Sep 26, 2011
Sep 2, 2011
Originally published: January 14 2009
Astronomer's Have decided to let Pluto Be a planet once again. Looks like Pluto is in dire need of either a psychiatrist or Prozac. The other day I did hear something out there yell 'Someone just shoot me out of my misery! ' out there in the cosmos . I think Ellie Arroway might have picked it up .
February 1st - Here's an interesting tidbit I just found about regarding Pluto. The state of New Mexico, where the discoverer of Pluto was from, is apparently also not pleased - they have passed a state law that within the borders of New Mexico, Pluto is a planet regardless of what astronomers classify it as.
Originally published: January 14 2009
I was on a blog and noticed a comment by Guitar Dad and clicked on his name and this is a beautiful amazing summary of his love of the cosmos. I wanted to share it with you . It is called "Curious about the Cosmos" And he wrote it so nice, love the mention on how him and his son read a chapter a night in their astronomy book. I remember my first astronomy book was by Terence Dickenson named NightWatch.
I remember looking at all the pictures thinking "Wow I'll see all that in my telescope ? "I sat there looking at the book and now almost 10 years later I'm now an astronomer and as I read Guitar Dad's post I can still feel and picture the amazement I had and obviously still do.
I got started when our 2 lab puppies went out to pee before bedtime and got looking up. Then whenever it was that time 'Who want's to go see the stars' was heard. I've never seen the whole astronomy history well put in one write up on being curious about the cosmos. So tell me readers, how did you get curious about the cosmos?
Originally published: January 13 2009
I'm working on all the info for you but for now here's a sneaky peak. We are in for a treat next month as Comet Lulin is moving closer to Earth and will be visible to the naked eye. visible but not unless you have a telescope for now. Comet Lulin is actually moving in the opposite direction of the planets! Lulin, discovered in 2007, is swinging around the sun and approaching us. By late February it should be visible to the naked eye. This image, taken by an observatory in Malaysia, shows both the comet's tail and anti-tail (tail pointing toward the sun) click on photo for a closer look. comet Lulin is expected to brighten to naked-eye visibility, reaching a magnitude of six.
The comet is at present moving between the constellations Scorpio and Libra. Lulin is expected to head towards Leo at an accelerated pace late next month. The comet will pass 0.41 Astronomical Units from earth and reach its closest distance to Earth on February 24, about 14.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Lulin will be observable low in the sky in an east-southeast direction before dawn.On the night of February 23rd, near its peak brightness, Comet Lulin is passing 2° south-southwest of Saturn.Lulin’s closest approach to Earth, 0.41 a.u. (61 million km), occurs on February 24th, when the comet may reach a peak of magnitude 5.The discovery of Comet Lulin (C/2227 N3) was part of a major achievement made by the Lulin Sky Survey project to explore the various populations of small bodies in the solar system, especially objects that are a threat to Earth.So far Lulin is not.
Okay as I told you in my about me section I do comet tracking as a part of my astronomers job so I'm getting more info . On the 5th of February it should be easily seen in binoculars. It may even become detectable with the unaided eye in a dark, moonless sky. And here are printable maps to find the comet Jan. 1 – Feb. 14 - Feb. 13 – Mar. 2 - Mar. 1 – Mar. 20 - Mar. 14 – May 1 As of January 7th Lulin did have an antitail, as shown in this image taken by Karzaman Ahmad in Malaysia with a 20-inch scope . Here's another image, from Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Paul Camilleri, taken January 8th. Here's a photo gallery of more.
I will be posting sky-maps and observing info for everyone. Eevn though it's just a telescopic comet now, if observe the comet send in your observations or pictured you take ,i'll add it here for everyone to see and share.
Originally published: December 27 2008
I found a really great video of 2 guys from Astronomy magazine who write columns about cruising the night sky . So I decided others might enjoy it!! Very fascinating and funny too! Glenn cracks me up when he gets the buzzed out eyes reaction after he gets the first question at 3:26 after being asked ' Where do you see amateur astronomy headed?'.
So friggin funny !!!
He looks so blown away as if he witnessed something so unbelievably mind boggling he went temporarily insane for a moment. That's the never ending amazement of astronomy for you . Get the poor guy a coffee!! They have been observing and have been in the astronomy buisness writing and observing as Phil says for 20 years and they are still fascinated by it all. And they are a fun couple of guys. I tried to upload it,but, it took so long too so Click here to view it!
You should pick up a copy of Astronomy magazine sometime to catch the guys latest columns. Phil Harrington is a Binoculars guy, While I so enjoy and agree with Glenn Chaple's .. " Give me a backyard, a dobsonian and i'll be a happy guy! "
Well the same for me,but, i'll be happy girl! Actually the dobsonian I have is this 8 inch dobsonian. Mine has a NASA sticker on it givin to my by my uncle Richard. Meanwhile i'm saving up currently for this 12 inch one!! Going to pick up a few new deep sky observing books too. I currently have my eye on Sue French's Celestial Sampler, looks like lots of goodies to hunt down in the ol finder-scope explore!
