By Mario Carr
Last month, time traveller Dr. Who turned 50. But is the TV show all fantasy?
Apparently, travelling into the future is possible. Motion and gravity can affect time according to physicist Albert Einstein. Time on orbiting GPS satellites moves at a different rate compared to time on Earth. Onboard clocks have to be adjusted several microseconds a day to provide accurate GPS locations on Earth.
Taken to extremes, time would move even slower for passengers in a spaceship traveling 99 per cent light speed to star Alpha Centauri. Passengers would feel that a return trip would only be 1.2 years even though the entire journey from someone on Earth would be 8.6 years.
Also, if a spaceship was near a black hole, or neutron star with intense gravitational forces, passengers would experience a slower passage of time compared to someone on Earth. These passengers would effectively move forward in Earth time.
Here are December stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar, which is currently on sale.
Mercury can be seen in the southeast dawn sky until Dec. 10. Venus can be seen in the southwest evening sky and reaches its greatest brightness on Dec. 6. Mars can be seen in the eastern dawn sky. Jupiter rises in the northeast early evening. Saturn can be seen in the southeast dawn sky.
Dec. 5 – The crescent moon is five degrees below Venus in the southwest evening sky.
Dec. 17 – The year’s smallest full moon will appear.
Dec. 13 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m., Spectator building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton. Free admission with door prizes and everyone is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected. Guest speaker will be Tim Philip.
Dec. 13 – Under poor moonlit sky conditions, the Geminid Meteor Shower peaks. Some are visible Dec. 6-19 and are caused by debris falling from an extinct comet. It’s one of the major meteor showers of the year.
Dec. 20 – The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.
Dec. 28 – The moon is five degrees form Saturn in the morning sky.
For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323.
- Astronomy calendar available at telescope clinic (theskythismonth.wordpress.com)
- The December night sky (theguardian.com)
- 5 Sky Events This Week: Zombie Comet, Celestial Canine, and Moon Flirts with Venus (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
- Waning moon close to Mercury and Saturn at dawn December 1 (earthsky.org)