Earth Weather / Space Weather

Jupiter/Moon Conjunction

By: Susie77, 12:51 AM GMT on November 29, 2012

FULL MOON AND JUPITER: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look east. Jupiter and the full Moon are only a few degrees apart. This conjunction is so bright, it can be seen even from brightly-lit cities. Sky Map

From Space Weather

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Lunar Eclipse November 28 2012

By: Susie77, 10:13 PM GMT on November 27, 2012

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse of November


The last lunar eclipse of 2012 is a deep penumbral eclipse with a magnitude of 0.9155. It should be easily visible to the naked eye as a dusky shading in the northern half of the Moon. The times of the major phases are listed below.

Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 12:14:58 UT
Greatest Eclipse: 14:33:00 UT
Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 16:51:02 UT

Note that the beginning and end of a penumbral eclipse are not visible to the eye. In fact, no shading can be detected until about 2/3 of the Moon's disk is immersed in the penumbra. This would put the period of eclipse visibility from approximately 14:00 to 15:00 UT. Keep in mind that this is only an estimate. Atmospheric conditions and the observer's visual acuity are important factors to consider. An interesting exercise is to note when penumbral shading is first and last seen.

Figure 6 shows the path of the Moon through the penumbra as well as a map of Earth showing the regions of eclipse visibility. Eastern Canada and the USA will miss the eclipse entirely since it begins after moonset. Observers in western Canada and the USA will have the best views with moonset occurring sometime after mid-eclipse. To catch the entire event, one must be in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, or East Asia.

The November 28 penumbral lunar eclipse is the 11th member of Saros 145, a series of 71 eclipses in the following sequence: 18 penumbral, 10 partial, 15 total, 20 partial, and 8 penumbral lunar eclipses (Espenak and Meeus, 2009). Complete details for the series can be found at:

eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEsaros/LEsaros145.html

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View Tuesday's Total Eclipse on the Web

By: Susie77, 5:17 PM GMT on November 12, 2012

Total Solar Eclipse Occurs Tuesday: How to Watch Online
by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer
Date: 12 November 2012 Time: 06:54 AM ET
From Space.com

The total solar eclipse on Tuesday (Nov. 13) may only be visible from slivers of northern Australia and a swathe of open ocean, but you don't have to make an epic journey to see the dramatic celestial event.

Several different organizations will webcast live views of the total solar eclipse, which begins at 3:35 p.m. EST (2035 GMT) on Tuesday (Nov. 13; however, it will actually be Nov. 14 local time in Australia).

The online Slooh Space Camera is one such outfit. It will broadcast a live feed of the 2012 total solar eclipse from a site near the city of Cairns, in the Australian state of Queensland, starting at 2:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT) Tuesday. The eclipse will commence around sunrise local time, making for a particularly memorable spectacle, Slooh officials said.

You can access Slooh's broadcast at SLOOH.

"We are ecstatic to have a world-class team on-site in Cairns bringing the power and beauty of this spectacular event live to our worldwide audience," Slooh president Patrick Paolucci said in a statement. "We are ramped up and ready to go to handle millions of viewers."

Another webcast event will be streamed by Tourism Tropical North Queensland, which will also provide live views from Cairns here: Cairns.

The path of totality for tomorrow's solar eclipse will be 108 miles (174 kilometers) wide and will traverse about 9,000 miles (14,500 km) over a three-hour period, Slooh officials said. Most of the path will be over the South Pacific Ocean, making the eclipse tough for most folks to view.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon lines up with the sun in the sky, blotting out the solar disk from a viewer's perspective on Earth. There are three main types: total, partial and annular (in which the outer edges of the sun shine like a ring around the moon in the sky).

Parts of Asia, the Pacific and western North America experienced an annular or "ring of fire" eclipse in May. The next total solar eclipse darkens the North Atlantic region in March 2015, though a "hybrid" eclipse — which shifts between total and annular at different points on the globe — will come to parts of the Atlantic and central Africa in November 2013.

Warning: If you are planning to watch the total solar eclipse in person, be extremely careful. Never look directly at the sun, either with the naked eye or through telescopes or binoculars without the proper filters. To safely view solar eclipses, you can purchase special solar filters or No. 14 welder's glass to wear over your eyes. Standard sunglasses will NOT provide sufficient protection.

The eclipse isn't the only skywatching treat on tap this week. The annual Leonid meteor shower peaks overnight Saturday (Nov. 17).

Editor's note: If you are in Australia or along the solar eclipse path and snap an amazing photo of Tuesday's total solar eclipse that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please send images, comments and location information to managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.

Visit SPACE.com Tuesday to see the Slooh feed of the 2012 total solar eclipse, as well as several other real-time eclipse webcasts.

