Thursday, July 12, 2007

Human Fireworks and Celestial fireworks

There were some fireworks in the sky but these were man made on July 4, 2007.

Here is one photo I took of the fireworks at Louisbourg, KS south of Kansas City, KS .

But the heavens are showing off some fireworks of their own.

Several McNaught pics (taken with my kodak digital- wish I had the canon (my minolta digital died in Dec) were captured then. Here is the best picture of several.

The current comet VZ13 is scooting by Earth so FAST it is difficult for the planetarium program I use to show me the right coordinates at the specific time to post in my telescopic program to catch it!

This also happens with asteroids which fly by close to Earth.

One activity for 7/10/2007 was to learn about comets, compare two comets and look at a comet video. What is nice is I can show this activity here for any one who wants to try it (if you
see this comments appreciated ).

It is quite a contrast of the coloration between
the Great Comet McNaught (January 2007) and the current Comet VZ13.

I had my students at my Talents E.O.A.S course at Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS) , use Spaceweather

Activity Objective :
Students will observe and compare/ contrast comet coloration and features by looking at photos and videos of Comet McNaught (January 2007- the brightest comet in 40 years!) and current Comet VZ13 currently 8th magnitude, a non naked eye object meaning you need binoculars or small telescope to see it.

(E.O.A.S.1) What is the color of the Comet McNaught photo (taken by Dr. Flescher
taken during during the brilliant sunset over the western horizon in Shawnee , Kansas on 1/10/2007 . (see below)

Look closely to find it. It was -3 as bright as Venus but because it was close to the Sun, it was difficult to see.I did not have a telephoto lens so this is a regular photo shot. In telescope or binoculars or a camera it was easier to see and would have appeared bigger in the actual photo

(1) What is the color and what does it have pointing towards the upper right?

(2) now look at this picture by
from John Chumack of Yellow Springs, OH taken on
click on this link

What color is VZ13?__________________________________________
Compare the two and their features
color structure/features etc




The scientific reason why VZ13 is this color (see below)

reason why the color for VZ13
"What makes the comet's atmosphere (coma) green? Answer: The coma contains cyanogen (CN), a poisonous gas, and diatomic carbon (C2). Both of these substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight--a process called "resonant fluorescence."


(3) This comet is close to the Earth and moving fast. See how fast
There was a very nice animation by
from Vincent Jacques of Breil, France which showed the movement of the comet across the sky and how fast it is going. Click on the author's name and the animation will pop up or

Since several had questions about sunspots, I encouraged them to answer, not by me telling them but quiding them to various websites on my EOAS website and blog and others.

They liked looking at the pictures on with the sunspot animation.

They are learning to take pictures through my telescopes, learned about stormchasing (learned about wallclouds that I videod of two tornadoes I videotaped when I chased on 5/29/2004 and all sorts of weather stuff. They use my stormchaser simulation tomorrow then take more pictures, Later my video when I went into the crater of Mt. St. Helens and volcano stuff, ocean stuff and much more.
It will be interesting to see how many pictures they take.

Star charts for VZ13 at
C/2006 VZ13 (LINEAR) -- is visible in binoculars!

Check out Skyhound's Guide to Comet Chasing for maps at:

Dr. Eric Flescher (, Olathe, KS

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