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Observatory News
February 2013
Published by the Friends of the Observatory
Bill Cartwright, editor
Coming Up At
The Observatory....
FOTO Kids & Teens Feb 1
COC Board Meeting Feb 6 12-2p
Mars! Fact or Fiction* Feb 6
Presenter’s Meeting
Feb 7
FOTO Member’s Meeting
Feb 7 7:30p
Dance of the Planets* Feb 8
Astronomy Friday
Feb 8
Cub Scout Badge Night Feb 9 6p
History Tours
Feb 10 1-4p
A2Z+ Member’s Class Feb 10 7p
Member’s Astro Class Feb 11 7p
Behind the Scenes*
Feb 12 7p
Romance at Observatory Feb 14 7p
Astronomy Friday
Feb 15 7p
Late Night @ the COC Feb 15 10:30p
Teacher “Make It-Take It”
Feb 16 12-2p
Moonday Monday
Feb 18 7p
Stargazing 101*
Feb 19 7p
Astronomy Thursday
Feb 21 7p
History Tours
Feb 24 1-4p
Feb 25 7p
NASA Mission Update* Feb 27 7p
Astronomy Thursday
Feb 28 7p
*UC Communiversity
The Word
By Basil Rowe
emarketing, e-learning, e-fundraising,
the Internet. It’s amazing how the
connectivity of the world has
changed in the last few years. The
Observatory has an incredibly
strong connection to Cincinnati’s
past (just ask Observatory Historian,
John Ventre) and is utilizing these
new technologies to connect to the
In order for the Observatory to
survive it is essential to connect to
the next generation of FOTO
members (today’s youth) in ways
they are familiar with and expect.
The “graying of astronomy clubs” is
a reality and something to be wary
of. The Observatory needs a
constant influx of “new blood”. So,
if you’ve got kids or grandkids that
have never been to the Observatory
I strongly encourage you to bring
Volume 24 No. 2
[email protected]
them to a meeting, an astronomy
Thursday or Friday (not necessarily
the “adults only” late night Fri), or
any age appropriate program. If
your kids or grandkids have been
here before, please keep bringing
them back! Try to get them on the
website, “like” COC/FOTO on
tiObservatoryCenter, and check out
In addition to the next generation
of FOTO members, there’s been a
lot of recent discussion about how
the Observatory can better connect
with our community, members,
donors, and potential new members
and donors.
Here are some things to look for
in the future:
 A new COC/FOTO website
 A revised social media
strategy and presence
 Webinar programs (using the
Internet for programs, lectures,
and classes)
One final note: Congratulations to
the Stonelick Lake Stargaze group
for winning “Best Cheap Date
Night” in the 2012 Best of
Cincinnati magazine. Way to go and
thank you!
FOTO's February
By Dave McBride
Our next meeting will be on
Thursday, February 7, at 7:30pm
in the west wing of the Herget
Building at the Observatory.
Steve Rismiller will present
“How Amateur Astronomers can
conditions for the Sun, Moon and
modernized to allow both visual and
photographic observations.
Steve has always been interested
in solar observing. When he was a
kid only professional observatories
had the equipment to observe the
Sun in Hydrogen Alpha light. Then
in 1999 he began observing
prominences with a Lumicon filter.
A few years later he acquired a
Coronado 60 Ha filter. He has been
using that filter ever since and is
constantly surprised by how well it
FOTO's January
Meeting Highlights
By Michelle Lierl Gainey
This topic will discuss and show the
effects of "seeing" conditions – and
how, with the use of a webcam style
camera, you can create a much
sharper image than is visible to the
eye through the eyepiece. Steve
will demonstrate how a few minutes
of computer processing time can
produce a very usable image from
the original.
Steve has been an amateur
astronomer for more than 40 years.
His interest in astronomy began just
as the space age was beginning. He
grew up on a farm in west-central
Ohio where the skies were dark and
the stars were bright. He built his
first telescope with parts from the
Edmund Scientific catalog and Sam
Brown’s “All About Telescopes.”
Since then he has assembled many
telescopes ranging from 3 to 20
inches in diameter.
He has always dreamed of
building his own observatory to
view deep sky objects. In the mid
1980’s that dream materialized with
his Starfield Observatory. Today,
Starfield is being upgraded and
Dr. Al Scheide:
“Introduction to Radio Astronomy”.
Dr. Scheide gave an excellent
overview of the history, types of
radio telescopes, the kinds of data
they can gather, and what can be
learned through radio telescopes.
