September 2016 Astronomy Highlights

Home...  Space Weather... September Astronomy Highlights... Debbie (Hartzog) Walker Observation Obsevatory... Chey's Observation Observatory G. Fischer Astro Photos... G. Petropoulos Astro Photos... Satellite Tracking "ISS, HST, Iridium Flares...  Astro Photos... My Astro Photos... Moon Updates For Lunatics... NASA Solar System... NASA Space Station ISS News... Curiosity on Mars... Kepler Mission... Cassini Mission Update... Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite(LCROSS)... Radio JOVE Project... Buy the Moon... Iridium Flare Satellite Images... Astrophotography and Camera Tips Shooting Nature... Earthquakes / USA / World... Reading Seismographs... Volcanoes / Plate Tectonics... Videos/How-Why Earthquake/Techtonics... What to Do Before, During, and After an Earthquake !!... Earthquake Data and Sources Links... Gemrock/Meteorite Hunting Near Barstow Ca... My Photo Work High Desert Area Favorite Links... Blog

September 2016 Astronmy Highlights and Interesting Events...Be Sure to check out The Night Sky Report after Highlights Below...Submit Your Images get them posted on this site...mail to:



If you're new to astronomy? Experience a star party for the first time, and maybe even look through a telescope at some of the wonders of our Universe. The first step is to find Astronomy activities in your local area.  Antelope Valley look here:...




Moonrise, Moonset and Phase Calendar for Lancaster, CA. .


METEOR ECHOES : The Air Force Space Surveillance Radar is scanning the skies above Texas. When a meteor or satellite passes over the facility--ping!--there is an echo. Follow link to listen to a live audio feed:

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The Night Sky This Month (September 2016)

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UCLA Department of Earth and Space Sciences

NASA'S Eyes on the Solar System


Whats Going on in The Night Sky This Week

Recent News Articles

Merging Super Stars "My Cam"
Kman Kenny Walker @ (K.O.O.L.) Dec. 10, 2014

MY Camelopardalis, "MY Cam" so I've been informed by a friend over and over but just couldn't understand what she meant? she asked, "Hey you know about My cam colliding"? Oh  my "what happened to your cam? I thought! Did you break it?  I just knew she had knocked it off her computer or something and I had missed what she had said. Just didn't hit me what she was meant...LOL "Duh You"...she said..I still couldn't figure what I had missed? What was she saying? Ah! She was abreviating, Camelopardalis eclisping binary star
system on the verge of merging and knew all about it, she just knew I was well informed about what was going to happen! I didn't have a clue!..See what happens when you dont read emails and keep up on auotmatic feeds? And I was going to fill her in on what's up with the Stars? And her questions? Yep felt so stupid on that one for sure. I got through it, Besides she should know about it anyway! Part of studies!

I thought Angels knew everything MissA? Obviously she one upped me on that one for sure. I'm going have to pay more attention from now on! Yep we went on to the next So what where we talking about?
Oh yeah My Cam "Camelopardalis" an eclisping binary star system has been reported by (Dec.2014) "Calar Alto Observatory to be on the verge of merging together". The journal Astronomy & Astrophysics has published an article on MY Cam, one of the most massive stars known, with the results of observations from the (Dec. 2014) "Calar Alto Observatory (Almería)" signed by astronomers at the University of Alicante, the Astrobiology Centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CAB-CSIC) and the along with amateur astronomers. This article concludes that "MY Cam is the most massive binary star observed and its components, two stars of spectral type O (blue, very hot and bright), 38 and 32 times the Sun’s mass, are still on the main sequence and are very close to each other, with an orbital period of less than 1.2 days", in other words, the shortest orbital period in this type of stars. This indicates that the binary was virtually formed as it is now: the stars were almost in contact at the time they were formed. The expected development is the merger of both components into a single object over 60 solar masses before any of them have time to evolve significantly. What made them develope into two seperate suns at their begining developement?
Hence, these results demonstrate the viability of some theoretical models suggesting that most massive stars are formed by merging less massive stars. As explained by Javier Lorenzo, from the University of Alicante and first author of the article, (Dec. 2014) "in these systems all stars describe their orbits around a common centre of mass." In particular, the stars much more massive than the Sun contain an equivalent mass to many suns and tend to always appear in company. Recent studies suggest that these high-mass stars, that are much larger and hotter than the Sun, form part of systems with at least one other companion of comparable mass. example is the binary system known as MY Camelopardalis (MY Cam), located in the constellation of the Giraffe (Camalopardalis). This object is the brightest star in the open cluster “Alicante 1?, which was recently identified as a small stellar nursery by researchers at the University of Alicante. Although it has been known for over fifty years that MY Cam is a high-mass star, it was only ten years ago that it was recognised
as an eclipsing binary, a system in which one star passes in front of the other every time they complete their orbit, leading to changes in the brightness of the system that we perceive from Earth. This property of eclipsing binaries allows us to know many of the characteristics of the component stars through a careful study of the light that comes from them and the simple application of Newton’s law of universal gravitation. Their masses are 38 and 32 times the Sun’s mass. Such huge stars do not fit so easily into such a small orbit and the conclusion of the study is that they are actually in touch and the material of their outer layers is mixing, giving place to a common envelope (what is known as a contact binary). MY Cam is one of the most massive contact binaries known and by far the most massive whose components are so young they have not yet begun to evolve.  As stated by Ignacio Negueruela, another author from the University of Alicante, this is the most interesting aspect of MY Cam since its foreseeable future confirms some of the current theories of formation of extremely massive stars.

