass of our sun collapsed.
Keep your eyes to the sky and enjoy the view!

Venus Express Update- from Lisa Beightol –

Hello, astro-nuts!
Venus Express, which was launched by ESA back in 2005, has been studying the atmosphere of Venus from different levels within it, as well as from its highly elliptical orbit. During a series of low passes in summer of 2008, October 2009 and just this past February and April, Venus Express found data suggesting that the atmosphere above the poles of Venus is much thinner than previously thought–60% thinner, in fact. Studying the density of the atmosphere is very important to the mission controllers, because they wish to take the craft lower into the atmosphere to continue observing. Given the destruction of so many other robotic explorers before this one, the team wants to be sure that they understand the density of the Venusian atmosphere so yet another spacecraft isn’t lost. To date, the closest Venus Express has been to the surface was about 108 miles. Next week, the craft will drop down to 102 miles. On average, its orbit takes it from 155 miles all the way out over 41,000 miles, yet it can complete an orbit in about 24 hours. However, at its farthest point, the sun’s gravity starts pulling the craft off course and its engines are fired to compensate. Unless its orbit can be lowered, Venus Express’ fuel will be used up by 2015. With constant study, this orbital lowering may be achieved by 2012.

Venus in Ultraviolet from Venus Express-ESA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Nice fall weather is finally returning to central PA, so I’m looking forward to getting my telescope out and hunting for Comet Hartley! Have any of you had the chance to look for it yet? Its not quite naked-eye visible yet, but I’ve seen reports that you can pick it up as a fuzzy blob with 10×50 binoculars, and most definitely a small telescope. Don’t forget that Hartley will be near the Double Cluster in Perseus tonight and Friday night. The Double Cluster in Perseus is just that, two star clusters that appear to be near one another–NGC 884 and NGC 869. The two are not actually that far apart in space, only about 800 light years (they are 7600 and 6800 light years from Earth, respectively). While Hartley may only look like a “fuzzy” from Earth without much of a tail, the WISE spacecraft with its incredible infrared detectors, has picked up a very long tail on Hartley that stretches over a million miles behind it.

Asteroid 2003 UV11 To Pass Within 1.2 Million Miles of Earth

From Lisa Beightol —
Oct 28, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Hello, astro-nuts!
Just a quick “heads up”: Asteroid 2003 UV11 will be flying past Earth Friday night, within “just” 1.2 million miles of us. The rock itself is nearly 2000 feet across, so if you have a telescope that can spot objects of around magnitude +12 or +13, have a look at the constellation Pegasus Friday night. Have a look at Tom’s Asteroid Flybys Page to see where the asteroid is located–you can customize it for your location and see when it is visible. Happy hunting!

The Coming Solar Max: Will all previous natural disasters combined pale in comparison to this super monster – and will we need to get help from the outside? Is it all True Series #152

Solar max is the period of greatest solar activity in the solar cycle of the sun. During solar maximum, sunspots and solar flares occur at high frequency.
Solar maximum comes on average once every 11 years; note this period can vary between 9 to 14 years, which makes exact prediction far from a science. Solar maximum is when the sun’s magnetic field is most distorted due to the magnetic field on the solar equator rotating at a faster pace than at the solar poles. So since this last occurred 2000/2001, the next would probably occur 2011/2012, and some from the conspiracy world say it will be late 2012, but more on that later.
It is said when our Solar System formed about 4.6 billion years ago, our young sun was much smaller and very volatile, constantly shooting super solar flares into the galaxy. This is happening presently in the younger areas of our universe; stars in these corners can produce the energy equal to one billion A-bombs, almost on a daily basis from one solar flare. A super flare of one/one thousandth of that force would vaporize the earth instantly. Thank God our Sun grew up, and matured and controlled its earlier violent nature.
But here is the problem: something big is going to happen shortly, and I bet it will be a large solar flare of a magnitude not seen for thousands of years. If we were living on earth thousands of years ago, this coming event would have minimum impact on our day-to-day. But our human advancement will be our doom. With our total dependence on electricity and satellite communication, only the primitive corners of our world may survive. I say “primitive,” not with disrespect, as they could be crowned the new smart kings of the earth.
So what would happen during this doomsday flare? All communication satellites would be destroyed, crippling our ability to talk to each other. Next the world power grid would be totally destroyed on the side facing the Sun, and this powerful storm would light up the magnetosphere and the ionosphere to such an extent that it would collapse the grid worldwide within 12 hours.
And of course this event could correspond with 2012 Mayan Prophecy, yes it could, for they (the Mayans) may have known about a super-solar activity cycle, which appears beyond our perception.
But there is hope on two fronts. One, man has about two years to develop a prediction system which could give us two days of advanced warning to shut down our power grids and rotate satellites to minimize the total damage. And yes, we could survive as an advanced human race, and not be back to the Stone Age, a consequence that would kill 98% of the humans on earth.
The second hope would be a total evacuation of earth by some compassionate group who thought we were worth saving, sort of like an alien harvest or cattle round up. My gut feeling is we need to dance real fast and figure it out ourselves and don’t rely on the generosity of those other non-humans.
Sleep tight, some genius will be up all night at Los Alamos or Sandia Labs saving our butts – I hope.

