28
Jan 10

The Moon's Seas

A couple of days either side of the full moon is a good opportunity to try and take a look at all the moon’s seas or lunar maria. What you are looking at are, of course, not seas in the conventional sense of the word, they are in fact large, dark, basaltic plains. The plains are less reflective than the mountains or "highlands" as a result of their iron-rich compositions, and hence appear dark (and sea-like) to the naked eye.

With a pair of binoculars you should be able to see eleven Seas and one Ocean; you may also be able to spot a couple of the larger craters such as Tycho or Copernicus. Bon voyage!

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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28
Jan 10

The Moon's Seas

A couple of days either side of the full moon is a good opportunity to try and take a look at all the moon’s seas or lunar maria. What you are looking at are, of course, not seas in the conventional sense of the word, they are in fact large, dark, basaltic plains. The plains are less reflective than the mountains or "highlands" as a result of their iron-rich compositions, and hence appear dark (and sea-like) to the naked eye.

With a pair of binoculars you should be able to see eleven Seas and one Ocean; you may also be able to spot a couple of the larger craters such as Tycho or Copernicus. Bon voyage!

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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28
Jan 10

Astronomers Find Rare Beast by New Means

Source: NRAO


Core-collapse supernova explosion
expelling nearly-spherical debris shell.
CREDIT: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

For the first time, astronomers have found a supernova explosion with properties similiar to a gamma-ray burst, but without seeing any gamma rays from it. The discovery, using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, promises, the scientists say, to point the way toward locating many more examples of these mysterious explosions.

"We think that radio observations will soon be a more powerful tool for finding this kind of supernova in the nearby Universe than gamma-ray satellites," said Alicia Soderberg, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The telltale clue came when the radio observations showed material expelled from the supernova explosion, dubbed SN2009bb, at speeds approaching that of light. This characterized the supernova, first seen last March, as the type thought to produce one kind of gamma-ray burst. (read more)

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