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Frostburg State Planetarium. Presents Summer Sky Sights 2010 Sky Basics – Current Sky Sights – 3 Charts Review Questions, Choices & Answers What’s Ahead for the rest of year

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frostburg state planetarium
Frostburg State Planetarium


Summer Sky Sights 2010

Sky Basics – Current Sky Sights – 3 Charts

Review Questions, Choices & Answers

What’s Ahead for the rest of year

Frequently asked questions

sky basics key sights changes
Sky Basics – Key Sights & Changes
  • Every night star is a distant sun, so far away that

their distances have shrunk them to points

  • Even our neighbor planets are so remote that they appear as steadily shining points among the stars
  • Only the sun (our star) and our moon have discs

that we can see with our eyes

  • As moon moves about Earth, we see varying parts of its daylit half, causing the changing shapes
  • Earth’s spin causes sky objects to drift westward
  • Our motion changes evening groups each season
best sky sights in summer 2010
Best Sky Sights in Summer 2010
  • Venus is a brilliant, steady point in western dusk
  • Big Dipper’s handle arcs to bright star Arcturus
  • Bright Vega in E is top star of Summer Triangle
  • See Milky Way in lower part of Summ.Trian.
  • See Scorpion (like ‘J’) & Tea Kettle low in S
  • Bright planet Jupiter late summer in E late evening
  • Cassiopeia low in North resembles letter ‘W’
review sky questions
Review Sky Questions
  • Name 2 bright planets on evenings this summer
  • (Mars, Saturn) (Venus, Jupiter) (Pluto,Mercury)
  • Answer is Venus in West & Jupiter in East
  • Which 2 star groups resemble letters (‘W’ & ‘J’)?
  • (Big Dipper, Leo) (Cassiopeia, Scorpion)
  • Ans. Cassiopeia (‘W’) in N, Scorpion (‘J’) in S
  • In what direction do sky objects seem to drift?
  • N, E, S or W? Ans. Earth moves E so sky rolls W
2010 fall sky sights
2010 Fall Sky Sights?
  • As Venus disappears in W, Jupiter seen in E
  • Bright golden star Capella appears in NE
  • To right of Capella is Pleiades (7 Sisters)
  • Jupiter (in Pisces) high in S, late fall even.
  • Orion (3 star belt) in E on late fall even.
  • Lunar eclipse in AM hours on Dec. 21
see with eye binoculars telescope
See with Eye, Binoculars, Telescope?
  • Darkest night (no moon), far from stores, streetlights, may see as many as 1000 stars
  • 5 planets during course of year can be seen
  • With Binoculars can see many thousands of stars all over sky, moon’s lava plains, Jupiter’s big moons, dozens of *clusters, & few galaxies beyond our own (furry)
  • Small telescope even more stars, moon’s craters, all 8 planets, Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s cloud belts, phases of Venus, gas clouds, double stars & dozens of galaxies beyond our own
why are hubble pictures so great
Why are Hubble Pictures so great?
  • Our atmosphere is like a pond of gently moving water through which we view the universe.
  • Star twinkling is due to bending of thin threads of light from the stars by atmospheric turbulence.
  • Even large telescopes on mountain tops suffer from the atmosphere that lies above them.
  • Recently, new techniques used to reduce effects.
  • Hubble telescope is 360 miles up, no interfering atmosphere – get very sharp images easily
  • Digital images sent down to Earth by radio.
three types of hubble images
Three types of Hubble images
  • Gas Clouds/Nebulae (latin for Clouds) 2 kinds 1. Shells of multicolored gases around dying * 2. Gas clouds from which new stars can form
  • Planet Images that nearly match the sharpness of space probe images that have flown by planets
  • Galaxy Images: Especially Spiral Galaxies and Colliding galaxies, images from large Earth telescopes of same galaxies lack sharpness
  • Other large telescopes now in space view universe in ultraviolet, infrared radiation and X-rays.
more about hubble images
More about Hubble Images
  • Shells of gas around dying stars ejected when star becomes unstable as its nuclear reactions wane.
  • These shells of gas known as planetary nebulae
  • Large gas clouds are seen due to light of newly forming stars, lighting them from within.
  • Hubble images of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn crisp
  • Hubble resolve stars in nearby galaxies and trace out long drawn * strands in colliding galaxies
  • Hubble not aimed at Mercury, Venus, Moon/Sun
frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
  • What are shooting or falling stars?
  • These are meteors, small pieces of grit being incinerated about 50 miles up.
  • Aliens? (High tech extraterrestrials)
  • While life may exist elsewhere in space, starflight involves vast amounts of energy. What would make it worthwhile for aliens?
  • Is the universe infinite or finite?
  • Present evidence favors an infinite universe.
your questions
Your questions?
  • Any questions can be sent through email to .
  • The Cumberland Astronomy Club meets each 3rd Friday of the month at the LaVale Public Library just off Route 40, about a mile to the East of State Police Barracks.
  • Cumberland Astronomy Club has public telescope sessions at Frostburg’s City Park, off Armstrong Avenue in west Frostburg (see announcement of these events in Cumberland Times-News newspaper)