APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

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APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby APOD Robot » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:05 am

Image The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust

Explanation: Unspeakable beauty and unimaginable bedlam can be found together in the Trifid Nebula. Also known as M20, this photogenic nebula is visible with good binoculars towards the constellation of Sagittarius. The energetic processes of star formation create not only the colors but the chaos. The red-glowing gas results from high-energy starlight striking interstellar hydrogen gas. The dark dust filaments that lace M20 were created in the atmospheres of cool giant stars and in the debris from supernovae explosions. Which bright young stars light up the blue reflection nebula is still being investigated. The light from M20 we see today left perhaps 3,000 years ago, although the exact distance remains unknown. Light takes about 50 years to cross M20.

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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby mexhunter » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:31 am

Hi:
A very beautiful picture.
Regards
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby neufer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:09 am

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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby Ann » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:36 am

This is a delightful image, with so much to see in it.

Note the small group of central stars that power the red nebula. Like the Orion nebula, the Trifid nebula is really powered by only one O-type star, which in the Trifid's case is HD 164492. Note that HD 164492 has carved a cavity in the dark dust lane next to it. Undoubtedly this star and its siblings were born out of this dust lane, but now the dust lane is being eroded by the "children" it gave birth to. The dust lane "above" the group of central stars has a bright rim, because the brilliant light from the stars is shining right onto it.

Note that the blue light from the brilliant stars dominate the color of the nebula right next to the small group of hot central stars. Further away from these hot stars, the pink color of ionized hydrogen dominates. It is probable that the hydrogen has been quite attenuated right next to the hot stars, and that there is more of it further away from them. Still further away, the pure pink color gives way and is replaced by a mixture of pink, blue and dust-brown. This is where the ultraviolet light from HD 164492 is no longer enough to fully ionize the gas, and the dusty outskirts of the nebula reflect the blue light of the central stars at the same time as some pink hydrogen emission still makes its presence known. At the top of the nebula, the blue light of reflection nebulosity becomes particularly strong. The reflection nebula may be powered by F-type supergiant HD 164514, the yellow-white star in the middle of the bluest reflection neulosity.

Note the four bright blue stars that seem to "frame" the Trifid nebula, since they sit at the "corners" of the nebula. The proximity of four such bright blue and undoubtedly young blue stars right next to an obvious star formation region can't be a coincidence. These blue stars must have been born, if not out of the same gas cloud that has given rise to the Trifid Nebula, then at least from (now spent) gas clouds close to it.

Note the background sky filled with myriads of small orange stars, particularly to the left of the nebula.These are distant, old and red stars which belong to the bulge of ur galaxy. We see the young Trifid Nebula superimposed on the thick galactic dust lane running across the bulge of the Milky Way. The Trifid Nebula itself has been born out of the dust here.

http://www.southernskyphoto.com/milky_way/images/milky_way_mosaic.jpg

In the image you can see if you click on this link, you can see the dark dust lane of our galaxy cutting across the yellow bulge of it. The Trifid Nebula, which is extremely hard to make out, is situated in the dust lane above and slightly to the left of the brightest yellow patch of the bulge.

Let's return to today's APOD. Star formation is sitll going on inside the Trifid Nebula. Infrared images have revealed new stars forming inside the thick dark lanes cutting across the pink "lobes" of the nebula.

Also look at a stubby pink "pillar" at the bottom of the pink nebula. In the enlarged version of the image, you can see a long narrow bright jet emerging from this pillar. The jet is indeed blown by a newborn star in the pillar.

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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby Beyond » Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:58 am

neufer wrote:http://bb.nightskylive.net/asterisk/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20351&p=127998#p127998


Ok man on the lam, would you be so kind as to explain how your latest Nemo fits in with the arrival of The Trifid's??
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby verkle2 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:48 am

And to think that there are people who still postulate that there is no Creator....
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby orin stepanek » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:04 pm

One of my favorits! The Trifid reminds me of a pansy. I believe this nebula was an APOD before. 8-)
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby neufer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:45 pm

beyond wrote:
neufer wrote:http://bb.nightskylive.net/asterisk/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20351&p=127998#p127998


Ok man on the lam, would you be so kind as to explain how your latest Nemo fits in with the arrival of The Trifid's??

