Last Saturday, after finishing the NJC open day, the astro club went to the East Coast to join the Orionids star party organized by the MPCC astro club. It was an activity open to all the astro clubs in Singapore. As we reached the destination, Anne taught the members how to set up a telescope and align the finding scope. Everything was ready, but the sky became a bit cloudy and the whole group had to wait. Certainly a lot of activities were prepared to entertain us as the backup plan. At midnight, the moonlight pollution flawed the whole plan and it really disrupted the observation to a certain extent. Fortunately, most stars could still be spotted.
Let me tell you how many things I have learned in this star party:Trace the stars. Yeah, you need to know some important stars, like Archenar to help you confirm the direction and then use the star chart to help you have a general idea about the position of the star you want to find. Yes, by using this method, I found Pleiades. That’s really the most thrilling moment. One more thing, next time do not forget to bring a jacket, otherwise your are going to freeze.
Attendance for this event will be counted, and there'll be 1 way transport provided from school to Marine Parade Community Club. Since it's after Open Day, we'll go head straight there after cleaning up, and have dinner together (:
All members please reply to njastro at gmail dot com to confirm your attendance for the star party. Thanks!
Guest lecture on Wednesday 22nd October 2008
There'll be a lecture by Mr. Leek Meng Lee on our last session of the year! Title and description of the talk is as follow:
Title: From your physics textbooks to the Large Hadron Collider to the start of the universe
Introduction: This talk brings you on a journey, starting from your Physics textbooks to Man's quest in understanding the start of the Universe. We will start from the Physics at the JC level and bring it (conceptually) over to the highest Physics theories that we have. This is needed to understand the most intricate interactions between matter, energy, space and time. During the start of the Universe, we have these intricate interactions going on. Due to the high temperature and high energy, these interactions are in their most extreme version. Man attemps to reproduce such conditions on Earth through particle collider machines, the latest and the most advanced one is LHC (Large Hadron Collider). We will take a peek into this monster machine and how it will tell us the start of the Universe.
After the talk, we'll head over to Hwa Chong Institution for a brief observation session and socialise and make friends (:
Anyone managed to spot the mistake? If you couldn't, no matter, read on!
Everyone must be familiar with the terms "Big Dipper" and "Pole star", etc. both of which are supposedly useful in helping you locate the North direction and navigate your way when you're lost, as depicted in popular culture.
Now popular culture, more often than not, uses the terms interchangeably, while there is a marked distinction between the two.
A quick glance back to a diagram of the celestial sphere shows you this:
As seen, the North Celestial Pole (NCP) is the point where the entire celestial sphere, or "sky", appears to rotate about. The NCP also happens to be marked by a star of apparent magnitude 1.97, thus it appears stationary as the sky rotates about the NCP. Polaris therefore is a good pointer to the North.
Polaris aka Pole Star belongs to the asterism Little Dipper, whose picture is shown below:
Big Dipper and Little Dipper share a little bit of resemblance, thus explain the names.
The bigger asterism, due to its close angular distance from the NCP (as seen at 2 o'clock on 1st picture), is also a good North pointer. It however does not stay motionless on the sky, and thus rotates about the NCP just like the rest. Its stars are brighter and the asterism is more recognisable than Polaris, thus Big Dipper can be used to find Polaris, then North.
As such, referring back to the image we had last time...
The image shown was that of Big Dipper, NOT Little Dipper, therefore our Pole Star appears to have been misplaced, removed from Little Dipper and placed at Big Dipper instead. Big Dipper thus is not stationary, or "always there", and as it goes, the boy deceived the poor little girl -_-
ALSO, Polaris, at an apparent magnitude of 1.97, is not "the brightest star". Our brightest star excluding the Sun would have to be Sirius of Canis Major, at apparent magnitude -1.46. For more information, just wiki.