Follow SPACE.com senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwallor SPACE.com @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+.

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Total Eclipse of the Sun Down Under

By: Susie77, 12:36 AM GMT on November 10, 2012

From Science at NASA

Total Eclipse of the Sun


Nov. 8, 2012: People from around the world are converging on the coast of northeast Australia. The attraction isn't the Great Barrier Reef, just offshore, or the surrounding rain forests full of wildlife and exotic plants. They're going to see a total eclipse of the sun.

On the morning of Nov. 14th (Australia time), about an hour after sunrise, the Moon will pass directly in front of the sun. Residents and visitors of the city of Cairns, also known as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, will enjoy an early morning eclipse lasting 2 minutes with the sun only 14 degrees above the eastern horizon.

NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak has a rating scheme for natural wonders. "On a scale of 1 to 10," he says, "total eclipses are a million." Even the reef itself will be momentarily forgotten by onlookers as the Moon's cool shadow sweeps across the beach and the ghostly tendrils of the solar corona surround the black lunar disk.

But there's more to this event than tourism. Scientists are attending, too. For researchers, the brief minutes of totality offer a window into one of the deepest mysteries of solar physics: The mystery of coronal heating.
Auroras Underfoot (signup)

In plain language, they'd like to know why the sun's outer atmosphere or "corona" is so hot. The surface temperature of the sun is only 6000 degrees C. Yet the corona above it is much warmer, a million degrees Celsius or even more.

To understand the physics involved, astronomers have developed instruments called coronagraphs, which block the glare of the sun to reveal the faint corona. Three spacecraft, SOHO and the twin STEREO probes, currently monitor the solar corona using these devices. But no manmade instrument can match Earth’s natural satellite. The Moon is nature's greatest coronagraph.

During an eclipse, "the moon reveals the innermost corona, which manmade coronagraphs have trouble seeing,” explains Shadia Habbal of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii. “That is where all the magnetic field and physical processes responsible for heating the corona are evolving most rapidly."

On Nov. 12th, Habbal will be in Palm Cove, Australia, to deliver a keynote speech at a solar physics conference sponsored in part by NASA's Living with a Star Program. The title of her talk is "The unique scientific advantages of total solar eclipse observations." Two days later, Habbal and her colleagues will be inside the path of totality, monitoring the eclipse with a variety of telescopes and spectrometers at 6 different wavelengths from 2 different sites.

Astronomy professor Jay Pasachoff, chair of the International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Eclipses will be there, too. He has observed an astounding 55 solar eclipses. "The Australia eclipse will be my 56th," he notes.

Over the years, Pasachoff and colleagues have developed techniques to photograph the corona with a clarity and resolution that coronagraphs on current spacecraft cannot match. Using these techniques, "we are learning how the wonderfully-detailed structures we see in the corona are shaped by the sun's magnetic field," he explains. The shapes vary in a regular way during the sun's 11-year sunspot cycle. “We can use this information to improve predictions of the next solar cycle."

That's a lot of science in two minutes of shadowy darkness.

After totality is over, the moon's shadow will sweep out across the South Pacific Ocean, tracing a line thousands of miles long across uninhabited waters, reaching almost, but not quite, the coast of South America. Back on the beach, scientists will be taking a first look at their data while tourists starting thinking about breakfast--and snorkeling in the reef. For all concerned, it's a great way to begin the day.

For more information about the eclipse, visit NASA's Solar Eclipse Home Page

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Taurid Meteor Shower

By: Susie77, 1:43 PM GMT on November 04, 2012

November 4/5, 2012, late night November 4 until dawn November 5
South Taurids
The meteoroid streams that feed the South (and North) Taurids are very spread out and dissipated. That means the Taurids are extremely long lasting (September 25 to November 25) but usually don’t offer more than about 7 meteors per hour. That’ll be true even on the South Taurids’ expected peak night of November 4 (before dawn November 5), 2012. The other Taurid shower – the North Taurids – should add a few more meteors to the mix, but the forecast calls for the North Taurid shower to be raining down the most meteors a week from now, or in the second weekend of November 2012. For the South Taurids, on November 4-5, you can start watching at mid-evening, or before the waning gibbous moon rises over your eastern horizon. While you’re out there, look for blazing planet Jupiter low in the east. It shines in front of the constellation Taurus, the part of the sky from which the meteors appear to radiate. The South Taurids are expected to produce the most meteors in the wee hours just after midnight on November 5. Remember, even a single bright meteor can make your night!

More at EarthSky

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

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About Susie77

Sometimes I complain about the earthly weather, but mostly I like to post about astronomy and space events. Hope you enjoy the articles.

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