November 2013 Newsletter
By Art Meyer



Welcome to the November 2013 STARS Newsletter

The purpose of the newsletter is to communicate information about the club and astronomical events and topics. It is also a place where members can contribute articles, comment on STARS activities and give suggestions for the club and for this newsletter. Email them to me at myer70@charter.net and a copy to the STARS president Alan Rifkin at alan@rifkin.com. If you don’t use email, then please talk with me at the next meeting. I’m the guy with a beard, probably sitting in the first row.
No member contributions this month, but I am looking forward to them in the future. What did you think of the last meeting? Topics for this year are mostly decided – but what would you like to see discussed? See the list of future topics on page 3 of this newsletter.
Here is one of Dr. Ethan Siegel’s recent blogs: http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2013/11/06/the-night-the-universe-changed/
Index to this Newsletter:
1) Welcome
2-3) Some Upcoming Events
4) Future Speaker Lists for STARS and SOS (Stars Over Springfield)
5-7) Ethan Siegel’s Article: The most volcanically active place is out-of-this-world!




Upcoming Events
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Nov. 26 STARS Meeting: Mission to Mars Panel - 10 minutes per speaker.
Moderator: Dave Gallup
1. Mars 101 - Introduction to Mars - Paul Cardone
2. How to get to Mars - orbital mechanics - Alan Rifkin
3. Report on findings of Curiosity Rover - Crystal Mengele
4. NASA 10 minute video of Curiosity landing - Crystal Mengele and Tim Connolly
5. Medical implications of sending people to Mars - David Wexler

Some links for pre or post meeting reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars (general article)
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/videos/playVideo.cfm?videoID=26 (how to get to Mars video)
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html (Curiosity Rover)
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/05/0517_mars2.html (medical risks of travel to Mars)
And for the latest Mars orbiter “Maven”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/17/nasa-maven-mars-launch-video_n_4290223.html

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Dec. 17: Holiday Party.
Nippon Grill, near Kohl's at the Riverdale Shops in West Springfield at 6PM
More info at the web site
http://www.nipponbuffet.com/
and there is a coupon at their web site
http://www.nipponbuffet.com/coupon/

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A Note From Our President, Alan Rifkin

The Board of Directors will be meeting within a week and I am looking for suggestions for speakers and events.

You can email Alan Rifkin at alan@rifkin.com

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And Don’t Forget!
Amanda’s monthly astronomy articles (AKA “Reach for the Stars”): http://www.reflector.org/amanda/index.php
Here is a link to “Reach for the Stars” columns posted by Masslive. It's in chronological order starting with the most recent, and going back as far as July, 2011. The columns before that date would still have to be accessed through the Stars Club website. If you want to see the more recent ones as they appeared in the paper and on Masslive, with photos and all, you can view the more recent ones through this link.

http://topics.masslive.com/tag/amanda-jermyn/index.html

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Speakers and Topics for Upcoming STARS and SOS Meetings


Nov. 26: Mission to Mars Panel - 10 minutes per speaker. Moderator: Dave Gallup
1. Mars 101 - Introduction to Mars - Paul Cardone
2. How to get to Mars - orbital mechanics - Alan Rifkin
3. Report on findings of Curiosity Rover - Crystal Mengele
4. NASA 10 minute video of Curiosity landing - Crystal Mengele and Tim Connolly
5. Medical implications of sending people to Mars - David Wexler

Dec. 17: Holiday Party. Nippon Grill, near Kohl's at the Riverdale Shops,
starting at 6pm.
More info at the web site
http://www.nipponbuffet.com/
and there is a coupon at their web site
http://www.nipponbuffet.com/coupon/

Jan. 28: Jack Megas and Rich Sanderson will present the planetarium show "Stars around the Campfire," and give a brief introduction to it.

March 25: David Wexler - Cosmology and Space Time

SOS (Stars Over Springfield) Speakers:

Dec. 6 Paul Cardone - What's new in our Solar System?

Jan. 3 Ed Faits






The most volcanically active place is out-of-this-world!
By Dr. Ethan Siegel
Volcanoes are some of the most powerful and destructive natural phenomena, yet they're a vital part of shaping the planetary landscape of worlds small and large. Here on Earth, the largest of the rocky bodies in our Solar System, there's a tremendous source of heat coming from our planet's interior, from a mix of gravitational contraction and heavy, radioactive elements decaying. Our planet consistently outputs a tremendous amount of energy from this process, nearly three times the global power production from all sources of fuel. Because the surface-area-to-mass ratio of our planet (like all large rocky worlds) is small, that energy has a hard time escaping, building-up and releasing sporadically in catastrophic events: volcanoes and earthquakes!
Yet volcanoes occur on worlds that you might never expect, like the tiny moon Io, orbiting Jupiter. With just 1.5% the mass of Earth despite being more than one quarter of the Earth's diameter, Io seems like an unlikely candidate for volcanoes, as 4.5 billion years is more than enough time for it to have cooled and become stable. Yet Io is anything but stable, as an abundance of volcanic eruptions were predicted before we ever got a chance to view it up close. When the Voyager 1 spacecraft visited, it found no impact craters on Io, but instead hundreds of volcanic calderas, including actual eruptions with plumes 300 kilometers high! Subsequently, Voyager 2, Galileo, and a myriad of telescope observations found that these eruptions change rapidly on Io's surface.
Where does the energy for all this come from? From the combined tidal forces exerted by Jupiter and the outer Jovian moons. On Earth, the gravity from the Sun and Moon causes the ocean tides to raise-and-lower by one-to-two meters, on average, far too small to cause any heating. Io has no oceans, yet the tidal forces acting on it cause the world itself to stretch and bend by an astonishing 100 meters at a time! This causes not only cracking and fissures, but also heats up the interior of the planet, the same way that rapidly bending a piece of metal back-and-forth causes it to heat up internally. When a path to the surface opens up, that internal heat escapes through quiescent lava flows and catastrophic volcanic eruptions! The hottest spots on Io's surface reach 1,200 °C (2,000 °F); compared to the average surface temperature of 110 Kelvin (-163 °C / -261 °F), Io is home to the most extreme temperature differences from location-to-location outside of the Sun.
Just by orbiting where it does, Io gets distorted, heats up, and erupts, making it the most volcanically active world in the entire Solar System! Other moons around gas giants have spectacular eruptions, too (like Enceladus around Saturn), but no world has its surface shaped by volcanic activity quite like Jupiter's innermost moon, Io!


(photo follows on next page!)


Io. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech, via the Galileo spacecraft.
Download photo here: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA02308
Learn more about Galileo’s mission to Jupiter: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galileo/.
Kids can explore the many volcanoes of our solar system using the Space Place’s Space Volcano Explorer: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/volcanoes.

End of the November Newsletter