Awesome Night with Ron Ghosh, Space Scientist
Aloha Light Lovers!Thank you to those who made it to last night’s gathering on Haleakala and a HUGE THANK YOU to Dr. Ghosh!…….we experienced so much magic…..I don’t know where to begin!This was one of the BEST gatherings the Maui Astronomy Club has experienced!First when we arrived to watch sunset, we saw the BROCKEN SPECTRE…..a rainbow around our shadow cast into the clouds of the crater!!!!It was amazing!Wikipedia: A Brocken spectre (German Brockengespenst), also called Brocken bow or mountain spectre, is the apparently enormous and magnified shadow of an observer, cast upon the upper surfaces of clouds opposite the sun. The phenomenon can appear on any misty mountainside or cloud bank, even when seen from an aeroplane, but the frequent fogs and low-altitude accessibility of the Brocken, a peak in the Harz Mountains in Germany, have created a local legend from which the phenomenon draws its name. The Brocken spectre was observed and described by Johann Silberschlag in 1780, and has since been recorded often in literature about the region.Then we saw a QUADRUPLE RAINBOW….like the one in this photo!!! I was screaming with joy!! I had never in my 25 years on Maui seen a quadruple!After all our excitement with the rainbows we met the equally exciting space scientist, DR. RON GHOSH! (in the ball cap)Wow, Ron is incredible! We were hanging on every word and could talk with him all night!Ron has over 40 years of space experience….he has worked with NASA on many missions, the Cassini Mission to Saturn to name a few.The Messenger Mission to Mercury was also one of Ron’s projects and we learned quite a bit about the secrets of Mercury.Ron also supervised the New Horizons Mission to Pluto and was telling us how Pluto’s atmosphere reaches all the way to it’s largest moon, Charon!We must have Dr. Ghosh back! He is fascinating and such an eloquent speaker.He’s worked on many other projects including his latest project, Solar Probe Plus mission which will launch in 2018: it will study the streams of charged particles the Sun hurls into space from an unprecedented vantage point: inside the Sun’s corona – its outer atmosphere – where the processes that heat the corona and produce solar wind occur. At closest approach, Solar Probe would zip past the Sun at 125 miles per second, protected by a carbon-composite heat shield that must withstand up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and survive blasts of radiation and energized dust at levels not experienced by any previous spacecraft. See more about the mission here: http://solarprobe.jhuapl.eduDuring our time stargazing, we saw 2 unidentifiable flying objects (UFOs) Even Dr. Ghosh was uncertain what they were!They were brighter than any star…the brighter one was probably -2 mag. and the other about -1 mag.They appeared parallel to each other in the SE part of the sky at about 25 degrees up and did not move like “normal” satellites.They seemed stationary and faded after a minute or so. My husband thinks they were Russian rocket bodies but he can’t confirm it.image: http://www.cosmosup.com/june-venus-is-at-its-best-right-now-jupiter-easily-visible-in-evening-sky/After almost everyone left, a huge fog bank rolled over us and created a DOUBLE MOON BOW!!!! (similar to photo below but a DOUBLE!)I couldn’t believe all the magic that happened in just 3 hours!!!!Can’t wait to do it again.