 The FOTO Planning Meeting
will be held on Thursday,
1/24/13, 6 PM at COC.
Volunteer Opportunities
 3/23/13: Beginner Star Gaze,
needs volunteers.
 All
opportunities are currently listed
on John Ventre’s schedule.
 John Ventre requested that all
volunteers e-mail him with their
estimated hours of volunteering
for 2012, as this information is
included in grant applications.
COC Director:
Craig Niemi
thanked members for all their help
in 2012.
Programs run by or
assisted by volunteers are vital to
the operations of COC, and bring in
a significant amount of income as
well as contributing to the mission
of public outreach and education.
Library Committee: Frank Huss:
Four people are working on
cataloguing and shelving new books
and journals. There is an honor
system for signing out books.
Dark Sky Committee: Aaron Eban
has been organizing the Stonelick
Park stargazes, along with Dean
Regas. Scott Gainey will help and
other members are needed for this
committee. Please contact Scott
Gainey or Dean Regas if you would
like to be involved.
Representative election was held.
Frank Huss was unanimously
elected to the position of
COC/FOTO representative.
COC History Calendar:
calendar was created by John
Ventre, COC Historian, and
features historical photographs and
information about the history of
COC, along with notations of
celestial events and Stonelick star
gaze nights.
Newsletters: Basil Rowe brought
up the issue of the two versions of
the FOTO newsletter.
electronic version, used by most
photographs and more articles of
interest about astronomy topics.
The printed version is printed in
black and white and is an
newsletter. This has been done for
reasons of economy. The printed
version requires volunteer hours and
money for printing, collating,
labeling and mailing. There was a
discussion as to whether the printed
version is still necessary.
inquiry will be sent to those
members receiving the printed
version to determine why they
prefer this version.
Did You Know….
Material being pulled into a black
hole is accelerated to close to the
speed of light and heated to over a
million degrees. Extremely hot gas
glows very brightly.
UC Communiversity
Continuing Education
Beginners’ Stargaze
Friday, March 23rd, 8-10 pm
By Craig Niemi
By Craig Niemi
February 8th
Dance of the Gods
February 12th
Behind the Scenes at the
February 19th
Stargazing 101
February 25th
Jupiter: King of the Planets
February 27th
NASA Mission Update
All classes $18 per person (+ any
contact UC Communiversity at
513-556-6932 or online at
February FOTO
Planning Meeting
By Basil Rowe
The next FOTO Planning Meeting is
scheduled for Thursday, February
21, 2013 at 6pm at the Observatory.
The meeting generally lasts a couple
hours. The planning meetings are
open to all FOTO members. We
encourage your participation in the
Calling all beginning stargazers!
Want some hands-on practice
using a portable telescope? Join
us for an outdoor stargaze on the
Observatory’s grounds. You can
bring your own telescope if you
have one… or, “rent” one of ours
for the evening! A brief
presentation will introduce you to
the basics of how to use a
telescope, and the best targets to
look for in the sky that night.
Simple star charts will be
provided. The rest of the evening
will be spent outside viewing
(weather permitting). You’re in
charge of your own telescope –
or bring a friend and share – but
staff and volunteers will be
available to help as needed!
Reservations are required.
Please call 513-321-5186 to sign
Admission - $7 / person.
Telescope Rental - $10 / (Free
for Members). Binocular Rental
- $5 / binoculars
Did You Know….
Neutrinos are electrically neutral,
particles that can pass through miles
of lead unhindered. Some are
passing through your body as you
read this. These "phantom" particles
are produced in the inner fires of
burning, healthy stars as well as in
the supernova explosions of dying
stars. Detectors are being embedded
underground, beneath the sea, or
into a large chunk of ice as part of
History of the
February 10th & 24th
1-4 pm
By Craig Niemi
No reservations needed, except
groups. See the web calendar for
any holiday updates.
Our talented museum educators
weave a fascinating story of the
history and the unique cast of
characters that made Cincinnati the
Birthplace of American Astronomy.
An ideal opportunity for our
astronomy program volunteers to
learn more about the Observatory
and incorporate its history into your
Did You Know….
The Red Square nebula is among the
most symmetrical objects ever
observed in space . It was created by
a dying star called MWC 922
spewing its innards from opposite
poles into space.
Moonday Monday
Monday, February 18, from 7-9 pm
By Dean Regas
then reported it into a national
database called Globe at Night.
