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Monthly Star Chart
April 2014 Star Chart (611 kb)
This month's sky map and images were made using Starry Night Pro software courtesy of starrynight.com.
Download your own Cranbrook Institute of Science star chart and constellation finder for free! This is a planisphere that can be set to display the stars at any time of night and for any night of the year. Download and print the Acrobat PDF files below and follow the assembly instructions on the star chart mask. Have fun! Note: To ensure proper sizing, make sure your print options are not set to "fit to page" before printing.
The Display: Shows the intensity and location of the aurora as expected for the time shown at the bottom of the map. This forecast is based on current solar wind conditions and the average time for the solar wind to propagate from the ACE satellite at L1 to Earth.
The model produces an estimate of the intensity of the aurora. In this product a linear relationship between intensity and viewing probability is assumed. This relationship was validated by comparison with data from the UVI instrument on the NASA POLAR Satellite.
The sunlit side of Earth is indicated by the lighter blue of the ocean. The sub-solar point is also shown as a yellow dot but only if the sub-solar point is in the view of the choosen image. The day-night line or terminator is shown as a yellow line. Note that the aurora will not be visible during daylight hours and it may be an hour or more before sunrise or after sunset that the aurora can be seen from the ground.
____ The red line about 1000 km equatorward of the aurora indicates how far away viewers on the ground might see the aurora assuming good viewing conditions.
Issue: This model is driven by solar wind data from the ACE satellite. When the proton level gets high enough, the ACE solar wind sensors become contaminated and the Ovation model produces an inacurate forecast.
This information is courtesy of NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.
Download your own Cranbrook Institute of Science sundial for free! This sundial has been specifically designed for use in southeastern Michigan. Download and print the Acrobat PDF file below and follow the assembly instructions. Please remember to never look directly at the sun!
Sundial (31,816 bytes)
Viewing these PDF files requires Acrobat Reader, a free download from Adobe.
The Sun & Moon
Will the sky by clear?
Below is a link to an indicator that attempts to show at a glance when, in the next 48 hours, clear and dark skies are expected for Cranbrook Institute of Science.
The forecast data comes from a numerical weather model run by Canadian Meteorological Centre.
Click on the link then read from left to right. Locate a column of blue blocks. That is when the sky will likely to be clear and dark.
Galaxy Zoo is a project which harnesses the power of the internet - and your brain - to classify a million galaxies. By taking part, you'll not only be contributing to scientific research, but you'll view parts of the Universe that literally no-one has ever seen before and get a sense of the glorious diversity of galaxies that pepper the sky.
Interactive Sky Chart
Click on the Interactive Sky Chart image to generate a map of this evening's sky as seen from Cranbrook Institute of Science. For more general information about this week's sky, visit Sky at a Glance courtesy of Sky & Telescope Magazine
Since 1998, the American Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium have engaged in the three-dimensional mapping of data groups ranging in scale from the solar neighborhood to the grand structure of the universe.
This Digital Universe is distributed to you via data products like the Milky Way Atlas and the Extragalactic Atlas.
Using the viewing software, Partiview, you can explore the Universe on your own computer. Fly from the Sun out to the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, and everywhere between.
Purchasing a Telescope
Buying your first telescope can be very intimidating. Here are some simple pointers that can make the whole experience enjoyable and rewarding.
- Avoid buying a telescope from a discount store, shoppers club, or a TV shopping network. Those telescopes tend to be lower quality instruments.
- Buy a major brand name scope from a real telescope dealer with astronomers on staff who will be able to help you after the sale.
- Ask your local astronomy club members for the name of the dealer nearest you or for the name of a reputable astronomical products mail-order house with which they have had good experiences.
- Remember, a telescope that is cared for properly will last for decades, so it would be wise to buy the best you can afford.
- Quality telescopes can be rather expensive items. Even a small telescope, like a 60mm refracting telescope with a 1.25" eyepiece, can cost several hundred dollars.
- Bigger lenses or mirrors gather more light, the more light you can gather the more objects you will be able to see.