My other telescope is a hubble LOL !
I can help you with learning how to use it and searching and finding objects. Every year for the past two years from December 26th till the 3rd week of January my email box is full of "I have a new telescope help!".
And I love it ,looking forward to another year of it. I received my first telescope for christmas. Fortunately my parents had a salesman who was an observer so he gave them a great scope called Vista and some numbers behind it. I upgraded to my 8 inch dobsonian. At least twice a week I get emails from people getting the wrong scope so it's nice to help them.
Tell me which one you received and what size of eyepieces you have with them and i'll get you and your new telescope having great adventures exploring the night sky in no time!
If your all set, check out the second post down.. Targets for December 23, 2008 - January 2, 2009.
AAA Haaa I knew it!!
Remember in my earlier post I told you I found PlanetQuest's Earth like counter says Earth like planet's found is set to zero ?? Well I was browsing thru AOL's space stories of 2008 and found one that gives THIS news !!
Batch of 'Super-Earths' Discovered
An artist's impression shows the trio of super-Earths discovered by European researchers after years of monitoring. The team found the planets with the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher or HARPS, a telescope in Chile. So I googled the title from AOL into Google News and here it is.
Okay so I noticed one thing .. so this article says 3 .. the 2 I found in my earlier post from above.. That's 5 Earth like planets? Am I getting it right? if I'm not let me know
So if we were searching and wondering if there are Earths out there and there are 5 in the newsbits I linked you too , why are they still wondering if there are any?? And astronomers wondering when we will find any??
WHAAAAAAAAAAT ??????? Can someone explain that to me pah-leeze?
Originally published: December 17 2008
There is a BIG way out of control false hype/ hoax going on . I'm sure you all know about it , The Mayans predicted a Comet will end life for Earth December 21 , 2012. I've answered zillions of questions of it at yahoo answers space/astronomy section and in my email box. With my subscription to Astronomy magazine I get to see all the past columns of Bob's, Phil Harrington and glenn Chapel ( I like that guy! he writes awesome tours! ).
I was reading bob's articles and one thing made me bust out laughing! I love the way he writes. Now I don't mind answering the many questions on 2012 they are fun to answer but I'm going to add here what Bob wrote for Astronomy Magazine December 2007 on the subject :
Every few years, a crackpot comes forward with a new "Armageddon from space" theory and decides to share it.
Originally published: December 17 2008
After being very close two weeks ago, Venus and Jupiter has parted ways on their tour around the solar system. The evening of December 29 look low in the south west just after sunset where you should spot the moon with Jupiter and Mercury slightly lower and slightly North. Mercury and Jupiter near 1.22° on 31 december, Moon and Jupiter near 0.60° on december 29. Mercury near 0.63° on 29 december too.
Mercury should be visible. Use binoculars if needed and then try with the naked eye. When using a telescope your finder-piece should be able to spot it pretty easy. If Mercury proves to be a challenge, just wait a few nights and try again. By week's end it will be nearer Jupiter and easier to spot. If you need extra help , email me and i'll help you chase it down.
i'll have more details and maps for you in just little while.
There are so much discoveries going on with extra-solar planets! I have been noticing quite the Jupiter type planets have been found, actually 93 % has been so far. According to PlanetQuest the count at this moment of me typing this is as follows :
-> the current planet count is :333
-> Stars with planets : 282
I am getting interested in the hunt for extra-solar planets now even though I've followed the planet hunter Geoff Marcy for three years now, I saw him on discovery channel's Daily Planet show and got interested in his drive for planet hunting. So this month I picked up January 2009 ( out now ) Sky & Telescope mag and the main story is "looking for other earth's"which I just finished reading with my morning coffee and decided to make a point of telling you guys ( n' girls) about the amazing efforts and discoveries they are making!
I am interested in how big they are and according to my article in the magazine , The diameter and mass together tell the planets average density. This in turn says a lot about it's makeup . in particular whether it's made mostly of gas or rock. How cool is that ! We are so far from it, it's a dot to us and from the newly discovered planet looking back our way , we don't even exist !! In a few cases astronomers have even identified gases in the atmosphere if transitioning giants spectroscopically.
So as you see the picture I posted of the current issue and story i'm telling you about they are hunting for an earth like planet. I remember when they announced they found one ... here's the article... and another here .. but they don't somehow mention it now. Also they found a possible Earth -Like Moon orbiting another star. Maybe it's a candidate for now. You can read about it in the link I provided.
Also one thing i'm excited about is the KeplerMission, which is a telescope being launched in February 2009 to hunt for planets orbiting other stars in between my favorite part of the summer sky. The Cygnus / Lyra area right smackers in the middle.
