Connor Christoper Stuart

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APOD: Rocket Streak and Star Trails (2014 Jan 30) Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140130.html Explanation: Fixed to a tripod and looking east across the Kennedy Space Center's Turn Basin, a camera captured these star trails as a series of short exposures over a three hour period on the evening of January 23rd. Positioned just a few miles from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, it also captured a spectacular night launch of an Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite TDRS-L. Creating the trails, the apparent motion of the stars through the sky is just a reflection of the daily rotation of planet Earth on its axis. But that rotation is also the reason the rocket streak follows a path arcing east across the Atlantic. Launching toward the east, in the direction of Earth's rotation, adds the rotation velocity to the rocket and reduces the fuel needed to reach orbit. A little ironically, TDRS-L is destined for a geostationary orbit. From there, 36,000 kilometers or so above the equator, it's orbital period will match Earth's rotation and the satellite will hang motionless in planet Earth's sky. http://www.mikekillianphotography.com/ http://www.americaspace.com/ https://www.facebook.com/KillianPhotography Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140130 #APOD

APOD: The Gegenschein Over Chile (2013 Jan 14) Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas Observatory, Carnegie Institution) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140114.html Explanation: Is the night sky darkest in the direction opposite the Sun? No. In fact, a rarely discernable faint glow known as the gegenschein (German for "counter glow") can be seen 180 degrees around from the Sun in an extremely dark sky. The gegenschein is sunlight back-scattered off small interplanetary dust particles. These dust particles are millimeter sized splinters from asteroids and orbit in the ecliptic plane of the planets. Pictured above from last year is one of the more spectacular pictures of the gegenschein yet taken. Here a deep exposure of an extremely dark sky over Las Campanas Observatory in Chile shows the gegenschein so clearly that even a surrounding glow is visible. Notable background objects include the Andromeda galaxy, the Pleiades star cluster, the California Nebula, the belt of Orion just below the Orion Nebula and inside Barnard's Loop, and bright stars Rigel and Betelgeuse. The gegenschein is distinguished from zodiacal light near the Sun by the high angle of reflection. During the day, a phenomenon similar to the gegenschein called the glory can be seen in reflecting air or clouds opposite the Sun from an airplane. http://www.lco.cl/ http://carnegiescience.edu/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140114 #APOD

APOD: Sunspot at Sunset (2014 Jan 08) Image Credit & Copyright: Jürg Alean http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140108.html Explanation: Sunsets may be the most watched celestial event, but lately sunsets have even offered something extra. A sunspot so large it was visible to the naked eye is captured in Swiss skies in this sunset scene from January 5, crossing left to right near the center of a solar disk dimmed and distorted by Earth's dense atomosphere. Detailed views reveal a large solar active region composed of sunspots, some larger than planet Earth itself. Cataloged as active region AR 1944, on January 7 it produced a substantial solar flare and a coronal mass ejection (CME) forecast to reach Earth. The CME could trigger geomagnetic storms and aurora on January 9. http://swisseduc.ch/about/redaktion/alean-juerg.html Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140108 #APOD

APOD: The Scale of the Universe - Interactive (2014 Jan 12) Flash Animation Credit & Copyright: Cary & Michael Huang http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140112.html Explanation: What does the universe look like on small scales? On large scales? Humanity is discovering that the universe is a very different place on every proportion that has been explored. For example, so far as we know, every tiny proton is exactly the same, but every huge galaxy is different. On more familiar scales, a small glass table top to a human is a vast plane of strange smoothness to a dust mite -- possibly speckled with cell boulders. Not all scale lengths are well explored -- what happens to the smallest mist droplets you sneeze, for example, is a topic of active research -- and possibly useful to know to help stop the spread of disease. The above interactive flash animation, a modern version of the classic video Powers of Ten, is a new window to many of the known scales of our universe. By moving the scroll bar across the bottom, you can explore a diversity of sizes, while clicking on different items will bring up descriptive information. http://htwins.net/ Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140112 #APOD

APOD: The Seagull Nebula (2014 Jan 11) Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Miller http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140111.html Explanation: A broad expanse of glowing gas and dust presents a bird-like visage to astronomers from planet Earth, suggesting its popular moniker - The Seagull Nebula. This portrait of the cosmic bird covers a 1.6 degree wide swath across the plane of the Milky Way, near the direction of Sirius, alpha star of the constellation Canis Major. Of course, the region includes objects with other catalog designations: notably NGC 2327, a compact, dusty emission region with an embedded massive star that forms the bird's head (aka the Parrot Nebula, above center). Dominated by the reddish glow of atomic hydrogen, the complex of gas and dust clouds with bright young stars spans over 100 light-years at an estimated 3,800 light-year distance. http://mikesastro-photos.com/info.html Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140111 #APOD

APOD: The Horsehead Nebula (2013 Dec 31) Image Credit & Copyright: John Chumack http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131231.html Explanation: The Horsehead Nebula is one of the most famous nebulae on the sky. It is visible as the dark indentation to the red emission nebula in the center of the above photograph. The horse-head feature is dark because it is really an opaque dust cloud that lies in front of the bright red emission nebula. Like clouds in Earth's atmosphere, this cosmic cloud has assumed a recognizable shape by chance. After many thousands of years, the internal motions of the cloud will alter its appearance. The emission nebula's red color is caused by electrons recombining with protons to form hydrogen atoms. Also visible at the bottom left of the picture is a greenish reflection nebulae that preferentially reflects the blue light from nearby stars. http://www.galacticimages.com/catalog/about_us.php Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=131231 #APOD