Summer projects and the 472 Roma ockultation

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During June-July at Tycho Brahe observatory we were preparing for a large project that would involve the cooperation between many amateur astronomers from different locations in Sweden. The Swedish assosiation for amateur astronomers (SAAF: Svenska Amatörastronomiska Föreningen) helped us to get in touch with other amateur astronomers across the country. Together with my collegue Arne L Ohlsson we started to put hard work on planning, coordinating meetings, assembling nessesary instrumentation and dealing with time pressure.

The ockultation is all about a large rock out in space, or more commonly called an asteroid named 472 Roma passing infront of the delta star (Yed Prior) in the constellation of Ophiucus, causing this large red giant star to dissappear for a around 5 seconds. This asteroidal passage was meant to be easily observed from our location, but negative observations outside the occultation shadow would provide a lot of information regarding the star itself.

It has been mistaken for a long time that the delta star in Ophiucus would be a double and for the first time an asteroid would occult this star and reveal it’s secrets for us. Unfortunately just before the occultation occurred, heavy clouds surounded our area. That was our worse case scenario that just took place, leaving us with unanswered questions.

In the morning we heard that the German and Belgian astronomers were more lucky then us and that many positive reports started to fall in!

Radioastronomy

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For almost a week ago we received our radio telescope which was originally owned by the institute of astronomy at Lund’s university. The telescope was used primarily by astronomy students. It weights around 200 kg and is 1,20 m across in diameter. With this telescope we will be able to observe regardless weather conditions and even at daytime the sun, some strong radio sources in Milky way and many other things.

At the same time we have spoken with the architects from the municipality office regarding an extension building northside from our observatory. I will publish soon some blueprints which will give a clear picture of how our future observatory will look like. Because the building plans are not official yet, I’ll have to wait from publishing any further information regarding construction plans until all plans are set.

Last night I held a lecture about Galileo’s telescope for members in our Tycho Brahe astronomy society here in Skåne. I would have kept going with my entire presentation for more then a hour but my time was limited to half. The lecture was describing the difficulties Galileo encountered in order to build his first telescope and the differences and achievements with later versions of his telescopes, as well as his first observations based on Jupiter, Venus and the moon that changed the world’s view.

Unfortunately Bengt Rosengren a member in our astro-society felt ill and couldn’t attend our meeting. He has created a Galileo telescope replica which would be available for our attendees to study. I am providing an image from his replica here.

Galileo's telescope
Lecture
Galileo's telescope
Lecture
Galileo's telescope
Lecture
Galileo telescope replica
Galileo telescope replica

HE-0450-2958

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It has been some time since I wrote about anything on my blog, primarily because of a series of events in my life. Unfortunately south parts of Sweden have been covered completely by clouds during a long period of time. The weather became much better during Christmas holidays but unfortunately there was so little time left for observing after spending time with family and friends.

Regardless, there are some discoveries and news that came in focus for the astronomy world. Such as the sunspot activity which get increased for every week. Sunspot 1040, which was barely visible at the beggining, but now it seems to get increased both in size and activity.

A new debate started between a group of French and German astronomers regarding supermassive black holes. It came to the attention after lengty observations that there is a group of black holes responsible in the creation and formation of new stars within galaxies thank to their powerful jet streams of materia ejected by them out in the space.
The question though is, which one came first during the early stages of the universe? Was it a supermassive black hole or a galaxy? As known already to us, a supermassive black holes exist in the center of galaxies but there are some supermassive black holes that are “naked” or “without home”. Those black holes roam the universe alone, such as the quasar HE-0450-2958. There are some that oppose the idea by answering that galaxies were first to exist.
It is interesting to see what conclusion will be drawn by scientists in the future.

– In Swedish (Dagens Nyheter)
– In English (Article at Phyorg)
– HE-0450-2958 in English (Wikipedia)

Finally, I wish to you all a happy new year!

LCROSS mission and Galileo’s telescope

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Galileo's Telescope
Galileo’s Telescope

It has been a while since my last post but the reasons are mainly because of private life interference rather than the lack of news.

To sum everything up we have seen LCROSS mission at the beginning of October (search for water on the lunar surface at Cabeus crater) to the moon was finally a big success. Many of us believed that the impact would be visually greater than the result, but the most interesting part is the actual data returned to us back on earth. It is now a fact that moon holds large amounts of water, ready to be used for future lunar missions!

Few weeks after I travelled to Stockholm in order to behold Galileo’s telescope, an exhibition that lasts to March next year. The reason of this artifact being part of an exhibition here in Stockholm is to celebrate 400 years since Galileo raised, for the first time in human history, a telescope to observe the night sky for scientific purposes.

I received permissions from the museum to freely take pictures of the telescope as a representative of the Tycho Brahe Astronomy community in order to hold a lecture about Galileo to the members of Tycho Brahe back here in Lund.

