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EL CYBERASTRONOMO

Informador de los aficionados a la astronomía en Centroamerica

NUMERO 32 OCTUBRE 3, 1998

E-MAIL: ecastro@gold.guate.net Tel. 472-1777

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A S T E R O I D E S

Hola Edgar

Como esta todo por alla; le cuento que la noche del 24 de septiembre se

realizo una observacion en el observatorio de la Universidad de Georgia,

esta vez fue abierta y se observaron los siguientes objetos: Albireo,

saturno, Jupiter, Andromeda, la Ring nubula y Epsilon lira (estrella

doble); la Ring nebula y la Galaxia de Andromeda se observaron con una

telescopio shimid-Casegrain de 8 pulgadas, los demas obsetos se

observaron con el telescopio de Casegrain 24 pulgadas del observatorio,

este es totalmente computarizado (yo habia entendido que era de 14

pulgadas, pero al entrar al observatorio me di cuenta que era de 24)

estos obsetos se vieron con bastante detalle aunque la atmosfera estaba

bastante turbulenta debido a que todavia hace mucho calor; la proxima

observacion con el gran telescopio sera para el 24 de octubre y en la

misma semana habra una star party en el parque sandy Crik de Athens, hay

le cuento como sera. por otra parte manana platicare con el Dr en fisica

y astronomia Shaw y le mostrare las fotos que tomamos del cometa

Hale-Bopp y Yakutake, el me comento que ha observado como 200 cometas,

bueno hasta pronto, saludes a todos. Rodrigo

0000

At 10:26 PM 18/09/98 -0500, you wrote:

>EL CYBERASTRONOMO llegó... gracias

Precisamente sobre Júpiter fué otro informe en el video mensual,

informando acerca de la cercanía y el tremendo brillo que tiene al momento.

Tuve oportunidad de verlo desde Guatemala y desde El Salvador, en donde está

haciendo un poco de mejor clima que aquí. El valle de Guatemala es muy

nuboso, brumoso o poluído.

Estoy dedicando tiempo a preparar las cámaras CCD para lo que

viene, incluso la adaptación del video al telescopio para lograr cosas que

no hemos visto antes.... movimiento !

Por andar desvelado me tocó ver un espectáculo muy lindo.

Normalmente vemos la luna tierna; de pocas horas hasta 1 días como un leve

uñaso ! , pero cuando la luna termina su ciclo es igualmente un

uñaso pero en el otro lado del cielo y saliendo del horizonte como estrella

matutina.

0000

EL CYBERASTRONOMO... llegó gracias.

Al respecto de Júpiter, En el video mensual además de informar de la

cercanía de Júpiter, que es evidente por su brillo intenso, recordé el

impacto del Shoemaker-Levi con un video del impacto, tomado de un CD de solo

Júpiter. Realmente está impresionante el brillo del planeta. Me ha

tocado verlo desde Guate y desde El Salvador, donde se lo mostré a varios

amigos.

Decídase con lo de la CCD. Yo estoy preparando mis cámaras, incluso

el video para conectarlo al telescopio y ver algo que no hemos logrado

antes,,,,, tener movimiento en fotos de telescopio. Estoy en adaptaciones de

tubos , diametros, largos, uniones..... parece plomería, pero lo nublado

tiene algo a favor, nos dá tiempo para preparar para cuando despeje.

Unase a los fotógrafos. Los salvadoreños terminaron yá la CCD

Home-Made (hecha entre todos) y además tienen 2 cámaras adquiridas

recientemente.

Seguro que Ud. ha visto la luna terminal. cuando termina el ciclo

menguante y es apenas una uña, tal como cuando está tierna, pero al otro

lado del horizonte. Me tocó verla, por andar desvelandome, porque salé muy

de madrugada. No llevaba cámara porque es impresionante, en la calma de la

noche. Pero ya estoy planeando esperar (madrugar) en el final del próximo

ciclo lunar para tenerla en video y en fotos.

