Sunday, February 26, 2012
in Danbury on Tues. Feb. 28th and Thurs. Mar. 1st. Take exit 5 off of
I-84. Follow Rt. 37 North past all the shopping centers. Go past the
commercialized district and eventually past the federal prison into the more
rural part of northern Danbury. About 0.2 mile past the prison entrance, on
the right, is Bear Mountain Road which is 2.8 miles from I-84. Turn right
onto Bear Mountain Road and follow it for 0.5 mile. Turn right into the
entrance of Bear Mountain Reservation.
Meet at 9:30 am.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Taurus, The Bull, is one of the oldest constellations with some believing it was observed in ancient Babylonia and others believing that it appears in a 40,000 year old cave painting in Lascaux. Stories about it have followed it throughout history with most referring to fertility and abundance. This could be because for the past 4,000 years it has announced the Vernal (Spring) Equinox. One of the most popular stories goes back to the Greeks. Zeus, the ruler of the Olympian Gods and the God of the Sky, became enamored with beautiful Europa, the daughter of King Agenor. Because she was always protected by her father’s soldiers, Zeus turned himself into a beautiful white bull with a pair of golden horns and wandered toward her while she was picking flowers in a field. Princess Europa, mesmerized by this unusual bull, made him her pet. One day, she decided to ride her favorite pet and jumped onto its back. Immediately, the bull bore her away, swimming across the sea to Crete. There Zeus revealed himself. The story continues with Europa having three sons by Zeus, one being Minos. Minos is credited with creating the Cretan Bull Cult and whose stepson, the Minotaur (half bull, half man) was banished to the labyrinth below his palace. When looking at the constellation, the horns are the dominate feature with the rest of the bull being rather disappointing. It is said this is because the bull was half submerged as it carried Europa across the sea to Crete.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
From Rt. 35 take a left onto Limestone Rd.
Follow Limestone as it will turn into Bennetts Farm Rd.
Follow Bennetts Farm Rd. to South Shore Drive which is across from Ridgebury Elementary School.
The entrance and parking lot will be on the left.
Meet at 9:30am.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
Take Rt. 35 into NY to Rt. 121 and follow signs to Pound Ridge Reservation. Go in past the parking booth and continue straight on Reservation Rd., past the Museum to Kimberly Bridge. Meet in the parking lot at Kimberly Bridge at 9:30am.
The head of the bull is the triangle shape at the lower middle in the diagram shown here. The brightest star is Aldebaran. Aldebaran is a red giant star, nearing the end of its life; its diameter is 44 times as wide as the Sun. In about 5 billion years, the Sun will cool and expand and become a red giant itself.
The two horns of the Bull are marked by the two stars in the upper left of the diagram. Near the tip of the left horn is M1, the Crab Nebula. It is a cloud of expanding gases which are the aftermath of a star which exploded (a supernova) in the year 1054.
Aldebaran appears to be in the middle of a cluster of stars called "the Hyades", which fills up the triangle of Taurus's head. This is a group of about 200 stars that formed at the same time and which are moving together. Aldebaran is in our line-of-sight to this cluster, but it is much closer.
An even more interesting star cluster is the Pleiades, also known as the 7 Sisters. Somewhat north and west of Aldebaran, they form a uniquely memorable shape of a number of easily visible stars close together. The Subaru logo is taken from the shape of the Pleiades. Some people can see 5 stars with the naked eye, others 7, others more. A telescope will show hundreds of stars surrounded by a nebula -- a vast cloud of interstellar gases and dust. In many nebulae with star clusters, the stars were formed from the nebula. But in this case, they are just passing through each other -- at a speed of about 25,000 miles per hour.