The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff needs funds to restore the Clark 24″ telescope. They are trying to raise $250,000. Tucsonans can help by attending a Science Café at the SkyBar in Tucson.
STARS and BARS – EYE ON THE NIGHTSKY – Restore the Clark SCIENCE CAFÉ.
Join the Arizona Experience at Sky Bar for a stellar evening in an astronomy themed science café. Lowell Observatory Outreach Manager Kevin Schindler will give a brief overview of the first observatory in the southwest and the plans to restore its 117-year old Clark Telescope– the telescope that discovered Pluto and recorded the first observations of the expansion of the universe. Today the Clark delights millions of public viewers. Find out what’s next for this historic treasure with the Restore the Clark campaign. Then, discover stargazing opportunities closer to home from the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and the GLOBE at Night global starcount.
What: Lowell Observatory and Arizona Astronomy Science Café
Where: SkyBar (536 N. 4th Avenue, Tucson)
When: April 25, 6:45 pm
On-street and lot parking is available.
Kevin Schindler: Outreach Manager, Lowell Observatory
Keith Schlottman: Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association
Connie Walker: GLOBE at Night Campaign, National Optical Astronomical Observatory
The Clark telescope went into service at the Lowell Observatory in 1896. The Clark is one of the largest, most productive telescopes of its era and the first large telescope in the desert southwest of the United States. From 1961 to 1969, U.S. Air Force and Lowell cartographers made detailed maps of the moon based on observations made with the Clark Telescope. These maps were critical to the Apollo program, during which men landed on and studied the moon’s surface.
Often called the “People’s Telescope,” more than a million visitors have seen through the world-famous 24″ Clark Telescope in the past 20 years alone and it’s time for it to get a complete overhaul.
The Apollo moon missions planted seismometers on the Moon beginning in 1969 and collected data until 1977. Apparently those data were not fully analyzed until recently.
Modern, “State-of-the-art seismological techniques applied to Apollo-era data suggest our moon has a core similar to Earth’s.”
As a result of that analysis, NASA says:
the moon possesses a solid, iron-rich inner core with a radius of nearly 150 miles and a fluid, primarily liquid-iron outer core with a radius of roughly 205 miles. Where it differs from Earth is a partially molten boundary layer around the core estimated to have a radius of nearly 300 miles. The research indicates the core contains a small percentage of light elements such as sulfur, echoing new seismology research on Earth that suggests the presence of light elements — such as sulfur and oxygen — in a layer around our own core.
The inner iron core and fluid outer core explains how the Moon developed and maintains its strong magnetic field. By analyzing how seismic signals from Moonquakes were passed through or reflected, the researchers were able to deduce the composition and location of layer interfaces within the Moon.
A primary limitation to past lunar seismic studies was the wash of “noise” caused by overlapping signals bouncing repeatedly off structures in the moon’s fractionated crust. To mitigate this challenge, …the team employed an approach called seismogram stacking, or the digital partitioning of signals. Stacking improved the signal-to-noise ratio and enabled the researchers to more clearly track the path and behavior of each unique signal as it passed through the lunar interior.
Future NASA missions will help gather more detailed data. The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, is a NASA Discovery-class mission set to launch this year. The mission consists of twin spacecraft that will enter tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure the gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth’s moon and provide scientists a better understanding of the satellite from crust to core, revealing subsurface structures and, indirectly, its thermal history.