Astronomy! A Conceptual Introduction From The Big Bang To That Asteroid Heading Right For Us Wouter
The night sky, with all its delights and mysteries, enthrall professional and amateur astronomers alike. The discrete data sets acquired by professional astronomers via their approved observing programs at various national facilities are supplemented by the nearly daily observations of the same celestial object by amateur astronomers around the world. The emerging partnerships between professional and dedicated amateur astronomers rely on creating a niche for long timeline of multispectral remote sensing. "Citizen Astronomy" can be thought of as the paradigm shift transforming the nature of observational astronomy. In the past decade, it is the collective observations and their analyses by the ever-increasing global network of amateur astronomers that has discovered interesting phenomena and provided the reference backdrop for observations by ground-based professional astronomers and spacecraft missions. We shall present results from our collaborations to observe the recent global upheaval on Jupiter for the past five years and illustrate the strong synergy between the two groups. Global upheavals on Jupiter involve changes in the albedo of entire axisymmetric regions, lasting several years, with the last two occurring in 1989 and 2006. Against this backdrop of planetary-scale changes, discrete features such as the Great Red Spot (GRS), and other vortices exhibit changes on shorter spatial- and time-scales. One set of features we are currently tracking is the variability of the discrete equatorial 5-μm hot spots, semi-evenly spaced in longitude and confined to a narrow latitude band centered at 6.5N (southern edge of the North Equatorial Belt, NEB), abundant in Voyager images (1980-1981). Tantalizingly similar patterns were observed in the visible (bright plumes and blue-gray regions), where reflectivity in the red is anti-correlated with 5-μm thermal radiance. During the recent NEB fade (2011 - early 2012), however, these otherwise ubiquitous features were
Astronomy! A conceptual introduction from the Big Bang to that asteroid heading right for us Wouter
Praise for the Second Edition of Star Ware "Star Ware is still a tour de force that any experienced amateur will find invaluable, and which hardware-minded beginners will thoroughly enjoy." -Robert Burnham, Sky & Telescope magazine "Star Ware condenses between two covers what would normally take a telescope buyer many months to accumulate." -John Shibley, Astronomy magazine Now more than ever, the backyard astronomer has a dazzling array of choices when it comes to telescope shopping-which can make choosing just the right sky-watching equipment a formidable challenge. In this revised and updated edition of Star Ware, the essential guide to buying astronomical equipment, award-winning astronomy writer Philip Harrington does the work for you, analyzing and exploring today's astronomy market and offering point-by-point comparisons of everything you need. Whether you're an experienced amateur astronomer or just getting started, Star Ware, Third Edition will prepare you to explore the farthest reaches of space with: Extensive, expanded reviews of leading models and accessories, including dozens of new products, to help you buy smart A clear, step-by-step guide to all aspects of purchasing everything from telescopes and binoculars to filters, mounts, lenses, cameras, film, star charts, guides and references, and much more Eleven new do-it-yourself projects for making unique astronomical equipment at home Easy tips on maintenance, photography, and star-mapping to help you get the most out of your telescope Lists of where to find everything astronomical, including Internet sites and Web resources; distributors, dealers, and conventions; and corporate listings for products and services
Frederik Kaiser was the director of Leiden Observatory from 1837 until his death in 1872. Educated by his German-born uncle Johan Frederik Keyser (1766-1823), who was a proficient amateur astronomer, Kaiser proved to be a real observational talent. Despite the poor conditions in which he worked, his observations soon rivalled with the best in the world. Kaiser's contributions to astronomical practice include the foundation of a new, completely up-to-date observatory building in Leiden, and the introduction of statistics and precision measurements in daily practice at the observatory. Moreover he was the author of several bestselling books on popular astronomy. Kaiser had an extensive correspondence with colleagues all over Europe, mostly in Germany. Correpondents include Airy, Argelander, Von Auwers, Bessel, Encke, John Herschel, LeVerrier, Von Littrow, Schumacher, Otto W. Struve, as well as several geodesists and instrument makers. Preliminary research indicates that Frederik Kaiser played a crucial role in the revival of Dutch astronomy in the second half of the 19th century. This project aims at analysing and explaining Kaiser's activities in science, institutionalisation and popularisation, in the context of national and international developments in 19th-century astronomy and scientific culture.