Saludos

0000

SKY & TELESCOPE'S NEWS BULLETIN

SEPTEMBER 25, 1998

NEW PLANETS AROUND SUNLIKE STARS

Prolific extrasolar-planet finders Geoffrey Marcy (San Francisco State

University) and Paul Butler (Anglo-Australian Observatory) have brought the

total number of planets orbiting other stars to an even dozen. The

discovery of two new planets comes after using the 10-meter Keck I

telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to measure Sun-like stars in the hopes of

finding spectral wobbles that would indicate the existence of orbiting

companions. The researchers have determined that the 7.9-magnitude star HD

187123 (SAO 68845) in Cygnus is accompanied by an object about the size of

Jupiter, but orbiting the star at a distance of only 6 million kilometers

every three days (one ninth the distance from the Sun to Mercury). The

other new planet is the first to be found at an Earth-like distance from

the parent star. This one orbits 6.6-magnitude HD 210277 (SAO 145906) in

Aquarius every 437 days. The star in Cygnus was not originally part of

Marcy and Butler's list of target stars. Kevin Apps, a sophomore at the

University of Sussex, suggested including it after examining Marcy and

Butler's list of 430 stars and telling them about 30 "better" stars to

investigate for planets. Details of the finds will be published in the

Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and have been

submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters.

IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH GRAVITY?

Slight deviations from the predicted motions of spacecraft far out in the

solar system seem to suggest that our understanding of gravitation is not

quite ironclad. Radio signals from Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and Ulysses

analyzed by John Anderson (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and his

colleagues reveal that the accelerations acting on the spacecraft are

slightly too small relative to what's expected from the gravity of the Sun

and planets. The difference is only about one 10 billionth that of Earth's

surface gravity. While the anomaly may very well turn out be an unresolved

systematic error, it could nevertheless indicate a new aspect of

gravitation thus far unaccounted for by theory. The researchers examined

several possibilities for the acceleration difference, including

perturbations of other solar system bodies, general relativity, changes in

Earth's rotation, radiation pressure, and outgassing from the spacecraft.

However, Anderson and his colleagues conclude that none of them can account

for the difference. Details will appear in Physical Review Letters.

HURRICANE SPARES ARECIBO

During the past week Hurricane Georges ravaged several islands in the

Caribbean, killing several hundred people and causing billions of dollars

in damage. Among the survivors are Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and

the 15 researchers who remained at the radio telescope throughout the

storm. According to Donald Campbell (Cornell University), the facility

suffered minor damage. He notes that about 25 of the 38,800 reflective

aluminum panels that make up the 305-meter-wide dish were harmed. The

catwalk leading to the suspended receiver array will also need repair.

Campbell explains that telephone communication to the observatory -- and

the island in general -- has been sporadic since the hurricane blew through

on Monday, September 21st. Although the peak wind speed at the observatory

is not yet known with certainty, Campbell reports hearing that a wind gauge

at the new visitor center recorded a gust of 106 mph.

MORE SIGNS OF SOLAR ACTIVITY

Heliophiles were not disappointed this week as the Sun expressed more signs

of activity. Observers report more sunspot groups on the disk visible to

the naked eye -- using proper filters, of course! Also, on the night of

September 24th, sky watchers from Massachusetts to Colorado reported a good

display of the northern lights.

COMET WILLIAMS' LAST DAYS IN CENTAURUS

Comet Williams (C/1998 P1) is still the brightest comet in the sky at about

8th magnitude, but it remains essentially a sight for Southern-Hemisphere

observers. The comet is slowing its northern trek as it nears the

Centaurus-Hydra border. According to Charles Morris (Jet Propulsion

Laboratory), by late November, the comet will be visible from both

hemispheres at about 10th magnitude. Here are positions for Comet Williams

for 0 hours Universal Time (2000.0 coordinates) for the coming week:

R.A. Dec.