I will tell you how that went later on this blog. In the mean while I must also inform that these pictures here are not of the best quality. Darkness from the museum forced my camera to long exposures and my hands were shaking. I should have brought my tripod but in my hurry I forgot it at home. Nevertheless I’ve got the chance to see closely our father Astronomer Galileo’s heritage to us to what might be the very first telescope in the name of the science.

Some interesting links about LCROSS mission can be found here:

Nobel Museum:

Example telescope
Example telescope
Construction parts
Construction parts
King Gustav II Adolf's telescope
King Gustav II Adolf’s telescope
Construction parts
Construction parts

 

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Kulturnatten, Lund

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On Saturday I was summoned by senior lecturer Peter Linde to Lund’s library. I was asked to assist with the telescope during the cultural night event in Lund. Visitors would come and watch through the telescope which was pointed towards Jupiter and the moons Io, Ganymedes, Europe and Callisto.

I was surprised by how many people attended to the library. At the same time we were showing Jupiter on the telescope, Peter held lectures about the possibility in existence of life within our planet system and far beyond. All in all we could estimate around 300 attendees during the evening that lasted from 7 pm to midnight.

I was happy to meet that people and share information regarding Galileo, Jupiter and the moons around the planet.

http://www.astb.se/index.php/Nyheter/Valbesokt-kulturnatt-pa-stadsbiblioteket.html

Observing Jupiter
Observing Jupiter

Astronomy event in Hven

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Lecture about variable stars
Lecture about variable stars

Came back after an amazing weekend in Hven, a little isle between Denmark and Sweden where astronomer Tycho Brahe once was the head of Europe’s top astronomy researches, trying to resolve problems around the heliocentric model by observing the parallax between stars. We arrived there at Friday morning by car together with Sara and another member of the Tycho Brahe astronomy society.

Sara and I decided to camp by assembling our tent close to the beach on the north-east side of the isle and by the time we were done, we attended our first workshop which was dedicated to Astrophotography. To my disappointment both course leaders were talking 2½ hours about their own telescopes and their old telescopes but nothing about astrophotography… Apart from a slide in their powerpoint presentation with around 30 terms in Astrophotography. During that time Sara had difficulties to keep herself from sleeping, so we decided to abandon this workshop and go for lunch.

Lecture in spectroscopy
Lecture in spectroscopy

The coming days we explored a bit of the isle, eating in most of the restaurants, attending workshops, looking at books, filters, telescopes and talking to professional and amateur astronomers. This event is the first of its kind in Scandinavia partly because we got many participants, but also because it was filled with lectures from professional and experienced amateur astronomers bringing up things about dark matter, exoplanets, variable stars and the cooperation between amateur and professional astronomers in matters of observational data and common research areas.

Within a few days I will post a few links on videos from these lectures and workshops but apart from one lecture in English, the rest was in Danish and Swedish. Unless you understand Danish or Swedish I really recommend you to watch the lecture in variable stars given by Christopher Allen.

Astronomy vendors
Astronomy vendors

One thing that really brought up my curiosity was a lecture in Spectroscopy by Køge Bugt. It is amazing what amateur astronomers got in their hands when it comes to advanced equipment but also their enthusiasm on this kind of homemade research!

The event days came to an end by a few lectures from professional astronomers and a few words from the head of the board from Tycho Brahe Astronomy Society. This event went beyond my expectations thank to all effort, enthusiasm and energy that came from all the participants and people behind the scenes. I will get back with more photos soon!

Weather is stopping Christer Fuglesang from launching

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Weather is effecting each one of us in different ways and for the space shuttle mission ST-128 received another canceled launching countdown based on bad weather circumstances this early morning, 0720 CET. Fortunately there will be more chances to go and another attempt is already taking place tomorrow 20 minutes prior to the initial launching schedule today. Let us hope the weather will be more forgiving and for more details please visit the links below:

As about myself, there are 3 days left before my astronomy meeting (Astronomidagarna i Hvén) together with other astronomy enthusiasts on the isle of Hvén outside Landskrona scheduled for Friday. So far we have more than 100 attendees registered. During the astronomy meeting between Friday 28th of August to Sunday 30th of August there will be lots of workshops together with experienced astrophotographers from Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but also workshops regarding techniques on telescopes and also for beginners. We will finally enjoy lectures in astronomy from people in Lund’s university and Denmark. For a few days ago I was worried about transferring my telescope but finally I came in contact with a board member from my association Tycho Brahe. It showed up that he is going to transfer all telescopes for the people living in nearby regions including mine one! He also offered a ride which is mostly appreciated.

Other than that, my daughters are excited because their favorite program is shown again in SVT which is called “Tillbaka till Vintergatan” (The return to Milky way). The program can be viewed by younglings in the SVT children area of the website and is on air every Friday and Saturday.