FOTO Kids got some great views
out of the Mitchel telescope of
Jupiter. In February we will talk
more about Orion and the bright
constellations circling him. Sirius,
the Dog Star will be up and we’ll
show you the Winter Football
constellation). If you have any
questions please email Dean Regas
at [email protected]
Romance @ the
"Turn the lights down low,
the stars are out.”
Thursday, February 14,
7 – 9 pm
By Craig Niemi
A2Z Astronomy Class
Image courtesy Steve Rismiller
Attention Moon lovers and Lunatics! This is one program you
cannot miss.
The Cincinnati Observatory will
show you the Moon: phases,
features, eclipses, rocks, missions,
myths, and green cheese. Moonday Monday includes talks and
tours by local Moon experts. Then,
the Moon will hit your eye like a big
pizza pie when you look through our
This is also the night of the next
Moon-Jupiter conjunction – don’t
miss it!
$7 for adults, $5 for kids No
reservations required. For further
information, please call 513-3215186.
FOTO Kids and
FOTO Teens
By Dean Regas
Look alive, because the next FOTO
Kids and FOTO Teens meeting will
be Friday February 1, 7pm at the
Observatory. Last month we had
clear skies and were able to see a lot
with the telescopes. FOTO Teens
took a survey of the stars in Orion
and found that they could see stars
as faint as fourth magnitude. We
In the dark without it
By Dave Bosse
The A2Z Astronomy class meets the
second Sunday of each month at
7:00 P.M. in the West Wing of the
Herget Building. Discussions cover
contemporary Astronomical topics
as well as those historic. No prerequisite knowledge of Math or
Astronomy is necessary, just a
desire to learn more. The group
meets for about an hour or so and is
free to any member of the
On February 10th at 7 pm this
month’s A2Z class will cover the
Radiation: light. Without “light” we
would be more than just in the dark;
we would be without any
knowledge of the outside Universe.
Every single bit of information we
have gleaned from the Universe has
come to us in the form of photons.
Lots and lots and lots of photons
and they come in a zoo of varieties.
phenomenon works can help in
understanding how we understand
what we think we know.
Did You Know….
Most galaxies have a super massive
black hole at their center.
The Heart Nebula by COC member
Eric Africa
There is nothing more romantic than
the night sky. Starry-eyed lovers
have been gazing upward in wonder
for millennia. So, this year give your
Valentine a true, out-of-this-world
experience at the Cincinnati
Observatory high atop Mt. Lookout.
Astronomy” will offer music,
drinks, chocolate, flowers and
viewing of the Moon and Jupiter
(weather permitting).
Astronomer and co-host of the PBS
program Star Gazers, Dean Regas,
will give a presentation about red
stars of passion in the winter sky
and there will be tours of the
buildings. This is your opportunity
to “wish upon a star” and perhaps
cuddle a bit beneath the Cincinnati
Reservations are required. Space
is limited. Call 513-321-5186 to
reserve your space for the unique
Craig’s Corner
By Craig Niemi
Happy New Year! Solar cycle 24 is
still ongoing BUT, solar maximum
may have come and gone without
observers realizing it. The sun on
December 31st was recorded to have
only 3 very small active regions and
a sunspot count of only 37. What a
fizzle! Then on New Year’s Day,
the solar surface became active with
6 active regions and the count
jumped to 87. By January 7th and
8th the active regions had more than
doubled to 14 with the sunspot
count up to 196. I had to go back to
October 22, 2011 to find a higher
sunspot count in Solar Cycle 24 and
that was only 207. The chart below
graphically shows the sunspot count
for December and up to January 25,
Most of the sunspots did not
develop into flare producers,
However severial did produce C and
M class flares. So, the sun was
peppered with small sunspots and it
was fun to observe in the telescope
with a white light filter. If you
missed seeing the spotted solar disk,
check out and
use the archives area in the upper
right of the web page. Start at
January 1st and scroll through the
month to see the “re-run” of the
sunspot show. The solar disk can be
seen on the left side of the page.
Dean and Leo have been busy filling
the 2013 calendar with new
programs and perennial favorites for
schools, teachers and the public.
The Observatory has always
been a favorite for the star-struck.
February 14th brings back Romance
at the Observatory. Lyn and John
recently added to this chapter of our
history with their nuptials at the
Leo’s Late Nights at the
Observatory have been very popular
with an older audience, especially to
young professionals out on a Friday
or Saturday night. While the format
is generally the same as the
Thursday/Friday programs the later
hour brings a different demographic
and dynamic to the group. The next
Late Night is coming up on the 15th.