September 26 13h 33m -33.1 deg.

September 28 13h 33m -32.5 deg.

September 30 13h 32m -31.9 deg.
 
 

0000

>Hi HASTRO --

>

>Two recently-discovered forms of lightning could be of interest to

>historians of astronomy. Although they are not astronomical phenomena per

>se, but occur in the upper atmosphere, this distinction would not have

>been recognized in the past. (The aurora was recognized only in the 18th

>century as an atmospheric effect.) Called "red sprites" and "blue jets",

>they go upward from the cloud tops into the region (ca. 100 km altitude)

>between the troposphere and the stratosphere. They are visible with the

>naked eye as flashes traveling upward from the tops of clouds of a distant

>lightning storm. It would be interesting to know if there are any sightings

>of these phenomena prior to 1900, or records of them in tradition or

>mythology. Were there such sightings, they might not have been

>distinguished from "astronomical" or auroral phenomena.

>

>In brief, red sprites are a dull red color and often occur multiply. They

>can extend perhaps 15 degrees above a lighting storm 150 km distant. Blue

>jets are fainter and do not extend as high. One good observing place could

>be on a mountain top, looking out across plains at the tops of distant

>storm clouds (or in the direction of a below-the-horizon lightning storm).

>It would be interesting to see if there are any traditions of observing

>such phenomena at particular places or seasons.

>

>Interestingly, C. T. R. Wilson had predicted these phenomena in 1956, and

>although there were a few recorded naked-eye sightings over the last

>century, the first instrument recording was made by accident in 1989. Since

>that time, sprites and jets have been the subject of an intensive study,

>and it has been found they are a reasonably common occurrence. These

>phenomena are well described by Davis Sentman (Geophysical Institute, Univ.

>of Alaska) at http://elf.gi.alaska.edu/, with a number of pictures and

>instructions on how to observe them and descriptions of what to look for.

>Dr. Sentman is interested in collecting information on contemporary or

>historic naked-eye sightings. He estimates that under the right conditions

>there is a greater likelihood of seeing a red sprite

>Hi HASTRO --

>

>Two recently-discovered forms of lightning could be of interest to

>historians of astronomy. Although they are not astronomical phenomena per

>se, but occur in the upper atmosphere, this distinction would not have

>been recognized in the past. (The aurora was recognized only in the 18th

>century as an atmospheric effect.) Called "red sprites" and "blue jets",

>they go upward from the cloud tops into the region (ca. 100 km altitude)

>between the troposphere and the stratosphere. They are visible with the

>naked eye as flashes traveling upward from the tops of clouds of a distant

>lightning storm. It would be interesting to know if there are any sightings

>of these phenomena prior to 1900, or records of them in tradition or

>mythology. Were there such sightings, they might not have been

>distinguished from "astronomical" or auroral phenomena.

>

>In brief, red sprites are a dull red color and often occur multiply. They

>can extend perhaps 15 degrees above a lighting storm 150 km distant. Blue

>jets are fainter and do not extend as high. One good observing place could

>be on a mountain top, looking out across plains at the tops of distant

>storm clouds (or in the direction of a below-the-horizon lightning storm).

>It would be interesting to see if there are any traditions of observing

>such phenomena at particular places or seasons.

>

>Interestingly, C. T. R. Wilson had predicted these phenomena in 1956, and

>although there were a few recorded naked-eye sightings over the last

>century, the first instrument recording was made by accident in 1989. Since

>that time, sprites and jets have been the subject of an intensive study,

>and it has been found they are a reasonably common occurrence. These

>phenomena are well described by Davis Sentman (Geophysical Institute, Univ.

>of Alaska) at http://elf.gi.alaska.edu/, with a number of pictures and

>instructions on how to observe them and descriptions of what to look for.

