VIRTUAL Mtg & Talk: Interstellar Objects I Have (Sort of) Known
July 16, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
We are holding a VIRTUAL “Macomb” meeting this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
7 PM: Tech check and warmup (Webex only)
7:30 PM: YouTube goes live / Introductions
7:35 PM: In the News, In the Sky
7:50 PM: Officers’ reports, Special Interest Groups
8:00 PM: Observing Reports, Ask an Astronomy Question
8:15 PM: Break, informal discussion
8:30 PM: Feature talk
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Main talk: “Interstellar Objects I Have (Sort of) Known” by Jonathan Kade
Every current member of the Warren Astronomical Society was born and grew up in a world that had never seen an interstellar object. Now we have seen four: two that humans launched and two that came from other solar systems. In my presentation, we’ll talk about these interstellar objects and what we’ve learned about our solar system and about solar systems in general from studying them
First, we’ll quickly review the Voyager 1 and 2 probes, which launched four years before I was born but only became interstellar objects in 2012 and 2018 respectively. We’ll talk about what we’ve learned so far from their journeys beyond the sun’s heliosphere, and what we still hope to learn in their extended missions.
In 2017, Canadian astronomer Rob Weryk (who got his degrees at Western University in London, Ontario) discovered a strange object between Earth and Mars. This object turned out to be the first known interstellar visitor to our solar system. Formally classified 1I/2017 U1 and named ‘Oumuamua, Hawaiian for “scout”, it has disappeared from our skies, but we continue to learn more about it from the observations we made while it was close. It has continued to surprise us and I’ll talk about the latest developments in the strange story.
Amateur astronomers are part of the story too. In 2019, Crimean astronomer Gennady Borisov discovered a comet with an advanced sky survey telescope he built, a comet that turned out to be the first true interstellar comet to be discovered. It’s much like the comets from our own solar system, a far cry from the bizarreness of ‘Oumuamua, but it still has a lot to teach us about other solar systems and about our own.
Publications Director Jonathan Kade’s life has been extremely improbable, although not all that interesting. He has served on the W.A.S. board in most years since 2008. As a part-time resident of Black River, Michigan since 1988, he is in love with Michigan’s Sunrise Side and its still wonderful skies. He and W.A.S. President Diane Hall are in the process of starting Dark Skies Alcona, an organization aimed at promoting and protecting the skies of Alcona County and the Sunrise Side in general. He is a devotee of patience, serendipity, and stochastic processes, and as such is well-qualified to talk about these particular objects.
Post-meeting “gastronomy” will resume when we can do so safely.
If you would like to present a short talk (5-15 minutes) or a long talk (40-60 minutes) at a future meeting, please email Dale Partin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in presentations are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent, and should not be attributed to, the Warren Astronomical Society.