Jan 6th: Falling Space Rocks & TESS

By on January 6, 2019 in
Play

Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
travelers-in-the-nightTitle:
Travelers in the Night Digest: Eps.459 & 460:Falling Space Rocks & TESS

Organization: Travelers in The Night

Link : Travelers in the Night ; @Nmcanopus

Description: Today’s 2 topics:

  • In the early evening of January 17, 2018, 674 observers in 11 States and Canada reported a fireball meteor streaking across the sky to the American Meteor Society.
  • The Transiting Exoplanet Satellite which will monitor more than 200,000 much brighter, nearby, stars over the entire sky to detect the tiny dips in light caused when a planet passes in front of it’s star.

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.

Today’s sponsor: This episode is dedicated to Penny Wilson, my brilliant and beautiful wife who shares my love of science, math, and critical thinking. It is so much fun to have Penny walk in the door and smile when I say, did you hear the latest cosmology news! The last quarter century with you has been a blast! Your loving husband, Chauncey Wilson .

Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: Frank Tippin, Brett Duane, Jako Danar,  Joseph J. Biernat, Nik Whitehead, Timo Sievänen, Steven Jansen, Casey Carlile, Phyllis Simon Foster, Tanya Davis, Rani B, Lance Vinsel, Steven Emert.

Please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at signup@365daysofastronomy.org.

Or please visit our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/365DaysOfAstronomy

Transcript:

459-Falling Space Rocks
In the early evening of January 17, 2018 six hundred and seventy four observers in 11 States and Canada reported a fireball meteor streaking across the sky to the American Meteor Society. This attention getting event was recorded by more than twenty security video cameras, by one of the NASA’s All-Sky Fireball Network cameras, and as a 2.0 magnitude earthquake by seismic detectors. The 6 foot diameter parent object entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 28,000 mph and exploded at high altitude. Doppler weather RADAR tracked it’s fragments and predicted where pieces would fall to Earth. Over the next ten days more than 16 meteorites were discovered, mainly on the surfaces of frozen lakes, in the Township of Hamburg, North of Ann Arbor, Michigan. These fallen space rocks range in size from several inches in diameter with the mass of 10 US quarters to clusters of tiny rain drop sized fragments which were visible against the white surface of a frozen lake. Meteor falls are rare. In the past five years, the American Meteor Society has received multiple reports on each of more than 15,000 fireball events but only 37 documented cases of meteorites being collected immediately after they were observed to fall from the sky. To find freshly fallen meteorites visit the American Meteor Society’s website but do not hunt for meteorites on private land without permission.

460-TESS
By measuring the tiny dips in light that occur when a planet passes in front of it’s star, the NASA Kepler Spacecraft has discovered more than 20 Earth like planets in an area which is only 0.3% of the entire sky. Unfortunately these planets are so far away that it is hard to imagine that humans will ever know much about them. To find planets closer to home NASA has launched TESS the Transiting Exoplanet Satellite which will monitor more than 200,000 much brighter, nearby, stars over the entire sky to detect the tiny dips in light caused when a planet passes in front of it’s star. It is likely that TESS will discover more than 1,600 transiting exoplanet candidates including 70 rock and ice covered Earth sized planets some of which are likely to be in the habitable zones surrounding their stars. The stars that TESS will be observing are on average ten times closer and 30 to 100 times brighter than those observed by Kepler and be at a maximum of only several hundred light years away. The James Webb Space Telescope and the large ground based telescopes currently being developed should be able to measure methane, oxygen, and other chemical signs of life in the atmospheres of the Earth like planets which TESS discovers. The TESS era will be a most exciting time as humans discover and are able determine the properties of relatively nearby habitable worlds and dream about what might be living in our neighborhood of the Milky Way.

For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
=====================
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Planetary Science Institute. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. This year we will celebrates the Year of Everyday Astronomers as we embrace Amateur Astronomer contributions and the importance of citizen science. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!

About Al Grauer

Leave a Reply

No comments yet.