Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Pluto Demoted

Pluto Demoted

This is the tenth anniversary of the demotion of the planet Pluto to that of a dwarf planet. On August 24th 2006 the astronomers officially demoted Pluto from the status of a planet to that of a dwarf planet. The vote involved just 424 astronomers who remained for the last day of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Prague. The vote caused a lot of controversy within the astronomical community.

The astronomer’s decided to establish three main categories of objects in our solar system.
1. Planets: The eight worlds from Mercury to Neptune.
2. Dwarf Planets: Pluto and any other round object that "has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite."
3. Small Solar System Bodies: All other objects orbiting the Sun.

Discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 there had been many people who doubted that Pluto should ever have been described as a planet. However public opinion was very much in favour of keeping Pluto as a planet until 2006.

Although now a dwarf planet for 10 years there are still many people who believe that Pluto’s planetary status should be re-instated.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Astrognome Astronomy Show

The Astronomy Show

Tune in on Wednesday to the Astronomy Show with Martin Lunn  on Drystone Radio between 3 pm and 5 pm, I will be continuing the A-Z of the constellations looking at Apus, the bird of paradise, the bright star this week is Arcturus, and the Messsier Marathon object is object is M2 in Aquarius, plus ever heard of the Great Moon Hoax, if not find out tomorrow, plus what's happening in the sky this week, the latest astronomy news plus the astro anniversaries this week.

 The astronomy Show live on Drystone Radio 103.5 FM or listen on line or catch it on podcast.

Astrognome Scrapbook Ranger 1

Ranger 1

Ranger 1, the first of a series of nine spacecraft launched in the early 1960s to explore the moon, was a test spacecraft built as a prelude to future lunar missions. It was designed to make a highly elliptical Earth orbit and carried several science instruments for studying cosmic rays, magnetic fields and energetic particles.

During launch, a rocket malfunction caused the spacecraft to get stranded in low-Earth orbit, and one week after launch, it burned up upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

The first successful of the series was Ranger 7  in 1964.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Fortuna


On August 22nd 1852 the asteroid Fortuna was discovered by John Russell Hind at the Regents Park observatory in London. Fortuna was the 19th asteroid to be discovered and is one of the larger asteroids in the asteroid belt with a diameter of around 225 km.

 Fortuna named after Fortuna the roman god of luck.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Belka and Strelka

Belka and Strelka

On August 19th 1960 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 5 into space. On board were two very special dogs. Belka and Strelka were the first animals to enter space and return to Earth safely. They were instrumental in the future of human space flight, giving the Soviets the confidence necessary to send humans into orbit less than a year after their safe return. Laika in 1957 was the first dog in space but sadly the technology did not exist to bring Laika safely back to Earth.

Both Belka and Strelka’s bodies were preserved after their deaths, and the pair are on display in Russia’s Memorial Museum of Cosmonauts in Moscow.

Strelka continued to make history when her puppy, Pushinka, was gifted to the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy by Soviet Premier Nikita Khuschchev, Pushinka lived with the Kennedys in the White House.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Great Meteor of 1783

1783 Great Meteor
The Great Meteor August 18th 1783

A bright meteor was seen over the UK on August 18th 1783, the meteor appeared to enter the Earth’s atmosphere over the North Sea passing over the east coast of Scotland then over England and finally broke up over south west France or northern Italy a distance of over 1,000 miles.

 A letter from Nathaniel Pigott the father of Edward Pigott one of the fathers of variable star astronomy was published by the Royal society.

Pigott was riding his horse with two other gentlemen from York to the east riding of Yorkshire when around 10.00 pm while at Heworth Common near York there attention was drawn towards the West North west by several faint flashes of lightning. Pigott then noticed some luminous matter in motion and collecting together from different directions took firs and presented itself in the form of a ball. It was vivid bright and the whole horizon was illuminated so much that small objects on the ground could be seen. 

The interval of time from the meteor’s formations’ to its extinction was nearly 20 seconds. Pigott adds that his long habit he has of counting seconds in astronomical observations induces him to think this observation and timing  can be relied upon.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Astronomy Show on Drystone Radio

Astronomy Show on Drystone Radio

We continue with the a-z constellations, today we look at Antlia the Air Pump ,continuing our review of bright stars, its Canopus in the constellation of Carina the Keel.  We begin a new series with our very own Messier marathon beginning with M1 the Crab Nebulae.

This plus whats in the night sky this week, the latest news, astronomy anniversaries this week and how scientists realised that artillery shells landing on the western front in WW1 indicated that craters on the Moon were made by objects impacting into the moon.

The Astronomy Show with Martin Lunn, Drystone Radio, Wednesday afternoon 3 pm - 5 pm, 103.5 FM, the show is on line or if you miss the show catch it on podcast.