FarFarOut!

The Official Newsletter of the South Texas Astronomical Society

The objective of this newsletter is to provide an exciting platform to spread education and awareness for astronomy and space science, and give field experts the opportunity to share their unique perspectives with the RGV community. The FarFarOut! team ranges from accomplished cosmologists and astrophysics researchers to amateur astronomers and science communicators. All community members interested in contributing to the newsletter’s goals are encouraged to reach out and expand their horizons.

Volume 1, Issue 3:
A Starry Multi-Messenger

When Galileo pointed the “spyglass” at the night sky in 1609, his published observations the following spring (Sidereus Nuncius – Starry Messenger) ushered in a new era of astronomy. Over four centuries later, we follow his practice of collecting photons from the starry heavens with our telescope buckets – now situated all over the hills, in the valleys, and in the space above our heads.

In this issue, A Starry Multi-Messenger, we explore the exciting frontier of multi-messenger astronomy. We will learn what it’s like to work for a gravitational wave (GW) observatory, and how to become a GW astronomer; listen to thunderclaps and other noise sources that plague GW detectors on the ground and in space; investigate the multi-tools of Perseverance as it searches the deserts of Mars; learn about the newly-launched James Webb Space Telescope, which will give us information about the earliest of messengers; discover how a small observatory on the ground can bring its tools to bear on exciting problems, such as tracking rocks in space and finding optical counterparts to GWs; learn how to join in on celebrating the World Space Week in October; listen to ancient tales of the Sun; learn about the Fall night sky in southern Texas. 

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos by Carol Lutsinger
  • Thunderclaps and Gravitational Wave Transients by Brina Martinez
  • What Is It Like to Work as a LIGO Scientist, and How Do I Become One? by Dr. Guillermo Valdés
  • World Space Week: Join In On the Worldwide Celebration! by Deborah Camuccio
  • Postcards from Eternity by Dr. Mario Díaz
  • Observing a Stone-Faced Story by Jaqueline Peña
  • Optical Transients: How CTMO Studies the Oldest Nuncius in MMA by Olivia Lincoln
  • Perseverance: The Multi-Faceted Rover Harnessing the Power of the Electromagnetic Spectrum by Andrew Maurer
  • Why Sun Rises Cautiously by Carol Lee Lutsinger
  • Cosmic Coordinates – Fall 2022

Volume 1, Issue 2:
Lithic Letters from the Gods

Asteroids, rocky wanderers between the stars, carry messages from the distant past and implications for our near future. Herschel borrowed from the Greeks to derive their name, meaning “star-form,” but they are far from stars. They are the shattered remains of planetesimals that hearken back to the formation of our stellar system.

In this issue, we present a mission to a sea of metal, prospecting for precious and rare material in our Solar System. We discover the possibility of the ingredients of life – or living wanderers – hitchhiking a ride on a rock bound for Earth. We will face the implications of destruction by rocks from above on the scale of Tunguska, Chelyabinsk, or Barringer. We tell the story of an asteroid hunter and future astronaut in our Rio Grande Valley. And we hear the tales of the Rainbow Crow and our summer night sky.

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos and Rainbow Crow: A Story of Friendship and Sacrifice by Carol Lee Lutsinger
  • CLEO: A Mission to a Sea of Metal by Olivia Lincoln & Jaqueline Peña
  • The Seeds of Life: Panspermia and Meteor Impacts by Andrew Maurer
  • Avoiding (Accidental) Armageddon by Miles Hartl
  • RGV Highlight: Wendy the Asteroid Hunter by Victor De Los Santos
  • Cosmic Coordinates – Summer 2022

Volume 1, Issue 1:
First Light

The practice of astronomy, from modern telescopes to simply looking up and wondering, is dependent on light. The eye — as well as lenses, mirrors, and detectors — count and collect as many precious photons as possible, travelers from afar telling stories beyond your wildest reckoning. It is the job of the astronomer to parse the difficult and ancient parlance, to record and model the world above. Long ago, the fire in the night warmed us, as we told stories imprinted on the celestial dome. The light from the fire, and all electromagnetic radiation around us and from above, is a dance between electricity and magnetism — an interplay between two seemingly distinct forces, yet truly the reflection of a deep symmetry in nature.

In this issue, we present a mission to a sea of metal, prospecting for precious and rare material in our Solar System. We discover the possibility of the ingredients of life – or living wanderers – hitchhiking a ride on a rock bound for Earth. We will face the implications of destruction by rocks from above on the scale of Tunguska, Chelyabinsk, or Barringer. We tell the story of an asteroid hunter and future astronaut in our Rio Grande Valley. And we hear the tales of the Rainbow Crow and our summer night sky.

 

Included in this issue:

  • The Loneliest Dude in the Hood by Dr. Mario Diaz
  • Black Holes: The Birth of the Destroyer by Victor Perez
  • The How and Why the Clock Changes by Andrew Maurer
  • RGV Highlight: Capturing Light from the Other Side of the Cosmos by Victor De Los Santos
  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos by Carol Lee Lutsinger
  • Cosmic Coordinates – Spring 2022

FarFarOut! was named in honor of the most distant object known in the Solar System, (2018) AG37, nicknamed FarFarOut. In 2018, astronomers Scott Sheppard, David Tholen, and Chad Trujillo saw a faint (>25 magnitude) object moving relative to the stars using the Mauna Kea Observatory. The object has an orbit bringing it out to beyond 130 AU and takes it on a seven-century journey around the Sun. And, when a farther object is eventually discovered, one can justifiably call that, too, “far, far out!”