The properties of the two components of "MY Cam" suggest that they are extremely young stars formed in the past two million years. This extreme youth allows us to suspect that the system was formed essentially as it is now, although perhaps the two stars were not touching initially. As they get older, their natural evolution is to become larger. Given that they have no clearance between them, this process will lead to the merger of the two stars in a single object, a real star mastodon. The details of the merger process are not known, because it has never been seen before. Some theoretical models suggest that the merger process is extremely fast, releasing a huge amount of energy in a kind of explosion. Other studies favour a less violent process, but in any event spectacular.

Anyway, many astrophysicists believe that the merger of the components of a close binary is probably the most effective way to generate extremely massive stars. MY Cam is the first example of a system that can lead to one of these objects. Many are watching this system very closely in hopes of catching them as they merge into one. Stay tuned and an eye in the northern constellation of Camelopardalis (the Giraffe) for you star hunters. The head of the Giraffe lays towards the North star. MY Cam sits at the end of the hindlegs
of the Giraffe, and if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you could probably see it using just binoculars pointed between Ursa Major and Cassiopeia. It's anybody's guess as to what exactly will happen. What to you think? Put your thoughts on paper on the Blog page!

Merging Super Stars 'My Cam"

Kenny Walker December 11, 2014 (Published 1st Edition 12/11/2014)
kmanskies Observation Obsevratory Lancaster (K.O.O.L.)

Information, Articles, Data Retrieved from:

Posted by: News Dec 11, 2014 in Press Releases, Science
Dec.10, 2014 Calar Alto Observatory (Almería)
Dec. 10, 2014 Canaries’ Astrophysics Institute (IAC)
Dec. 09, 2014 Spanish National Research Council (CAB-CSIC)

  Sky & Telescope Home

 2016 Astronomy Highlights

ScienceCasts: 600 Mysteries in the Night Sky Video

The Space Calendar covers space-related activities and anniversaries for the coming year. Included are over 4,100 links to related home pages. This Calendar is compiled and maintained by Ron Baalke. Please send any updates or corrections to


Note that launch dates are subject to change at any time. Also, anniversary dates are listed in 5 year increments only.  

JPL Home Page JPL Home Page - Earth JPL Home Page - Solar System JPL Home Page - Stars and Galaxies JPL Home Page - Technology  

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Created in 1994, this Space Calendar covers space-related activities and anniversaries for the coming year. Included are over 4,600 links to related home pages. This Calendar is compiled and maintained by Ron Baalke. Please send any updates or corrections to

Note that launch dates are subject to change at any time. Also, anniversary dates are listed in 5 year increments only.


Space Calendar (JPL)

September 2016




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A few hundred miles away in Roswell, New Mexico, radio engineer and long-time associate Stan Nelson picks up the echos using a yagi antenna on his roof: photo.

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ABOVE:...Image of the Month Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 Image: STScI, ESA, NASA,This colourful image was assembled in 2014 from Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data and includes the full range of wavelengths available to the HST from ultraviolet to the near infrared. It shows the Universe in the extreme past with the dimmest galaxies being more than 10 billion times fainter than stars visible to the unaided eye.



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NASA'S Eyes on the Solar System



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But big scopes don’t make all the discoveries.

 Scientists from The Ohio State University bucked the trend last week when they announced having spotted two exoplanets using the diminutive Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT North) in southern Arizona. (Its twin, KELT South, is in South Africa.) Astronomer Joshua Pepper (Vanderbilt University) built KELT North as part of his doctoral dissertation while at Ohio State. The scope sports a lens about as powerful as a high-end digital camera, says current OSU doctoral student Thomas Beatty, a member of the team behind the planetary find. The telescope, which cost less than $75,000 to build, performs automated, wide-field surveys of the northern sky. It takes in a 26°-square field of view through an off-the-shelf 80-mm, f/1.9 lens and CCD camera. The telescope itself could "almost fit in a shoebox" and reaches only chest height when sitting on its mount, says Beatty. Pint-size though it may be, the planets it found are anything but. The more typical of the two, KELT-2A b, circles the primary star of the binary HD 42176 in the constellation Auriga, about 417 light-years distant. It's a third again larger than Jupiter and orbits every 4.1 days. These days discovering such "hot Jupiters" is nothing special. But only a handful of them have been found around relatively bright stars — magnitude 8.8 in this case. KELT team member Scott Gaudi (Ohio State) says that KELT-2A is bright enough that it should shine clearly through the planet's atmosphere, allowing scientists to make direct observations of the exoplanet's cloud envelope. These observations will provide valuable data for scientists studying the atmospheres and interiors of hot Jupiters.

