AstroCATS – Volunteers Wanted!

A sign-up sheet has been posted for AstroCATS Staff Volunteers, and while a number of people have committed to give of their time, more are needed. I think it fair to say that last year’s volunteers had a lot of fun. This is an important event for your club and we hope you will all want to pitch-in and donate your time.

Volunteer Benefits:

  • Free admission to the show
  • Special “keep-sake” T-Shirt. This year we will be selling T-Shirts (we had a lot of requests last year) but staff volunteers will have special design and you can only get one if you are a volunteer
  • Bragging rights!

Proceeds from AstroCATS will fund new equipment for our members loaner program as well as observatory facility improvements and special outreach programs.

Please contact Shawn Preston at shawn@skyminer.ca for more information or to access the sign-up sheet!.

A study in scarlet: Hot newborn stars formed out of the clouds

An area of the southern sky, in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur), is home to many bright nebulae, each associated with hot newborn stars that formed out of the clouds of hydrogen gas. The intense radiation from the stellar newborns excites the remaining hydrogen around them, making the gas glow in the distinctive shade of red typical of star-forming regions. Via: A study in scarlet: Hot newborn stars formed out of the clouds

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet’s orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research. In fact, sometimes it may help. That’s because such “tilt-a-worlds,” as astronomers sometimes call them — turned from their orbital plane by the influence of companion planets — are less likely than fixed-spin planets to freeze over, as heat from their host star is more evenly distributed. Via: Astronomers: ‘Tilt-a-worlds’ could harbor life

Dragon cargo craft launch scrubbed; Station crew preps for spacewalk

Monday’s launch attempt of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, loaded with nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station’s Expedition 39 crew, was scrubbed due to a helium leak on the Falcon 9 first stage. The next launch opportunity would be Friday, April 18 at 3:25 p.m. EDT if the issue can be resolved. Via: Dragon cargo craft launch scrubbed; Station crew preps for spacewalk

Cosmic slurp: Supercomputers help astronomers understand and predict how black holes swallow stars

A ‘tidal disruption’ occurs when a star orbits too close to a black hole and gets usurped. Researchers are using supercomputers to simulate tidal disruptions to better understand the dynamics of the process. Doing so will help astronomers find many more possible candidates of tidal disruptions in sky surveys and reveal details of how stars and black holes interact. Via: Cosmic slurp: Supercomputers help astronomers understand and predict how black holes swallow stars

SpaceX’s Dragon headed to space station to create astronaut farmers

“Enter the Dragon” takes on a whole new meaning this month as SpaceX’s Dragon capsule heads to the International Space Station for its third commercial resupply mission on April 14. During the SpaceX-3 mission, the Dragon capsule not only will deliver cargo to the orbiting laboratory, but it also will return science samples and hardware to Earth. Via: SpaceX’s Dragon headed to space station to create astronaut farmers

International Space Station to beam video via laser back to Earth

A team of about 20 working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., through the lab’s Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for an April 14 launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission. The goal? NASA’s first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory. Via: International Space Station to beam video via laser back to Earth

Protein crystal experiment set to fly to International Space Station

A biology professor’s experiment that is set to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) could shed new light on the roles enzymes play in biological processes. The experiment, Protein Crystals for Neutron Crystallography (PC4NC), studies an enzyme inorganic pyrophosphatase (IPPase). Via: Protein crystal experiment set to fly to International Space Station