Photo of the Week

N159 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Space Telescope

Explanation: Over 150 light-years across, this cosmic maelstrom of gas and dust is not too far away. It lies south of the Tarantula Nebula in our satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud a mere 180,000 light-years distant. Massive stars have formed within. Their energetic radiation and powerful stellar winds sculpt the gas and dust and power the glow of this HII region, entered into the Henize catalog of emission stars and nebulae in the Magellanic Clouds as N159. The bright, compact, butterfly-shaped nebula above and left of center likely contains massive stars in a very early stage of formation. Resolved for the first time in Hubble images, the compact blob of ionized gas has come to be known as the Papillon Nebula.

YAS Workshop

Astrophotography and the Yukon

An unforgettable experience awaits you as you capture the world famous Yukon Aurorae Borealis. Are you ready? (Photo by Thomas Jacquin) — in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Learn how to use your camera to take photos of the night sky!

When: 7 to 9 PM
Where: Yukon College, Room A2402
Suggested donation to the Yukon Astronomical Society: $5 per person
Covered topics will include:
  • Constellations
  • The moon
  • Planets
  • Northern Lights
  • and, much more…

 

Thomas Jacquin’s astrophotography has been published in:

Thomas Jacquin (YAS member) and his homemade 10″ Dobsonian telescope


Catheryne Lord has been an amateur photographer for 15 years:

  • Catheryne has studied Commercial photography at Dawson College in Montreal
  • Completing her Professional Photography Course with the New York Institute of Photography

 

 

 

Photo of the Week

Mimas in Saturnlight


Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Mimas lies in near darkness alongside a dramatic sunlit crescent. The mosaic was captured near the Cassini spacecraft’s final close approach on January 30, 2017. Cassini’s camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction only 45,000 kilometers from Mimas. The result is one of the highest resolution views of the icy, crater-pocked, 400 kilometer diameter moon. An enhanced version better reveals the Saturn-facing hemisphere of the synchronously rotating moon lit by sunlight reflected from Saturn itself. To see it, slide your cursor over the image (or follow this link). Other Cassini images of Mimas include the small moon’s large and ominous Herschel Crater.

Photo of the Week

Crescent Enceladus

Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of tantalizing inner moon Enceladus poses in this Cassini spacecraft image. North is up in the dramatic scene captured last November as Cassini’s camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction about 130,000 kilometers from the moon’s bright crescent. In fact, the distant world reflects over 90 percent of the sunlight it receives, giving its surface about the same reflectivity as fresh snow. A mere 500 kilometers in diameter, Enceladus is a surprisingly active moon. Data collected during Cassini’s flybys and years of images have revealed the presence of remarkable south polar geysers and a possible global ocean of liquid water beneath an icy crust.

 

Photo of the Week

Daphnis the Wavemaker


Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

Explanation: Plunging close to the outer edges of Saturn’s rings, on January 16 the Cassini spacecraft captured this closest yet view of Daphnis. About 8 kilometers across and orbiting within the bright ring system’s Keeler gap, the small moon is making waves. The 42-kilometer wide outer gap is foreshortened in the image by Cassini’s viewing angle. Raised by the influenced of the small moon’s weak gravity as it crosses the frame from left to right, the waves are formed in the ring material at the edge of the gap. A faint wave-like trace of ring material is just visible trailing close behind Daphnis. Remarkable details on Daphnis can also be seen, including a narrow ridge around its equator, likely an accumulation of particles from the ring.

Photo of the Week

NGC 6357: Stellar Wonderland

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L. Townsley et al; Optical: UKIRT; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Explanation: For reasons unknown, NGC 6357 is forming some of the most massive stars ever discovered. This complex wonderland of star formation consists of numerous filaments of dust and gas surrounding huge cavities of massive star clusters. The intricate patterns are caused by complex interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields, and gravity. The featured image includes not only visible light taken by the UKIRT Telescope in Hawaii (blue) as part of the SuperCosmos Sky Surveys, but infrared light from NASA’s orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope (orange) and X-ray light from NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink). NGC 6357 spans about 100 light years and lies about 5,500 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpion. Within 10 million years, the most massive stars currently seen in NGC 6357 will have exploded.