Can't you find it in yourself to Find Nemo and an anemone in The Trifid Nebula :?:
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby Beyond » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:00 pm

neufer wrote:
beyond wrote:
neufer wrote:http://bb.nightskylive.net/asterisk/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20351&p=127998#p127998


Ok man on the lam, would you be so kind as to explain how your latest Nemo fits in with the arrival of The Trifid's??

Can't you find it in yourself to Find Nemo and an anemone in The Trifid Nebula :?:


A Trifid is something cleft into three parts or lobes, according to Webster. Of course now, with better equipment to see out into space, i now see four parts. But no-where in the description can i find anything about plants(or filiments) for nemo to hide behind, so it looks like Nemo is now a fish out of Trifid non-waters.
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby WallyWeet » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:05 pm

Has anyone ever calculated the duration of an explosion like a supernova?
e.g. a firecracker or a tnt bomb seems instantaneous beginning and ending at the same fraction of a moment.
How long does a cosmic explosion go on from the moment it starts? Duration.
And related to that is the Big Bang explosion an explosion like a bomb and if it is one, does its duration continue even now?
Thanks.
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby neufer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:19 pm

beyond wrote:
neufer wrote:
beyond wrote:Ok man on the lam, would you be so kind as to explain how your latest Nemo fits in with the arrival of The Trifid's??

Can't you find it in yourself to Find Nemo and an anemone in The Trifid Nebula :?:

A Trifid is something cleft into three parts or lobes, according to Webster. Of course now, with better equipment to see out into space, i now see four parts. But no-where in the description can i find anything about plants(or filiments) for nemo to hide behind, so it looks like Nemo is now a fish out of Trifid non-waters.

<<As Odysseus sails away, he boasts to Polyphemus ("very famous") that "I am not nobody; I am Odysseus." This act of hubris causes problems for Odysseus since Polyphemus prays to his father, Poseidon for revenge. Poseidon curses Odysseus, sending storms and contrary winds to inhibit his homeward journey.>>
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby León » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:41 pm

Yesterday I said "Dust is the rest of ruined bodies, so it is the end and not the principle," and intended to say-not noted for being out of context, which is returned to the process when it is taken up by the rising stars.

Thus the image of the time we see such extremes are enforced and do not look bad in the north seem born with a dominant amount of dust.

I say if I did not look bad, because it is not on his surroundings, let the concern to the attention of other participants of this forum.
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby DCStone » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:44 pm

Ann wrote:Note that the blue light from the brilliant stars dominate the color of the nebula right next to the small group of hot central stars. Further away from these hot stars, the pink color of ionized hydrogen dominates.


Does the interstellar gas consist of atomic or molecular hydrogen? I would imagine that there's enough UV around to make it the former that is responsible for the observed emission, but I'd like to know for sure!
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby Henning Makholm » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:10 pm

WallyWeet wrote:Has anyone ever calculated the duration of an explosion like a supernova?
e.g. a firecracker or a tnt bomb seems instantaneous beginning and ending at the same fraction of a moment.
How long does a cosmic explosion go on from the moment it starts? Duration.

People have done computer simulations of various models for supernovas. However, the answer to your question depends a lot of what, precisely, you take to be the defining "start" and "end" moments of the duration you want to measure.

In a chemical explosion there is a fairly clearly delineated period where chemical reactions are going on, and all the rest is just about rearranging the end products into equilibrium. You can ask how long it takes for the reaction to progress through all of the explosive. But this question does not have any direct analogue for a supernova, because the energy release here is not driven by a reaction that takes place for a limited period of time, but by the potential gravitational energy the matter in the star already had before it collapsed.

