Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona. This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.
He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.
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391 – Finding Spacerocks
Finding a meteorite that has traveled billions of miles through space to reach it’s present location is exciting. It might even be worth real money.
To discover your own meteorite, first you will need a place to look. A place that is not littered with rocks is best. Obtain permission from a private land owner to look on their property. If you live near Federal BLM land you can collect up to 10 pounds per year without a permit. The great plains has few surface rocks and can be a great place to find meteorites. There are strewn fields from known celestial falls that you can check out. There is also a web site which lists recent meteor falls. Remember, please do not trespass on others land.
Detecting equipment includes your eye, a powerful magnet, a metal detector, and a streak plate. Train your eye using published photographs of real meteorites.
When you find an interesting rock, does it have a thin black rind like dark glass fusion crust? Is it Magnetic? Is it heavier than other similarly sized rocks? Does it have thumbprint like features? Does it make a reddish brown streak on an unglazed piece of ceramic tile? If the answers to these questions are yes, you may have found a meteorite.
Next do further research on your find. Hopefully you have found a real meteorite. Where did it come from? Possibilities include the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter or maybe even the Moon, Mars, or a comet.
Good Luck. Holding an ancient space traveler, older than any terrestrial rock, perhaps as old as the solar system in your hand will be your reward.
392 – Dragon Delivers
Dragon was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Falcon 9 rocket on it’s 2 day voyage to the International Space Station. As SpaceX 11slowly approached the orbiting human outpost, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson grabbed it with the station’s robotic arm. Included in SpaceX 11’s 6000 lb payload was a cosmic ray monitor, some biological experiments as well as ice cream, exercise equipment, and much needed supplies for the 6 person crew. This mission is the first time an American spacecraft has visited the space station since the NASA Space Shuttle Program ended in April of 2011. After about a month in orbit Dragon will return nearly 3,300 lbs of scientific equipment, space hardware, and crew supplies safely back to Earth.
Elon Musk’s Space X Falcon 9 rocket regularly returns to Earth for an upright landing as part of the effort to reuse space hardware and thus lower the cost of spaceflights. Being able to reuse SpaceX’s Dragon low orbit cargo ship adds another first in space exploration. In 2018 Space X plans to use one of it’s Dragon capsules to carry crew members to the International Space Station.
For more than 16 years, 200 individuals from 18 countries have lived and worked in the International Space Station. The experience and experiments they have conducted in the station’s unique microgravity environment have advanced medical research, Earth resource monitoring, and laid the groundwork for human and robotic deep space missions.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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