archive: SETI S&T's News Bulletin for May 14, 1999

SETI S&T's News Bulletin for May 14, 1999

Larry Klaes ( )
Mon, 17 May 1999 13:35:57 -0400

>Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 17:42:24 EDT
>Subject: S&T's News Bulletin for May 14, 1999
>X-Mailer: AOL 4.0 for Windows 95 sub 15
>To: undisclosed-recipients:;
> For images and Web links for these items, visit
>After years of planning and months of testing, you can now help look for
>aliens from your home. At 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, May 13th, the
>final versions of the SETI@home software was available for the Windows
>95/98/NT and MacOS operating systems (additional platforms are still being
>SETI@home was conceived in July 1996 at the Fifth International Conference
>in Bioastronomy in Capri, Italy, to deal with the lack of computing power
>to fully sift through the radio data now being acquired by major programs
>in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). The concept is to
>put the idling of thousands of home computers to good use. Volunteers can
>now download a background program that fetches data, processes it, and
>returns it to the central server. All this is performed by a "screen saver"
>program that activates when the computer is idle for several minutes. All
>you need is a computer with a connection to the Internet.
>SETI@home has been supported by private and corporate donations, including
>The Planetary Society, Paramount Pictures, Sun Microsystems, and The SETI
>By looking through images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers
>from Carnegie Mellon University have found numerous examples of
>gravitational lensing. Such astronomical mirages occur when the light from
>a distant galaxy is bent by the gravity of another massive object in the
>line of sight to Earth. Kavan Ratnatunga and Richard Griffiths examined
>more than 500 fields of the Medium Deep Survey database and turned up 10
>examples of lensing that they say could not have been found by ground-based
>telescopes. The pictures were released on Thursday, but the astronomers'
>full results will be published in the May issue of the *Astronomical
>Comet Lee (C/1999 H1) continues its northward trek, moving through the
>constellation Hydra this coming week. Observers report that the comet is
>about magnitude 7.5 and has a coma about 8 arcminutes in diameter. It
>remains well up in the southern sky during the night as viewed from the
>Southern Hemisphere. Observers in midnorthern latitudes will find it low in
>the west, only a dozen degrees or so above the horizon at the end of
>twilight. Here are positions (2000.0 coordinates) at 0 hours Universal Time
>for the coming week:
> Date R.A. Dec.
>May 15 9h 04.2m -21.2 deg.
>May 17 8h 58.8m -17.4 deg.
>May 19 8h 54.1m -13.8 deg.
>May 21 8h 49.9m -10.4 deg.
>The first-quarter Moon occults (covers) Regulus on the night of May 21-22
>for essentially all of North and Central America. To find the time and
>other observing circumstances for your location, see the May SKY &
>TELESCOPE, page 109, or check
>Monday, May 17th marks the start of Astronomy Week, which winds up on
>Saturday with Astronomy Day. The celebration is traditionally on the
>Saturday in April or May closest to the first-quarter Moon. Astronomy Day
>is a great way for astronomy clubs to gain visibility in the community by
>having the public look through telescopes and at displays. If you don't
>belong to an astronomy club and want to find a local club or planetarium
>that might be hosting an Astronomy Day celebration, check out SKY &
>TELESCOPE's Astronomical Directory
>( The
>Astronomical League, a nonprofit federation of amateur astronomical
>societies and individuals, and Sky Publishing Corp., publisher of SKY &
>TELESCOPE and SkyWatch magazines, have prepared a complete Astronomy Day
>Handbook to help clubs plan Astronomy Day events. You'll find it online at
> It also describes
>the S&T Astronomy Day Award, a prize to the group that best exemplifies the
>concept of Astronomy Day.
> Some daily events in the changing sky, from the editors of SKY &
> * Look for the thin crescent Moon very far below Venus during evening
> * The waxing crescent Moon shines below Venus during and after dusk.
> * Using binoculars, look close to Venus for the 3rd-magnitude star
>Epsilon Geminorum. They're less than 1 degree apart.
> * The Moon shines to Venus's left this evening. Farther to the Moon's
>left is Procyon.
> * The Moon forms a five-sided figure this evening with Pollux and Castor
>to its right, bright Venus below Pollux and Castor, and Procyon far to the
>left of Venus (and under the Moon).
> * The red long-period variable star V Coronae Borealis should be at
>maximum brightness (7th or 8th magnitude).
> * The first-quarter Moon occults (covers) Regulus for essentially all of
>North and Central America. To find the time and other observing
>circumstances for your location, see the May Sky & Telescope, page 109, or
>check .
> * The Moon is well to the upper left of Regulus.
> ============================
> ============================
>MERCURY is hidden in the glare of the Sun.
>VENUS is the brilliant "Evening Star" (magnitude -4.2) shining high in the
>west-northwest during and after dusk.
>MARS (magnitude -1.3) blazes bright orange in the southeast to south during
>evening. The fainter star to its right or lower right is Spica. In a
>telescope, Mars is still just over 15 arcseconds in apparent diameter, the
>biggest we'll see it for another two years. It will shrink and fade in
>coming weeks.
>JUPITER is coming into view low in the dawn. Scan for it just above the
>east horizon about 45 minutes before sunrise.
>SATURN is hidden in the glare of the Sun.
>URANUS and NEPTUNE, dim at magnitudes 6 and 8, respectively, are in the
>southeast before the first light of dawn. See the finder chart in the May
>Sky & Telescope, page 108, or at
>PLUTO, extremely dim at magnitude 14, is in Ophiuchus in the south during
>early-morning hours. See the finder chart in the March Sky & Telescope,
>page 103, or at
>(All descriptions that relate to the horizon or zenith are written for the
>world's midnorthern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude
>are for North America. Eastern Daylight Time, EDT, equals Universal Time
>minus 4 hours.)
>More details, sky maps, and news of other celestial events appear each
>month in SKY & TELESCOPE, the essential magazine of astronomy. See our
>enormous Web site at Clear skies!
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