- If at all possible, join an astronomy club and look through lots of telescopes before you buy one. One of the local astronomy clubs is the Warren Astronomical Society. They meet at Cranbrook Institute of Science every first Monday of the month at 7:30pm.
Phoenix Mars Mission
Launched in August 2007, the Phoenix Mars Mission is the first in NASA's Scout Program. Phoenix is designed to study the history of water and habitability potential in the Martian arctic's ice-rich soil.
New Horizons is designed to help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of Pluto and Charon - a "double planet" and the last planet in our solar system to be visited by spacecraft.
Get the latest updates on the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moon, Titan, from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Mars Exploration Rover
Get the latest updates on the Mars Exploration Rover mission to Mars from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
These sites will get you connected to astronomy places around the world.
- Astronomy in Michigan
- Astronomical Society of the Pacific
- Astronomy Net Articles, forums, club listings
- AstroWeb Astronomy/Astrophysics on the Internet
- StarDate's Black Hole Encyclopedia Everything you ever wanted to know about Black Holes...and more!
- Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia
- Griffith Observatory Star Awards Links to premium astronomy Web sites
- Hands-On Universe Teaching
- Meteor Showers
- Naming Stars The truth about buying star names
- NASA Planetary Fact Sheets
- NASA Solar System Exploration
- Nine Planets
- SEDS: Students for Exploration and Development of Space
- Sky and Telescope - Observing
- Stars and Constellations
- Sky Surveillance - A Trip Through the Solar System (Thanks Colonial Academy for the suggestion!)
- Views of the Solar System Multimedia
- WebStars Astronomical resources
- Yahoo! Astronomy Resources
- Your Sky Excellent public-domain web products
- Camera Mart - Great local source for telescopes and photography equipment
News and Breaking Stories
- Astronomy Magazine
- Sky and Telescope Magazine
- Space.Com Astronomy and space exploration
- Spaceflight Now
- SpaceRef Space News
- StarDate Online
- Universe Today
- Skymaps Free monthly star maps
NASA, Spaceflight and Astronomy
- Astronomy Picture of the Day Interesting pictures and text
- Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan
- Deep Impact Mission to a comet
- Heavens-Above Visible satellite pass predictions
- HubbleSite NewsCenter Hubble press release and image archive
- International Space Station
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Mars Exploration Rover Mission
- Mars Global Surveyor
- NASA Home Page
- New Satellites of Jupiter Current updates
- Planetary Sciences at the National Space Science Data Center
- SatPasses Satellite passes over cities
- Science at NASA Latest information and discoveries
- Shuttle Countdown Online
- Space Calendar
- Space Telescope Science Institute Resources
- Spaceflight Now Online newsletter
- Visual Satellite Observers Home Page
International Space Station
- Discovery: International Space Station
- International Space Station
- International Space Station Overview Press kit
- International Space Station Program Boeing site
- NASA Watch Space Station News
- PBS Space Station
- Space Station Science Operations News
- Universe Today Articles, updates, funding, etc.
- Where is the ISS?
- Aladin Interactive sky-atlas utility
- ADS Abstracts NASA Astrophysics Data System abstracts
- ADS Articles
- NED NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database
- NED Level 5 Extragalactic articles
- SIMBAD Astronomical database
- Auroral Activity
- Big Bear Solar Observatory
- NOAA Space Weather Today
- Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
- Yohkoh Data Archive Centre
- Center for Meteorite Studies Arizona State University
- Meteorites and Their Properties Arizona University Lunar and Planetary Lab
Local Astronomy Clubs and Observatories
- Boon Hill Local Michigan amateur astronomy information
- Capital Area Astronomy Club
- Cincinnati Observatory
- Ford Amateur Astronomy Club
- Fox Park Public Observatory
- GLAAC Regional astronomy clubs
- Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Society
- Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
- McMath-Hulbert Observatory
- Northern Cross Observatory
- Oakland Astronomy Club
- Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association
- UofM Student Astronomical Society
- Thrush Observatory
- University Lowbrow Astronomers
- Warren Astronomical Society This group meets at the Institute the first Monday of each month at 7:30pm.