Imagine a bag of flour being thrown through the air (or, better yet, through a vacuum). If suddenly a blasting cap embedded in the flour goes off, the nice ordered bag of flour will turn into an expanding puff of flour. But you can draw a distinction between the period in which the blasting cap blasts, and the succeeding one in which it is only grains of flour hitting each other, distributing energy that is already there. But your typical supernova is more like two bags of flour being thrown at high speed, and colliding in mid-air. They will still end up as an expanding puff of flour, but it is a much more fuzzy matter to ask how long, exactly, it takes for the flour to change configuration from "two compact clupmps of flour, each with its own common velocity" to "expanding puff of flour grains, all moving chaotically". It happens gradually with no hard-edged transition.

And related to that is the Big Bang explosion an explosion like a bomb and if it is one, does its duration continue even now?

No, it is not like a bomb. At least, it is not "like" a bomb in any way that will help you reach a useful understanding of the theory.
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby neufer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:58 pm

DCStone wrote:
Ann wrote:Note that the blue light from the brilliant stars dominate the color of the nebula right next to the small group of hot central stars. Further away from these hot stars, the pink color of ionized hydrogen dominates.

Does the interstellar gas consist of atomic or molecular hydrogen? I would imagine that there's enough UV around to make it the former that is responsible for the observed emission, but I'd like to know for sure!

Interstellar gas consists of hydrogen plasma H+ , neutral atomic H, and neutral molecular H2.
(Note: the photosphere of the sun also consists of small amounts of opaque H- anion .)

However, the amount of molecular hydrogen H2 is very difficult to determine since all diatomic molecules
(e.g., N2, O2, etc.) are extremely transparent due to the high symmetry of their molecular shape.
-------------------------------------------
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H_II_region wrote:
<<An H II region is a large cloud of gas and ionized (H+) gas of glowing low density in which star formation has recently taken place. Young, hot, blue stars—which have formed from the gas—emit copious amounts of ultraviolet light, ionizing and heating the gas surrounding them. H II regions—sometimes several hundred light-years across—are often associated with giant molecular clouds in which star formation takes place, and from which the stars that produce the H II region were born. The first H II known region is Orion Nebula discovered in 1610 by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc.>>
-------------------------------------------
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H_I_region wrote:
<<An H I region is an interstellar cloud composed of neutral atomic hydrogen (H I), in addition to the local abundance of helium and other elements. These regions are non-luminous, save for emission of the 21-cm (1,420 MHz) region spectral line. This line has a very low transition probability, so requires large amounts of hydrogen gas for it to be seen. At ionization fronts, where H I regions collide with expanding ionized gas (such as an H II region), the latter glows brighter than it otherwise would. The degree of ionization in an H I region is very small at around 10-4 (i.e. one particle in 10,000). The temperature of an H I region is about 100 K, and it is usually considered as isothermal, except near an expanding H II region. Near an expanding H II region is a dense H I region, separated from the undisturbed H I region by a shock front and from the H II region by an ionization front.

Mapping H I emissions with a radio telescope is a technique used for determining the structure of spiral galaxies. It is also used to map gravitational disruptions between galaxies. When two galaxies collide, the material is pulled out in strands, allowing astronomers to determine which way the galaxies are moving.>>
-------------------------------------------
http://home.pacbell.net/skeptica/H2.html wrote:
Is Dark Matter Just Plain Hydrogen?
Article from Sky &Telescope January 2000 page 20.

<<SEVERAL KINDS OF UNSEEN “Dark Matter” are either known or suspected to exist throughout the universe. One kind of invisible matter adds unseen mass to individual galaxies, above and beyond a galaxy’s visible stars and interstellar matter swarms of brown or white dwarfs, yet-to-be-discovered atomic particles called WIMPs or axions, and hypothetical “quark nuggets” have been proposed to account for it.

But the dark matter in galaxies may not be so exotic or even very dark. According to two Dutch astronomers, most or all of it may be ordinary molecular hydrogen (H2), which, unlike atomic hydrogen (H), is invisible except at certain infrared wavelengths.

Using the European Space Agency’s Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), Edwin A.Valentijn (Kapteyn Institute, Groningen) and Paul P. van der Werf (Leiden Observatory) detected huge amounts of relatively warm molecular hydrogen in NGC 891, an edge-on galaxy 30 million light-years away in Andromeda. In the September 1, 1999, Astrophysical Journal Letters they claim that their result “matches well the mass required to resolve the problem of the missing matter of spiral galaxies.”

