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October 2009: Interfering

October 2009

We started the show with a reminder about Jodcast Live on 21st November at 1pm. If you haven't already booked a place, let us know as soon as possible. In the show we have an interview with Robert Laing about interferometers and ALMA, and we talked to Willem Baan about interference in radio astronomy. As ever we have the latest astronomical news, what you can see in the October night sky, and your feedback.

The News

In the news this month:


Jen and Roy interviewed Robert Laing (ESO) about radio interferometry and the new instruments coming online soon including ALMA in Chile.


Jen and Roy interviewed Willem Baan (ASTRON) about radio interference and protecting the radio bands.

The Night Sky

Ian Morison tells us what we can see in the night sky during October 2009.

Northern Hemisphere

During the mid-evening in October, fairly high in the south is Pegasus, the Winged Horse. The top left-hand star of the square of Pegasus is the star Alpha Andromedae from which you can find the Andromeda Galaxy, M31. Between Cassiopeia and Perseus is a rather lovely region of sky containing the Double Cluster which is very nice in binoculars and even better in a small telescope. Perseus also contains the star Algol which is an eclipsing binary which changes its brightness every few days or so. Below Pegasus is the head of one of the fish in Pisces and just below that is the planet Uranus. Down to the left of Pisces is Cetus the whale and to the right is Aquarius. Up to the right of Pegasus are the constellations of Cygus the Swan, Lyra the Lyre and Aquila the Eagle with their bright stars making up the Summer Triangle. Just down to the left of Cygnus is the tiny constellation of Delphinus, The Dolphin.

The Planets


Southern Hemisphere

Towards the north you can see Cygnus low above the horizon with Lyra to the north west. Over in the north-eastern sky is Pegasus. The circlet of Pisces is well visible so a good chance of finding Uranus. Higher up towards the zenith is the wonderful constellation of Sagittarius. Looking south you've got the Milky Way stretching from the south over towards the south west. East of south you can see the Large Magellanic Cloud. Just to the lower right is the lovely region named the Tarantula Nebula. Looking up towards the zenith from the LMC is the Small Magellanic Cloud with nearby globular cluster 47 Tucanae. Fairly low in the south west is Centaurus A.

Odds and Ends

The upcoming MoonWatch will be on the 24th October - 1st November and follows the international event named Galilean Nights.

NASA's LCROSS is due to impact the Moon on October 9th at 12:30 pm BST/7:30 am EDT/4:30 am PDT. It will impact the crater Cabeus. The Moon will be very low as seen from the UK so it isn't best positioned but you might see something with a telescope. Warning: make sure that you don't point binoculars or a telescope at the Sun.

In the forum, Stella did some research on the object near the ISS mentioned in Ask an Astronomer and Jodatheoak has a picture they took of the ISS passing overhead on Flickr.

On Twitter we were sent a DM saying "Please instruct your readers that there is no such element as ALU-MIN-KNEE-UM. It makes you sound ignorant. I still like JodCast." Of course, in Britain we do pronounce it that way because we spell it differently to the US. According to wikipedia "The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) adopted aluminium as the standard international name for the element in 1990, but three years later recognized aluminum as an acceptable variant...IUPAC officially prefers the use of aluminium in its internal publications". Thanks to @Knusper2000 for pointing out that the new instrument on Hubble is called wide field camera 3 not wide field planetary camera 3.

Show Credits

News:Megan Argo
Noticias en Español - Octubre 2009:Lizette Ramirez
Interview:Robert Laing, Roy Smits and Jen Gupta
Interview:Willem Baan, Roy Smits and Jen Gupta
Night sky this month:Ian Morison
Presenters:David Ault, Jen Gupta and Stuart Lowe
Editor:Sarah Bryan, Adam Avison and Stuart Lowe
Intro:David Ault
Lord Dracula:Bruce Busby
Jennifer Harker:Helen Cashin
Segment voice:Danny Wong-McSweeney
Website:Stuart Lowe
Cover art:Water seen on the Moon by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper onboard India's Chandrayaan-1 Credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Brown U.

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