In addition to the core
Astronomy Thursday and Friday
Evenings, we are offering lifelong
learners four UC Communiversity
programs this month with topics
ranging from behind the scenes at
the Observatory to NASA’s
explorations deep into the solar
2013 also brings us two possibly
great comets (we’ll keep our fingers
crossed), the ringed wonder Saturn,
a Super Moon, a picnic under the
stars and even ice cream sundaes.
When you add all the school
outreach and field trips, professional
development sessions, history tours
and programs, rentals and all the
rest of our offerings, it’s a jampacked calendar. More than our
small number of staff could possibly
hope to handle by themselves.
We’ve said it before; the
Observatory could not serve the
community with such wide array of
exceptional programs without the
substantial investment of time,
talent and treasury from our
To help meet an ever increasing
demand for programs we’d like to
offer you some new and additional
opportunities to contribute to both
our public and school programming.
Dean and Leo could use your
including the Late Nights, student
field trips to the COC, off-site
stargazes, and scout tour and
If you’re new to these types of
programming Dean, Leo and John
are certainly willing and available to
help get you started.
For our more experienced
presenters Leo and Dean can guide
you in preparing or modifying your
existing presentations to serve
specific groups. Please feel free to
contact them.
And we encourage you to
bookmark the Events tab on the
website, mark your favorites on
your calendar and visit your
Observatory often this year!
Dean’s Astronomy
Classes for Members
February 11, 7pm
Dean Regas welcomes all members
to attend his topics in astronomy
classes. In February he will show
you the motions of the heavens as
seen from different places on Earth.
Then we’ll zoom off to other planets
to imagine the view from different
places in the solar system. The class
includes viewing through the
telescopes if clear. If you’re a
current member of the Observatory
at the $50 Family Membership level
or higher, the classes are free. Call
513-321-5186 to RSVP – space is
Did You Know….
The iron in the hemoglobin in our
blood is made from the explosion of
Type 1A Supernovas.
New & Renewing
Donna and Bill Anderson
Aine Baldwin
Nathan Barber
Molly Bayer
Bert & Barbara Becker
Douwe and Caroline Bergsma
Gene and Karen Bertke
John and Tricia Bevan
Jeff Blazey
Danny Brever
William and Lesley Bunn
Burdette Family
Tim and Patricia Burke
Olivia Canada
Jay Carroll
Amanda and Tim Davidson
Craig Davis
Linda and John Deatrick
Mike and Lisa Debbeler
Charles and Linda Dehner
Nathan Duncanson
Charles Fairbanks
Richard and Joan Finan
Noah and Julie Fleischmann
William & Dean Foster
Gene and Dixie Gaffney
John Gatch
Michael S. George
Jeff and Lynne Hamner
Dr. Nancy Spence and Mr. Ben
Robert Heslar
John Hisle
Bruce Holtgren
Lisa Manne and Mike Hood
Clare Hubbell
"Richard E. Hunter, Jr."
Nancy & Steve Hurst
Laura Murrer and Greg Jarvis
James and Rachel Johnson
Mike & Susan Karbowski
Wayne and Darlene Kinney
Evonne and Helen Kovach
Marjorie Kuck
Leslie Laine
Kevin Langston
Charles and Lorraine Maguire III
John McHugh
Harry and Pauline Moeller
Rodney and Susan Moeller
Thom and Sally Monahan
James Morrow
Robert W Myers Sr
Pamela Nebel-Logsdon
Craig and Valerie Niemi
Scott Oldfield
Sinan Ozyol
Kathleen and Daniel Peters
Valydon Philip Poonoosamy
Alvin Roehr
Doug and Laurie Ryan
Fred and Janet Sanborn
Robin Sargent
Danielle Schaper
Richard and Susan Schmidt
Susan and Michael Schock
Janice and Jeffrey Schroder
Becky Shundich
Henry and Jodi Stacey
Barbara and Michael Stough
Gary and Nancy Strassel
Stuart and Barbara Sutphin
Suzanne and Tom Terwilliger
Terri Thomas
Joe and Darlene Verkamp
Chris & Nancy Virgulak
Jason Voegele
Vernon and Bernadette Walatka
Courtney Wallace
Kevin Wang
Dwight Werren
Marc & Nadine Whitsett
Wes Houston and Sheri Wirtz
Lawrence Yates
Did You Know….
