FarFarOut!

FarFarOut! is an official magazine 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 3, Issue 1:
Flowers of the Sky

We often talk about searching for ‘aliens’ or intelligent life out there, but what about plants, fungi, and other ecosystems? How does plant life on Earth differ to what could be out there? Also, why are plants green, and more importantly, why don’t we see many green things out there in the universe?

In this issue of FFO, we embark on a cosmic journey through both the astronomical and terrestrial. It invites readers to ponder life’s diversity in the universe, particularly focusing on the potential uniqueness of plant and fungal life on other worlds. 

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos and Why the Bear Has a Stumpy Tale: A Norse Fairy Tale by Carol Lutsinger
  • The Recollections of a Wannabe Astronaut by Stephen J. Camuccio
  • Forgotten Factors: The Complexities of Creating a Lunar Settlement by Lizzie Flores & Raul Marquez
  • Life on Mars by Richard Pomeroy
  • Chapter 1: Breaking the Static by Renata Perez
  • Light Pollution: Solutions and Things You Can Do from the International Dark-Sky Association
  • Constellation Art by Gabrielle Camuccio
  • Cosmic Coordinates: Sky Map & Sky Events for Spring 2024
  • Cosmic Comedy: Jokes, Puns, & Comic
  • Space Rangers: Coloring, Word Scramble, Word Search, Crossword Puzzle, & Artwork

Volume 2, Issue 4:
Celestial Motions

For millennia, philosophers and physicists have sought to explain the motion of the stars and planets seen overhead night after night. With our increasing technological sophistication, telescopes and other astronomical instruments have revealed a universe full of unexpected beauty and wonder – as well as unexpected motion.

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos and Orion the Hunter: An Updated Myth Retold by Carol Lutsinger
  • Phoenix Constellation Illustration by Gabrielle Camuccio
  • Celestial Motion by Richard Pomeroy
  • Relaciones internacionales en el espacio by Yazmin Alessandra Castro Adame
  • Spectrophotometry: An Intersection of Planetary Motion and Starlight by Andrew Maurer
  • Culturas prehispánicas mexicanas: Su cosmovisión y el paso del tiempo by Daniela González
  • Cosmic Coordinates: Sky Map & Sky Events
  • Light Pollution: Global Impacts and Climate Change by the International Dark-Sky Association
  • Cosmic Comedy
  • Space Rangers: Coloring, Word Scramble, Word Search, Crossword Puzzle, & Artwork

Volume 2, Issue 3:
Shadows of the Ecliptic

The ancient recording of eclipses around the world has helped scholars place constraints on historical dates and determine the change in the Earth’s motion over the millennia. And, before the modern scientific explanation of eclipses, humanity watched in awe and wonder as the ever-present Sun was briefly – but terrifyingly – eaten and swallowed whole by the all-too-familiar Moon. We share in that same human trait of awe and wonder today – albeit with a much more comforting interpretation.

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos, and K’iin, the Wise Young Man Who Knew the Secrets of the Sun by Carol Lutsinger
  • Vulpecula: Little Fox by Gabrielle Camuccio
  • Cosmic Coordinates: Sky Map, Sky Events, & the Annular Solar Eclipse
  • Five Lightning Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting, from the International Dark-Sky Association
  • Brownsville to the International Space Station by Victor De Los Santos
  • The Eclipse: It’s Not For Everyone by Benjamin Reed
  • Space Rangers: Coloring, Word Scramble, Word Search, Crossword Puzzle, & Artwork

Volume 2, Issue 2:
Spacecraft Summer

Get ready to launch into the essence of Bradbury’s sci-fi visions turned to reality as we journey from the scorching Rocket Summer of 1999 to the cosmic aspirations of 2023.

We stand at a precipice, a sea of stars and a field of rockets, aligned and ready to launch us into our next phase of human exploration. As South Texas simmers in perpetual heat, we embrace the promise of a Spacecraft Summer with each turn of the page. Join us as we contemplate humanity’s next great leap in exploration! 