Jim Turner -The Ahau Chronicles Volume 13

After focusing the last several newsletters on the Apocalypse Island 2010
Eclipse Expedition I would like to return now to the ancient Mayan city of Palenque and
the astronomy of Chan Bahlum, whose observations of the retrograde motions of Jupiter
are recorded in his hieroglyphic inscriptions. Retrograde motion is an optical illusion
produced by two bodies moving through space at different speeds, such as the Earth and
Jupiter. As the faster moving Earth in its smaller orbit passes by Jupiter, the larger planet
seems to slow to a stop (called “First Stationary Position”) relative to the background
stars and then appears to move backwards before again slowing to a stop (called “Second
Stationary Position”) after which it goes “direct” and appears to resume its proper motion
through the sky.
The zig-zag retrograde motion occurs to some degree for each of the visible
planets and caused no end of difficulties for early astronomers using an Earth-based, or
geocentric, model of the cosmos. The astronomy of Aristotle and Ptolemy depicted the
Earth at the center of everything with the planets and the Sun orbiting in perfect circles
around the Earth. They used “epicycles” to account for retrograde motion. However, as
astronomical observations became more exacting, epicycles within epicycles were needed
and eventually the system became too cumbersome to be useful. Only after the work of
Copernicus and Galileo, among others, did the Sun-centered, or heliocentric, model of
the Solar System begin to gain acceptance.
Returning now to Chan Bahlum and the retrograde motion of Jupiter, we can
notice that, based on the hieroglyphic dates recorded in his inscriptions, Chan Bahlum
favored ceremonial dates that corresponded to just after the second stationary position of
Jupiter, after it had ceased its retrograde movement and had returned to direct motion.
The backwards movement of the planets may have been seen as a time of ill omens. In
fact, the word “disaster” means “ill-starred” (dis-astro) and originally described a
calamity based on an unfavorable position of a planet. The heir-designation of Chan
Bahlum in AD 641 and his accession to the throne in AD 684 both occurred shortly after
Jupiter had moved past its second stationary position and began moving direct again.
While Saturn has its beautiful ring system, one of the most interesting aspects of
Jupiter is its many moons. Four of these moons, Calisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io, are
collectively known as the Galilean moons, named after Galileo who ostensibly
“discovered” the moons during one of his first observation sessions with the newly
invented telescope. However, the current October issue of Astronomy magazine
discusses the possibility of naked eye observation of the Galilean moons. Could Chan
Bahlum and the Maya have known about these moons almost 1,000 years before Galileo?
The ceremonial “backrack” depicted behind the newly crowned Chan Bahlum in his
Temple of the Cross shows a zoomorphic head with a strange appendage hanging down.
The dotted braid appears to mimic the movement of the Galilean moons as they orbit
Jupiter, a planet we know Chan Bahlum was intently observing. Furthermore, since we
know that his accession to the throne occurred soon after the second stationary position of
retrograde Jupiter, the resemblance becomes more apparent if we imagine the diagram at
right truncated and then doubled back upon itself. [The positions of Jupiter’s moons
shown below are those for the beginning of September, 2010, surrounding the publication
date of this newsletter.]
As Dava Sobel points out in her book Longitude, the moons of Jupiter can be
used as a type of cosmic clock. If one has sufficiently accurate enough information and
understanding of the orbits of these moons they can display the passage of time which
was a critical component for navigation at sea. One can imagine Chan Bahlum sailing
southwards, studiously watching the moons of Jupiter orbiting around the giant planet
and guiding him safely to the mystical Underworld Island of the Jaguar Sun.
Currently we are in the midst of a retrograde period of Jupiter. On July 23rd, one
week after I returned from the Apocalypse Island 2010 Eclipse Expedition, Jupiter
reached First Stationary Position and began its backwards slide through the heavens. It
will reach its Second Stationary Position on November 18th and will afterwards begin
moving direct. Previously, Jupiter had gone through its last retrograde period in 2009
from June 15th to October 13th. Having been attuned to this information I was
particularly encouraged when we departed for Chile on October 14th, after Secondary
Stationary Position, to begin filming the History Channel movie. The opening scenes in
JFK airport are from this day and proved to be an auspicious beginning for what turned
out to be a fantastic expedition.
The First Point of Aries is the point in the
sky where the Celestial Meridian, the
Celestial Equator and the Ecliptic all meet.
It is presently in the southwest of Pisces,
moving slowly towards its neighbouring
constellation, Aquarius. At First Stationary
Position, Jupiter recently stopped near this
important point and began its retrograde
movement near the “Circlet” of Pisces.
While it may seem rash to presume that Chan Bahlum is referencing
our present day it should be remembered that the Maya saw time in a
cyclical fashion with certain events and celestial occurrences seen as
echoes of previous similar events. As he holds Pisces, Chan Bahlum
could be said to have a “fish-in-hand”, which is known in the glyphs
to represent the act of “conjuring”. Perhaps the true import of his
great work was to conjure the astronomical events of the end of the
Mayan calendar and in this way demonstrate his cosmic right to rule

Denise Chow – an unprecedented event Today 09/08/10

( my personal comment– lets all hope our Space alien friends don’t decide to pull one or both of these objects into our orbit – all hell would break -loose. MWiz)

Staff Writer denise Chow Staff Writer – Tue Sep 7, 2:16 pm ET

This story was updated at 1:55 p.m. ET.

