Sky's Up July-September 2017 - Page 12

COURTESY OF Chuck Kimball
Above , astrophotographer Chuck Kimball of Julian , Calif ., captured this beautiful image of Barnard ’ s Galaxy – a barred irregular galaxy in Sagittarius . To get this image , Kimball used Explore Scientific ’ s ED127 f / 7.5 refractor telescope and a Canon XT / 350d camera modified with a Baader type 1 filter . Below , Kimball used Explore Scientific ’ s David H . Levy Comet Hunter telescope to get this stunning image of the Sagittarius Star Cloud , which is also known as Messier 24 .
as well . Let ’ s begin with its nebulae . The Lagoon Nebula ( Messier 8 ) is Sagittarius ’ largest and is best viewed with low magnification . Located about three finger-widths above the tip of the teapot ’ s spout , this emission nebula covers an area that is about 110 by 50 light years in size and is one of only a few star-forming nebulae that can be seen by the unaided eye . The massive glowing cloud is split by a
Sky ’ s Up
COURTESY OF Chuck Kimball dark lagoon-like rift , which gives it
its name . Its numerous high points include some prominent dark nebulae and a nice open cluster . Described as a glowing checkmark in the sky , Sagittarius ’ reddish Omega Nebula ( Messier 17 ) is an emission nebula 15 light years in diameter that is lit by an open cluster of about 35 young stars . The constellation is also home to the popular Trifid Nebula ( Messier
20 ), a glowing ball that manifests dark dust lanes in larger scopes . It is a combination of a reddish emission nebula , a blue reflection nebula , a dark nebula and an open cluster of stars . Another nebula of note is the pale blue-green Little Gem Nebula ( NGC 6818 ), which is a planetary nebula with an inner elongated shape . In addition to glorious nebulae , the constellation also has some worthwhile galaxies to explore . The first is the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy , which is one of the closest satellite galaxies to our Milky Way . Boasting an apparent visual magnitude of 4.5 , this loop-shaped galaxy has at least four globular star clusters including the dense Messier 54 , which was the first globular star cluster discovered outside the Milky Way . Other galactic offerings include Barnard ’ s Galaxy , a barred irregular galaxy with an apparent magnitude of 9.3 that is best viewed in a big telescope with very low power ; and the Sagittarius Dwarf Irregular Galaxy , which is the most distant galaxy that is believed to be a member of the Local Group . The Sagittarius constellation is brimming with clusters , but one of the most outstanding is Messier 22 , which is also known as the Sagittarius Cluster . One of the brightest and nearest globular star clusters , M22 can be seen by the naked eye under a dark sky but is particularly brilliant in a telescope . Located northeast of Kaus Borealis , it has an apparent magnitude of 5.1 and is one of only four known clusters of its kind to have a planetary nebula . A final wonder to explore in “ The Archer ” is the Sagittarius Star Cloud ( Messier 24 ). When you observe M24 , you are looking at a spiral arm of our galaxy through a gap in the Milky Way ’ s dust . This is a wonderful target for binocular viewing because you can see hundreds of stars pop within a single field of view . M24 also contains two noteworthy dark nebulae – Barnard 92 and Barnard 93 .
— Compiled by Patricia Smith
rising star Astronomical League’s National Young Astronomer Award NYAA winners make mark at NEAF What advice do you have for other young people who are interested in getting into the field of astronomy? My advice would be to visit your local library or take classes at your school to learn more about astronomy. These may help you find local organizations on amateur astronomy. These will open up a whole new world of opportunities for you. Most importantly, you should learn something new every day. It can be something small, like familiarizing yourself with a constellation, or you can go more in depth. This will help deepen your understanding of astronomy. What does the future hold for you as an outreach educator/astronomer? My ultimate goal is to become a science teacher. I plan on attending Radford University this fall and earn a degree in secondary education. I would also like to own a little science shop one day to promote science and learning in the community. COURTESY OF Sierra Bradley Bradley runs the RVAS planetary sorting game at a STEM event at Mountain View Elementary School. The NEW 92° LE Series Waterproof Eyepieces Longest Eye Relief in Their Class, Hyper-Wide The 92° LE Series Waterproof eyepieces provide a hyper-wide apparent field of view with long eye relief for comfortable viewing that immerses you in vast expanses of the star-studded sky. Optics and Coatings Each eyepiece features superior light transmission using high-refractive, edge- blackened optics with EMD multi-layer coatings on all optical surfaces. Explore STAR Unlimited Lifetime Warranty All Explore Scientific eyepieces registered within 60 days of purchase are protected by our exclusive, fully transferrable unlimited lifetime warranty to guarantee your satisfaction. $ 499 99 Each What will you discover? ©2016 Explore Scientific® All rights reserved. Purchase information and authorized dealer locater available at our website. 12 Sky ’ s Up For more than two decades, the Astronomical League has held its annual National Young Astronomer Award competition to recognize the outstanding astronomical research of high school age Perri Zilberman students. Past winners have addressed subjects ranging from Cepheid pulsation to photometry of asteroids to quasars. This year’s top teenage honorees tackled equally weighty topics to earn recognition and win both an Explore Shanmurugan Scientific telescope and a trip to the renowned Selvamurugan Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, N.Y. First place winner Perri Zilberman took the top honor with his research on the correlation between exoplanets known as “hot Jupiters” and the occurrence of debris disks. Although this research has led to other kudos, the NYAA was particularly significant. “I’ve received several accolades for my research project, but the NYAA is the only award that is specifically for astronomy research,” Zilberman said. “As far as I know, the NYAA is also one of the only competitions that’s specifically for astronomy research and one of the only competitions where the winner is selected exclusively through professional astronomers. These things, as well as my lifelong interest in astronomy, have made the award very meaningful for me.” Zilberman, who recently graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, N.Y., also thoroughly enjoyed the trip to NEAF given to him by the Astronomical League. To him, the event was “an amazing experience” because it gave him the opportunity to see a wide variety of telescopes, talk with other avid amateur astronomers and hear “captivating” presentations from Sky ’ s Up a layman’s look at the winning project The Occurrence Rate of Hot Jupiter Host Stars with Warm Debris Disks Hot Jupiters are a type of exoplanet with a similar mass to Jupiter, but extremely small orbits. It is supported that they must form further out in their system and migrate inwards. These migrations can potentially cause the collisions of other bodies within their systems, possibly leading to a debris disk. This study attempted to determine a possible correlation between the occurrence of debris disks and the occurrence of hot Jupiters. In order to study this, we obtained a sample of 51 hot Jupiter bearing stars and ran them through a Spectral Energy Distribution Fit (SEDFit) program. This program allowed us to, among other things, determine whether a particular star had a debris disk. Our data suggests that there is a positive correlation between the occurrence of debris disks and hot Jupiters. This supports the theory that hot Jupiters can cause destructive collisions between other bodies within their systems. — Perri Zilberman professionals he has long admired. “Astronomy will definitely continue to be a part of my life,” Zilberman said. “I’m not certain as to whether I’ll continue pursuing astronomy research, but I have no intention of stopping my pursuit of amateur astronomy. My interest in space is still as strong as ever. The astronomy equipment I received as first place winner of the NYAA will definitely be put to good use over the upcoming years.” Like many passionate astronomers, second place winner Shanmurugan Selvamurugan felt the pull of the night sky at a young age. “I’ve always had a penchant for the stars ever since I was little and it probably started when my parents bought me my first telescope,” Selvamurugan said. “Seeing Mars as the red, mysterious planet that it was and not a star as I had previously thought really piqued my curiosity. 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