Earth Weather / Space Weather

Halloween Sky Show

By: Susie77, 11:41 PM GMT on October 28, 2008


Oct. 28, 2008: Stop! Take your finger off that doorbell. Something spooky is happening behind your back. Turn around, tip back your mask, and behold the sunset.

It's a Halloween sky show.

On Oct. 31st, the crescent Moon will sneak up on Venus for a close encounter of startling beauty. The gathering is best seen just after sunset when the twilight is pumpkin-orange and Halloween doorbells are chiming in earnest. Venus hovers just above the southwestern horizon, the brightest light in the sky, while the exquisitely slender Moon approaches just a few degrees below: sky map.

Okay, stop staring. There's candy to be gathered.

One night later, you can give the sequel your undivided attention. On Nov. 1st, Venus and the Moon emerge from the twilight side-by-side, Venus on the right, the Moon on the left: sky map. Look carefully at the Moon. Can 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. A crescent Moon with Earthshine is one of the loveliest sights in the heavens.

The show continues on Nov. 2nd with Venus, the still-slender crescent Moon, and Jupiter arrayed in a broad line across the southwestern sky: sky map. This linear arrangement attracts attention almost as much as the luminosity of its points: Venus, the Moon and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the heavens, visible from light-polluted cities even before the twilight sky fades to black.

Trace your finger upward along the line—that is where the Moon is going. Nightfall on Nov. 3rd reveals the Moon transported to Jupiter: sky map. The two form a pair so tight and eye-catching, it may take your breath away.
As hard as it may be to believe, these nights of dark beauty are just a hint of things to come. The real show begins one month after Halloween when Venus, the Moon, and Jupiter converge on a tiny patch of sky no bigger than the end of your thumb held at arm's length: sky map. Dec. 1st is the best night to look, even better than Halloween.

Now that's scary.

Meteor shower

By: Susie77, 9:14 PM GMT on October 20, 2008

Space Weather News for Oct. 20, 2008

ORIONID METEOR WATCH: If you wake up before sunrise on Tuesday, Oct. 21st, set aside 15 minutes or so to watch the sky around Orion. You might see some meteors. The annual Orionid meteor shower, caused by dusty debris from Halley's Comet, is peaking today and tomorrow. Little was expected of this year's display because a bright Moon is hanging in the pre-dawn sky, causing an interfering glare. Surprisingly, however, sky watchers on Oct. 20th witnessed 15 or more Orionids per hour, many of them brighter than first magnitude stars. If this stronger-than-expected display spills into Tuesday, you might be glad to wake up early. Check for updates and a sky map.

Late October

By: Susie77, 10:38 PM GMT on October 19, 2008

Hope you guys got a chance to go outside this weekend.... such beautiful weather here in the midwest. Due to our rainy spring/summer, this is the greenest fall I can recall! We still have another couple of weeks to go on peak color near the St Louis area, but further north where I live, yeah.... it's great. Enjoy!

I'm Feeling Political

By: Susie77, 12:36 AM GMT on October 07, 2008

So how about a discussion?

Most of us are here because we like weather and weather-related things. Meteorology being a science, which candidate/political party do you feel is most likely to be supportive of funding research and studies in this field? Let's include climatology in the discussion.

I think that as a whole there isn't a lot of difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to supporting funding for scientific research, unless of course that involves those emotionally-charged branches of science like embryonic stem cells, cloning, genetically-modified crops, etc. There also seems to me to be problems with conservative support for environmentally-linked issues like global warming, greenhouse gases, etc. -- and species extinction related to the same. My take on this is this: conservatives want to protect free enterprise and advocate little or no govt. regulation of businesses, because they desire to enrich the economy. That's pretty damn laudable since we enjoy such a high standard of living in this country because we value economic free reign. But when is enough enough?

Would like to hear your thoughts. Well, read them.

Things From the Sky

By: Susie77, 12:23 AM GMT on October 07, 2008

Space Weather News for Oct. 6, 2008

ASTEROID 2008 TC3: A small, newly-discovered asteroid named 2008 TC3 is approaching Earth and chances are good that it will hit. Measuring only a few meters across, the space rock poses no threat to people or structures on the ground, but it should create a spectacular fireball, releasing about a kiloton of energy as it disintegrates and explodes in the high atmosphere. At least one expert estimates that atmospheric entry will occur on Oct 7th at 0246 UTC over northern Sudan. Stay tuned to for more information and updates to this developing story.

Editorial note: It's a bit nerve-rattling how they just noticed this thing. Thank the gods it isn't bigger... or is bringing all its little friends....

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.