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Welcome to Astronomy Online
A legally blind photographer/astronomer on disability so I use this site to contribute to society.


Last Updated: added graphics for the 88 constellations under Observation/The Night Sky.

Virgo

This site is a testament that even though I have a physical disability - legally blind - I can still do things that helps other people.

I also have a new image gallery. I call it Second Site Image Gallery.


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APOD:Space Station, Solar Prominences, Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: Mehmet Ergu¨n

Explanation: That's no sunspot. It's the International Space Station (ISS) caught passing in front of the Sun. Sunspots, individually, have a dark central umbra, a lighter surrounding penumbra, and no Dragon capsules attached. By contrast, the ISS is a complex and multi-spired mechanism, one of the largest and most complicated spacecraft ever created by humanity. Also, sunspots circle the Sun, whereas the ISS orbits the Earth. Transiting the Sun is not very unusual for the ISS, which orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, but getting one's location, timing and equipment just right for a great image is rare. The featured picture combined three images all taken from the same location and at nearly the same time. One image -- overexposed -- captured the faint prominences seen across the top of the Sun, a second image -- underexposed -- captured the complex texture of the Sun's chromosphere, while the third image -- the hardest to get -- captured the space station as it shot across the Sun in a fraction of a second. Close inspection of the space station's silhouette even reveals a docked Dragon Crew capsule.


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APOD:Windblown NGC 3199
Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Selby and Roberto Colombari

Explanation: NGC 3199 lies about 12,000 light-years away, a glowing cosmic cloud in the nautical southern constellation of Carina. The nebula is about 75 light-years across in this narrowband, false-color view. Though the deep image reveals a more or less complete bubble shape, it does look very lopsided with a much brighter edge along the top. Near the center is a Wolf-Rayet star, a massive, hot, short-lived star that generates an intense stellar wind. In fact, Wolf-Rayet stars are known to create nebulae with interesting shapes as their powerful winds sweep up surrounding interstellar material. In this case, the bright edge was thought to indicate a bow shock produced as the star plowed through a uniform medium, like a boat through water. But measurements have shown the star is not really moving directly toward the bright edge. So a more likely explanation is that the material surrounding the star is not uniform, but clumped and denser near the bright edge of windblown NGC 3199.


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APOD:Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch
Image Credit: NASA

Explanation: Sixty years ago, near the dawn of the space age, NASA controllers "lit the candle" and sent Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard arcing into space atop a Redstone rocket. His cramped space capsule was dubbed Freedom 7. Broadcast live to a global television audience, the historic Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Florida at 9:34 a.m. Eastern Time on May 5, 1961. The flight of Freedom 7, the first space flight by an American, followed less than a month after the first human venture into space by Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The 15 minute sub-orbital flight achieved an altitude of 116 miles and a maximum speed of 5,134 miles per hour. As Shepard looked back near the peak of Freedom 7's trajectory, he could see the outlines of the west coast of Florida, Lake Okeechobe in central Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas. Shepard would later view planet Earth from a more distant perspective and walk on the Moon as commander of the Apollo 14 mission.


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Iris Nebula
- Image by Ricky Leon Murphy.

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How the Website is Organized:

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Observation - This section includes information on coordinate systems, constellations, objects visible in the night sky, and some images of the night sky of the northern and southern hemispheres.

Science - This section includes information on some of the basic science used in astronomy. There is information on the variety of tools used (like telescopes) as well as methods of using them. There is a mathematics primer, introduction to some physical processes, formulas used in astronomy, and information on computer use in Astronomy.

Solar System - As indicated, this section covers our Solar System (See Solar System App, Solar System Scope App) and everything in it. It covers the Sun, planets, their moons, asteroids, comets and exotic objects like TNO's and Kuiper Belt Objects.

Stars - This section covers stars in our own galaxy. It covers the variety of stellar evolution paths. It also covers supernova, black holes, and some of the radiative processes in the interstellar medium.

Our Galaxy - This section covers our galaxy as well as some of the nearby galaxies in our own Local Group. It also covers galaxy evolution.

Cosmology - This section covers other galaxies and galaxies clusters. It also covers the big bang, relativity and dark matter.

Astrobiology - This section covers the relatively new field in astronomy - the possibility of life in our Solar System and the Universe. There is also information on some of the projects dealing with this - like SETI.

Exoplanets - This section covers the study of planets known to exist around other stars. It covers both amateur and professional involvement and shows you how you can get involved with the search as well.

Astrophotography - This section covers the fastest growing hobby of astrophotography. This section offers information and tips on photography and also features and Image Gallery.

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