Amateur Astronomers Invited to Observe Uranus and Neptune with NASA’s New Horizons: Enhancing Science Mission Observations

2023-09-27 00:25:14

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will observe Uranus and Neptune on September 17 and 23. Researchers will also use the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope to observe. The New Horizons science team invites amateur astronomers around the world to observe the two ice giants. planets to enhance science mission observations. In 2015, New Horizons completed the Pluto system observation. In 2019, it made multiple observations of the Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69. It has turned its multispectral visible imaging camera to Uranus and Neptune. These unique “high phase angles” look back The observations will provide new insights into the atmosphere and radiation balance mechanisms of the two planets. New Horizons is too far away to resolve Uranus or Neptune in a single photo, but the new observations will reduce uncertainty in the Voyager series of spacecraft solar phase curves and provide red and blue band data, these key observations can improve science data to reduce the uncertain parameters of the radiation model. How can amateur astronomers help from Earth? In fact, from Earth observations, even with small telescopes, the atmospheric structure of distant planets can be seen. Uranus observations may include measuring the brightness distribution of the entire planet or discrete clouds; Neptune observations include unusually bright block features, as shown by New Horizons and Hubble Space telescope measurements provide a better timeline and even help explain scientific questions. By combining observational data with data collected by New Horizons, it is possible to solve more scientific questions about the two planets. For example: What are the energy budget and heat balance mechanisms? What role do water and convection play in the atmosphere? What proportion of incoming sunlight does Uranus and Neptune absorb? How much heat energy is released? What are the sources of energy for the planet’s upper and outer atmospheres? The above all depends on the size of the telescope, CCD sensitivity, sky darkness, transparency and visibility. With a clear and stable sky, even a “16-inch telescope” can collect great data, regardless of whether it is a week before or after the New Horizons and Hubble telescope observations. Observations are also very useful because they extend the time baseline of scientific observations. If you take a photo of Neptune or Uranus, you can upload it to X (Twitter) or Facebook, add the #NHIceGiants tag, and attach the shooting date, time, and filter. The New Horizons science team will use this tag to collect and classify the photos. If you do not have an account on these platforms, you can upload the photo here, and of course you must attach the date, time, and filter text format file (.txt). Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope will be released on MAST Home at the end of September. (This article is reprinted with permission from the Taipei Planetarium; source of the first image: NASA) From here, you can track TechNews technology news through “Google News” and update it from time to time.
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