July of this year, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully completed its five-year
primary mission to explore and better understand the hidden internal structure
of Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System. Based on what we know about
Jupiter’s chemical composition, researchers have been looking at Jupiter to
help them advance their theories about what happens to ordinary matter when
pushed to incredibly high pressures and densities that remain unobtainable
in laboratories here on Earth. Jupiter may be showing us the way towards
creating room-temperature superconductors made out of the ordinary and
plentiful element hydrogen.
us for a review of what we have learned so far, and what we hope to discover as
Juno embarks upon a five-year extension to its mission.
the talk, participants can enjoy live virtual close-up views of the planets
Jupiter and Saturn, as weather permits.
The Presentation will also provide you with a report on the Perseids Meteor Shower and information about viewing naked-eye nova RS Ophiuchus that erupted on August 8th.
Perseids meteor shower peaks this week on Wednesday and Thursday nights (August
11th & 12th). The Moon is in its crescent phase, so
its light won’t diminish your ability to see the fainter meteors this year.
don’t need any special equipment to enjoy the show, just some clear weather and
preferably a viewing location away from city lights. From your backyard in an
urban residential setting, you can expect to see a dozen meteors (“shooting
stars”) every hour. But if you can get far from the glow of the city, you will
be treated to more than one meteor per minute, some seen leaving behind a
luminescent glow in their path and others ending their few seconds journey
across the sky with a brief flash of light.
best to use a full-body recliner when viewing the meteor shower, so you can
comfortably stare straight up at the sky. You want your view to be filled with
as much of the sky as possible, because the meteors can appear anywhere
overhead, though they will seem to be coming from a point off towards the East
(where the constellation Perseus is rising in the early part of the night).
you’ve set up your chairs and recliners and you and your companions are all
settled in for viewing, turn off any outdoor lights, flashlights and your
phones so you can let your eyes adapt to the darkness. It takes about 15
minutes for your eyes to fully adjust so you can see many more of the meteors.
You will also see a lot more stars and the Milky Way too. Remember to bring
some insect repellant, a blanket, some water and maybe some snacks and music to
share with your friends while viewing.
if you have binoculars, this is the perfect time to use them when you are ready
to take a break from meteor watching. You don’t need star charts; just point
your binoculars where you see brighter patches in the Milky Way to discover
many of the famous nebulae and star clusters for yourself, just like Galileo
and Messier first did hundreds of years ago.
Saturn and Jupiter will be well placed for observing in the second half of the summer and into the Fall. DDOD Astronomers Dr. Ian Shelton and Dr. Tuba Koktay recently obtained images of the two planets using their 10-inch telescope from Richmond Hill in Ontario. The first image shows Jupiter with its Great Red Spot visible. The second image taken two hours later clearly shows how quickly the planet rotates. The third image displayed at the same scale as the first two images shows how Saturn’s much greater distance makes it look much smaller than Jupiter in telescopes, even though the two planets are actually similar in size.
On the night of August 1, 2021, Saturn will be at “Opposition”, meaning that it is as close to exactly opposite (180 degrees away from) the Sun as its orbit and our view of it from here on Earth allows. Observationally, Saturn will rise near sunset, set near sunrise, and be at its highest point in the sky as it passes due south (“transits”) at local midnight. As seen from Richmond Hill (and for much of the GTA), Saturn will rise at 20:35 EDT, sets at 6:14 EDT, and transits at 1:25 EDT.
Being at opposition also means that Earth is passing at its closest point to Saturn as the two planets travel along their respective orbits around the Sun. On this night, Saturn will be only 1.3367 billion kilometres away from us. Ok, not exactly what most people would consider “close”. But this is when Saturn appears largest in our telescopes, though still only about 18.6 arcsec in diameter (~100 times smaller than the full Moon). That’s for the ball of the planet; the rings extend about 1.3x further outward from the planet, spanning 43 arcsec. But the rings are never seen fully face-on and are currently tilted by about 18 degrees from being seen edge-on, making the rings look only ~13 arcsec wide. With an adequate telescope (at least a 75 mm lens or mirror, operating at 100x or more) and good atmospheric “seeing” (stability), this allows the southern hemisphere of the planet to now be partly visible again after having been blocked from view when the rings were near their maximum tilt of 27 degrees four years ago. We are currently seeing mostly Saturn’s northern hemisphere. But don’t expect to see any details on the ball of the planet: Saturn rarely shows anything but subtle bands wrapping around the planet.
On the night of August 19, 2021, it will be Jupiter’s turn to be at Opposition. Being 19% physically larger and orbiting at half the distance that Saturn orbits from the Sun, Jupiter will display a disk 49.1 arc-sec in equatorial diameter, more than double the apparent size of Saturn. And during Oppositions, Jupiter appears 25% larger than its average size as viewed from the Earth. The planet will be 600 million kilometres away from us on this night. Unlike Saturn, a modest size (~75mm) telescope is enough to reveal the bands and belts that perpetually define the upper layers of Jupiter. And even a good pair of binoculars will reveal Jupiter’s four largest moons, rearranging themselves into a different configuration each night as they orbit around the planet in just a few days. Three of these are larger than our own Moon.
