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THE WOW SIGNAL DESTINATION

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Jon Teamlaverne Jon Teamlaverne | 17:10 UK time, Thursday, 12 August 2010

So, the first WOW Signal transmissions from Lauren's show will be aimed at 'Upsilon Andromedae'. Aimed at what now? Glad you asked... I'm also glad Paul Abel of The Sky At Night was on hand to help with the answer...

 

Upsilon Andromedae is a star 44 light years away from Earth. It was one of the first stars identified as having a system of planets. So far, astronomers have found three planets in the system which are called Upsilon Andromedae A, B and C.

 

Luckily for Planet C, it's located in the Star's 'habitable zone' - a zone defined by astronomers as the region around a star which can support human life (and liquid water). Now, Upsilon Andromedae C is a gas giant, but if it has moons and it's possible that liquid water and possibly life could exist there.

 

An Artist's Impression...

 

James Westerman has kindly giving us an impression of a moon in orbit around Upsilon Andromedae C.

 

Upsilon_Andromedae_C_final.jpg

 

Looks nice doesn't it?! If you fancied a weekend away there, or just wanted to pick the star out in the night sky, Pete Lawrence of the Sky At Night has given us instructions on how to find it:

 

"The best jump guide to Upsilon is to say look to the east or southeast after 21:30 BST and locate the really bright 'star' - that's the planet Jupiter. Above and right of Jupiter is a faint circle of stars which represents one of the fish in the constellation of Pisces the Fishes.

 

"Above that is a large square of stars known as the Great Square of Pegasus. Earlier on, the square may appear tilted over and more like a diamond than a square! Locate the bottom right star of the square (Markhab) and draw an imaginary line from it through the upper left star (Alpheratz). Keep going until you come to Mirach and then on to Almach.

 

"Roughly mid-way between Mirach and Almach is a faint triangle of stars. Upsilon is the upper-right star in this group. A pair of binoculars might help if your skies are light polluted!"

 

Here's a map, again created for us by Pete Lawrence:

 

6-Music-Upsilon-Andromedae.jpg

 

As Sir Patrick Moore says, happy Stargazing!

 

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