Scientists have been tracking asteroid 2007 WD5, discovered in late November 2007, and believe it may impact Mars on January 30, 2008. There is actually a 1 in 25 chance of hitting the red planet, down from a 1 in 350 chance. One of NASA’s twin Mars surface rovers, Opportunity, was originally thought to have been in some danger. Read the rest of this post …
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
Although Solar Max is not due to occur until 2011 or 2012, the build-up has begun. On January 04, 2008, a sunspot was detected that marked the beginning of the new cycle. The specific sunspot (number 981) was special because it had a reverse-polarity, the negative polarity lead to the right in the Northern Hemisphere.
What this means for observers Read the rest of this post …
Lydia has reviewed two new books for those who enjoy a night in with a good read when observing conditions aren’t so great outside. The two books are quite different. The first, Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas, tries to provide a rational basis for astrology. The second, Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders by Robert and Barbara Thompson, is a more conventional astronomy book but – as Lydia found out – its quality sets it apart from other observing guides out there.
For more read the review of Cosmos and Psyche
and the review of Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders.
To help you plan your observing sessions we’ve listed the dates and details of the prominent meteor showers over the coming year.
Quadrantids – January 4, 2008, around 1a.m. CST:
There is a possibility of 100 meteors an hour streaming from the area of northern Boötes. Luckily moonlight will not interfere this year.
Lyrids – April 22, 2008:
Meteors streaming from the Hercules-Lyra border will unfortunately be washed out by the full moon. Read the rest of this post …
Although 2008 is just upon us it’s never too early to start planning for the following year. 2009 has been proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Astronomy in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s contribution of the telescope to the astronomy world “triggering a scientific revolution”. Already, over 100 countries have teamed up to make next year one to remember in promoting astronomy to the world. Read the rest of this post …
Well done to the five winners of our DVD competition: Benjamin S. from Texas, Hubert C. from Louisiana, Vivian W. from California, Robert R. also from California and Paul C. all the way from London, England. Each will receive a DVD copy of Stolen Life: a “future noir, a dark and moody sci-fi detective story”. Special thanks to Nanoflix Productions for offering these prizes … competition details here.
When you’re a committed amateur astronomer you come to rely on certain resources to aid you in your pursuit, be it a book, software or a website. Well, Lydia has interviewed the author of an astronomical calendar which she cannot do without … read the interview here.
Lydia took some time to visit disadvantaged teenagers at a school in Texas to introduce them to astronomy. She found them to be enthusiastic about the Universe around us and learned how a pair of binoculars can foster that spark of curiosity in someone … full report here.