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    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    I've always been partial to a bit of a stargazing, but the expertise is somewhat lacking. Other than picking out the Plough, and knowing the red, yellow and green stars are probably Mars, Jupiter and Venus, I'm usually lost, but here you can point out anything interesting that's happening in the night sky.

    #2
    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

    Check this out.

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      #3
      Anyone for an astronomy thread?

      Astronomy Picture of the Day is, of course, the best internet site ever.

      And Eta Carinae is, of course, the best thing in space.

      As soon as my shit is back on track I'm going to be buying myself a telescope. Hobbes recommended me a really good one, with all sorts of auto-directional stuff going on.

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        #4
        Anyone for an astronomy thread?

        I have Google Sky installed on my Android phone (I believe there's a similar application for the iPhone). You point it at the sky and it shows you what everything is.

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          #5
          Anyone for an astronomy thread?

          I'm off here next Summer. I can't wait.

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            #6
            Anyone for an astronomy thread?

            Apparently there are 50 billion Earth-like planets in the known Cosmos (news item, Friday). Or possibly not, as agreement amongst astronomers isn't universal.

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              #7
              Anyone for an astronomy thread?

              When did Venus turn green?

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                #8
                Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                Anyhow, if you can find Orion in the winter night sky, you can use it to find some of the most interesting companions to us. Orion's "right shoulder" (remember he's facing us), Betelgeuse, is possibly the most interesting object in the night sky as it is, because it's a red giant that most astronomers speculate could go supernova any time. When it does, it will be visible in the sky during the day.

                Draw an imaginary line through Orion's Belt (which, pub bore fans, is a pattern mirrored by the 3 pyramids at Giza) and off to the left is Sirius, the "Dog Star" and brightest star in the sky. Sirius is actually not much bigger than our sun, but is only 8 light years away - our Sun would similarly be the brightest star in its night sky, if anyone there was looking at us. The 'rising' of Sirius (now in late May, but in Roman times about late June) signals the "dog days" of summer, when everyone goes mad (like dogs) due to the heat. Off to the right is Aldebaran, another red giant and very handy to locate if you're on a date with anyone born in May (as Aldebaran is Taurus). Further on again from Aldebaran is a fuzzy little patch which if you've really good eyesight you will notice four, or five, distinct stars in - in fact there are 7, the Pleiades or "Seven Sisters". Draw another imaginary line from Orion's left foot (Rigel) up through his right shoulder (Betelgeuse) and you'll arrive at Gemini (Castor and Pollux), again very handy if you're on a date with someone born in June.

                On the opposite side of the night sky to Orion is Ursa Major (the Plough, Big Dipper or Great Bear) and if you draw a similar imaginary line up the two right-handmost stars you come to the tail of Ursa Minor, which is Polaris or the North Star. Which is handy to be able to find if you're ever lost at sea without a compass.

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                  #9
                  Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                  Alternatively, just download P-Universe for the iphone.

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                    #10
                    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                    You realise reliance on i-phone apps is going to mean the end of humanity, don't you?

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                      #11
                      Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                      An appocalypse, you mean?

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                        #12
                        Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                        When Betelgeuse does "go nova" and knocks out all the satellites, there will be crowds of hungry people staggering around moaning that they can't access the app that reminds them how to use a tin-opener.

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                          #13
                          Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                          Would a (cosmically speaking) nearby nova really take out all the satellites and stuff? I need more things to worry about.

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                            #14
                            Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                            it's unlikely. We're more at threat form the sun going a bit nuts and temporarily frying the magnetic field.
                            Or the ever possible gamma ray burster. But if we were hit by one of those from close enough we'd never know about it anyway.

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                              #15
                              Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                              Betelgeuse, is possibly the most interesting object in the night sky as it is, because it's a red giant that most astronomers speculate could go supernova any time. When it does, it will be visible in the sky during the day.
                              This got me really excited until I looked on Wiki and learned that 'any time' means 'possibly in the next million years'.

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                                #16
                                Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                Pah. A mere triffle of astronomical time.

                                btw, is "go nova" the right expression as used by the stargazing community? From an astrophysics point of view a nova and a supernova are very different phenomenon.

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                                  #17
                                  Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                  So, did anyone see the lunar eclipse this morning? It was supposed to be in totality between 7.30 and 8.30, but there was too much cloud over Ireland to see anything.

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                                    #18
                                    Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                    I think I must have missed it first time round, but I just like to give to Matej for "appocalypse."

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                                      #19
                                      Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                      So cool.

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                                        #20
                                        Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                        I haven't bothered reading the thread but just wanted to say that all the astronomists should be hiding in shame now that they've figured out they had it wrong for all those years and everybody's signs are all wrong.

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                                          #21
                                          Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                          By "everybody's signs", you mean "astrologers", I presume, whose 'art' has always at best been akin to divining your future from tea leaves in a cup.

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                                            #22
                                            Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                            Yes, well done Rogin.

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                                              #23
                                              Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                              Rogin the Armchair Fan wrote:
                                              When did Venus turn green?
                                              I know when Mars turned red. It was when it saw Uranus.

                                              Or was that the gag?

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                                                #24
                                                Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                                The Sun, a few weeks ago.:

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                                                  #25
                                                  Anyone for an astronomy thread?

                                                  Yes, it's certainly been busy recently. My solar scope gives pretty good views of the action (although not as good as soho, of course.)
                                                  Since this thread and my advertised trip to SunStarFrance I've got rather more into this stuff. I've even got my travel scope with me on our trip up north. (I also take it overseas with me.)
                                                  If any of the London lot are interested, 18th is the next Baker Street Astronomers meet in Regents Park. I've never been before but if it's clear I intend to go along and maybe take the baby scope.

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