Molecular hydrogen is notoriously difficult to observe. However, the two lowest rotational energy states of this molecule produce weak spectral lines at the far-infrared wavelengths of 28.2188 and 17.0348 microns, a spectral region covered by ISO’s Short Wavelength Spectrometer. A few years ago Valentijn reported the first extragalactic detection of these lines in the center of NGC 6946. Now, the study of NGC 891 reveals that molecular hydrogen is all over the place. Valentijn and van der Werf conclude that the galaxy contains 5 to 15 times more molecular than atomic hydrogen (which is easily observed using radio telescopes). They write, “It is well established that if there is about 10 times as much molecular hydrogen as atomic hydrogen in the disks of spiral galaxies, then the missing mass problem [in galaxies] is solved.”

Since NGC 891 is a run-of-the-mill spiral, it is reasonable to assume that other galaxies may harbor similar amounts of molecular hydrogen. But this may be hard to confirm. The current observations are right at the sensitivity limit of ISO’s spectrometer. Moreover, the gas in NGC 891 is relatively warm (80º to 90º K) with still warmer patches (150º to 230º K), which makes it easier to spot. A thin background of molecular hydrogen would be much harder if not impossible to detect in our own Milky Way because the faint signal would be smeared across the whole sky.

The gas that Valentijn and van der Werf have detected resides in the galaxy’s flat disk. What about the dark matter supposedly in galaxy halos? Surprisingly, the authors claim that none may be necessary. “Our results give a much stronger footing for the ‘ordinary matter’ simple solution of the dark matter problem, in the form of massive clouds in the disks of galaxies:” they say. According to Valentijn, the “halo culture” that has grown up around the dark-matter problem might never have arisen if the ISO results had been known earlier. Nevertheless, “the problem is complex enough to avoid drawing quick conclusions:,” he says. For instance, little is known about the warming mechanism for such huge amounts of gas.>>
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby Beyond » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:56 pm

Yes....Hubris, the effect of - WHAT?....Me worry :?: The safe place for Nemo-ites. But now The Trifid Nebula has become The Quadid Nebula. Whatever are we to do :?: :?:
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby neufer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:39 pm

beyond wrote:
Yes....Hubris, the effect of - WHAT?....Me worry :?: The safe place for Nemo-ites.
But now The Trifid Nebula has become The Quadid Nebula. Whatever are we to do :?: :?:

The Quadid Nebula :?: (If it talks like a duck...)

How about the Quadrifid Nebula?
-----------------------------------------
trifid [from Latin trifidus from tri- + findere to split]
..................
bifidus
trifidus
quadrifidus
quintifidus
sextifidus
septifidus
octifidus
nonifidus
decifidus
undecifidus
duodecifidus
tredecifidus
quattuordecifidus
Last edited by neufer on Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby Beyond » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:09 pm

neufer wrote:
beyond wrote:
Yes....Hubris, the effect of - WHAT?....Me worry :?: The safe place for Nemo-ites.
But now The Trifid Nebula has become The Quadid Nebula. Whatever are we to do :?: :?:

The Quadid Nebula :?: (If it talks like a duck...)

How about the Quadrifid Nebula?
-----------------------------------------
trifid [from Latin trifidus from tri- + findere to split]
..................
bifidus
trifidus
quadrifidus
quintifidus
sextifidus
septifidus
octifidus
nonifidus
decifidus
undecifidus
duodecifidus
tredecifidus
quattuordecilfidus


Quadrifid is just fine. Once again i find that i must aquiese to your Humongous Hubris in these matters :roll:
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby NoelC » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:19 pm

Dang! I can see stuff in there I've only ever seen in Hubble images before!

Awesome work you guys!!!

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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby neufer » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:11 am

NoelC wrote:
Dang! I can see stuff in there I've only ever seen in Hubble images before!
Awesome work you guys!!! -Noel

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080630.html
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap040618.html
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby garrymaxfield » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:51 am

Exactly what is high energy starlight?

Thanks
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby neufer » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:13 am

garrymaxfield wrote:Exactly what is high energy starlight?

