Rainbows and Sun’s Green Flash
By Gaylord Johnson
FEW people realize that the famous green flash as well as the marvelous color effect called the rainbow, is explained by a principle which can be demonstrated indoors with the simplest of laboratory materials. In fact, not many persons have seen the green flash at all, either at sunset or sunrise, although it occurs frequently at sea or on land when the sun rises or sets in a clear sky on a level distant horizon.
Currently the most distant galaxy we’ve imaged is 13.4 billion light years away. Well, that’s not quite accurate. It’s actually about 33 billion light years away due to the expansion of the universe. The light has been travelling for 13.4 billion years. I wonder what they were expecting to see if they discovered the “limit” to space?
Limits of Space May Be Solved by Two-Hundred Inch Eye
Whether the universe is finite or endless may be solved when the 200-inch telescope of the California Institute of Technology is trained on the heavens.
Preventing distortion in modern telescopes is a bit more complicated.
Blowing Distortion Out of Palomar’s Eye
ORDINARY electric fans—a dozen of them—plus an “overcoat” of insulating foil are helping the Big Eye of the Palomar Observatory to see clearer and farther into the vastness of the universe.
THE MAN WHO PLAYS GOD
Walter Favreau pushes the moon around and darkens the sun—all in his day’s work at New York’s Hoyden Planetarium.
By Lester David
WALTER Favreau is the only man in the world who literally moves heaven and earth to get what he wants. He spins the sun like a yo-yo on a string, unhinges the stars and sends the planets whirling crazily through the solar system.
I believe this article was posted around the time that astronomers started using the term “galaxy” in the modern sense. (Though I couldn’t find any firm dates on when this occurred) Previously the prevailing term had been Spiral Nebulae or other assorted terms like “star cloud” used below. This makes sense as it was only in the 1920′s that Hubble showed galaxies existed outside of the Milky Way.
Incidentally, the current estimate for the number of stars in the Milky Way is 200-400 billion. And of course the Milky Way is only one of roughly 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Yeah, the universe is a really, really big(video).
How Many Stars in Sky? 40 Billion
NEW counts of the number of stars that could be seen with perfect telescopes of unlimited power were announced recently by astronomers of Mount Wilson Observatory. The number of stars visible to an unaided human eye probably is not over 6000. But large telescopes, like the great 100-inch one at Mount Wilson, which is the largest in the world, show millions of stars even in a small part of the sky.
This is actually rather clever.
MAKE TALKING MOVIE OF LATEST ECLIPSE
“Talking movies” recorded the latest total eclipse of the sun from an Army airplane over Claremont Field, Calif. Never before had this been done.
The definite scientific object of the feat was to determine, more accurately than could be done with stop watches, the exact moment of each phase of the eclipse.
What is down hill to a continent?
SCIENCE NEWS of the MONTH
Continents Have Stopped Sliding Down Hill
• THE migration of continents, which some geologists think a continual process, while others deny it, is suggested by George W. Munro, of Purdue University, in a letter to Science, to have been an actual occurrence; but one which has happened only twice in two billions years of the earth’s history, when sufficient heat was developed near the surface to start continental masses moving under pressure. He suggests that the American continent hit a snag, which broke its backbone.
Things have come a very, very long way since then. Check out the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), currently being built in Chile. When it’s complete it will have 66 separate dishes, each over 12 meters in diameter and be powered by one of the worlds fastest supercomputers.
Signals from the Stars
EVER since it was first indicated that the static present in the output of radio receivers was due in part to physical disturbances on the sun a new field of research has attracted popular scientific interest. It is radio astronomy, whose equipment and observers listen not to man made responses, but instead to continuous “static” from the stars. That cosmic radio noise exists was realized as far back as 1931. Early records proved it to be most intense when receivers probed toward the Milky Way, or lengthwise through our enormous watch-shaped galaxy.
There now some slightly bigger telescopes in the Pacific area.
The Amateur Telescope Maker’s Page
AT a cash outlay of $300, boys at a Hawaiian school built a 20-inch reflecting telescope which has been valued at $20,000. It is said to be one of the largest telescopes in the Pacific area. With the exception of the grinding of the mirror, all the work was done by the students of the Kamehameha school, a private grammar school named after Hawaii’s greatest king. The f-6 mirror was donated by a government employee who ground it himself, taking six months for the job.