View Full Version : Attn: Evan

Errol Groff
11-30-2011, 01:24 PM
Amateur Astronomer Snaps Historic Photo of Another Solar System

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/11/29/first-amateur-image-another-solar-system-captured-by-new-zealand-man/#ixzz1fDNHC3No


11-30-2011, 01:55 PM
If you think that's clever wait until they discover the engineer who put a perfect hole through the middle of it :D

11-30-2011, 02:35 PM
I saw that. His telescope is the same size as mine. Slick trick he used to subtract the light from the star. It so happens that Beta Pictoris is near Alpha Pictoris which is the same type of star. This makes it easy to use a negative image of α Pictoris to cancel the light of β Pictoris The hard part is having the idea in the first place. Unfortunately the declination of β Pictoris is -51 degrees which means you have to be in the southern hemisphere to pull off this trick.

Larry Swearingen
11-30-2011, 03:01 PM
So, what are we looking at here Evan ?
It's been a LONG time since I took an Astronomy class.
What is the "Protoplanetary disk" and what is atmospheric
and optic effects ?
I assume the "rays" are optic effects as well as the other
light disks ?

Larry Swearingen
Fort Wayne, IN

11-30-2011, 03:30 PM
The rays are from the secondary mirror supports that are used in newtonian telescopes.

Protoplanetary disc is just that. Disc of material that the planets will form out of.

11-30-2011, 04:45 PM
The publisher of the photo is of course leaving the reader to assume the other light disc's are circling planets.!!!

I think the Protoplanetary disc is a bit underwhelming for the average reader.


Protoplanetary disc is just that. Disc of material that the planets will form out of.

Mike Burdick
11-30-2011, 06:18 PM
It's funny how some information of this article gets left out....

Incredibly, the 12 million-year-old system, some 60 million light years away from our own,...

Sheesh...How can that be? I guess never let the facts get in the way of a good story!


11-30-2011, 07:50 PM
It means we are seeing it at its 12megayear mark. In reality it was formed 72megayears ago.

11-30-2011, 08:14 PM
I think the Protoplanetary disc is a bit underwhelming for the average reader.

That is probably true of most of astronomy. There is much more to astronomy than pretty pictures. Timing lunar occultations or using photometry to measure the orbital period of close binaries is about as interesting to most people as watching the hour hand on a clock.

11-30-2011, 08:33 PM
I thought the other bright spots to be planets(wrong). But now I get to know that they are not.

So this photo shows the start of the formation of planets?

I like this stuff.

11-30-2011, 08:57 PM
It isn't spectacular in appearance. However, it shows that there isn't a real dividing line between "amateur" and "professional" astronomers. The only real difference is many cases is funding. There is a lot that can still be done with a small telescope in a back yard.

Many amateurs are well organized and often undertake studies that are impractical for the professional to do. Refining the orbits of asteroids is a good example. By setting up a line of observers along several hundred miles with GPS amateurs can precisely establish asteroid position by observing when and where the asteroid appears to pass in front of a star or the edge of the moon. These observations are compiled and reported to the American Astronomical Society, the Royal Astrophysical Society and other such organizations that pass along the data to each other.

A dedicated amateur with small equipment and good observing conditions can easily discover 2 or 3 unknown asteroids per month. Until the commissioning of the US Air Force LINEAR asteroid observing system nearly all new asteroids and comets were found by amateurs.

I am a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). It's the only "club" that I belong to as I am not a joiner, leader or follower. I scored one minor victory some years ago for astronomy by convincing Walmart to build their new store in Williams Lake with night sky friendly lighting. It was only the second one in Canada and it came about because I lobbied them to use low cutoff lighting. Apparently they have a policy of using such lighting if anyone from a recognized organization such as the RASC asks them to. If not they go with the regular sky polluting lighting.