Our Sun has been getting 10%
hotter every billion years since its
Stargazing at Stonelick
State Park
Saturdays - Feb 2nd & 9th
By Craig Niemi
Jupiter is blazing bright in the
crisp clear nights. Dress warmly!
Stargazing begins at dusk. Open
to all ages. Bring your own scope
for expert help setting it up.
Facebook page for weather and
schedule updates.
Secret Life of Binary
Stars Is Revealed
A University of Alberta professor
has revealed the workings of a
celestial event involving binary stars
that produce an explosion so
powerful its luminosity ranks close
to that of a supernova, an exploding
Researchers have long debated
about what happens when binary
stars, two stars that orbit one
another, come together in a common
When this dramatic cannibalizing
event ends there are two possible
outcomes: the two stars merge into a
single star or an initial binary
transforms into an exotic shortperiod one.
The event is believed to take
anywhere from a dozen days to a
few hundred years to complete -- an
extremely fast time frame in terms
of celestial events.
More than half of all stars in the
universe are binary stars, but it was
not known what a common
envelope event would look like until
Late Night at the
February 15
10:30 pm-12:00 am
Beautiful View of
Clouds of Cosmic Dust
in Region of Orion
MHSGC is a coalition of small
museums, historical sites (including
the Observatory) and societies in
the Greater Cincinnati region. The
organizations represented share the
unique and fascinating history of
our region. Through exhibits,
programs, tours, lectures, and more,
these sites offer a unique
perspective on our past. On
By Craig Niemi
Looking for a unique night out?
Come see what the Observatory is
like after hours. You'll get to use the
oldest big telescope in the U.S. to
view astronomical objects that are
not visible until late at night
programs are recommended for
adults only.
If the weather does not permit
viewing, we’ll have fun with some
of the crazy science experiments
and “adult” constellation mythology
stories that we can’t share with
family audiences.
Admission is $10 per person
The late nights sell out early. To
make reservations please call 513321-5186
FOTO Board Members
& Date Term Expires
President: Basil Rowe / Oct. 2013
Vice President: Tiffany Groen
Oct. 2013
Secretary: Michelle Lierl Gainey
Oct. 2013
Treasurer: JoAnne Pedersen /
Oct. 2013
FOTO/COC Representative:
Scott Gainey / May 2013
Trustee: Dave McBride / Oct.
Trustee: Al Scheide / Oct. 2014
Trustee: Dave Bosse / Oct. 2013
Trustee: John Blasing / Oct. 2013
Did You Know….
Saturn’s rings are almost 100% ice.
Master of Arts in Public History
By Craig Niemi
A new image from the Atacama
Pathfinder Experiment (APEX)
telescope in Chile shows a beautiful
view of clouds of cosmic dust in the
region of Orion. While these dense
interstellar clouds seem dark and
observations, APEX’s LABOCA
camera can detect the heat glow of
the dust and reveal the hiding places
where new stars are being formed.
The image shows the region around
the reflection nebula NGC 1999 in
visible light, with the APEX
observations overlaid in brilliant
orange tones that seem to set the
dark clouds on fire. (Credit:
Stanke et al./Digitized Sky Survey
History majors often wonder what
they can do with their degree other
than teach in a traditional classroom.
The Master of Arts in Public History
offered at NKU gives those students
a new direction to take with their
Public historians are trained
to explain past human behavior in a
variety of different contexts. It is
history that is seen through museum
documentaries, books, articles and
audio-visual presentations.
Over the past several years the
Observatory has worked with NKU
students on historical research,
collection conservation and video
Did You Know…
While Venus spins once, Earth spins
243 times.
“Make It-Take It”
Teacher Workshops
By Craig Niemi
Make Your Own Astronomy
Education Materials & Kits!
Bring the universe to life in your
practical astronomy materials,
designed by the experts and built
by… you! In each workshop, you
have the opportunity to make
your own teaching tools, learn
how to use them with lessons and
activities, and then take your
creations home with you! The
workshop fee covers the cost of
all materials. Reservations are
required – call Leo at 513-3215186 to sign up!
The Andromeda galaxy, also known
as Messier 31, lies 2 million lightyears away, and is the closest large
galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is
estimated to have up to one trillion
stars, whereas the Milky Way
contains hundreds of billions.
