Op Pad na M4

deur Serena Ingamells
M4-Dieter WillaschM4_M19_M62_M80_Finder_ChartDie identifikasie van my eerste diepruimvoorwerp het tydens ʼn besondere bustoer na Sutherland plaasgevind. Ek was omring deur OOG-vriende wat die NGC (New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars) en Messier-nommers vir brekfis eet, maar vir my was alles nog vreemd en verborge.

Mens moet nogal murg in jou pype hê om Sutherland in die winter te besoek. Dis bibberend koud en daar kan sneeu wees maar as die weer mooi is kry mens ʼn kristalhelder naghemel en die voorreg om die Scorpius-skatte van nader te bekyk. Op die eerste aand is teleskope opgestel en ons het probeer om rigting onder die magdom sterre te kry. Ek het begin rondtrippel van koue en opwinding. Die wonder van die uitspansel was oorweldigend. Met Antares as fokuspunt het ek stadig met my verkyker (10×42) die veld verken ….

En daar, net 1.3 grade wes van Antares, was M4 (ook bekend as NGC 6121). Nie een van die grooste bolvormige sterswems nie maar een van die naastes -7,200 ligjare. Die komeetjagter, Messier, was die eerste persoon om op 8 Mei 1764 individuele sterre in die swerm uit te pluis. William Herschel kon slegs 20 jaar later met een van sy groot teleskope die sterre in al die bolvormige sterswerms op Messier se lys uitken. Met ʼn skitterskaal van 5.6 kan dit onder ideale omstandighede met die blote oog gesien word, maar met die hulp van ʼn teleskoop kan ʼn sentrale staafstruktuur met magnitude 11 sterre geïdentifiseer word. As dit nie vir die donker wolke van sterrematerie was nie sou M4 op meer mense se top tien lys verskyn. Weens die absorpsie van lig deur ons atmosfeer vertoon M4 effe oranje/bruin. Dit bevat 43 veranderlike sterre en die eerste millisekonde pulsar (1821-24) wat in 1987 ontdek is. Dis 10 keer vinniger as die pulsar in die Krap (M1). Om die storie te voltooi moet ek byvoeg dat ʼn tweede millisekonde pulsar is dieselfde jaar in M28 gevind is.

Deur die jare het M4 meer juwele onthul: In Augustus 1995 het die Hubble-teleskoop ʼn foto van ʼn witdwerg afgeneem, een van die oudste sterre in die Heelal. In Julie 2003 is ʼn planeet met ʼn massa 2½ keer die van Jupiter ontdek. Daar word gereken dat dit so oud soos M4 is, wat deesdae op 13 duisend miljoen (miljard) jaar beraam word – amper drie keer die ouderdom van ons sonnestelsel.

Wees versigtig wanneer julle M4 Google – julle kan tussen sportmotors of vuurwapens beland. Die ware M4 is geregtig op applous, groot applous. Dis maklik om te vind en nou die tyd om die juweel van nader te bekyk.

Die foto van M4 is deur Dieter Willasch, ʼn goeie vriend van OOG, op 5 April 2011 vanaf IAS Hakosplaas in Namibië geneem.

The Saturn V Rocket

-by Serena Ingamells-

With the prospect of reusable rockets in the future, a story about a 50 year old system may seem anachronistic, but for people who lived through the triumphs and disasters of the Apollo programme, the mighty Saturn V rocket (pronounced “Saturn five”) holds a special place in history.
In 1969 I did a Greyhound bus trip around the USA and by a quirk of fate happened to be at the right place at the right time. On the 20th July 1969 at the Grand Canyon I was privileged to see a grainy, almost ghostlike video of the first lunar landing. It was only many years later on a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC that I realised why NASA pipped Russia to the Moon. Statistics between the Saturn V and N1 rockets tell only a small part of the story but in this case size did matter. The Saturn V burned 21 tons of fuel a second – incomprehensible to mere mortals. It remains the largest and most powerful man made vehicle ever built.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V

SaturnV-N1 comparisonN1-Rocket-EnginesThe Russian N1 rocket was almost as big as the Saturn V, a bit shorter and a bit lighter, but it had more thrust out of the gate – which probably was its downfall. The N1 had a lot of engines – 30 little ones – 24 tightly packed to form a ring around the outside of Block A, the name of the first stage, with six placed in the centre to provide roll control. The thinking was that if one of these small engines was good, then strapping them all together would be great but this went horribly wrong. All four N1 test launches ended in failure. None so spectacularly though, as the second launch attempt: the rocket exploded with the force of seven kilotons of TNT, equivalent to a small nuclear bomb. It remains one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in human history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N1_(rocket)

By comparison the Saturn V with only five engines (where the name derived from) had a relatively simple system. It still had six million different parts, yet never resulted in a fatality. The Apollo 1 astronauts were tragically killed, but that was due to a failure in the command capsule oxygen system.

Von-Braun-RocketsMuch of the success of the Saturn V rocket was due to Dr. Wernher von Braun who was the technical director at the rocket research station at Peenemunde, in north-eastern Germany during World War II and later became a citizen of the United States of America in 1955.
http://www.space.com/20122-wernher-von-braun.html