IYA Live Telescope Today – Alpha Centauri and Eta Carinae

Article written: 8 Apr , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

On April 8, 2009 the IYA Live Telescope was busy broadcasting from the Southern Galactic Telescope Hosting facility and fulfilling your “100 Hours of Astronomy” requests. Are you ready to take a look at the video that came from the adventure and to add it to our library? Then come along as we view Alpha Centauri for Astrochick and Eta Carinae for Vino…

The following factual information is a cut and paste from Wikipedia:

Alpha Centauri – Constellation: CENTAURUS

Alpha Centauri, also known as Rigil Kentaurus, Rigil Kent, or Toliman, is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus and an established binary star system, Alpha Centauri AB. To the unaided eye it appears as a single star, whose total visual magnitude identifies it as the third brightest star in the night sky.

Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to the Solar System, being only 1.34 parsecs, or 4.37 light years away from our Sun. “Alpha Centauri” (“Rigil Kentaurus”) is the name given to what appears as a single star to the unaided eye (and to our small telescope), the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus. With the aid of a larger telescope, Alpha Centauri can be resolved into a binary star system in close orbit. This is known as “Alpha Centauri AB” system.

Eta Carinae: CARINA

Eta Carinae is a hypergiant luminous blue variable star in the Carina constellation. Its luminosity is about four million times that of the Sun and, with an estimated mass of between 100 and 150 solar masses, it is one of the most massive stars yet discovered. Because of its mass and the stage of life, it is expected to explode in a supernova in the astronomically near future.

This object is currently the most massive nearby star that can be studied in great detail. While it is possible that other known stars might be more luminous and more massive, Eta Carinae has the highest confirmed luminosity based on data across a broad range of wavelengths; former prospective rivals such as the Pistol Star have been demoted by improved data.

Stars in the mass class of Eta Carinae, with more than 100 times the mass of the Sun, produce more than a million times as much light as the Sun. They are quite rare — only a few dozen in a galaxy as big as the Milky Way. They are assumed to approach (or potentially exceed) the Eddington limit, i.e., the outward pressure of their radiation is almost strong enough to counteract gravity. Stars that are more than 120 solar masses exceed the theoretical Eddington limit, and their gravity is barely strong enough to hold in their radiation and gas.

We would very much like to thank Astrochick and Vino for their suggestions and we hope you like the view! There’s still plenty of time to place more requests, so just add them on at our IYA Remote Telescope Request Page and we’ll get ‘er done! As always, you can visit the remote telescope by clicking on the IYA “LIVE Remote Cam” Logo to your right. We’ll be broadcasting whenever skies are clear and dark in Central Victoria! Enjoy…

(Information Source: Wikipedia)

3 Responses

  1. Salacious B. Crumb says

    Alpha Centauri is often referred by its proper name as Rigel Kent or less frequently by the long name, Rigel Kentaurus, but is is more commonly referred just as Alpha Centauri or ? Cen. Rigel Kent, surprisingly, is not a very new name – unlike all the other bright 1st magnitude stars in the sky, as it was named this in the 20th Century by aviators who used it as a guiding beacon for visual navigation. As a double star it is sometimes referred after Father Ricard, the discoverer, as RHD 1 – or by James Dunlop as Dunlop 165.

  2. Salacious B. Crumb says

    Here is some more information on the Eta Carina Nebulae, also known as NGC 3372, Gum 33 and RCW 55 at 10h 44.0m -59 deg 30′ (2000) is the brightest of the emission nebulae in the
    southern skies whose true size extends more than more than 2 degrees of sky. This entire nebulosity and cluster complex is one
    of the best visual treats for the southern observer but remains almost wholly invisible to many northern observers throughout Europe and North America. Few northern observers can or do truly appreciate its grandness and size, yet those who travel to southern clines are soon quickly converted.
    Surprisingly missed altogether by Edmond Halley from St. Helena in 1676-77, this nebulous region was first officially
    recorded in 1752 from the Cape of Good Hope by Abbè Nicholas-Louis de la Calle (1713-1792), now more commonly
    known simply as Lacaillè. He recorded the object as Lacaillè III No. 5 & 6 (“Mèmories de l’Academie Royale des Sciences”, 286-296 (1755), describing NGC 3372 as;

    Lac III-5 : “Two small stars surrounded by nebulosity”
    Lac III-6 : “Large group of a great number of stars, a little compressed and occupying the space of a semi-circle of 15 arcmin to 20 arcmin diameter, with a slight nebulosity spreading into space.”

    Dunlop 309, Dunlop described the nebula as follows;
    “(Eta Roboris Caroli, Bode) is a bright star of 3rd magnitude, surrounded by a multitude of small stars, and pretty strong nebulosity; very similar in its nature to that in Orion, but not so bright…. I can count twelve or fourteen extremely minute stars surrounding Eta in the space of about 1 degree several of them appear close to the disk: there is a pretty bright small star about the 10th magnitude N.f. the Eta, and distant about 1 arcmin. The nebulosity is pretty strongly marked; that on the south side is very unequal in brightness, and the different portions of the nebulosity are completely detached, as represented in the figure. There is much nebulosity in this place, and very much extensive nebulosity throughout the Robur Caroli, which is also very rich in small stars.”

  3. Kartashov Vladimir says

    Send us please videofile connected with demonstration of real sky objects throught telescopes, becouse I do not made a copy from that player on Universetoday site.
    teather of astrophysicsCSPU

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