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 » »

Orionid Meteor Shower Fireball

Posted by BC on October 12th, 2008

The Orionid Meteor Shower peak is drawing near, and observers are seeing more and more members of that shower. Although the peak is on 20/21 October, that does not mean that meteors associated with that shower are waiting until the peak to show themselves.

On Friday (10 October 2008),  I was participating in a Boy Scout astronomy merit badge event at a camp in a dark location. I showed the Moon, Jupiter, Andromeda Galaxy, and a few other things through my telescope. I also pointed out some constellations. I talked about the Orionid Meteor Shower and where to look for the radiant. I also mentioned that people should go out and look overhead to catch sight of meteors by using peripheral vision, instead of looking directly at the radiant.
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Awakening Sun

Posted by BC on October 12th, 2008

Sunspot1005 - SOHO/MIDI   The Sun has been through a long quiet spell. The solar activity has been low, and some scientists speculated that we may be in another extended minimum.The fears of those scientists have been alleviated.

The wait for solar activity may be over. Sunspots have recently shown themselves, and the solar wind has picked up speed. An aurora alert went out for high latitude observers, and on 11 Oct, and the observers were not disappointed. Photographs are posted at spaceweather.com, and you may see for yourself what high latitudes were treated to last night.
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Update on Mercury

Posted by BC on October 7th, 2008

MESSENGER has done it again! We now have new images of Mercury from the side that we have not seen in photographs before. The images are stunning! See them for yourself.

Meteors

Posted by BC on October 5th, 2008

perseid meteor shower Have you been seeing meteors lately? Besides the sporadics, we have spotted meteors associated with any of several showers. In October we have the Draconids (7th & 8th) and the Orionids (20th & 21st). The Draconid peak is during First Quarter Moon, so its best to go out after moonset. The Oriond peak is during Last Quarter Moon, is best seen before moonrise. Read the rest of this post …

Fun Size Comparison Video

Posted by BC on October 5th, 2008

If you want a visual on size comparisons of stars, to use in your classroom or to use for fun, I’ll give you a link that a friend sent to me. He used the U-Tube video during an astronomy outreach session. I’ll pass the link to you here.

Messenger Returns

Posted by BC on October 5th, 2008

Mercury - NASA   A second MESSENGER flyby of Mercury is scheduled for October 06, 2008. The second flyby should provide images of the part of Mercury yet to be seen by humankind. Mercury will not only take thousands of images, but it will also measure the topography via lasers.

The first flyby answered questions about Mercurian terrain and gave us exciting, new details of the planet’s internal workings. The tiny planet has not been viewed all around, but with MESSENGER, we will have a glimpse of the never-before seen hemisphere.

Get ready for the images and information that should start coming soon. More information can be found at the NASA site: MESSENGER Returns to Mercury.

Solar Oblateness May Provide New Insights

Posted by BC on October 5th, 2008

sunspots - Palmer   The Sun has been studied in many ways, and new information comes out of each study. The recent images from the Reuven Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) have provided more than scientists imagined. RHESSI is an X-ray/Gamma ray telescope sent to study solar flares, but a team of scientists using the images has determined that the Sun is not a perfect sphere.
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Haumea (?)

Posted by BC on September 20th, 2008

Haumea - NASA   Haumea is the name of another dwarf planet in our Solar System. The name comes from the Hawaiian goddess of fertility. Haumea is a Kuiper Belt object, formerly referred to as 2003 EL61 and Minor Planet 136108.

    The IAU officially name Haumea on September 17, along with its two moons, Hiiaka and Namaka. Haumea is the fifth dwarf planet discovered to orbit our Sun.

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