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
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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)