I would guess that it is UV wavelengths shorter than 912 angstroms (91.2 nm) capable of ionizing atomic hydrogen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman_series
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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby bystander » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:30 am

garrymaxfield wrote:Exactly what is high energy starlight?

Ultraviolet and beyond. Higher energy is associated with higher frequencies or shorter wavelengths. E = hc/λ, E = hf, f = c/λ
Where E = photon energy, f = frequency, λ = wavelength, c = speed of light constant, and h = Planck's constant.

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Re: APOD: The Trifid Nebula is Stars and Dust (2010 Jul 28)

Postby DavidLeodis » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:22 pm

It's a gorgeous image.

In the explanation it states "Which bright young stars light up the blue reflection nebula is still being investigated". The link in that brings up an abstract of a paper that was published in November 1986. Wow, that is keeping somebody in employment! :)

The credit has a link that would presumably bring up information on Ryan Hannahoe, but it requires a username and password to access it which makes having the link seem pointless. Fortunately the information that was brought up through the "this photogenic nebula" link had a link to information on Ryan.
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Which bright young star lights up IES students?

Postby neufer » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:08 pm

DavidLeodis wrote:
In the explanation it states "Which bright young stars light up the blue reflection nebula is still being investigated". The link in that brings up an abstract of a paper that was published in November 1986. Wow, that is keeping somebody in employment! :) The credit has a link that would presumably bring up information on Ryan Hannahoe, but it requires a username and password to access it which makes having the link seem pointless. Fortunately the information that was brought up through the "this photogenic nebula" link had a link to information on Ryan.

http://ryanhannahoe.nmskies.com/?page_id=2 wrote:
Image

<<Ryan Hannahoe is the Director of Client Support Services for the Fair Dinkum Skies Observatory and also serves as a presenter for Montana State University’s Space Public Outreach Team. Ryan shares astronomy with others through talks, instruction and remote telescope technical support. He is majoring in Education for his undergraduate degree at Montana State University (MSU), and he hopes to continue to convey science to others upon graduating. At MSU, Ryan serves as a volunteer for the Museum of the Rockies. Before attending Montana State, Ryan obtained an Associate degree (with highest honors) in Information Technology from New Mexico State University in Alamogordo. While at NMSU-A, Ryan also served as a Telescope Technician at New Mexico Skies Observatories. Ryan provided technical support for telescope projects for Caltech, NASA, NOAO, PBS, and the Tzec Maun Foundation. Ryan is a member of the American Astronomical Society and SPIE. An Eagle Scout, his community work has been recognized with the Congressional Award Gold Medal, and the National Jack Horkheimer Award. Ryan’s astronomical work has been published in magazines, textbooks, and is on display at Montana State University in Bozeman. He has lectured nationally, and if you talk to Ryan you will find out that astronomy is his work, his passion, and his life.>>

"Neil deGrasse Tyson says the manned space program is the force that inspires people to become scientists in the first place. "

But how many Ryan Hannahoes could be employed for life
for the cost of one pointless irrelevant space shuttle flight?


<<For his part, Ryan Hannahoe is not sure what sort of job he'll ultimately find himself in, but one thing will guide his choice. "All I know is that I want to make science accessible on a broad scale to individuals, especially children. Who knows where that's going to take me.">>
http://www.astronomicalimaging.com/ wrote:
MSU student shares knowledge, love of astronomy with elementary students, community
April 19, 2010 -- Anne Pettinger Cantrell, MSU News Service

Montana State University student Ryan Hannahoe loves astronomy and getting others excited about science, and it's instantly apparent. Several seconds into an interview, he blurts out: "Have you ever looked at the sun?" Grinning, he pulls out eclipse glasses. They're made with lenses that block out ultraviolet light and most visible light, allowing people to view the sun without injuring their eyes. "When you look through these, you can see magnetic spots on the sun, if they're big enough," he said.