Andromeda's overall mass may in
fact be less than the mass of the
Milky Way, when dark matter is
Space Instrument Adds
Big Piece to Solar
Corona Puzzle
Upcoming Workshops:
Moon Phases & Eclipses Kit
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Time: 12:00-2:00 PM Cost: $35
Seasons, Sundials, &
Solargraph Cameras
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Time: 12:00-2:00 PM Cost: $35
Cool, New Views of
Andromeda Galaxy
The ring-like swirls of dust filling
the Andromeda galaxy stand out
colorfully in this new image from
the Herschel Space Observatory, a
European Space Agency mission
with important NASA participation.
This is one of the highest-resolution
images ever taken of the solar
corona, or outer atmosphere. It was
Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C,
in the ultraviolet wavelength of 19.3
nanometers. Hi-C showed that the
Sun is dynamic, with magnetic fields
constantly warping, twisting, and
colliding in bursts of energy. Added
together, those energy bursts can
boost the temperature of the corona
to 7 million degrees Fahrenheit
when the Sun is particularly active.
(Credit: NASA)
Strange Exoplanet's
'Backwards' Orbit
Explained by Extra
Star, Planet
A perplexing alien planet locked in
a "backwards" orbit around its
parent star may finally be explained
by the discovery of an extra planet
and star near the oddball planetary
system, scientists say.
The discovery is centered on the
so-called "backwards" planet HATP-7b, which orbits a star 1,040 lightyears from Earth in the constellation
Cygnus. The planet, first spotted in
2008, has long defied explanation
because of its orbit, which carries
the world around its parent star in
the opposite (or
direction of the star's spin.
Long-term gravitational interference from the newfound star and
alien planet, may be responsible for
the strange retrograde orbit of HATP-7b, researchers said.
While the planets of Earth's solar
system all orbit the sun in the same
direction as the sun's spin,
retrograde planets circling distant
stars. How these exoplanets got on
such unusual paths has remained a
mystery. The newfound planet and
star near the HAT-P-7b planetary
system could change that. [The
The 2013 Observatory
History Calendar
Phobos Flyby
This year, Mars Express will make
an extremely close flyby of Phobos,
one of the Red Planet's two tiny
shows that the star will crash
headlong into a trail of space dust
while speeding through its part of
the cosmos at a blistering 18.6 miles
(30 kilometers) per second. That's
about 66,960 mph (107,761 kph).
Possible Solar System
Orbiting White Dwarf
All proceeds benefit the
Cincinnati Observatory Center!
The “History Calendar” features all
the important dates you need to
remember - Observatory programs,
celestial events, and the significant
events in the Observatory’s unique
history. Plus lots of room to add
your own significant events. Dozens
of images from the Observatory’s
archives grace the pages.
Observatory members. Ten or more
copies $10 each.
On Mars, Dry Ice
'Smoke' Carves Up
Sand Dune
The seasonal thawing of carbon
dioxide ice near Mars' North Pole
carves grooves in the region's sand
dunes, three new studies reveal.
The discovery, made using
from NASA's Mars
spacecraft (MRO), reinforces that the
Red Planet's surface continues to be
transformed today, even though Mars'
volcanoes have died out and its liquid
surface water apparently dried up long
It is not just a flyby; it is almost
within touching distance. The
spacecraft's orbit around Mars will
be altered so it flies past Phobos at a
distance of just 36 miles (58
kilometers) — far closer than Mars
Express' 2011 Phobos encounter,
which brought it to within 62 miles
Supergiant Star
Betelgeuse to Crash
into Cosmic 'Wall'
The red supergiant star Betelgeuse
in the famed constellation Orion is
on a collision course with a strange
wall of interstellar dust, with the
clock ticking down to a cataclysmic
cosmic smashup in 5,000 years,
scientists say.
A new image of Betelgeuse by
the European Space Agency's
infrared Herschel space observatory,
At 150 light-years from Earth, the
Hyades cluster is the nearest star
cluster to Earth's solar system and
scientists have long wondered if
some of those stars are home to
alien planets.
Now, that particular mystery
might be solved.
Astronomer Ben Zuckerman, a
physics and astronomy professor at
UCLA, has discovered evidence that
the atmosphere of a white dwarf
star in the Hyades cluster is
"polluted" with rocky material from
pulverized asteroids pulled into orbit
around the dying, super-dense star.
The presence of asteroid dust,
Zuckerman said, suggests that larger
objects like exoplanets, or possibly
an entire solar system, may also be
orbiting the white dwarf.
Did You Know….
In the winter of 2009 a 25 foot wide
asteroid passed within 9000 miles or