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos, and Stardust, the Little Spacecraft that DID!  by Carol Lutsinger
  • Nunca Dejes de Ser Curioso by Ulises Jarquín
  • On Organic Molecules in Space and What They Tell Us by Eloi Camprubí-Casas
  • The Deafening Roar of Rockets: The Auditory Beauty of Rocket Engines and their Application Into the Creative World, and The Starship Archives by Mykel Del Angel
  • AstroPharmacy and Beyond by Paulo Markaj & Marshall Tomat
  • Nautical Rose & Eight Oracles by Hannah Haber
  • The Mortality of Space Settlements – Human Limits by Jaqueline Peña
  • Journey to Centauri: the Potential of Interstellar Travel by Olivia Lincoln
  • Hydra: A Serpentine Water Monster by Gabrielle Camuccio
  • Cosmic Coordinates: Summer 2023
  • Space Rangers – art, coloring page, and word search
  • STARS Spotlight

Volume 2, Issue 1:
Messages from the Void

We listen at the helms of our radio telescopes, we stand with our heads toward the stars, watching and waiting, searching for our place in the universe. Are we alone? This question has boggled my mind since I can remember. Staring at the stars since I was a child, I wondered if anybody else out there was staring back, thinking the same thing as me. The fact that we can see phenomenal structures like galactic walls and supermassive black holes so unimaginably far away, yet so powerful and beautiful, that I cannot help but wonder why we are here for such a short time, relatively speaking. My part as an astronomer is to peer out into the frontier, attempt to decipher some truth, and bring it back to the civilization. Some of the scientific fields for discovering life out there are in exoplanet atmospheres, planetary science (moons and asteroids), and detecting signals across a variety of wavelengths and channels. I’ve seen some interesting ideas proposed, like hearing gravitational waves from a previous universe and searching for God in the cosmic microwave background. I’ve also wondered if we should be sending signals out there to say ‘hello’. We might be surprised to hear something back, and I can only imagine what contents the reply contains.

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos: Seasonal Sky Treasures, Alien Life on Planet Terra: A First-Hand Adventure Tale, and Spacetown – Special Report: EXCLUSIVE to the BTN by Carol Lutsinger
  • It Only Takes One Person to Make a Difference: An Interview with Carol Lutsinger by Anna Szołucha
  • Is There Anybody Out There? Part 1 by Dr. Mario Díaz
  • Cosmic Watergate: The Roswell Incident by Jaqueline Peña
  • Astrobiology: A Brief History for the Search for Life Beyond the Earth by Andrew Maurer
  • STARS Programs & Initiatives
  • Cosmic Coordinates, Meteor Showers, and Sky Maps (Spring 2023)
  • Featured art – Virgo: A Maiden in Greek Mythology by Gabrielle Camuccio

Volume 1, Issue 4:
Ancient Tales on the Celestial Sphere

The history of humanity is inextricably linked with the history of astronomy. We are a curious species, and we have certainly expanded our horizons since time immemorial. Our ancient ancestors, surviving at night by the light of their fires, pondered their existence and place in the universe as they gazed at the night sky. In that star-studded celestial dome, they preserved their traditions in the form of constellations and stories. These stories, the mythology of our species that come from a time long before writing, is still preserved in the oldest form of record we have: our night sky.

In this issue, the last of our first volume of FarFarOut!, we end the year, and begin a new one, with ancient tales on the celestial sphere. We will discover the mythology and cosmology of ancient civilizations; investigate an ancient philosopher’s story of a cataclysm of nature; embark on a tour of those mysterious planetary wanderers of the night sky; learn of the ancient Chinese astronomers and their interpretation of comets; hear a Native American tale of a girl with seven brothers; conclude with winter events, sky maps, and mythological monsters.

Included in this issue:

  • Carol’s Corner of the Cosmos and The Girl with Seven Brothers Carol Lutsinger
  • Cosmos Aeternus: The Universe of the Ancient Romans by Mike LaTourette
  • A Geological Testimony by Jaqueline Peña
  • As it is the Sky it is the Earth by Dr. Mario Díaz
  • Wanderers by Victor De Los Santos 
  • Celestial Portents: How Comets Were Observed in Ancient China by Olivia Lincoln
  • Cosmic Coordinates, Meteor Showers, and Sky Maps (Winter 2022-2023)
  • Featured art: Cetus: The Sea Monster by Gabrielle Camuccio and El Caracol by Myra Rose

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!”