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SKYWATCH with Jon Bell



Mon Jan 22, 2018      ASTRONOMY GEOGRAPHY: PLACES IN THE SKY

Can you identify the 14th largest constellation in the sky? It is bordered on the north by Pegasus, Andromeda, Triangulum and Aries; on the south by Aquarius the Water Carrier and Cetus the Whale; on the west by Pegasus and Aquarius again; and on the east by Triangulum, Aries and Cetus again.  There are no bright stars in it, but within its borders is M74, a beautiful spiral galaxy seen face-on, that’s a little over 20 million light years away. In mythology, this constellation is said to represent the goddess Venus and her son Cupid, who transformed themselves in order to swim away from a dangerous dragon. The waxing crescent moon can be found within its borders this evening, in between the two fish in this heavenly pattern. Can you name this star figure, the twelfth constellation of the zodiac? And of course the answer is Pisces, the Fish, well-placed in the southwestern sky after sunset.

Tue Jan 23, 2018    NEW SHOW – SPACE SONGS

Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium opens a new show this weekend, called, "Space Songs." This is the show where I finally put my mouth where my mouth is, and actually sing the lecture – kind of like a Vulcan mind meld between an astronomy lecture and karaoke night. I’ll be singing such classic tunes as, “There Are Plenty of Stars in the Sky,” “What is Gravity,” “Ode to Planet Number Nine,” “Space is the Place,” and the ever-popular, “Song of the Disaster Union.” And, even better, we put the words up on the dome and the audience can sing along too! “Space Songs” is highly recommended for families with kids ages four and older. Shows are this Friday night at 6 or 7:30 PM, and on Saturday afternoon at 1 or 2:30. If skies are clear on Friday night, the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society will show off the waxing gibbous moon through their telescopes. Call the IRSC box office at 462-4750, or from Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee counties call toll free: 1-800-220-9915.

Wed Jan 24, 2018      SPAGHETTIFICATION AND BLACK HOLES  

The constellation of Orion the Hunter dominates the southern evening sky. To the left of Orion is another bright star called Procyon, and below and to the left of Orion is a still brighter star, Sirius. The area between these stars and Orion is reserved for a faint constellation known as Monoceros the Unicorn, and it is here where we find the nearest known black hole, called, V616 Monocerotis. It’s about 3,000 light years away, or 18,000 trillion miles. Here’s a question I get a lot: “what happens if I jump into a black hole?” The answer is, “it would be bad,” because the slight distance between your head and your feet is enough to create a gravitational dilemma: your feet will be pulled in with a lot more force than your head, which will stretch your body out as thin as a piece of spaghetti, which of course is not a natural state for the human body to be in, so you will disintegrate, and eventually all of your atoms will spiral into the black hole. So, stay out of black holes!

Thu Jan 25, 2018     HERCULES’ WINTER ZODIAC

Many constellations chronicle the adventures of Hercules. To the north this winter evening are the stars of Cassiopeia, often depicted as a queen seated upon a throne; but the “w” pattern here also suggests the upraised antlers of the golden hind, the capture of which was the third labor of Hercules. High in the west is Aries the Ram, a representation of the golden fleece, which Hercules pursued with his good friend Jason. High in the east sky is Taurus; this was a wild bull which Hercules subdued in a kind of a capture and release program. Above Taurus is Auriga the Charioteer, while to its east is Orion the Hunter, and these constellations were sometimes seen as Eurytrion the herdsman and the giant Geryon, who kept the cattle that were the tenth labor of Hercules. And low in the southeast is the dog star Sirius, which represents the three-headed dog Cerberus, tamed by Hercules in his final labor.

Fri Jan 26, 2018     SPACE SONGS AT THE PLANETARIUM

Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium will open a new show this weekend, called, "Space Songs." This is the show where I finally put my mouth where my mouth is, and actually sing the lecture – kinda like some weird blend of planetarium sky show and karaoke. You’ll hear such classic songs as, “Why Does the Sun Shine?”, “Tumbling Asteroids,” “Moon Crater,” “What is Gravity?” and the ever-popular, “Space is the Place.” And just so I don’t have all the fun, the audience will be invited to sing along too, as we project the words up on the planetarium dome. “Space Songs” is highly recommended for families with kids ages four and older. Shows are this Friday night at 6 or 7:30 PM, and on Saturday afternoon at 1 or 2:30. If skies are clear on Friday night, the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society will show off the waxing gibbous moon through their telescopes. Call the IRSC box office at 462-4750, or from Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee counties call toll free: 1-800-220-9915.




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SKYWATCH WITH JON BELL
sky-watch

BEST OF ASTRONOMER'S SONGBOOK
Music Notes

Songs of Space and Time



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