Monday, November 26, 2007

[FOTHP]"Star of the Magi"

Friends of the Hudnall Planetarium,

Tyler Junior
College & Hudnall Planetarium

present
A
Christmas Experience

"Star of the Magi"


Date/Time: Friday, November 30, 2007 7:00 p.m.
Sat./Sun. December 1/2, 2007 2:00 p.m.
Sat./Sun. December 8/9, 2007 2:00 p.m.
Sat./Sun. December 15/16, 2007 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 15, 2007 7:00 p.m.
Private showings available upon request.

Where: Hudnall Planetarium on the TJC Main Campus


Hudnall Planetarium presents the premier of their Christmas show, Star
of the Magi on Friday, November 30, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. Additional public
showings will be presented on Saturday and Sunday, December 1st and 2nd
at 2:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, December 8th and 9th at 2:00 p.m.;
and Saturday and Sunday, December 15th and 16th at 2:00 p.m. An
additional evening showing will be presented on Saturday, December 15th
at 7:00 p.m.

The Star of the Magi deals with one of the most beautiful and
mysterious stories ever told - the journey of the Wise Men who visited
Christ at his birth. The show takes a sincere and serious look at
potential explanations for the Star of Bethlehem. You will be left with
a new appreciation for the night sky and the beauty of the starry host
above.

Seating is limited and doors will open one-half hour before each show.
Tickets are available at the door one-half hour before each showing. No
seating is allowed after the show begins. Admission is $3.00 for
adults and $2.00 for students and senior citizens. Hudnall Planetarium
is located in the heart of the Tyler Junior College main campus near the
intersection of Mahon Avenue and Lake Street. Free parking is
available.

For more information or to arrange a special showing contact the
planetarium at 903-510-2312 or visit the planetarium website at
http://planetarium.tjc.edu.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

[FOTHP]Nov Public Astronomy Lecture Series

Friends of the Hudnall Planetarium,


Tyler Junior
College & Hudnall Planetarium

Present the Fall 2007
Public
Astronomy Lecture Series

Speaker: Tom Hooten, NASA/JPL Ambassador, Director Hudnall
Planetarium
Topic: "Astronomy in the News"
Date/Time: Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 7:00 PM
Where: Hudnall Planetarium

The Public Astronomy Lecture Series (PALS) is an astronomical outreach
program of Hudnall Planetarium intended to keep the public informed of
recent news, events and discoveries related to astronomy and space
science. The series consists of monthly programs presented by
instructors, experts, and other academic and scientific professionals.
Each lecture is open to the public.

The next lecture of the series will be held at the Hudnall Planetarium
on Saturday, November 17, 2007 beginning at 7:00 PM. The presentation
will be given by Tom Hooten on the topic of "Astronomy in the News."
Tom Hooten is the Director of Hudnall Planetarium and a NASA/JPL Solar
System Ambassador.

Seating for each lecture is limited, and doors will open one-half hour
before each lecture. Admission is $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for
students and senior adults. Hudnall Planetarium is located in the heart
of the Tyler Junior College main campus near the intersection of Mahon
Avenue and Lake Street. Free parking is available.

For more information contact Hudnall Planetarium at 903-510-2312 or
visit the website at http://planetarium.tjc.edu.


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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

[FOTHP] Nov Public Show

Friends of the Hudnall Planetarium,

"MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE"
AT HUDNALL PLANETARIUM


This Saturday and Sunday, November 10 & 11 at 2:00 PM, Tyler Junior College's Hudnall Planetarium will feature the public presentation of "More Than Meets The Eye", a planetarium show that describes the joys of night sky observing using the unaided eye, binoculars, and small telescopes. "More Than Meets The Eye" is the perfect show if you consider yourself a stargazer. Constellations, planets, nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies all appear differently depending upon if you view with the unaided eye, or with binoculars, or with a telescope. This show proves that backyard astronomy can be enjoyable and simple. You will quickly discover that there is a lot more to the night sky than meets the eye.

Admission costs to "More Than Meets The Eye" are $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door one-half hour before each showing. No seating is allowed after the show begins. For more information about the Hudnall Planetarium call 903-510-2312 or visit the planetarium website at http://planetarium.tjc.edu.

Hudnall Planetarium is located on the main campus of Tyler Junior College near the intersection of Mahon Avenue and Lake Street.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

[FOTHP] Want to See an Exploding Comet?

Want to See An Exploding Comet?

Comet Holmes is a periodic comet that was discovered way back in 1892 by astronomer Edwin Holmes. Since its discovery, the comet has been making regular trips around the Sun, taking a bit under 7 years to make one complete orbit. As far as comets go, Holmes is nothing special. It has been around for a while, has been well studied, and has never been considered a bright or interesting celestial object.

But something spectacular happened just a few days ago. Comet Holmes exploded! Well, maybe not a literal explosion, but something happened to cause Holmes to brighten dramatically over a short period of time. Within a few days, Comet Holmes brightened from magnitude 17 to about magnitude 2. The magnitude scale is set up so brighter objects have smaller magnitudes. Brightening by 15 magnitudes means the comet's light intensity increased by a factor of over one million. That's the equivalent of the moon suddenly becoming much brighter than the Sun. Sounds almost like an explosion, doesn't it? However, unlike stars, comets do not produce their own light; instead, comets reflect light. The brightening of Comet Holmes must be caused by the comet physically expanding and reflecting more light from the Sun. Before the brightening you would have needed a good telescope to spot the comet, but now Comet Holmes is visible to the unaided eye.

Observations have confirmed that the brightening of Comet Holmes has been accompanied by an expansion of gasses surrounding the comet's nucleus, and we are not talking about a small bit of expansion here. According to the folks at SpaceWeather.com, the comet's physical diameter is seven times wider than the planet Jupiter--and it is still expanding. Explosive releases of gasses, known as outgassing, have been suspected on comets for a long time, but no one has actually seen one occur before. It is very likely that explosive outgassing caused the expansion of the comet and the subsequent brightening, but so far no astronomers are willing to commit to that as the best possible explanation. Whatever caused the expansion is still a mystery at this point.

If you would like to catch a glimpse of Comet Holmes then act quickly. No telling how much longer the brightening will last. It is currently in the constellation Perseus and will remain there until the end of the year. If the weather permits, go outside after sunset and look to the northeast. To the unaided eye the comet will appear as a star. With a pair of binoculars or a small telescope you might be able to make out the expanding gas around the nucleus. A finder chart and more recent updates about Comet Holmes can be found all over the web, including at the Hudnall Planetarium website (http://planetarium.tjc.edu). One of the best sites for recent updates is the Sky & Telescope website at http://skyandtelescope.com


This is an exciting time for a not so little comet.
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UPCOMING EVENTS AT HUDNALL PLANETARIUM
Nov 10 & 11 at 2:00 pm, "More Than Meets the Eye"
Nov 17 at 7:00pm, Public Astronomy Lecture Series
Nov 30 & Dec 15 at 7:00pm, "Star of the Magi"
Dec 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16 at 2:00pm, "Star of the Magi"

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