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 » »

Comet Boattini In The Morning-Northern Hemisphere

Posted by BC on July 6th, 2008

Comet Boattini   If you are a Northern Hemisphere early riser, you may be able to catch a glimpse of Comet Boattini as a naked eye object during July. Boattini is not an impressive-looking comet, but it is there to see. The comet will not be an easy find, since it rises only a few degrees above the eastern horizon before sunrise. The comet rises higher in the sky each night, but the Moon will increase in brightness as the month progresses.
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100 Years After the Impact …

Posted by BC on June 30th, 2008

Tunguska-NASA   We are now 100 years after the impact of an asteroid of immense size. This impact is still the talk of asteroid observers and researchers.  It exploded over a point in the old Siberian Desert in the northern part of Russia. The place is Tunguska.

   Researchers are still finding out information about the Tunguska Blast of ’08, and it still awes people when they think about the power that had to have been unleashed by the collision of the asteroid as it collided with Earth and Earth’s atmosphere.
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Purple Haze

Posted by BC on June 30th, 2008

PurpleSun-Mike Kelly-Spaceweather   No, I’m not thinking about Jimmi Hendrix. Well, maybe a little, especially when California is covered with so much smoke from the wild fires that it is turning the Sun purple.

   The 1 micron-sized ash particles that are floating in the atmosphere along the west coastal region of the U.S.A. scatter the red light and allow more blue light through. The combined effect is to make white light appear with a purple hue. The smoke has caused such a thick layer in the air that people are ordered to stay inside as much as possible. The thick pollution also makes observing the Sun without proper filters easy. (IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITHOUT PROPER FILTERS.) More information can be found at

Prof. G.T. Narayana Rao – India

Posted by BC on June 30th, 2008

   I recently received a note from Manoj Pai, India, through one of the online groups. Manoj informed me that a famous science writer from that part of the world had passed away. Professor G.T. Narayana Rao wrote books on science and often wrote against the pseudo sciences, especially astrology. Since Manoj felt that the news was important enough to share with people in other countries, I thought I would pass some information and links to more.

   Rao will be missed in Kannada. He wrote science textbooks, science literature and articles for various publications. He also made presentations to the scientific community. Some links to his work and work about Prof. G.T. Narayano Rao were sent to me by Manoj Pai: “Four Honored with Doctorate“, an article in the Kannada language, “What the Stars Foretell for our Avivekanandas.”

   Not knowing the culture of India, I hope I wrote the above information appropriately.


Posted by Lydia on June 29th, 2008

MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and
Ranging), the first space mission designed to orbit Mercury was launched on August 3, 2004. On January 14, 2008, the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) aboard the spacecraft, captured new and different views of the elusive planet. of two of the larger craters, located near the planet’s south pole, depict images of dark halos surrounding crater rims. This information  suggests that these craters were formed more recently than others of similar size and may have been formed by ejectae from asteroid or comet impacts or from asteroid or comet explosions melting portions of the rocky planet’s surface and splashing these so called “impact melts” across the area. Scientists are carefully studying the acquired images to determine the composition of the newly revealed subsurface material in attempt to extract Mercury’s Material Mysteries.

World UFO Day

Posted by Lydia on June 29th, 2008

Mark your calendars for World UFO day this Tuesday, July 2, 2008

celebrating the supposed alien spacecraft landing in Roswell, NM in 1947.

This year Roswell’s UFO Day conference is July 3-6 with many interesting speakers.

The Goddard Planetarium also offers a varied children’s programme.

Thousands of visitors from the US and around the world, attend this yearly convention.

Optical Receptors at Night

Posted by BC on June 19th, 2008

Eye Diagram - Kid’s Health Most of us know that at night we use averted vision to find our way around in the dark. Some of us have better night vision than others, and some of us have better vision in general than others of us. At night we naturally tend to use the rod-cells in our eyes, but doing so leaves us without good resolution. To focus directly on an object and gain details, we must use the cone-cells. If we focus on a star at night, that star may disappear from our vision if it is not bright enough to overcome the eye’s tendency to make it vanish from view. (More on cones and rods)
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Solstice Moon

Posted by BC on June 17th, 2008

solsticemoon.jpg As astronomers, we are frequently asked why the Moon looks very large when it is on the horizon. My standard answer is that we have a reference to use along the horizon, so the Moon looks larger than when it is higher in the sky with nothing to compare it to. If a person stretches out his/her arm full length, and puts up a pinky finger, the end of the finger should cover the Moon no matter where it is in the sky. Some people use a dime to cover the sight of the Moon.
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