Thanks to all of those who came out to learn about supermoons at last night's UMBC Observatory Open House! In total we had 44 attendees--despite the rain!
We started the evening with Astronomy Club President, Katy-Ann Carr leading astronomy themed Jeopardy (the left side of the room won!).
During the talk, we focused on the development of ideas in Western thought that led to our current understanding of orbits. We mentioned Ptolemy, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, and Issac Newton. Next, we discussed the orbit of the Moon in detail. We made sure to highlight the Hill Sphere and the Roche Limit, two imaginary spheres in space (dictated by the gravity of the Earth) that would have affected our early Moon. With all of this, we were able to finally understand exactly why some Full Moons are larger and brighter than others and why we call them Supermoons!
Two fun objects we mentioned were Comet C/ISON and I/'Oumuamua*. Comet C/ISON was observed by the UMBC Observatory and followed a hyperbolic orbit--nearly parabolic! I/'Oumuamua was the FIRST object to visit our solar system from another and followed a hyperbolic orbit. A third was 2I/Borisov and was the second interstellar visitor! 2I/Borisov also followed a hyperbolic orbit.
After the talk, Jackson Ames and Jay Sharp presented on astrophotography and what the sky looks like tonight, respectively. Phil Titleman and Katy also brought attendees into the observatory for a tour of the facility.
We wrapped everything up just before 9:30pm.
For any commentary or questions, please e-mail us at email@example.com
A copy of the presentation can be found here: https://prezi.com/fa7dp6ugmfce/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy
The next Open House topic is on Space Travel and will be on March 5!
Be sure to catch the next Supermoon on February 9! ... & March 9 & April 8 & May 7 :)
The February 9 Supermoon is also known as the Full Snow or the Full Hunger Moon. These were titles given by Native Americans and other groups to full moons that occur this time of year to help keep track of the seasons. Many tribes gave these moons titles, most notably the Algonquin tribes who lived in modern day Minnesota, North Dakota, Ontario, and Manitoba. (https://www.almanac.com/content/full-moon-names)
*I/'Oumuamua (pronounced 'oh-moo-ah-moo-ah') was the first object observed to have visited our solar system from another solar system. Appropriately, the 'interstellar' distinction (I\) was given to an object for the first time. The rest of the name comes from Hawaiian phrases loosely meaning "messenger from the distant past reaching out". (https://minorplanetcenter.net//mpec/K17/K17V17.html)