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, 12:47 AM GMT on December 30, 2008
(The crescent moon was lovely tonight-- complete with earthshine.)
Space Weather News for Dec. 29, 2008
NEW YEAR'S EVE: What a way to end the year. On Dec. 31st, Venus and the slender crescent Moon will gather together high in the southwestern sky for a beautiful conjunction visible for hours after sunset. The two brightest objects in the night sky can be seen through city lights and even fireworks--so everyone can enjoy the show. Meanwhile, closer to the horizon, Mercury and Jupiter are converging for their own Dec. 31st conjunction. This one is not so easy to see, but rewarding for those who make the effort to find the two planets shining through the rosy glow of sunset.
Visit http://spaceweather.com for sky maps and photos of the converging planets.
BONUS: Is Venus really bright enough to cast shadows? The answer is yes, and the proof may be found on today's edition of Spaceweather.com. A French photographer has captured rare images of Venus casting a shadow and he has even made a movie of the shadow in motion.
By: Susie77, 3:44 PM GMT on December 21, 2008
Merry Yule, you all!
Space Weather News for Dec. 21, 2008
URSID METEORS: Earth is passing through a stream of debris from comet 8P/Tuttle and this is causing the annual Ursid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the Ursids to peak on Dec. 22nd with 8 to 10 meteors per hour flying out of the constellation Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper) not far from the north star. The display is usually mild, but outbursts of Ursids occasionally surprise observers with rates many times normal. The last time this happened was in 2006.
Standing outdoors to watch Ursids in December can be a chilling experience. So why not stay inside and listen? Spaceweather.com is broadcasting live audio from the Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas. When a meteor passes over the facility--"ping"--there is an echo. Because the Ursid radiant is circumpolar (always up) over the radar, the echoes may be heard at any hour, night or day. Tune in to http://spaceweather.com to try the audio feed, which can support 1000 simultaneous listeners.
By: Susie77, 12:26 AM GMT on December 07, 2008
Space Weather News for Dec. 6, 2008
COLORADO FIREBALL: Last night, a fireball one hundred times brighter than the full Moon lit up the sky near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Astronomer Chris Peterson photographed the event using an all-sky video camera dedicated to meteor studies. "In seven years of operation, this is the brightest fireball I've ever recorded. I estimate the terminal explosion at magnitude -18." Meteors this bright are called superbolides; they are caused by small (meter-class) asteroids and are likely to pepper the ground with meteorites when they explode. Visit http://spaceweather.com to watch the fireball video and contribute sighting reports that could help pinpoint any meteoritic debris.
TUMBLING TOOLBAG: The space station's famous sidekick, the ISS Toolbag, is circling Earth and reportedly producing flashes of light bright enough to record using off-the-shelf digital cameras. The flashes, shown in a photo on today's edition of Spaceweather.com, could be a sign that the bag is tumbling. Both the Toolbag and the ISS will be making a series of evening passes over North America and Europe in the evenings ahead, so now is a good time to look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for viewing times: http://spaceweather.com/flybys
BONUS: The Dec. 1st Great Conjunction Photo Gallery continues to grow with daily additions from around the world. Start browsing here:
Visit http://spaceweather.com for photos, webcasts and more information.