Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pulsating Star Mystery Solved!

By discovering the first double star where a pulsating Cepheid variable and another star pass in front of one another, an international team of astronomers has solved a decades-old mystery. The rare alignment of the orbits of the two stars in the double star system has allowed a measurement of the Cepheid mass with unprecedented accuracy. Up to now astronomers had two incompatible theoretical predictions of Cepheid masses. The new result shows that the prediction from stellar pulsation theory is spot on, while the prediction from stellar evolution theory is at odds with the new observations.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Night Sky over Nepal: November,2010

Nov 1: The Moon is 5 degrees S of Regulus in the East before dawn

Nov 4: A Waning Crescent Moon is about 7.5 degrees SE of Saturn in the East just before dawn

Nov 6: New Moon

Nov 13: First Quarter Moon

Nov 16: A Gibbous Moon is nearly 6.5 degrees away from Jupiter

Nov 17/18: The Leonids Meteor Shower will peak. This shower has produced meteor storms in the past, but no storm is expected this year. Also the Waxing Gibbous Moon will shine till after Mid-Night.

Nov 18: Neptune Eastern Quadrature

Nov 20: Mercury and Mars are just 1 deg 40’ apart in the W-SW, very low after Sunset.

Nov 21: Full Moon.

Nov 22: The Moon is just 1 deg 30’ away from M45-The Pleiades (after mid night) but an observer will have to use a binocular to glimpse M45.

Nov 29: A Last Quarter Moon is nearly 9 degrees from Regulus


MARS: Very low in Scorpius in the Western evening sky in the beginning of month. On 8th at evening Mars will share company with a very thin Crescent Moon and also they will form a trio with Regulus. On 20th November at evening Mars will be paired with Mercury by just 1.5 degrees apart.

NEPTUNE: The planet shining at magnitude 7.8 in the beginning of the month. Find Neptune just within 12’ 53” NW of the 5th mag Mu Capricorni star. Neptune will be at Eastern Quadrature on November 18.

JUPITER and URANUS will remain around 3 degrees throughout the month. Jupiter shining at mag -2.7 along with Uranus (mag 5.7) is well placed in the sky after sunset for observation.

SATURN: The ringed planet will rise around 5am in the month’s beginning. On 4th November the planet will be nearly 7 degrees N-NE of Crescent Moon forming a very nice naked-eye view. Saturn will begin this month by staying within 1.5 degrees East from Porrima in Virgo and will keep moving away toward east.
VENUS: The brightest planet will emerge from the Eastern morning sky during the first week of the month. On November 18, the planet will be 3 degrees 18’ East of Spica.

: Very low in the evening Western sky will remain in the glare of the Sun. The inner most planet will emerge from the Western horizon during 10th November and will form a trio with Mars and Antares in the evening of 15th November. Mercury will be just 1 deg 40’ from Mars on 20th evening. Mercury will slowly keep getting up the western sky unless it reaches Greatest Eastern Elongation on December 1st.