When astronomy tutors show constellations on a night sky students usually pay a lot of attention and have a great time. This was precisely the case when three TutorZ employees visited the Astronomical Observatory in Nikolaev on an outing on Thursday, April 23rd.
Astronomer and tutor Anton invited Marketing Assistants Lilly and Maya (together with her husband Michael) and TutorZ founder Dirk to the observatory in Nikolaev. It was a private visit so they all received a lot of attention from astronomer Anton, allowing them to ask a lot of astronomical questions. Lilly, for example, had watched the 2014 movie Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey. She asked about black holes, whether worm holes indeed exist and connected with that if time travel could be possible. Dirk, on the other hand, wanted to know about the upcoming close encounters of an asteroid and a comet in the years 2029 and 2036. No worries, both pass by Earth at a “safe” margin.
The Nikolaev observatory’s main exhibit is a 6 inch Carl-Zeiss reflecting telescope. It is housed under dome shaped roof on a cylindrical basement. Lilly opened the dome by pressing the button of the motor powered roof. And there it was, the beautiful 2015 spring sky at night. The first picture shows Dirk looking like a real astronomer when looking through this Carl-Zeiss telescope. The second picture shows astronomer Anton tutoring Lilly and May about the night sky objects when looking through the Zeiss telescope.
During this spring night, tutor Anton observed three prominent astronomical objects with the TutorZ team. First, he zoomed in on Venus because this planet is to set soon after sun down. Venus is the 2nd planet in our solar system and the only planet which exhibits phases. During March, April and May an almost-half crescent can be seen. It came as a surprise to see Venus chipped off half because we are used to see this planet as a full dot.
Next, astronomer Anton turned the mighty telescope to our moon. May, Lilly and Dirk were in awe when seeing the craters, valleys and polar regions of our closest celestial neighbor.
Almost surreal was the fact that fellow Americans walked on the moon. As a good tutor should Anton used this moon-moment to pose three popular astronomy questions to use. Who was the first man to walk on the moon? Easy, it is Neil Armstrong. Somewhat harder is to name Neil’s space-comrade and 2nd moon walker, Buzz Aldrin.
The 2nd questions was considerably harder. How many men in total have walked on the moon? Hmm, Dirk reasoned as follows: there was a total of 6 missions to the moon (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17) and two astronauts each time landed on the moon. So two times six is twelfth, which gave the right answer: 12 Americans have walked on the moon.
The 3rd astronomy tutoring questions was yet harder: What did the Astronauts put on the moon to empower the scientist on the Earth to precisely measure the distance Earth-to-Moon? Answer: a mirror. The Astronomers on Earth would shine a laser on this mirror and time the until the reflection hits Earth again. It takes light almost 3 seconds to make this round trip resulting in a Earth-Moon distance of 238,900 miles (or 384,400 km).
The picture below also taken with Dirk’s Galaxy 3 cell phone. Stunning, isn’t it?
The final highlight was Jupiter who is prominent on this 2015 spring sky. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. It’s four largest moons – Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede – can be seen with telescopes. Moreover, Jupiter has another astronomical feature is visible on telescopes: its two bands in its atmosphere near Jupiter’s equatorial region. But because of the simple photographic setup, they do not show up in Samsung Galaxy’s picture. In the picture below you see the picture of Jupiter and two if its moons, Io and Ganymede.
If learning about Venus, our Moon and Jupiter, has inspired you to learn more about astronomy feel free to contact a good Astronomy tutor near your home. He will might be able to let you look through his telescope to gaze at astronomical objects at the night sky.