Bob Piekiel Hosts “Star Search!” At Green Lakes State Park – July 26 (27 alt.)

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

I’m happy to announce that Bob Piekiel will be hosting a free observing session at Green Lakes State Park on Friday, July 26th (with the 27th as a weather-alternate). Any interested CNYO scope owners planning on attending (with their scopes, that is) please drop me a line at observing@cnyo.org for the head count (will remind by email before the event). Everyone else, just show up!


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The night’s observing feast includes Venus in the early evening, Neptune 1/2 hour before the Moon rises at 11:00 p.m., and Saturn, our prize object for the year, visible throughout. Clear skies pending, it is possible we might even see some of the early part of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower. Additional details are available in the flyer below (click for a full-sized image for printing and distributing).

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NASA Space Place – High-Energy Spy

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in June, 2013.

By Dr. Martin C. Weisskopf

2013february2_spaceplaceThe idea for the Chandra X-Ray Observatory was born only one year after Riccardo Giacconi discovered the first celestial X-ray source other than the Sun. In 1962, he used a sounding rocket to place the experiment above the atmosphere for a few minutes. The sounding rocket was necessary because the atmosphere blocks X-rays. If you want to look at X-ray emissions from objects like stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies, your instrument must get above the atmosphere.

Giacconi’s idea was to launch a large diameter (about 1 meter) telescope to bring X-rays to a focus. He wanted to investigate the hazy glow of X-rays that could be seen from all directions throughout the sounding rocket flight. He wanted to find out whether this glow was, in fact, made up of many point-like objects. That is, was the glow actually from millions of X-ray sources in the Universe. Except for the brightest sources from nearby neighbors, the rocket instrument could not distinguish objects within the glow.

Giacconi’s vision and the promise and importance of X-ray astronomy was borne out by many sounding rocket flights and, later satellite experiments, all of which provided years-, as opposed to minutes-, worth of data.

By 1980, we knew that X-ray sources exist within all classes of astronomical objects. In many cases, this discovery was completely unexpected. For example, that first source turned out to be a very small star in a binary system with a more normal star. The vast amount of energy needed to produce the X-rays was provided by gravity, which, because of the small star’s mass (about equal to the Sun’s) and compactness (about 10 km in diameter) would accelerate particles transferred from the normal star to X-ray emitting energies. In 1962, who knew such compact stars (in this case a neutron star) even existed, much less this energy transfer mechanism?

X-ray astronomy grew in importance to the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. The National Academy of Sciences, as part of its “Decadal Survey” released in 1981, recommended as its number one priority for large missions an X-ray observatory along the lines that Giacconi outlined in 1963. This observatory was eventually realized as the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which launched in 1999.

The Chandra Project is built around a high-resolution X-ray telescope capable of sharply focusing X-rays onto two different X-ray-sensitive cameras. The focusing ability is of the caliber such that one could resolve an X-ray emitting dime at a distance of about 5 kilometers!

The building of this major scientific observatory has many stories.

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Caption: Composite image of DEM L50, a so-called superbubble found in the Large Magellanic Cloud. X-ray data from Chandra is pink, while optical data is red, green, and blue. Superbubbles are created by winds from massive stars and the shock waves produced when the stars explode as supernovas.

Learn more about Chandra at www.science.nasa.gov/missions/chandra. Take kids on a “Trip to the Land of the Magic Windows” and see the universe in X-rays and other invisible wavelengths of light at spaceplace.nasa.gov/magic-windows.

Dr. Weisskopf is project scientist for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

About NASA Space Place

The goal of the NASA Space Place is “to inform, inspire, and involve children in the excitement of science, technology, and space exploration.” More information is available at their website: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Back to the Future: From Waste to Power”

Saturday – June 15, 9:30-11:00am

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY



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Have you ever seen science fiction movies like Back to the Future where garbage is put into the gas tank instead of gasoline to make the car go? Maybe you thought to yourself that this will never happen. Well, we are getting closer to a day when we utilize waste materials to power our homes and vehicles, helping to alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels. This presentation will show how, locally, these types of projects are being developed, including a demonstration where waste wood is utilized to create power and steam.

Presenters

Chris Campbell, a native resident of Central New York, has been leading the development of innovative projects within O’Brien & Gere for more than 8 years, with 26 years total professional experience. In his 8-year tenure at O’Brien & Gere, Chris has worked on the development of several alternative energy technologies, including biomass to energy, aimed at providing growth and sustainability within the Central New York area. Chris has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from SUNY Institute of Technology and a MS in Engineering Management from Syracuse University.

Sara Martin, P.E., also a native resident of Central New York, has been leading the development of various alternative energy projects within O’Brien & Gere. More specifically, her focus has been in waste to energy projects, including the design and construction of three facilities in New York State, which utilized food waste to create power and heat energy to utilize back into the food production. Sara has a BS in Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University.

People interested in learning more about sustainable energy are invited to attend the free Junior Cafe presentation on Saturday, June 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) in Syracuse’s Armory Square. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing jrcafe@tacny.org by June 12, 2013.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique, a program for middle-school students founded in 2005, features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere and seeks to encourage students to consider careers in these areas. Students must be accompanied by an adult and can explore the MOST at no cost after the event.

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.