Several weeks later, Hannahoe is working with a different audience: a group of local elementary school students. Hannahoe walks around the classroom, asking the students questions. "Who can tell me what goes around the Earth and is not man-made?" A majority of the kids eagerly raise their hands. "The moon!" one girl answers when Hannahoe calls on her. Many more questions and answers follow. Then, to a chorus of excited murmurs, Hannahoe tells the students it's time for something they've been talking about for weeks. With Hannahoe's help, the 24 third and fourth grade students at Bozeman's Irving Elementary School will each assemble a telescope. The $30 telescopes, donated by MSU's Optical Technology Center, will then be theirs to keep.

The kids follow Hannahoe's directions step by step: pull the materials out of the cardboard box, wait for one of the adults to place the lens in the proper space, fit the scope around the lens, place O-rings around the scope to help hold the parts in place, and finally, affix a sticker, which has an image reminding telescope users not to look at the sun. The kids will get to try out their telescopes at a stargazing party in a few days, but for now, they excitedly squint into them in the daylight, gazing at objects around the classroom. One fourth grade student said he was excited to have the telescope and planned to use it outside and hang it in his room.

"My whole goal is to get people interested in science, especially little kids," Hannahoe said of his motivation for the work. "I want to make science accessible to the public." Hannahoe certainly has the knowledge and enthusiasm to accomplish this goal. An astronomy buff since he was a young kid himself, Hannahoe made his first telescope when he was 13. He remembers his mother frequently driving him hours away from their suburban Philadelphia neighborhood when he was a kid so that he could gaze up at a night sky unblemished from light. Soon after graduating from high school, he took a job at an observatory in New Mexico. Now 25, he has traveled around the U.S. as an astronomy lecturer, is a pioneer in observing the skies remotely using computer equipment and electronic cameras, and boasts an impressive portfolio of astronomy-related photographs that he has taken over the years. He currently works remotely for an observatory in Australia, using an Internet connection to steer telescopes, take photographs and solve computer problems.

"Science should be open to everyone," Hannahoe said. "It's fun and important." The mantra has influenced much of the work Hannahoe has recently undertaken. One way he has increased accessibility and understanding in science is through his project with Irving Elementary School. Hannahoe, an MSU education major (he also has a degree in information technology), has gone beyond the college's normal degree requirements by designing an astronomy unit for Irving students. Hannahoe worked with several MSU professors, including Lori Brockway and Joseph Shaw, to create the five-part unit, which includes pre-and-post assessments, lessons, the telescope assembly session and an evening stargazing event. He is receiving no academic credit for the work and estimates that he has volunteered dozens of hours of his time to the project.

Another large project to which Hannahoe has devoted himself is Astronomy Day, a free afternoon of astronomy-related events held annually at the Museum of the Rockies. Last year, when Hannahoe first served as an organizer, a record 2,000 people attended, making it one of the largest science events held in the state. This year, Hannahoe is again serving as an organizer, and he hopes it will be even bigger.

"So many people are afraid of or intimidated by science," Hannahoe said. "Astronomy Day is a great way to reach out and get people excited about it." In fact, one of Hannahoe's strengths is his ability to work well with people, said Mike Rice, owner of the New Mexico Skies observatory near Cloudcroft, N.M., where Hannahoe worked before moving to Bozeman in 2008. Hannahoe said he decided to attend MSU after visiting campus to lecture at the Museum of the Rockies. "Ryan is very much a people person," Rice said. "He reaches out to people and explains things in terms they can understand."

At New Mexico Skies, Rice said, Hannahoe often interacted with guests, teaching them about astronomy and how to use telescopes. Hannahoe worked at the observatory for a number of years, starting when he was in high school and worked there remotely. Hannahoe later moved to New Mexico and worked on-site for about three years. Hannahoe currently works as the director of client support services at the Fair Dinkum Skies observatory in Australia, which is connected to New Mexico Skies. In that role, he helps people solve computer and software problems, often waking up around 2:30 a.m. to work.

Hannahoe is an accomplished and well-respected astronomer, Rice said, which he called particularly impressive given Hannahoe's young age. "Ryan really helped pioneer remote astronomical observing back when he was in high school, and now virtually all observing is done remotely using electronic cameras," Rice said. "When he graduates from MSU, we'll be fighting to get him back (to New Mexico Skies).">>
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