Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
Watch an interesting talk that Chris Hadfield gave on a TED conference:

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Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
On Monday, August 18th, early rises can get a glimpse of the Venus - Jupiter Conjunction. The planets rise about an hour and a half before the Sun, but since the sky gets brighter about an hour before sunrise, best time to observe is when the Jupiter and Venus rise - they're separated by less than a degree, seemingly being closer together than they've been since the year 2000. It's definitely something to look for!

Jupiter and Venus will be still quite close together for the next few days, but not as close as on Monday.

Another thing to wait for - on August 23rd, Jupiter and Venus are joined by a thin crescent Moon and make a triangle in the early morning sky.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
Under a Crimson Sun by David S. Stevenson

Prospects for Life in a Red Dwarf System

Red dwarfs are some of the smallest, dimmest and coolest stars in the Universe than might outlive stars like the san a hundred times or more.

Given that red dwarfs have a rather stable energy output for billions of years, how might life arise, survive and thrive on a planet around a red dwarf star, and is it even possible? These are some of the questions that the reader gets an answer to in this fascinating book by David S. Stevenson.

This book looks more specifically at a red dwarf designated Gliese 581, that scientists have confirmed has at least four planets. Although one might not consider a possible planetary system around a small dim reddish star too inviting or even interesting, as you read “Under a Crimson”, you might suddenly wish to actually one day see, how a planet might look like there and whether or not some of Stevenson’s ideas about how life might thrive there will be proven correct. Will the plant-life possibly have black-coloured leaves and use infrared light for photosynthesis ? Or will plants learn to move around like the Ents do in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world, as the planets that could be suitable for life might be tidally locked as they have to be quite close to get enough energy from the star?

“Under a Crimson Sun” offers a lot of interesting ideas and possibilities and surprises the reader with rare glimpses of more humorous writing in a book about astronomy, going from a planet made of pasta or porridge and what would happen on it to more realistic planets, which are every bit as curious as the ones that one might think are edible (to find out whether they’d be, you’ve got to read this book!)

It is a thought-provoking book, that provides information about modern research into exoplanets and super-Earths in particular, as well as entertaining science-writing, making this book an excellent choice for some additional reading for students and also showing how life might be totally different somewhere else and not similar at all to what we know here on Earth.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
On Sunday, August 11th there was the so-called "Super-Moon", a Full Moon in it's closest approach to Earth on it's orbit, so in perigee.
According to NASA a full Moon can appear 14% brighter and up to 30% brighter in perigee than in apogee (the furthest point from Earth).

Here are some of the pictures taken in Toila, Estonia
Credit: Kadri Tinn

Credit: Kadri Tinn

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Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
Sun in H-Alpha on August 10 and 11. Most of the differences in the edge features (prominences) are because of different conditions at the time, as on 10th there were thin clouds covering the sun and on 11th there weren't. Also on one of the images I used a bigger magnification with the zoom eyepiece than on the other one. Can you spot which one?

Pictures were taken using a Coronado SolarMax II telescope and Canon EOS 500D camera with a Hyperion 8-24mm zoom eyepiece. For the Sun on the left: ISO 400, 1/80s, for the Sun on the right: ISO 200, 1/30s.
Sun in H-Alpha. Credit: Kadri Tinn

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Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
One of the strongest regular meteor showers - the Perseids peak tonight.

Although the Moon is just past it's full phase, the night sky will still be rather bright and hence only the brightest fireballs will be visible. Don't despair though, with a sufficiently long observation time and clear skies, you'll be likely to at least see a few.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2014
By Kadri Tinn |
The Sun in H-Alpha on August 6th, 2014.
Telescope Coronado SolarMax II, camera Canon EOS 500D, ISO 800, exp 1/60s.
The Sun in H-Alpha. Credit: Kadri Tinnn




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