Summer is the season for Noctilucent Clouds

Full Moon and Perigee Moon converge for a Supermoon

Track down two asteroids, Ceres and Vesta

Planetary pairings of Saturn and Mars, Jupiter and Venus

The Perseid meteor shower peaks

The Equinox restores balance to days and nights

Mars meets its rival, Antares

An early Harvest Moon occurs in September

Look out for Noctilucent Clouds
Full details in the Sky Guide » »

Moon/Jupiter Conjunction for 26Oct2009.

Posted by BC on October 26th, 2009

Sky Map Oct 26 - Spaceweather   Tonight (26Oct2009), just after sunset, look for a Moon/Jupiter conjunction. The pair should appear in the southern sky, in the constellation of Capricornus.

The pair should be easily visible through city light pollution, so observers will not need to drive to the country to see it. Neither should high, thin clouds prevent the pair from being seen.

The conjunction should be an easy target for photographers. See what you can do with it and then let me know if you have a nice shot. Don’t automatically send it to me, but let me know first, then I’ll tell you how to send a photo to me.

Solar Cycle 24 Perking Up

Posted by BC on October 26th, 2009

Sunspot 1029 - SOHO/MDI   Solar Cycle 24 has been very calm and mostly uneventful. We have seen one of the longest minimums in recorded history. And solar observers have not had much to report. This weekend, that all changed.

During Oct 23-25, Sunspot 1029 grew into quite a nice display. B- and C-Class flares associated with Sunspot 1029 could be seen, and the complex grew quickly. If the growth continues, Sunspot 1029 may become one of the largest, if not the largest, sunspot complex for the year.
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2012 Hoax

Posted by BC on October 18th, 2009

I know that I have been asked many times about Earth destruction in 2012. I have heard many reasons for the question. The one I’ve heard most is something about the Aztec (or Inca) calendar not going past a certain date equivalent to some date in 2012. There is also interest in the winter solstice of that year. A fictional planet is mentioned to collide with Earth, too. Many other theories, all unsubstantiated scientifically, have been mentioned.
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LCROSS Impact Plume

Posted by BC on October 18th, 2009

LCROSS Plume - NASA The media was ready to show a great, bright, fantastic plume of debris coming from the impact site in Cabeus Crater during the LCROSS impact. Telescopes were aimed, and people were out to see the brilliant show. As it turned out, not much was visible to Earth-based cameras and to eyes at telescopes.
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Change of Seasons

Posted by BC on October 16th, 2009

   The change of seasons is obvious, at least where I live. In the middle of the USA, the seasonal change has been a record-breaker. My view of Sun has been cut off for what seems like months, although it has really been more like a week. Our skies have been extremely cloudy, and rain has come in the form of heavy mist. Our high temperatures have been the lowest on record for the date. What is going on with the weather?

Last night (16Oct2009) a hole in the clouds opened up, and I could see part of the winter arm of the Milky Way. The stars looked like they were glimmering diamonds embedded in some of the blackest velvet I have ever seen. Although I was looking through a partial clearing in the clouds, I could also see Pleiades Star Cluster, which meant that I have missed the changing of the constellation season.

Changing of the seasons does not only mean different weather patterns here on Earth. It also means a change in what we see in the sky. That is if we can find a nice, clear night.

New Lunar Lander Design

Posted by BC on October 16th, 2009

Lunar Lander - NASA   A new lunar lander design is being tested in one of NASA’s specially-built labs. This vehicle is being designed to land on worlds that do not have atmosphere, or have very little atmosphere. It can potentially be used on our Moon, other planets, large asteroids, and any place else NASA wants to land it.

How is it being tested, you might ask, since it is currently on Earth? The test model has an extra large thruster to cancel 5/6 of Earth’s gravity to simulate the gravity on the Moon. Other thrusters are used to practice lunar landing.

The thrusters will allow the craft to set down on other worlds, without using wings, parachutes, or other devices that require atmospheric resistance. The thruster gas is an amazing concoction of …get this … compressed air

New Solar System Mystery

Posted by BC on October 16th, 2009

All Sky Heliosphere Map - NASA   A new mystery has presented itself to scientists mapping the heliosphere that surrounds our Solar System. The mystery comes in the form of a “…bright filament of unknown origin.” The filament is made up of energetic neural atoms (ENAs), that appeared on the map.

NASA has been using IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) to do the mapping of the heliosphere. The heliosphere is a vast bubble of magnetism that protects the Read the rest of this post …

Close Encounter with Our Cosmic Companion

Posted by Lydia on October 9th, 2009

This morning LCROSS carrying a Centaur rocket impacted our closest cosmic companion leaving two new manmade craters on the lunar surface. But why are we blowing holes in the moon? In days to come, the instruments and supplementary data will provide important information on the presence of water on the lunar surface. Where may this water have come from?
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