Category Archives: News

IOTA Announcement – Occultation By Neptune’s Moon Triton – 5 October 2017

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The following recently came across the ASRAS email list from ASRAS and IOTA member Brad Timerson. If you’ve the gear for it, this is an excellent chance to contribute to some far-out science.

There will be an occultation of a 12.5-mag. star by Neptune’s large satellite Triton the early evening of October 5th (just before 8pm EDT) that will be visible from east of the Appalachian Mountains. It’s the brightest star to be occulted by Triton since the Voyager flyby showed that the satellite has a substantial atmosphere with interesting dark plumes. The occultation will allow us to learn more about the atmosphere, and its variation with altitude and latitude. Sofia plans to fly over the Atlantic, to try to catch the central flash, where Triton’s whole atmosphere will focus/amplify the star’s light, probing deeper parts of the atmosphere. This might also be observed from Florida, but observations anywhere from the East Coast area are sought, to sample a wide range of latitudes of Triton’s atmosphere. Details of the occultation are available at MIT’s Web site for the event at hubble.mit.edu/prediction.html.

The central time for the Rochester area is within several seconds of 7:55:40 pm EDT on October 5th. For an observer near the center of the path, the event could last as long as 3 minutes. Because the Rochester area is north of that path, any occultation or atmospheric dimming would likely last some fraction of that time. You should plan to record the event for about 10 minutes before and after the time shown here.

A main challenge of the event will be to record Triton and the target star with a good signal, preferably with clear separation between 8th-mag. Neptune less than a quarter arc minute away. You will need good scale to separate the objects well enough. More observing tips are given on the MIT web site. The target star is about a magnitude brighter than Triton.

Telescopes as small as 8″ Newtonians will show the target star. (see included image from a European observer) For occultation work, we don’t need to “see” the occulting body (Triton in this case), just the object being occulted. Low light and/or integrating video cameras are best for this observation. However, standard astronomical cameras operated in a mode so as to produce images as quickly as possible will also work. Testing ahead of time to determine the correct exposure to just barely detect Triton should be done. This is to insure that the light from nearby Neptune doesn’t overwhelm that of the nearby moon and star at the time of the event.

Target star, Neptune, and Triton.

I plan on using my 10″ Meade LX200GPS at either f/6.3 (focal reducer) or at the normal f/10 prime focus. I will be using a Watec 120N+ low light video camera and integrating for 64 or 128 frames (2 seconds and 4 seconds). I’m still experimenting and might even need longer integration times.

Triton occults 4UC 410-143659, 5 October 2017 – visible regions from Earth.

Everyone with suitable equipment is encouraged to try this event. And I would appreciate it if this message is forwarded to any nearby universities that might have the ability to observe this event. If individual images are taken (instead of video) the exact time for each exposure is required (don’t depend on the computer’s internal clock. Use a GPS-based time). For analysis, it may be possible to measure the light level on individual images or the images can be combined into a video and measuring software used on the video.

Please contact me (EMAIL) for additional information or to submit observations.

Fayetteville Free Library STEAM Club – Meeting First Wednesday Of Each Month (Registration Required)

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

This in from the TACNY email list.

Join the FFL for fun and exciting hands-on experiments and activities focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math topics! First Wednesday of each month at 4 PM. Registration required. Click here to register!

Fayetteville Free Library (map above)
300 Orchard Street
Fayetteville, NY 13066
(315) 637-6374

www.facebook.com/fayfreelibrary
twitter.com/fayettevillelib

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org and their Facebook page.

ICYMI – “NASA Unveils New Searchable Video, Audio And Imagery Library For The Public”

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

In the event that the original announcement made it past you, I wanted to clear the following NASA News of out CNYO’s Inbox and spread the linkage around. The original announcement was released on 28 March 2017 (RELEASE 17-035), followed soon after after by a posting to the great Open Culture website (www.openculture.com – there’s an equally great discussion about the library on the Open Culture website HERE).

Consider your desktop background needs fulfilled.

As eye candy for the post, I found the single image of NGC 4565 – my personal favorite and one of the great “work for” eye candy galaxies in medium-sized telescopes.

NASA officially has launched a new resource to help the public search and download out-of-this-world images, videos and audio files by keyword and metadata searches from NASA.gov. The NASA Image and Video Library website consolidates imagery spread across more than 60 collections into one searchable location.

images.nasa.gov

NASA Image and Video Library allows users to search, discover and download a treasure trove of more than 140,000 NASA images, videos and audio files from across the agency’s many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight, and more. Users now can embed content in their own sites and choose from multiple resolutions to download. The website also displays the metadata associated with images.

Users can browse the agency’s most recently uploaded files, as well as discover historic and the most popularly searched images, audio files and videos. Other features include:

* Automatically scales the interface for mobile phones and tablets
* Displays the EXIF/camera data that includes exposure, lens used, and other information, when available from the original image
* Allows for easy public access to high resolution files
* All video includes a downloadable caption file

NASA Image and Video Library’s Application Programmers Interface (API) allows automation of imagery uploads for NASA, and gives members of the public the ability to embed content in their own sites and applications. This public site runs on NASA’s cloud native “infrastructure-as-a-code” technology enabling on-demand use in the cloud.

The library is not comprehensive, but rather provides the best of what NASA makes publicly available from a single point of presence on the web. Additionally, it is a living website, where new and archival images, video and audio files continually will be added.

For more information about NASA’s activities, visit: www.nasa.gov