Photo of the Week

The Extraordinary Spiral in LL Pegasi

llpegspiral_hubble_1625
Image Credit: ESA, Hubble, R. Sahai (JPL), NASA

Explanation: What created the strange spiral structure on the left? No one is sure, although it is likely related to a star in a binary star system entering the planetary nebula phase, when its outer atmosphere is ejected. The huge spiral spans about a third of a light year across and, winding four or five complete turns, has a regularity that is without precedent. Given the expansion rate of the spiral gas, a new layer must appear about every 800 years, a close match to the time it takes for the two stars to orbit each other. The star system that created it is most commonly known as LL Pegasi, but also AFGL 3068. The unusual structure itself has been cataloged as IRAS 23166+1655. The featured image was taken in near-infrared light by the Hubble Space Telescope. Why the spiral glows is itself a mystery, with a leading hypothesis being illumination by light reflected from nearby stars.

Photo of the Week

Hubble Spotlight on Irregular Galaxy IC 3583

This delicate blue group of stars — actually an irregular galaxy named IC 3583 — sits some 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). It may seem to have no discernable structure, but IC 3583 has been found to have a bar of stars running through its centre. These structures are common throughout the Universe, and are found within the majority of spiral, many irregular, and some lenticular galaxies. Two of our closest cosmic neighbours, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, are barred, indicating that they may have once been barred spiral galaxies that were disrupted or torn apart by the gravitational pull of the Milky Way. Something similar might be happening with IC 3583. This small galaxy is thought to be gravitationally interacting with one of its neighbours, the spiral Messier 90. Together, the duo form a pairing known as Arp 76. It’s still unclear whether these flirtations are the cause of IC 3583’s irregular appearance — but whatever the cause, the galaxy makes for a strikingly delicate sight in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, glimmering in the blackness of space.
 

Explanation: This delicate blue group of stars — actually an irregular galaxy named IC 3583 — sits some 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). It may seem to have no discernable structure, but IC 3583 has been found to have a bar of stars running through its centre. These structures are common throughout the Universe, and are found within the majority of spiral, many irregular, and some lenticular galaxies. Two of our closest cosmic neighbours, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, are barred, indicating that they may have once been barred spiral galaxies that were disrupted or torn apart by the gravitational pull of the Milky Way. Something similar might be happening with IC 3583. This small galaxy is thought to be gravitationally interacting with one of its neighbours, the spiral Messier 90. Together, the duo form a pairing known as Arp 76. It’s still unclear whether these flirtations are the cause of IC 3583’s irregular appearance — but whatever the cause, the galaxy makes for a strikingly delicate sight in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, glimmering in the blackness of space.

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Text Credit: European Space Agency

Photo of the Week

Super Moon vs. Micro Moon

moon

Image Credit & Copyright: Catalin Paduraru

Explanation: What is so super about tomorrow’s supermoon? Tomorrow, a full moon will occur that appears slightly larger and brighter than usual. The reason is that the Moon’s fully illuminated phase occurs within a short time from perigee – when the Moon is its closest to the Earth in its elliptical orbit. Although the precise conditions that define a supermoon vary, tomorrow’s supermoon will undoubtedly qualify because it will be the closest, largest, and brightest full moon in over 65 years. One reason supermoons are popular is because they are so easy to see — just go outside and sunset and watch an impressive full moon rise! Since perigee actually occurs tomorrow morning, tonight’s full moon, visible starting at sunset, should also be impressive. Pictured here, a supermoon from 2012 is compared to a micromoon — when a full Moon occurs near the furthest part of the Moon’s orbit — so that it appears smaller and dimmer than usual. Given many definitions, at least one supermoon occurs each year, with another one coming next month (moon-th). However, a full moon will not come this close to Earth again until 2034.

Open Letters to the Yukon Political Parties

yukon-election-2016
Yukon’s general election will be held on November 7th, 2016 to choose 19 MLAs and a new government. The RASC: Yukon Centre (Yukon Astronomical Society) is new to the Yukon, but we have ideas, concerns, and three questions. Below are two letters that we felt addressed issues that are important to Yukoners, and to the Territory in general.

On October 27th 2016, the RASC: Yukon Centre (Yukon Astronomical Society) submitted two open letters, that we felt are, and continue to be, important to Yukoners and the Territory.

All political parties in the 2016 election, except the Yukon First Nation Party (we are waiting for a response), have responded. We are posting their responses, attached in four (4) separate Pdf letters below in alphabetical order: