APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:10 am

Image The Big Dipper

Explanation: Do you see it? This common question frequently precedes the rediscovery of one of the most commonly recognized configurations of stars on the northern sky: the Big Dipper. This grouping of stars is one of the few things that has likely been seen, and will be seen, by every generation. The Big Dipper is not by itself a constellation. Although part of the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major), the Big Dipper is an asterism that has been known by different names to different societies. Five of the Big Dipper stars are actually near each other in space and were likely formed at nearly the same time. Connecting two stars in the far part of the Big Dipper will lead one to Polaris, the North Star, which is part of the Little Dipper. Relative stellar motions will cause the Big Dipper to slowly change its apparent configuration over the next 100,000 years.

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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by Beyond » Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:23 am

Dippity do da, dippity ay, my o my we've two dippers today. Plenty of starshine heading our way, dippity do da, dippity ay.
Brer Asterisms are shining brightly today.
Last edited by Beyond on Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by Ann » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:22 am

Great picture! It is surprisingly hard to find good pictures of the Big Dipper, let alone pictures that show us how the "pointer stars" of the Big Dipper "point" at Polaris in the Little Dipper. This picture shows us everything we need to know about the "visible relation between the Dippers".

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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by cees66 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:57 am

dear editors,
my question is: if those are older then me, where are the other two "dippers"? you only see two, but there are 4 of them, as i see it.
i like your page and look every day at first.
succes
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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by Douglas L. Martin » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:20 am

There is a traditional American folk song entitled "Follow the Drinking Gourd". The song was used by slaves escaping, under the cove of night, from the southern plantations as a directional for heading north to free states and Canada. The 'Drinking Gourd" was the Big Dipper.

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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:28 pm

A very nice photo. I’ve never seen the Little Dipper stand out so well, its stars being dimmer than those of the Big Dipper. In my somewhat light polluted skies I can usually find Polaris but the others are often washed out. Also, the stars of these two asterisms stand out because they have a blurry appearance. Was this a natural atmospheric effect on the night the photo was taken or has the photo been altered? (Not a complaint if it was.) :ssmile:
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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by Ann » Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:25 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:A very nice photo. I’ve never seen the Little Dipper stand out so well, its stars being dimmer than those of the Big Dipper. In my somewhat light polluted skies I can usually find Polaris but the others are often washed out. Also, the stars of these two asterisms stand out because they have a blurry appearance. Was this a natural atmospheric effect on the night the photo was taken or has the photo been altered? (Not a complaint if it was.) :ssmile:
I can say for certain that a special technique has been used to bring out these two asterisms, but I can't describe this technique.

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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:50 pm

Ann wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:A very nice photo. I’ve never seen the Little Dipper stand out so well, its stars being dimmer than those of the Big Dipper. In my somewhat light polluted skies I can usually find Polaris but the others are often washed out. Also, the stars of these two asterisms stand out because they have a blurry appearance. Was this a natural atmospheric effect on the night the photo was taken or has the photo been altered? (Not a complaint if it was.) :ssmile:
I can say for certain that a special technique has been used to bring out these two asterisms, but I can't describe this technique.

Ann
Yes, that would have to be the case Ann, since upon further examination I see that the blurring effect has only been applied to the dippers' stars. This is very effective for highlighting just certain stars, which as in this example is both informative and visually pleasing.
Last edited by BDanielMayfield on Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The Big Bopper

Post by neufer » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:51 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bopper wrote:
Image
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
  • The Big Bopper
<<Jiles Perry "J. P." Richardson, Jr. (October 24, 1930 – February 3, 1959) also commonly known as The Big Bopper, was an American disc jockey, singer, and songwriter whose big voice and exuberant personality made him an early rock and roll star. He is best known for his recording of "Chantilly Lace". On February 3, 1959, a day that has become known as The Day the Music Died (from Don McLean's song "American Pie"), Richardson was killed in a plane crash in Iowa, along with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens:

With the success of "Chantilly Lace", Richardson took time off from KTRM radio and joined Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Dion and the Belmonts for a "Winter Dance Party" tour. On the eleventh night of the tour, Holly chartered an airplane to fly them to the next show in Moorhead, Minnesota. The musicians had been traveling by bus for over a week, and it had already broken down once. They were tired, they had not been paid yet and all of their clothes were dirty. With the airplane, Holly could arrive early, do everyone's laundry and get some rest.

21-year old pilot Roger Peterson had agreed to take the singers to Fargo, North Dakota, where the airport serves the cities of Moorhead and Fargo. A snowstorm was inbound, and the pilot was fatigued from a 17-hour workday, but agreed to fly the trip. The musicians packed up their instruments and finalized the flight arrangements. Buddy Holly's bass player, Waylon Jennings, was scheduled to fly on the plane, but gave his seat up to the Big Bopper, who was suffering from a cold and complaining about how uncomfortable a long bus trip was for a man of his size. Holly jokingly told Jennings, "I hope your ol' bus freezes up!". Jennings replied, "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes!" Holly's guitarist, Tommy Allsup, agreed to flip a coin with Ritchie Valens for the remaining seat; Valens won. The three musicians boarded the red and white single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza at the Mason City Airport around 12:30 AM on February 3. Snow blew across the runway, but the sky was clear. Peterson received clearance from the control tower, taxied down the runway and took off. He was never told of two weather advisories that warned of an oncoming blizzard ahead.

The plane remained airborne only a few minutes; no one is sure what went wrong. The best guess is Peterson flew directly into the blizzard, lost visual reference and accidentally flew down instead of up. The four-passenger plane plowed into a cornfield at over 220 mph, flipping over on itself and tossing the passengers into the air. The bodies of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were jettisoned from the plane, landed yards from the wreckage and lay there for ten hours as snowdrifts formed around them. Roger Peterson's body was not jettisoned from the plane. Because of the weather, no one reached the crash site until later in the morning.>>
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Re: APOD: The Big Dipper (2013 Apr 21)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:25 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:A very nice photo. I’ve never seen the Little Dipper stand out so well, its stars being dimmer than those of the Big Dipper. In my somewhat light polluted skies I can usually find Polaris but the others are often washed out. Also, the stars of these two asterisms stand out because they have a blurry appearance. Was this a natural atmospheric effect on the night the photo was taken or has the photo been altered? (Not a complaint if it was.) :ssmile:
The two stars at the outer edge of the little dipper are about the same brightness as Polaris, so if you can see Polaris you should also be able to see those two stars as well. From those three stars you can mentally fill in the rest of the little dipper.
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