Oct 13th: Navigating The Night Sky & Astronauts Reveal Sobering Data on Asteroid Impacts

By on October 13, 2019 in
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Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer

travelers-in-the-night

Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 41 & 42 – Navigating The Night Sky & Astronauts Reveal Sobering Data on Asteroid Impacts

Organization: Travelers in The Night

Link : Travelers in the Night ; @Nmcanopus

Organization: Travelers in The Night

Link : Travelers in the Night ; @Nmcanopus

Description: Today’s 2 topics:

  • To the human eye the night sky is a source of mystery and wonder. Our ancestors knew it well.  There is a connection to the cosmos that is hard to describe which you will achieve by knowing the names of some of the bright stars.
  • On Earth Day  Astronauts Dr. Ed Lu, Tom Jones, and Bill Anders announced that between 2000 and 2013, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization Network detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1-600 kilotons of TNT. None of them were caused by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts.

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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Transcript:

29E41 – Navigating The Night Sky

To the human eye the night sky is a source of mystery and wonder. Our ancestors knew it well.  There is a connection to the cosmos that is hard to describe which you will achieve by knowing the names of some of the bright stars.  As the seasons progress, the feeling of greeting an old friend is generated, when one of the stars you know first appears in the evening sky. Scientifically we know that the Universe is evolving in many ways. Some of these changes  are apparent to the naked eye, however, over the course of the human life span there is constancy in the patterns we see in the night sky.  

Download the Kepler Star Wheels on the travelersinthenight.org website.  Use a large paper clip to hold the wheel in the holder after you have set it. Check on the current position of the bright planets since they are not on the star wheel. You will need is a flashlight with red filter material attached with a rubber band and also a compass.

Face North, hold the wheel so that the Northern Horizon is at the bottom, and find the North Star Polaris. There are 16 other naked eye stars with names listed on the star wheel. Face South and find one of them. Then face East and West and do the same.  Find a little pattern near each bright star to help jog your memory.  After several sessions you will be able to find bright stars without the wheel and you will have added to your knowledge in a fun way. 

Look at the area of the sky where the NASA Kepler Space Craft has found an Earth like planet which is at the right distance from its star to allow life as we know it to exist.  What do you think might live on that planet?

30E – 42-Astronauts Reveal Sobering Data On Asteroid Impacts

On Earth Day  Astronauts Dr. Ed Lu, Tom Jones, and Bill Anders announced that between 2000 and 2013, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization Network detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1-600 kilotons of TNT. None of them were caused by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts. Most of these asteroids exploded  high in the atmosphere and did no damage on the ground. These data provide a measure of the frequency at which large space rocks enter our atmosphere.

The Earth is continuously colliding with space rocks of various sizes. In 1908 one exploded at Tunguska, Siberia killing 80 million trees over an 800 square mile area. Asteroid impacts with an greater energy than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 occurred in Indonesia in 2009, in the Southern Ocean in 2004, and in the Mediterranean Sea in 2002. In February of 2013 a small asteroid exploded over Russia injuring 1491 people.  The Astronauts make the point that none of these asteroids were detected or tracked in advance by any existing space-based or terrestrial observatory.  

The Astronauts are attempting to raise $450 million to cover the development and cost of the Sentinel Space Telescope. It goal is to find 90% of the asteroids which could leave a hurricane sized area of destruction should they impact the Earth.  You can make a donation on the B612 Foundation website.

For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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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!

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