THE COSMIC DIARY NETWORK

Dome dunes
Published 2/17/2020 in Lori Fenton's Blog Author lfenton
Feb. 17, 2020 I've been busy but I wanted to squeeze in a quick pretty picture of some Mars dunes. These: These dark hills of windblown sand are on the small side for Mars. The smallest is ~88 m (288 ft) across (for reference the smaller dunes found on Earth are usually 1/4 this size). What's cool about them is the variation in their slip faces: that steep slope that is just crying out for someone to slide down it (or roll down it, or run down it, or go sandboarding🏄🏽‍♀️, or something fun). Some have nice steep slip faces that are easy to find, clearly proclaiming that the wind is blowing mainly toward the bottom of the frame. That must be the case because we're looking at an itty bit of a... read more ❯

Feb. 14 - Feb 22 Weekend Edition: Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe exoplanets!
Published 2/14/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, It's time for another Unistellar eVscope exoplanet citizen science campaign. We would LOVE (Happy Valentine's Day by the way) your help observing some exoplanets, so if you want to join us in some planet hunting, then charge up those eVscopes and get ready because we need your help over the next few weekends! If you didn't catch my recent posts on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is possible for any astronomy enthusiast around the world to coordinate with planet hunting scientists like us to help contribute to the search for planets around other stars (a.k.a. exoplanets). Currently, one of the best planet hunting missions in operations is NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (a.k.a. TESS). Although NASA's TESS is... read more ❯

Occultation by Nyanza on President Day across the US
Published 2/13/2020 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Hello, If you have an eVscope and you want to participate to a scientific campaign on Presidents’ Day, this is something that may interest you. The asteroid 1356 Nyanza will occult a V-12.2 star for up to 6 seconds on February 17 at ~8pm PST and 11pm EST. Yes! This occultation will be visible across the US, from Redding, CA to Philadelphia, PA and Chicago, IL. If a large number of eVscope users observe this event, we will be able to derive the size, shape and eventual existence of moons around the asteroid. So don't wait and take your eVscope out if you are located nearby the visibility path of the event! Astronomers are very interested in the shape and the size of asteroids because this helps them understand how they formed. For instance, a few days ago, a group of astronomers revealed the first pictures of the asteroid Pallas, which is heavily cratered,... read more ❯

What to do tonight? Watch a type Ia supernova with your eVscope
Published 1/31/2020 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
There is a bright type Ia supernova in the elliptical galaxy NGC 4636 named 2020ue. Since its discovery by the Japanese astronomer  Koichi Itagaki  on January 12 2020,  it has gotten brighter and now has reached its maximal magnitude of 12. It can be easily  spotted with your eVscope! How can you observe it? Use the Explore menu and look for "NGC 4636", then click "Goto". When the telescope is done slewing and is tracking, click "enhanced Vision" and you will be able to easily see it even from a city. Located in the constellation of Virgo, the target is visible is the second part of the night from SF/LA/Montreal/NYC/Marseille. (After 1am). Our team in Marseille got a quick image a few hours ago under relatively poor conditions but it's easy to spot. See the  image below. What can you see? "A type Ia supernova (read "type one-a") is a type of supernova that occurs in binary systems... read more ❯

Feb. 1 - Feb. 9 Weekend Edition: Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe exoplanets!
Published 1/29/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, It's time for another Unistellar eVscope exoplanet citizen science campaign. We would love your help observing some exoplanets, so if you want to join us in some planet hunting, then charge up those eVscopes and get ready because we need your help over the next few weekends! If you didn't catch my recent posts on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is possible for any astronomy enthusiast around the world to coordinate with planet hunting scientists like us to help contribute to the search for planets around other stars (a.k.a. exoplanets). Currently, one of the best planet hunting missions in operations is NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (a.k.a. TESS). Although NASA's TESS is an amazing instrument, it still needs... read more ❯

January 24 Edition: Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe a NASA TESS exoplanet TONIGHT!
Published 1/24/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, Today is my birthday and for a gift, I want you to be involved in something innovative like participating in the very first second Unistellar exoplanet detection campaign? Then charge up those eVscopes and get ready because we need your help tonight to try and observe a NASA TESS exoplanet! If you didn't catch my last post on this topic, my name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is possible for any astronomy enthusiast around the world to coordinate with planet hunting scientists like us to help contribute to the search for planets around other stars (a.k.a. exoplanets). Currently, one of the best planet hunting missions in operations is NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (a.k.a. TESS). Although NASA's TESS is an amazing instrument, it... read more ❯

Get your Unistellar eVscopes and help observe an exoplanet this weekend!
Published 1/11/2020 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
Dear Unistellar eVscope users, Want to be involved in something innovative like participating in the very first Unistellar exoplanet detection campaign? Then charge your eVscope and get ready because we need your help this weekend! My name is Dan Peluso and I am doing my PhD in astrophysics with Franck Marchis (astronomer at the SETI Institute) and as a portion of my research I want to see if it is possible for any astronomy enthusiast around the world to coordinate with planet hunting scientists like us to help contribute to the search for planets around other stars (a.k.a. exoplanets). Exoplanet searches usually require elaborate setups, lots of study, maybe a fancy degree, and a sky mostly free of light pollution. With new technologies, such as with the new Unistellar eVscope and the citizen science network we are developing in coordination with the SETI Institute that is no longer the case! Check out the... read more ❯

The exoplanet Beta Pictoris b. And yet it moves
Published 12/5/2019 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Franck Marchis
Eric Nielsen, formerly a post-doc at the SETI Institute and now a researcher at Stanford University, led a study of the planet beta Pictoris b that combined direct observation of the planet recorded with the Gemini Planet Imager with additional data from space and ground-based observations. The team estimated the mass of this distant planet to be eight to sixteen times that of Jupiter and found that it likely has an elliptical orbit. A video shows the motion of the planet around its star, something that was inconceivable fifteen years ago. Since it was installed on the Gemini-South telescope in 2013, GPI has been continually observing beta Pictoris, studying its debris disk, atmosphere, and orbit, and searching for additional planets in the system. What makes beta Pictoris b special in the family of directly imaged exoplanets is that it is close enough to its star to complete an orbit in just twenty-five years,... read more ❯

Finding a Space Station with a Backpack Telescope
Published 11/28/2019 in Dan's Cosmic Diary Author Dan Peluso
How I observed the International Space Station (ISS) transit the Moon with a Unistellar eVscope!   Space station! Read it, hear it, or think it, and my mind is immediately transported to the scene in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope when Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and Han Solo find the Death Star and Obi-Wan says “that’s no moon, it’s a space station” (Lucas 1977). On Saturday morning, November 16, at 3:43 am PDT in Pioneer Park in Woodland, California, I saw both a space station and a moon with a robotic telescope that fits in a backpack! The International Space Station (a.k.a. the ISS) is one of the greatest technological achievements of human creation. The football field sized space station is a scientific laboratory collaborative with... read more ❯