Sometimes I complain about the earthly weather, but mostly I like to post about astronomy and space events. Hope you enjoy the articles.
By: Susie77, 12:48 AM GMT on November 25, 2008
From: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/24nov_skyshow.htm?list870272 (visit link for pix and sky maps)
Nov. 24, 2008: This story ends with the best sky show of the year--a spectacular three-way conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon.
It begins tonight with a sunset stroll.
At the end of the day, when the horizon is turning red and the zenith is cobalt-blue, step outside and look southwest. You'll see Venus and Jupiter beaming side-by-side through the twilight. Glittering Venus is absolutely brilliant and Jupiter is nearly as bright as Venus. Together, they're dynamite:
Add another stick of TNT and voila!—it's tomorrow. Go outside at the same time and look again. You’ll be amazed at how much the Venus-Jupiter gap has closed. The two planets are converging, not in the slow motion typical of heavenly phenomena, but in a headlong rush—almost a full degree (two full Moon widths) per night. As the gap shrinks, the beauty increases.
On Nov. 29th (sky map) the two planets will be less than 3 degrees apart and you'll think to yourself "surely it can't get any better than this."
And then it will. On Nov. 30th (sky map) a slender 10% crescent Moon leaps up from the horizon to join the show. The delicate crescent hovering just below Venus-Jupiter will have cameras clicking around the world.
Dec. 1st (sky map) is the best night of all. The now-15% crescent Moon moves in closer to form an isosceles triangle with Venus and Jupiter as opposing vertices. The three brightest objects in the night sky will be gathered so tightly together, you can hide them all behind your thumb held at arm's length.
The celestial triangle will be visible from all parts of the world, even from light-polluted cities. People in New York and Hong Kong will see it just as clearly as astronomers watching from remote mountaintops. Only cloudy weather or a midnight sun (sorry Antarctica!) can spoil the show.
Although you can see the triangle with naked eyes--indeed, you can't miss it—a small telescope will make the evening even more enjoyable. In one quick triangular sweep, you can see the moons and cloud-belts of Jupiter, the gibbous phase of Venus (69% full), and craters and mountains on the Moon. It's a Grand Tour you won't soon forget.
Finally, look up from the eyepiece and run your eyes across the Moon. Do you see a ghostly image of the full Moon inside the bright horns of the crescent? That's called "Earthshine" or sometimes "the da Vinci glow" because Leonardo da Vinci was the first person to explain it: Sunlight hits Earth and ricochets to the Moon, casting a sheen of light across the dark lunar terrain.
By itself, a crescent Moon with Earthshine is one of the loveliest sights in the heavens. Add Venus and Jupiter and … well ... it's time to stop reading and go mark your calendar:
By: Susie77, 12:59 AM GMT on November 07, 2008
Space Weather News for Nov. 6, 2008
TAURID METEOR SHOWER: The annual Taurid meteor shower is underway and it could be a good show. 2008 is a "swarm year" for the Taurids. Between Nov. 5th and 12th, Earth is due to pass through an unusually dense swarm of gritty debris from parent comet 2P/Encke. When a similar encounter happened in 2005, sky watchers observed a slow drizzle of midnight fireballs for nearly two weeks. Whether 2008 will be as good as 2005, however, remains to be seen. In 2005, the swarm encounter was more central; Earth passed through the middle of the cloud. In 2008, forecasters believe we are closer to the outskirts. How much this will affect the shower, no one knows. The best time to look is during the hours around midnight when the constellation Taurus is high in the sky.