Jupiter is easy to find in the night sky, looking brighter than any star. Saturn may prove a bit more challenging because it is 15 times fainter; but it is still about as bright as the top ten brightest stars in the sky, and so reveals itself by looking out of place if you know your constellations. The first sky map shown below will help you find the two planets this summer. It should match the sky if you are looking at around 11 pm in mid-August. If you are looking earlier in either the month or in the night, the planets and surrounding stars will appear further towards the East (E); if you are looking later in the night or the month, look for the planets further towards the West (W). The second sky map shows the region centred on Saturn at the time of its opposition (at 1:25 EDT on August 2).
learn more about Saturn and Jupiter, have a look at the following websites:
David Dunlap Observatory’s official opening was on 31 May 1935, also Prof.
Chant’s 70th birthday. The opening ceremony was attended by notables such
as Sir Frank
Dyson, and former Prime Minister William Lyon
Mackenzie King, who praised the Observatory as “a gift to science all
over the world.” Chant retired the same day and moved into Observatory
House, the original pre-Confederationfarmhouse (built in
1864 for Alexander Marsh and known also as Elms Lea Alexander Marsh) just to
the south of the administration buildings, where he spent his remaining years.
In May 1939 the train carrying King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on their cross-Canada tour paused on the
railway to view the Observatory and the largest telescope in the
Presently, DDO has a rich heritage and offers public
astronomy programs hosted by the City of Richmond Hill and provided by the
program partners, DDODefenders and RASC.
If you have a clear horizon, you can watch Venus setting about half an hour after sunset. And Tonight, the International Space Station (ISS) will appear to pass right above Venus at 9:36 EDT tonight. The ISS will be moving from left to right and will appear ~20x fainter than Venus.
Note also that the much fainter “star” about 3 degrees above and a little to the left of Venus is actually the planet Mercury. Watch Venus move closer to it each night and then pass right beside Mercury on May 28.
Zoom link (Meeting ID: 850 1103 3763 Passcode: 653518)
We believe that the first stars in the universe formed about 200 million years after the Big Bang. Yet, we lack solid observational evidence about the timing of this epoch, called Cosmic Dawn.
The experiment SCI-HI is searching for the first stars at Cosmic Dawn by the detection of variations in the 21 cm Hydrogen line background as a function of cosmic time. Towards achieving our goal, we have sought radio quiet zones within Mexican Territory and have identified Isla Guadalupe in the Mexican Pacific Ocean 300 km off the Baja California Peninsula, as one of the best radio quiet zones in North America.
In this talk, Dr. López-Cruz will present the first SCI-HI results, some current improvements, and perspectives.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKER:
Dr. Omar López-Cruz is a Mexican Astronomer (M.Sc. & Ph.D.; Department of Astronomy, University of Toronto) who has worked on stellar classification and the evolution of galaxies in large density environments.
In 2014, he led an international team that proposed the cD galaxy Holm 15A as the host of the largest supermassive black hole (SMBH) in the local universe. In 2019, a German team led by Kianusch Mehrgan measured a mass of 40 billion times the mass of the Sun in Holm 15A, confirming the López-Cruz et al. conjecture. He also likes the popularization of Science. Recently he became the co-director of a book collection called La Biblioteca Científica del Ciudadano (The Citizen’s Scientific Library) aimed at encouraging the debate of scientific ideas in democratic societies. He appears on radio programs regularly and lectures widely on Astronomy and Scientific Affairs. He writes for magazines and newspapers in Mexico.
Zoom link (Meeting ID: 850 1103 3763 Passcode: 653518)
Supernovae are among the most violent events in the Universe since the Big Bang. They are highly destructive. And yet, they are also largely responsible for creating and dispersing most of the elements that enrich the Universe we live in. Indeed, without supernovae, the Earth and Life as we know them would likely not exist. On February 24, 1987, the brightest supernova since the invention of the telescope was discovered by a Canadian astronomer working on a mountaintop in Chile.
Dr. Ian Shelton for a personal account of his discovery of Supernova 1987A and
efforts to find the elusive neutron star “beast” that created the explosion.
If you would like to follow the exciting Astronomical Events in December, please register to our upcoming Virtual Up In the Sky DDO program. Our expert astronomers will be teaching you how to navigate the night time sky.
On December 21st Jupiter and Saturn will pass very close to each other, so close that you’ll need binoculars or a telescope to separate them. During the month of December these two gas giant planets can be seen just after sunset can be seen just above the south-west horizon. The attached video (animated GIF) shows how the two planets move each day during the month of December, then move apart after their closest approach on the 21st. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate on the day of closest approach, it will be a fun sight to watch these two giant planets move each clear evening during the month of December.