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SCI/TECH: Amateur Finds New Nebula with Small Telescope

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posted on Feb, 24 2004 @ 03:19 AM
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For the first time in decades an amateur astronomer found a new nebula with his 3-inch (76-mm) telescope model he'd recently bought. The Nebula did show up in a 1966 photo, but was never cataloged. Astronomers say the need is urgent to follow the progress of the current outburst with further imaging.
 

Bigger photo...
In an era of huge ground-based telescopes, clever robotic sky scanners and powerful observatories in orbit, there are few deep space objects in our galaxy that escape notice by professional astronomers. So no one was more surprised about the discovery of a new nebula than the amateur who stumbled upon it with his small backyard telescope.

"I was absolutely shocked," Jay McNeil told SPACE.com a few days after his remarkable finding was announced by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) earlier this month.

While comets and asteroids are occasionally discovered by backyard skywatchers, astronomers can't remember the last time an amateur found something this unique. By many accounts it has been several decades.

And a mystery, too

McNeil's nebula, as it is being called, is an illuminated cloud of gas and dust. It is lit by what astronomers think is a newborn star, catalogued as IRAS 05436-0007. Little is known about the star.

Since the announcement, the discovery has generated a mystery.

McNeil's Nebula was not visible in seven photographs made between 1951 and 1991 for the Digital Sky Survey. But it did show up in a 1966 photo taken by Evered Kreimer, according to the web site of a space education organization called Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), based at MIT. Several SEDS readers informed the organization of the Kreimer image, which SEDS members confirmed.

The nebulous object in the 1966 image had never been cataloged, however.

Nebulas are cloudy regions of space that sometimes reflect light, or they can be visible by the light they block, creating dark "holes" in space. Other nebulous areas shine because the gas in them is heated to the point that it glows.

Read the rest of the Space.com story...



[Edited on 24-2-2004 by Zion Mainframe]

[Edited on 24-2-2004 by Zion Mainframe]




posted on Feb, 24 2004 @ 04:30 AM
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Hi Zion!!

Thanx for the fascinating story!!

I've been an amateur astronomer since around age 7 and have had telescopes around me since age 9. These have ranged from 2" refractors, 6" reflectors, a home-made 8" reflector, a Cooke 4.5" refractor and my current telescope, which is a 8.5" SCT by Celestron.

I've also been fortunate enough to use the 14" Celestron SCT at York University and - by far and awy the most fabulous instrument - the Keele University 12" refractor

BUT, I've never had this type of success!! Who'd imagine it, in this day and age?


If it's clear tonight I'll have to get "looking" - who knows what else is up there?!!



posted on Feb, 24 2004 @ 06:16 AM
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www.abovetopsecret.com...

I had already did it. know one was intrested.



posted on Feb, 24 2004 @ 06:54 AM
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Hi SpittinCobra!!

Sorry - I missed your original story


Keep posting those good leads!!



posted on Feb, 29 2004 @ 02:09 AM
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I want to say congratulations to the amateur discoverer. There are still alot of discoveries amateurs can make. I was just thinking of this part of space the other day when I created my nick here.



posted on Feb, 29 2004 @ 09:05 AM
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SkepticOverlord: If you would have done some SEARCHING in the posts, You would have figured out I made the post first.



posted on Feb, 29 2004 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
Since the announcement, the discovery has generated a mystery.

McNeil's Nebula was not visible in seven photographs made between 1951 and 1991 for the Digital Sky Survey. But it did show up in a 1966 photo taken by Evered Kreimer, according to the web site of a space education organization called Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), based at MIT. Several SEDS readers informed the organization of the Kreimer image, which SEDS members confirmed.

The nebulous object in the 1966 image had never been cataloged, however.

[paranoid speculation]
Interesting that it is at that specific region of space that has been speculated to be the area that the shafts in the pyramids were pointed towards in 10500B.C. There are other references of ancient civilizations that had referenced that area of space as well during this time period, but the examples escape me for now...


Maybe, the nebula didn't show up in the government controlled sky surveys from '51 to '91, because they don't want the general public to know about this particular region of space just yet. It showed up in the independent (non-government controlled) survey by Kreimer, and interestingly enough, "was never cataloged". Maybe because if the nebula was known, then people would start studying it, and maybe find out that there is some "major significance" to this area of space and the planets in that region... Maybe some of earth's visitors of our distant past (and recent past too) are from that area of space, and the government (and the other powers that be) have been trying to keep that info covered up since the very early 50's/late 40's... hint,hint...

[/paranoid speculation]



posted on Feb, 29 2004 @ 12:27 PM
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No, not much reason for paranoia.

As the news story says, the brightness is part of the regular stellar cycle for young stars:


Reipurth figures the star is a relative newborn, deeply embedded in its own natal cloud. It has apparently undergone an outburst that accounts for its sudden brightness and the illumination of the surrounding cloud -- the nebula.

Reipurth called the outburst a very rare event.



Additionally, the object is well over 1,000 light years distant. That means the light has been traveling for a thousand years or more to get here.

A thousand years ago, we were in the Dark Ages, Crusdades, lack of literature, no science, bad plumbing and abominable sanitation.

No, nobody then said "wow, there's going to be a nebula found about the year 2,000 but we need to mask it so alien hunters don't see it in 1996-2004."






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