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SKYWATCH with Jon Bell

Mon Sep 10, 2018       OPEN HOUSE/STEAM TALK

This year we will start a new series of free lectures at IRSC’s Hallstrom Planetarium on the main Fort Pierce campus. The 45-minute talks will be on select Saturdays at 4 pm, and will be followed by a live star show in the planetarium theater. And then, as weather permits, we’ll view the sky through telescopes, courtesy of the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society and our student club, Hallstrom Astronomical Society. The Saturday STEAM  - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts (that is, Humanities) and Math - Talks will feature members of Indian River State College’s faculty and staff discussing topics in their areas of expertise. I will be giving the first talk this Saturday, September 15, with “A Year Full of Stars,” in which I’ll share with you all the wonderful sky events coming up in the next 12 months, including a total lunar eclipse scheduled for late January 2019. See you at the Planetarium at 4 pm this Saturday. No tickets needed, it’s free!

Tue Sep 11, 2018         DELPHINUS AND ARION

Near the top of the sky this evening are three bright stars spread out across the zenith. These three stars – Vega, Altair and Deneb, form the Summer Triangle. The brightest star is Vega; it marks the constellation of Lyra the Harp. In Greek mythology, the harp belonged to many people, including the musician Arion, who was rescued by the dolphin Delphinus. Arion had been thrown overboard by some greedy pirates who wanted all the gold he had earned at a concert. Before they tossed him into the ocean, they let him sing one last song, which was overheard by the dolphin. When Arion fell into the sea, Delphinus saved him, and carried him to shore; in fact he got back before the pirates. When they got off the boat, the pirates were arrested and voted off the island. To find the harp and the dolphin, you’ll need a very dark, clear sky. Lyra is a scattering of stars near Vega, and Delphinus is a small, faint cluster of stars on the opposite side of the Summer Triangle.

Wed Sep 12, 2018            MOON AND VENUS, JUPITER

Go outside at sunset this evening, and if skies are clear, you should be able to find the new crescent moon low in the western sky, not too far above the horizon. The moon is bright enough that you can see it even before the sky gets dark. Above its slender crescent, you also ought to see the rest of the moon’s disc, very faintly illuminated by re-reflected earthshine. This is commonly called, “the old moon in the new moon’s arms,” and it’s kind of cool, because the indirect lighting on the dark portion of the moon gives it a nice, three dimensional appearance, so it looks round like a ball, not just a flat circle or disc in the heavens. Off to the southeast of the moon, you should also see a brilliant star appear, and this is the planet Venus, the first of our evening stars. Above Venus and the moon is another star, not quite as bright, and that’s actually Jupiter. Tomorrow night Venus and Jupiter will be in about the same spots, but the moon will have moved eastwards and will be between them!

Thu Sep 13, 2018          ELEVEN DAYS MISSING!

Did you know that here in America, there was no September 13th in the year 1752? There wasn’t a 12th either, or a 10th or 11th, nor a 3rd through the 9th! It happened when the Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar, established by Julius Caesar seventeen hundred years earlier, was inaccurate; it was behind by ten days when Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian calendar to Catholic countries in 1582. But England and its Protestant colonies ignored the papal edict, and kept using the old Julian calendar, until 1752, when, in order to fix the calendar, eleven days had to be chopped out. Riots broke out in London as landlords charged their renters a full month’s rent, even though the month was just 19 days long. “Give us back our eleven days!” they shouted. But in America, Ben Franklin counseled his readers not to “regret.. the loss of so much time,” but to give thanks that one might “lie down in Peace on the second of the month and not… awake till the morning of the 14th.”

Fri Sep 14, 2018        OPEN HOUSE/STEAM TALK

This year we will start a new series of free lectures at IRSC’s Hallstrom Planetarium on the main Fort Pierce campus. The 45-minute talks will be on select Saturdays at 4 pm, and will be followed by a live star show in the planetarium theater. And then, as weather permits, we’ll view the sky through telescopes, courtesy of the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society and our student club, Hallstrom Astronomical Society. The Saturday STEAM  - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts (that is, Humanities) and Math - Talks will feature members of Indian River State College’s faculty and staff discussing topics in their areas of expertise. I will be giving the first talk this Saturday, September 15, with “A Year Full of Stars,” in which I’ll share with you all the wonderful sky events coming up in the next 12 months, including a total lunar eclipse scheduled for late January 2019. See you at the Planetarium at 4 pm this Saturday – no tickets are needed, it’s free!





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SKYWATCH WITH JON BELL
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BEST OF ASTRONOMER'S SONGBOOK
Music Notes

Songs of Space and Time



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