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 » »

More on the Lunar Impact

Posted by BC on October 7th, 2009

Oct 09, at approximately 4:30 PDT, the Centaur booster rocket will impact the crate at the southern lunar polar region. People with telescopes who want to observe the debris may be able to see it. Favored are people who live west of the Mississippi River in North America. For more information, go to


Posted by BC on October 3rd, 2009

Bigfoot on Mercury - NASA   MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) has sent back some amazing images of the mercurian surface, such as the crater complex that looks like a paw print. Craters inside craters, bright spots and much more can be seen through the images sent back.

Harvest Moon

Posted by BC on October 3rd, 2009

Moonrise - Brenda Culbertson   The Harvest Moon is the first Full Moon after autumnal equinox. That means that this weekend we will see what is traditionally called the Harvest Moon.

In the old days, farmers used the Full Moon to light up the late evenings so harvest could continue past sunset. A few farmers still use moonlight to allow them to get the last bit of crops harvested. Moonlight has given way to headlights and mercury vapor lamps.

Go out an enjoy the harvest of moonlight this weekend.

Sunspots Visible

Posted by BC on September 24th, 2009

Sunspots 1026 and 1027 -   Solar Cycle 24 is underweigh! Two more sunspot complexes are visible on the face of Sun. Cycle 24 is still slow to develop features, but with even the slightest activity, we are encouraged. Perhaps the minimum is ever so slowly coming to a close.

Aurora activity has increase in high latitudes, and aurora watchers are anxiously awaiting stronger activity to bring more intense aurora events. For solar activity reports, go to

Running a Million-Pound Radio Telescope is Childs Play

Posted by BC on September 24th, 2009

Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope - NASA    LCROSS will cause a missile impact in a lunar crater on 09 Oct 2009 (see previous post). Following LCROSS in the meantime to make sure all is going well is a task left up to space scientists. The task is generally not considered to be something left up to children to do, but in this case it is.

A group of students has taken over, with permission, the use of Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT) to follow LCROSS as their mission. The students are guided and mentored by adult scientists, but 38,000 students from 283 schools around the world are basically in control.
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Messenger Discoveries

Posted by BC on September 24th, 2009

Mercury Images - NASA   Did you know that Mercury has an atmosphere? It does. It also has a comet-like tail. And it has an eliptical equatorial region.

Messenger Spacecraft has been sending back high resolution images of the mercurian terrain. It has also been sending back images in various wavelengths to tell scientists more about the atmosphere, the tail, and other features associated with the tiny planet.
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Autumnal Equinox 2009

Posted by BC on September 14th, 2009

   Autumnal Equinox for 2009 is 22 Sept. at 21:19 UT. What does that mean?

  • Equal hours of daytime and nighttime;
  • Sun will rise directly east and set directly west (so be careful while you drive);
  • an egg will stand on end (which it will do any other day, too);
  • and the season changes to autumn.

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No More Sunspots? It’s Possible.

Posted by BC on September 14th, 2009

Sun 14 Sept 2009 - SOHO/MDI   Sunspots are caused by magnetism. When the magnetic fields are strong (1500 gauss or stronger), sunspots form. If the field is not as strong, then no spot.

The current trend on sunspot magnetism is on the downhill side. Matt Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, said that if the trend continues, we will see the end of sunspots in 2015. The loss of magntic energy to cause sunspots has been declining at a rate of 50 gauss a year for the past 17 years.
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