Chandra’s Limit

Thursday, April 23, 2015​

1. Chandra’s Limit

In which your publisher recounts his youthful brush with astrophysical greatness, and attempts to explain why there are no fat white dwarf stars in the universe. (Yes, the two topics are related… sort of).

2. Mercury Appears… and Gets Smacked!

Just as the planet Venus skimmed the Pleiades star cluster after sunset a few weeks ago, the tiny planet Mercury does the same this week on April 30, 2015. You can see planet and star cluster low in the northwestern sky just after sunset. And remarkably, on the same day, NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft ends its mission by slamming into Mercury at 8,000 mph. It’s a big day for the little planet!

3. Messier 13 Returns

As a chronic insomniac, I often wander out late at night to see what’s coming over the eastern horizon (fact: you can tell how little sleep I’ve had by the average number of typos in these emails). Anyway, I noticed mighty Hercules wheeling into view last week, which brought me thoughts of my favorite summer stars. This short piece on M13 will help get you in the mood for stargazing, and it features a fine image from a young stargazer living in the washed out skies of London, U.K.

4. A Conspiracy of None

The final article on the ‘retired’ One-Minute Astronomer site tells of the return of the mysterious ‘white spots’ on the dwarf planet Ceres. The spots returned to view this week as the Dawn spacecraft maneuvered into a different orbit to take a look at the lighted side of this small world. The conspiracy theorists have been silenced… for now.

+ Extras

Finally, for you astronomical art collectors out there, my friend Terry Hancock is offering for auction on eBay a signed one-of-a-kind aluminum print of his magnificent image of Orion ‘Clouds of Creation’. The print is 40″x95″ on an aluminum base that has the gleam of a new car finish. ideal for the rich detail in this panorama. The image on this museum-grade print was made from 420 individual exposures. See the auction at this link…

Wishing you clear skies,

Brian Ventrudo
Publisher, Cosmic Pursuits

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