>Dr. Sentman is interested in collecting information on contemporary or

>historic naked-eye sightings. He estimates that under the right conditions

>there is a greater likelihood of seeing a red sprite

0000 IGNACIO FERRIN (ferrin@ciens.ula.ve)

PARA: MIEMBROS Y SIMPATIZANTES DE LIADA

ASUNTO: LLUVIA DE METEOROS DE LAS GIACOBINIDAS EL 8.87 DE Octubre.

Estimados Liadistas:

El objeto de la presente es del alertarlos de una posible lluvia de

meteoros intensa, debida a los residuos del cometa Giacobini-Zinner, el

proximo 8.87 de Octubre proximos. Esta lluvia ocurre en el cielo del

atardecer, no del amanecer, y por tanto la fecha mas favorable para

observarla es al atardecer del dia 8 de Octubre proximo, Jueves.

Esta lluvia ha tenido eventos muy prominentes en 1933 y 1946, cuando la

Tasa Horaria Zenital llego a unos 29.000 meteros por hora. La Tierra no

esta tan favorablemente localizada como en esos dos anios, pero para

saber el comportamiento en esta ocasion, hay que observarlo.

El radiante esta colocado en 17h 22m, +57 grados, lo cual lo hace

favorable para los observadores del ecuador o hemisferio norte.

Debido a la localizacion del radiante, a esta lluvia a veces se la

denomina como Las Draconidas.

La Tierra cruza el plano orbital del cometa a las 20h53mUT del dia 8,

pero en 1985 la lluvia se anticipo unas 3.5 horas, por lo que si en

esta ocasion ocurre lo mismo, el maximo ocurrira a las 17h23m UT. Esto

no es favorable para latinoamerica, pero estas prediciones siempre

tienen sorpresas, y cualquier cosa puede pasar.

Como siempre enviar las observaciones a hans@salm.bo.

Aparte de lo de arriba quisiera mencionar a los observadores, que hay

siempre muchas alertas de radiantes del hemisferio norte y que PARECIERA

QUE NUNCA PASA NADA EN EL HEMISFERIO SUR. Nada mas lejos de la

realidad. Los radiantes no tienen un hemisferio privilegiado, y por

tanto ESTOY SEGURO QUE ALGO ESTA PASANDO EN EL HEMISFERIO SUR EN

CUESTION DE RADIANTES, PERO NADIE ESTA OBSERVANDO.

Esta alerta es por tanto tambien para pedirle a los observadores del

Sur, que vigilen el cielo TODAS las noches posibles. Si lo hacen, estoy

seguro de que algo descubriran. EL UNIVERSO NO ESTA QUIETO, SINO QUE ES

UN TORBELLINO DE ACTIVIDAD Y DE SORPRESAS.
 
 

PD: Nunca nos Hemos Olvidado de Usted y los Ciberastronomos. Que bueno

que siga al pie del Telescopio luego de la tormenta.

:-)) Loris

apaa4@hotmail.com

______________________________________________________

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail

0000

MARS POLAR LANDER ARRIVES AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

NASA's Mars Polar Lander arrived at Kennedy Space Center today to

begin final preparations for launch. The spacecraft arrived aboard an Air

Force C-17 cargo plane which landed at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility early

this morning following its flight from the Lockheed Martin Astronautics

plant in Denver, CO. The launch of the Mars Polar Lander is targeted to

occur aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket on Jan. 3, 1999. This will be the

second spacecraft to be launched in the pair of Mars '98 missions. The Mars

Climate Orbiter is planned for launch on Dec. 10, 1998.

The solar-powered spacecraft is designed to touch down on the

Martian surface near the northern-most boundary of the south pole. This is

near the edge of Mars' thin, carbon dioxide ice sheet which will have

receded by the time the lander arrives in December 1999, late spring in the

southern hemisphere of Mars. The mission's objective is to study the water

cycle at the Martian south pole. The lander also will help scientists learn

more about climate change and current resources on Mars, studying such

things frosts, dust, water vapor and condensates in the Martian atmosphere.

