Wednesday 27 November 2013

Astronomy Scrapbook Thursday 28th November 2013

Eye in the Sky

Comet ISON is at Perihelion today, the point in its orbit when it passes closest to the Sun. Astronomers will be watching to see if ISON survives its close encounter with the Sun.

On This Day
November 28th 1964.

The Launch of Mariner 4

The Mariner 4 mission to Mars would be the space craft that finally killed off the idea that Mars was covered in Canals and tundra like vegetation.

Mariner 4
When Mariner reached Mars in 1965 it sent back photos that showed that Mars was very inhospitable to life. Or is it?

On This Day
November 28th 1967

First Pulsar discovered.

The first Pulsar was observed by Jocelyn Bell using a radio telescope at Cambridge, England.  The word "pulsar" is a contraction of "pulsating star", and first appeared in print in 1968:

Jocelyn Bell

A Pulsar is a neutron star, the result of a supernova explosion, these stars are very small and dense.  These stars spin very quickly, sometimes in less than a second sending out bursts of energy.

Impression of a Pulsar

The first Pulsar to be discovered was nick named LGM 1 meaning Little Green Man, because some people thought these regular bursts of energy were from aliens trying to contact us! 

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