The Stargazers Group of Mississauga

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General Astronomy Information

 Scroll down to access these topics:

1) Cool Astronomy Facts

2) Information about the Moon Landing Hoax

3) Skeptoid Podcasts

4) 2012

5) Astrology

 

Some Cool Astronomy Facts

The night sky is a time machine. All the stars we see are a number of light years (that is the distance light travels at 300,000 kilometres or 186,000 miles per second) away. Close stars like Sirius are 8 1/2 light years away, while farther ones like Deneb are 1,600 light years away. We are not seeing the stars as they are now, but as they were years ago.

If the star Deneb were the same distance from us as the dog star Sirius it would shine as bright as a full moon.

Andromeda Galaxy

 

When you look at the Andromeda galaxy (which is approximately 2.5 million light years away), the light (the photons hitting your eyes) you are seeing took 2.5 million years to reach you - you are seeing the galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago.  We can see this galaxy from Saddington.  It has approximately 400 billion stars in it. The Andromeda is the farthest deep sky object that can be seen with the naked eye.

Betelgeuse, a red giant star is the right shoulder of Orion the hunter.

Betelgeuse is 425 light years away and is 60,000 times brighter than our star the Sun (Sol). It is so big that if you replaced the Sun with Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse would fill our solar system to out past the orbit of Jupiter.

 

The Sun is the largest object in the solar system, and constitutes over 99 percent of the solar system’s mass

The Sun

Light from the sun takes approximately 8 minutes to reach Earth, so we see the sun as it was 8 minutes ago. If it stopped shining we would still see it shining in the sky for 8 minutes.

If the sun were the size of a dot on an ordinary-sized letter 'i', then the nearest star would be a dot 16 kilometres (10 miles) away.

If a piece of the sun the size of a pinhead were to be placed on Earth, you could not safely stand within 150 kilometres (90 miles) of it!

 

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The Moon Landing Hoax

Information about the “Moon Landings Hoax”

 

Introduction

We, some members of the SGM, are amateur stargazers who love science and are completely convinced that the Apollo missions landed men on the moon – 12 men on 6 landings. We are also astonished that a growing number of people, fooled by some internet sites and a Fox TV show, are convinced that the missions never occurred. We ask you to please consider the evidence from the other side of the Moon Landings Hoax debate, the side supported by science, reason and common sense.

 

For detailed technical refuting of individual moon landings hoax claims please see the attached list of websites.  

 

The Size of the Conspiracy

We think that by far the largest problem you must explain away if you wish to promote the idea that the moon landings were a fraud is the sheer size of the supposed conspiracy: the number of dedicated, professional people who would be complicit in the fraud. There is a caveat: just because someone is a well-educated professional does not mean he or she must be correct. However, if many thousands of such professionals agree on a conclusion, that in itself is a strong case for its veracity.

 

Who would be complicit in any cover-up?

 

Professional Astronomers Around the World

This group includes the members of the International Astronomy Union including the

10 143 current members (in the year 2009) and the many thousands of past members who have retired or died in the four decades since the moon landings.

·    They are university professors, observatory scientists and researchers.

·    They are from all over the world, not just the USA.

·    They have all spent many years educating themselves; often to the doctorate level about astronomy. How could anyone buy them all off?

 

Professional Geologists

The Apollo astronauts brought back from the moon 382 kg (842 lb) of moon rocks. Many hundreds of geologists have examined these rocks and all of them have commented on the lack of water and the micro-meteorite scoring, neither of which is possible in rocks created on Earth. None of these scientists has ever come forward calling the rocks (and the missions that collected them) fraudulent.

 

Subcontractor Engineering Firms

Many thousands of professional engineers (rocket scientists, really) at NASA, JPL, and various subcontractors worked on the moon landers, Saturn 5 rockets, rendezvous technology and so on. They would have caught on to a hoax immediately.

 

The Media

The Valerie Plame affair, the Iran/Contra conspiracy, Watergate, and the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What do they have in common? They are all U.S. government attempts at cover-ups that did not succeed. Why? Simply because the U.S. has a free press that relentlessly hunts any such story and exposes it. How could it be that no serious journalist has ever broken the moon landing hoax story? They’d jump all over it – if there was such a story!

 

The Russians

The most important group of people to consider are the scientists in Russia (formerly the USSR) a country that was a bitter enemy of the United States at the time of the moon landings - the late 60’s and early 70’s. The Soviets achieved many firsts in space including the first satellite in space (Sputnik 1), the first person in space (Yuri Gagarin), the first EVA (extra vehicular activity) (by Aleksei Leonov). In fact it was the military complexes in the two competing countries that drove the space race. The Soviets were desperate to win and they desperately wanted the first moon landing. Can you conceive of any scenario where they would have stayed silent if the U.S. had faked the landings? They most certainly would have seen through the cover-up and gleefully announced it to the world.

 

Websites That Refute the Moon Landing Hoax

 

Websites That Refute the Moon Landing Hoax

The evidence is clear: the Apollo missions landed men on the moon – twelve men on six landings. We base this opinion on a careful examination of both sides of the controversy. Our largest consideration is a complete disbelief that anyone could organize such an enormous cover-up.

For information refuting the purported moon landing hoax, we hope you will access the websites below.

http://pirlwww.lpl.arizona.edu/~jscotti/NOT_faked/

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html

http://www.redzero.demon.co.uk/moonhoax/

http://www.iangoddard.com/moon01.htm

http://www.clavius.org/

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast23feb_2.htm

Skeptoid Podcasts

Skeptoid

This is our favourite site for information about thinking critically about a range of topics including astronomy related hoaxes.

The site features podcasts that can be downloaded to an IPOD, other MP3 player or a computer. Each podcast is a short (no more than 10 – 15 minutes) episode about a specific topic.

This is the home page

http://skeptoid.com/

This link takes you to the page where you can select an episode.

http://skeptoid.com/episode_guide.php

Our favourites episodes include

9/29/09All About Astrology (Skeptoid #173) and

1/6/09The Rendlesham Forest UFO (Skeptoid #135)

2012

 

2012

There is a movie and rumours about the world ending in 2012. Here is some information from NASA and other sites about the astronomical basis (none) for the rumours.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/2012-the-end-of-the-world/

http://www.universetoday.com/2008/05/19/no-doomsday-in-2012/

Astrology

Next to UFOs, we get more questions about astrology than any other astronomy-related topic.

We think it is great that astrology gets people thinking about the night sky and constellations. We do, however, do not believe that astrology works. Check out the links below for more information.

 

Skeptoid

This is the best take on astrology we’ve heard. You can also listen on-line or download an audio version of the report.

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4173


Bad Astonomy

This is a long, but excellent article.

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/astrology.html

 

Wikipedia

Wikipedia did a good job of giving an overview of astrology including the science point of view.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrology

 

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