Location: Chemistry/Physics Building, MUN
Time: 8:00 pm
Chris gave the usual introduction. He also noted there will be a talk by Dr. John Spray about Mars on Monday, February 20, at 7 pm, in room SN-2109.
Robert gave us a tour of the prominences visible on the Sun right now. Mercury is a good target this month, if you have a good view of the western horizon. Uranus will be within a 1/2-degree of Mercury today. There are two faint comets on the go: Pojmanski and McNaught. Venus is easily visible, and Vesta can be found in Gemini if you are looking for a bit of a challenge. Robert hopes that if this weekend is clear, we can go out to Butterpot.
Having no formal speaker arrangement, Chris agreed to talk on something that has been topical over the last few years. Even Time magazine has had a lead article on this topic. Chris explained the history of Pluto-Charon and the Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO's). Chris explained some of the characteristics of these objects. Triton at 2700 km is larger than Pluto, and also at roughly the same distance from the Sun of about 30 AU.
It is thought that the KBO's are from 30-50/100 AU. At about 50 000 AU and farther, we have the Oort cloud. Chris discussed some of the compositional properties that are thought to be typical of KBO's. As an example, he discussed 1992 QB1 and some of the larger objects, such as UB313. These objects have largely similar surface spectra to Pluto. Then Chris finished off with the eternal discussion as to what exactly is a planet.
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