In an unprecedented event for astronomers, two asteroids will swing past the Earth Wednesday at a distance closer than the moon.

The two asteroids, which will not be visible to the naked eye, were only recently discovered by astronomers with the Mount Lemmon Survey in Tucson, Ariz. They are in different orbits with close passes that will come nearly 11 hours apart. While scientists say neither threatens to strike the planet, the two space rocks do provide a challenging skywatching opportunity.

Other asteroids have been known to make such close passes, but it is rare for two to be spotted zooming in at the same time. Because of the asteroids’ movement, finding and tracking them across the sky will be a challenge for seasoned skywatchers. [Image Gallery: Asteroids]

The smaller asteroid, 2010 RF12 will have a closer pass, at almost 49,000 miles (about 79,000 km).

This is higher than communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit 22,369 miles (36,000 km) above Earth. On average, the moon is about roughly 238,600 miles (384,000 km) from Earth, so 2010 RF12 will pass by at nearly 0.2 of that lunar distance.

Asteroid 2010 RF12 is a small space rock, estimated to be between 19 and 42.6 feet (5.8 to 13 meters) wide, according to NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

As the asteroid swings by our planet and gains speed, it should also brighten, but it will still be very hard to spot, astronomers have said. Its closest approach will be at 5:18 p.m. EDT (2118 GMT) on Wednesday.

“But by then it will be difficult (to see) from any location on Earth,” said Richard Miles, director of the Asteroids and Remote Planets Section at the British Astronomical Association.

The larger space rock, 2010 RX30, will visit first, passing Earth at a range of about three-fifths of the Earth-moon distance, or about 154,000 miles (248,000 km). It is estimated to be between 33 and 72 feet (10 to 22 meters) wide, according to the JPL asteroid database.

This larger asteroid “should be able to be followed to within about 6 hours of closest approach,” Miles said in a statement. NASA asteroid trackers said the closest approach of 2010 RX30 will be Wednesday at 5:51 a.m. EDT (0951 GMT).

In telescopes, 2010 RX30 should be visible all night between Tuesday and Wednesday but could be tricky to spot as it crosses the sky at a swift pace.

Seasoned skywatchers equipped with telescopes, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, could see 2010 RF12 reach 13th magnitude between 1600 and 1700 GMT (noon and 1 p.m. EDT), Miles said.

Magnitude is a measure of how bright an object in the sky is, with lower numbers corresponding to brighter objects. Anything magnitude 6.5 and above is not visible to the naked eye.

“As seen visually in a large telescope (30-cm aperture or more), its motion across the sky would be very apparent in real time,” Miles wrote.

Using a network of telescopes on the ground and in space, NASA experts and other astronomers routinely track asteroids and comets that may fly uncomfortably near the Earth.

The space agency’s Near-Earth Object Observations program is responsible for finding potentially dangerous asteroids and studying their orbits to determine if they pose a risk of hitting the Earth.

* Top 10 Summer Sky Objects to See Before Fall, Asteroid Photos
* Telescopes for Beginners
* For Stargazers, September Brings New Night Sky

* Original Story: 2 Asteroids to Pass Earth Closer Than the Moon

Astronews! Is this a concern ???

On June 21st, the brightest X-rays ever detected from outside our galaxy slammed into the Swift X-ray space observatory, and temporarily “blinded” its X-ray eye. These particular X-rays had been whizzing through space for around five billion years before running into Swift. The blast likely came from a huge gamma-ray burst, which occurs when a massive star explodes and starts becoming a black hole (and basically occurred around five billion years ago). By far, this particular burst is the brightest X-ray source ever seen, and was too much for Swift’s instruments. The data analysis softward on Swift actually shut down for a time; its estimated that around 143,000 X-ray photons per second were affecting Swift’s telescopes. For comparison, the brightest continuous source of X-rays in the sky is a neutron star that sends “only” about 10,000 photons per second towards Swift–and this star is more than 500,000 times closer to Earth than the source of this bright GRB. The overall brightness of the GRB could be estimated by studying photons a certain distance from the center of the bright blast. A similar technique is used to study the sun’s corona by blocking out its center. However, since this blast was so bright, scientists had to sample photons that were twice as far from the center as they would normally measure.

From The astronomy blog, by Lisa Beightol,