The ability to communicate effectively, both in oral and written form, is crucial for success in almost any career path. Furthermore, being able to effectively communicate information requires a high level of conceptual mastery of the material. For these reasons, I have incorporated practice in communication into courses at a variety of levels, ranging from non-science-major undergraduate courses to graduate courses. I briefly describe the content of these courses, particularly the communication-related component. The first, Ast 309N, ``Astronomy Bizarre: Stars and Stellar Evolution," is an elective which follows one semester of general introductory astronomy for non-majors. Instead of homework problems, the students complete a sequence of writing assignments of graduated complexity, beginning with simple tasks such as writing abstracts and critiques of assigned readings, and moving on to writing term papers which require literature research and a short science fiction story incorporating accurate depictions of relativistic effects. In Ast 175/275, a ``Journal Club" course for upper-division astronomy majors, students read articles in the professional literature and give short oral presentations to the rest of the class. To build up their understanding of a topic, we work through the ``paper trail" of key papers on topics with exciting recent developments, such as extrasolar planets, gravitational lenses, or gamma-ray bursts. Finally, in a seminar course for first-semester astronomy graduate students (Ast 185C) that broadly addresses professional development issues, I include a practice AAS oral session, with the students giving 5-minute presentations on a journal paper of their choice. This seminar course also examines career paths and employment trends, the peer review process for papers and proposals, professional norms and ethics, and other topics. Syllabi for these and other courses I teach regularly can be found from my home page ( ).
Science communication is increasingly led by the image, providing opportunities for 'visual' disciplines such as astronomy to receive greater public exposure. In consequence, there is a huge demand for good and exciting images within the publishing media. The picture library is a conduit linking image makers of all kinds to image buyers of all kinds. The image maker benefits from the exposure of their pictures to the people who want to use them, with minimal time investment, and with the safeguards of effective rights management. The image buyer benefits from a wide choice of images available from a single point of contact, stored in a database that offers a choice between subject-based and conceptual searches. By forming this link between astronomer, professional or amateur, and the publishing media, the picture library helps to make the wonders of astronomy visible to a wider public audience.
Athabasca University (AU), Athabasca University Geophysical and Geo-Space Observatories (AUGO / AUGSO), the Rotary Club of Athabasca and Science Outreach Athabasca has designed a three day science workshop entitled Photography and the Night Sky. This pilot workshop, aimed primarily at high-school aged students, serves as an introduction to observational astronomy as seen in the western Canadian night sky using digital astrophotography without the use of a telescope or tracking mount. Participants learn the layout of the night sky by proficiently photographing it using digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) kits including telephoto and wide-angle lenses, tripod and cable release. The kits are assembled with entry-level consumer-grade camera gear as to be affordable by the participants, if they so desire to purchase their own equipment after the workshop. Basic digital photo editing is covered using free photo editing software (IrfanView). Students are given an overview of observational astronomy using interactive planetarium software (Stellarium) before heading outdoors to shoot the night sky. Photography is conducted at AU's auroral observatories, both of which possess dark open sky that is ideal for night sky viewing. If space weather conditions are favorable, there are opportunities to photograph the aurora borealis, then compare results with imagery generated by the all-sky auroral imagers located at the Geo-Space observatory. The aim of this program is to develop awareness to the science and beauty of the night sky, while promoting photography as a rewarding, lifelong hobby. Moreover, emphasis is placed on western Canada's unique subauroral location that makes aurora watching highly accessible and rewarding in 2013, the maximum of the current solar cycle.
The PACA Project is an ecosystem of several social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo) that takes connects professional and amateur astronomers in a common observing campaign. It takes advantage of immediate connectivity amongst amateur astronomers worldwide, that can be galvanized to participate in a given observing campaign and provide observations/data that helps provide a long temporal backdrop for professional data. To date, The PACA Project has participated in organized campaigns such as NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign in 2013; NASA Comet Integrated Observations Campaign to observe Comet Siding Spring flyby of Mars on 19 October 2014, and currently is participating in the ESA/Rosetta mission's ground-based amateur observing campaign, soon to finish. With several bright comets well placed in the sky, the PACA Project has focused groups for each comet of interest to its members. The PACA Project is now extending its observing campaigns to include planets, namely, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. The 2014 observing campaign of comet Siding Spring included both comet and Mars amateur astronomers. With Mars, just past its recent opposition and heading towards its perihelic opposition, when it will be its largest size as viewed from Earth, in 2018; with NASA's JUNO spacecraft arrival at Jupiter on 4 July 2016 and NASA/ESA Cassini mission ending its mission to Saturn in 2017, all three planets are targets of amateur observers. The synergy between The PACA Project goals, amateur and professional astronomers translates well into a cohesive paradigm to monitor and observe comets and planets to increase the data on these targets for crowdsourcing. I shall highlight the results from the various campaigns, including various comets, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars and propose various science observing campaigns, resulting in both scientific research and citizen science.