Category: Science

What You Can See with a Beginner’s Telescope

Beginner’s Telescope pic

Beginner’s Telescope
Image: space.com

In her career in IT, Amita Vadlamudi developed expertise in mainframe and client-server systems. Amita Vadlamudi also engages in side interests, such as astronomy. A chief tool of astronomers, optical telescopes can show the sights of the solar system at a relatively low cost.

However, you should have realistic expectations about what you will see. The spectacular photos of celestial objects published on the web were taken in observatories by professionals. Even so, a so-called backyard telescope can still provide exciting views.

Because of its size and brightness, the moon is the most logical candidate for initiating yourself into astronomy. Even an inexpensive 30-power telescope will display a remarkable world, dotted with hundreds of craters and mixed with darker “seas” and mountains. In a 40-power scope, the lunar surface will fill the entire field of view.

That same telescope shows such celestial details as the phases of Mercury and Venus, as well as the reddish disk of Mars. Jupiter, its four largest moons, and Saturn and its rings are also visible. Other targets include Saturn’s moon Titan and the planets Uranus and Neptune.

Moving up to greater magnifications reveals the polar ice caps of Mars, the red spot of Jupiter, and the Cassini division in Saturn’s rings. Moving your telescope away from the bright city will enable you to see the Andromeda Galaxy, nebulae, and double stars.

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Scientists Announce First Viewing of a Planet Birth

Planet Birth  pic

Planet Birth
Image: news.stanford.edu

Amita Vadlamudi, a computer scientist by training, currently focuses her time on exploration of personal interests. Amita Vadlamudi enjoys studying astronomy as well as other sciences.

In mid-November of 2015, scientists announced the birth of a planet. The birth took place 450 light years from Earth in the orbit of star LkCa 15. Orbiting the star is a structure known as a transition disk. Scientists have hypothesized that the transition disk, which contains a collection of dust and other debris, generates planets as a rock or ice core draws solid and gas material to itself.

The new photo evidence of LkCa 15’s planet appears to confirm this theory. Using technology that reduces light from a star so that the fainter planetary light becomes visible, scientists focused on a particularly bright glow within the protoplanet. This glow, according to postdoctoral researcher Kate Follette, occurs as a result of the heating up of hydrogen gas as it collects around the core of the new planet. This evidence indicates that the protoplanet is likely to grow into a gas giant, similar to our solar system’s own Jupiter.