The Mars Polar Lander is to be readied for launch in NASA's

Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility-2 (SAEF-2) located in the KSC

Industrial Area. Among the activities to be performed will be a functional

test of the science instruments and the basic spacecraft subsystems.

Checkout of the communications system will be performed, including a

verification of the spacecraft's ability to send data to controllers on

Earth via the Mars Climate Orbiter and the tracking stations of the Deep

Space Network. The spacecraft's radar, used during the final descent, will

be installed and the solar arrays will be attached and tested.

The Deep Space 2 microprobes will also be installed on the lander's cruise

ring. These two probes, developed by NASA's New Millennium Program will test

technology and instruments to search for water several feet below the

Martian surface. The spacecraft will then be ready for mating with the

cruise stage and parachutes used for the trip through the lower Martian

atmosphere will then be installed.

Next, the spacecraft will be fueled with its attitude control fuel

and undergo spin balance testing. Finally, on Dec. 15, the spacecraft will

be mated to a Star 48 solid propellant upper stage booster and then prepared

for transportation to the launch pad.

Meanwhile, at Launch Complex 17, the Delta II rocket will be undergoing

erection and prelaunch checkout on Pad B. The first stage is scheduled to

be installed into the launcher on Nov. 23. Four solid rocket boosters will

be attached around the base of the first stage beginning on Nov. 25. The

second stage will be mated atop the first stage on Dec. 2, and the fairing

will be hoisted into the clean room of the pad's mobile service tower Dec.

3.

The Mars Polar Lander with its upper stage booster will be transported to

Complex 17 on Dec. 21 for hoisting atop the Delta and mating to the second

stage. After the spacecraft undergoes a state of health check, the

spacecraft will be closed out for flight and on Dec. 29 the two halves of

the Delta nose fairing placed around it. At liftoff, the spacecraft weighs

1,270 pounds (576 kilograms), is 3.6 feet (106 centimeters) tall, and 12

feet (360 centimeters) long.

Launch is planned to occur at the opening of an instantaneous launch window

on Jan. 3, 1999 at 3:31 p.m. EST. The nominal launch period is divided into

an eight-day primary period (Jan. 3-10) followed by a six-day secondary

launch period (Jan. 11-16). The planetary window closes on Jan. 27, 1999.

After an 11-month cruise phase, the Mars Polar Lander will arrive at the

planet and begin its descent to the surface. An imager onboard the

spacecraft will take high resolution photographs during the descent to the

surface to establish the geological and physical context of the landing

site. A robotic arm will be powered up soon after landing to begin exploring

this unknown region with an elaborate, 6.6-foot-long (2-meter) robotic

scoop, which will dig shallow trenches to further investigate Mars' climatic

history.

The lander also will conduct soil analysis experiments on the surface, using

a small "chemistry set" and "oven" to determine the thermal properties and

evolved gasses in frozen water and dust. Martian surface temperatures,

winds, pressure and the amount of dust in the atmosphere will be measured on

a daily basis, while a small microphone records the sounds of wind gusts or

mechanical operations onboard the spacecraft.

The 1998 Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions are managed by

the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science,

Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of

Technology, Pasadena, CA. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver CO, which

built and operates the spacecraft, is JPL's space industry partner in the

mission. Launch is the responsibility of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space

Center. The Boeing Company is KSC's space industry partner in launch

...............................................................

"El Cyberastronomo" es editado por Edgar Castro en Guatemala,

Centroamerica, 14.5°N, 90.5°O Hora oficial es GMT-6.

Colaboradores: Gustavo Ponce, Claudia Porras, Jorge Gonzalez,

Marta Faillace, Norman de la Fuente, Jorge Colorado,

Ana Guillermina Reyes, Juan Carlos Fernandez, Nohemi Rivera.

Xavier Amador, Carlos Rodgers, María Carvajal.