 Citizen Scientists Discover Four-Star Planet with NASA Kepler

The discovery of planets continues to expand beyond the domain of professional astronomers. A joint effort of amateur astronomers and scientists has led to the first reported case of a planet orbiting a double-star that, in turn, is orbited by a second distant pair of stars.

Aided by volunteer citizen scientists using the website, a Yale-led international team of astronomers identified and confirmed discovery of the phenomenon, called a circumbinary planet in a four-star system. Only six planets are known to orbit two stars but none of these are orbited by a distant binary.

Coined PH1, the planet was identified by the citizen scientists participating in Planets Hunters, a Yale-led program that enlists the public to review astronomical data from NASA's Kepler spacecraft for signs of planets transits distant stars.


Follow this link for ISS tracking.

Follow this link to CoolScopes: or

CLICK ON My Time Machines "Telescopes" Image Below: "A little Bit of Everything Telescopes" @

There's a misconception that in order to do real science and make astronomical

discoveries, you have to be a professional astronomer. With modern telescopes

and cameras, not to mention the internet, this is no longer true (if it ever

was true). How can you, the amateur astronomer, get your fingers into the

vast, empty, cold pie of astronomical research?


Comets are perhaps the most well-known amateur discoveries, because the

International Astronomical Union officially names comets after their

discoverers. What stargazer doesn't dream of that kind of glory? While the

first named comet was named for Sir Edmund Halley, the man who calculated its

orbit and predicted its return, modern astronomers simply have to find a comet

and confirm that nobody knew about it already in order to get their name on


Artificial Satellites

The idea of 'discovering' an artificial object made by human beings seems

strange. Don't the people who put it there know where it is? Usually, but

finding and tracking these things can be important anyway. In November of

2008, astronaut Heidi marie Stefan was on a space walk to perform repairs on

the International Space Station, when she lost one of her tool bags. Four days

later, amateur astronomer Kevin Fetter turned a telescope and video camera on

the sky, and captured footage of the 8th-magnitude tool bag (that's a little

bit fainter than the faintest naked-eye stars) as it hurtled through space.

Variable Stars

Many stars, especially as they reach old age, have regular variations in their

size and therefore brightness. Others have enormous sunspots covering large

areas of their surfaces, which make them appear darker and brighter as they

rotate. There are many different reasons why a star can be variable, but the

more data we collect the more we know about stars. The American Association of

Variable Star Observers maintains an online warehouse of variable star

observations by amateur and professional astronomers; you can submit your

observations whether you've judged the star's magnitude by eye, or taken

digital photographs and done intricate measurements on it.

Extrasolar planets

Twenty years ago we had no proof that planets existed outside our solar

system. Fifteen years ago only the most sensitive research instruments could

detect extrasolar planets. Today amateur astronomers regularly assist in

observations. If you have a big enough telescope and an astronomical CCD

camera, pop over to for a list of transiting

extrasolar planets (i.e. those that pass between us and their parent stars, so

that we can detect a drop in the amount of light from the star). You can do

some observations and contribute to the pool of data.

What can you do with a telescope or Without?

Brenda M.Shaw is an avid amateur astronomer who lives in a light-polluted

metropolis and usually gets her observing fix from MoonZoo.

There are lots of projects that you can participate in on the internet. Do a

search and you'll find teams searching for extrasolar planets, supernovae,

near-Earth asteroids, and more. Some of these require that you have some

experience in astronomy; others will train you from the ground up.

The easiest way for the beginner to dive into astronomical research is to join, where you can scan the Sun for solar storms and

explosions, classify craters on the Moon or distant galaxies, or hunt for

distant supernovae. You'll get a little training session that explains how to

identify and sort objects in the images, and all you need is a web browser and

an internet connection.

Is this proof enough for you? Get out there and do some science! Follow the

link below!

Astronomy Picture of The Day

Perhaps the most peculiar thing discovered in the Zooniverse so far is the

galaxy-sized gas blob known as Hanny's Voorwerp. Discovered by Dutch teacher

Hanny van Arkel in an early GalaxyZoo image, this object (or voorwerp, if you

translate it into Dutch) is baffling enough that the GalaxyZoo team received

time on the Hubble Space Telescope to observe it in more detail. The

observations began this spring, so stay tuned. Click here to see the Voorwerp

in all its glory on Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Comet Ison is Coming The NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign 

Sun Grazing Comets or Sun Grazers

Amateur Observers' Program Asteroids & Comets
Experience the thrill of participating
in a NASA project!

Don't worry, you won't need to know much about astronomy, comets or asteroids. That's what this site is about!

Getting started...
•If you don't know what an asteroid or comet is or how to find things in the night sky, you'll want to start with the
Beginner's Guide.

  • Take the next step and learn about coordinates, magnitudes, and some simple projects in the Intermediate Guide.
  • If you just want to submit your latest observation, go to the Log Book.
  • Finally, want to know the lowdown on the missions/projects? Check out the

  • My Time Machines