COOL LINK coming at you! duck! ExoPlanet Encyclopedia oooohh !To keep up with the growing collection of known exoplanets.Also check out the PlanetQuest link I gave above, they beefed up their site and it is Fun ! to browse through.
Find new news or sites about any of this ? please share! so fascinating !
Thanks Justin , a daily reader of my NiteskyNews who sent "The Hunt For Habitable Planets" in. Here is info sent in by these readers:
So this post keeps on growing ! I just checked PlanetQuest and they announced this .. Multi planet solar systems found : 35
There is no time of the year when the heavens are more beautiful , and when there are more objects that can bee seen with your telescope :)
I wrote this 2:43 am - August 2nd 2003 in one of my stargazing books while waiting for the Moon to rise. I thought I would share it.
The Moon will be nearly full with 97 % of it illuminated. If you do not have a filter to cut the glare use high magnification in your telescope to keep most of the lunar glare out of the field of view. Along the east coast, the occultation's of the clusters stars begin around 2:45 am EST, and just before 11pm PST in the west. And the dance will continue for about 2 hours.
Ouch!My feet hurt just thinking about it ! Now upon research with my astronomers program it will last 2 hours as you can see by the pics I have created for you above, while other sources tell me 40 minutes at 12:30 am.
This is where I get driven to give you the right info. Depending on where you are in the world is what I found out. In the west of America/Canada where it is 2- 3 hours earlier than in the East is the difference in times. So the correct time is 12:30 am for the West, 2:30 Am for the east. People have been emailing me confised about the time. So now you have it.
Along with the sight there are craters along the edge of the Moon to explore. So you have a double dipped delight to watch! Here is a great moon crater site. On the very next day, the moon is full and will be at its closest to the Earth for the year at 221,560 miles.
How about your hand 1 inch away from touching a meteor? As we all know pieces of meteorites were found here in Canada and some actualy touched the meteor. Unless you've been to another planet or grabbed a star or dark matter or piece of space itself .. you can't TOUCH astronomy. Do you realize that astronomy is the only thing human kind has never been able to touch with our bare hands ?!
If I'm wrong you can prove me wrong in the comments. Many hobbies you get your hands absorbed into it but we can't touch it or will ever touch it. Yet we know everything about it, how it works,but, our hands will never feel it. For a comparitive example let's use rock studies for an example. People who studies the rocks of Earth, from 3 story boulders to 3 inch ones. They study rocks, know everything there is to know about them and what they are made of. And like us with meteorites from space they know which places they come from but here on Earth.
They know as we do about meteorites what they are composed of. What they feel like. Even though we have meteorites and even pieces of the Moon to study .. most astronomical things we will never touch! Isn't that mind blowing? Is your mind blown? I thought of that one night in 2003 around two am in the morning when I was observing the moon and a friend said it's so close you can smell the soil and reach out and touch it. But then I looked up from my telescope and thought wow astronomy touches us, heart soul and mind but we can never touch astronomy.
It changes our lives to enjoy it more but it also fills us up and we can emotionally feel it but .. What DOES it feel like to touch? it touches us but how do we touch it? We send probes and robot like things to touch planets, comets ..rings of planets . When do our own hands touch it ?? When we finally did the astronauts had to wear protective gloves.. when does humankind get to take the gloves off and feel astronomy with our skin?
this I leave you with to ponder, I need coffee now after going that deep!!
Originally Published: Nov 27, 2008
This is the time Orion comes up and later after dark , but while your waiting for our ol friend to come up from the east there are still some goodies you can look at. The Pleiades are a great cluster of stars to explore. And to the left you see that big star, just under Cassiopeia ? That is Capella, cool double star alert !! The brightest star of that part of the cosmos located in Auriga . While your cruisin around Auriga check out the 3 star clusters.
A DAZZLING DISPLAY . A triple thriller !!!
Above Persues is the great double cluster. From there is an amazing sampler of dozens of stars around Mirfak. Mellotte20 is an interesting area. This should keep you buys for a while . I love this area because it is scattered with a great selection of different color of stars to observe. Including my favorite of stars - double stars !! You thought I was going to name a color didn't you?
Just when your eyes are dazzled & dizzy and mind is blown to bits out of amazement (cleanup in aisle 6! ) ,If anyone is in the mood for for pooping up a fresh batch of popcorn to catch a galactic double feature , head on to the Pegasus Theater to the right of Pleides. Now showing is the Andromeda galaxy (M33), below is the Triangulum Galaxy ( M33). Each has a companion galaxy to gander at . Woah good thing the tickets are cheaper earlier at the matinee showing .
Originally published: Nov 27, 2008
Get out here and SEE THESE PLANETS! They are really getting close out there (hay get a room! ) for skywatchers to explore in your scopes, binocs or just your eyes. As you see from the drawing I posted here for you .. your welcome .. A is Jupiter , B is Venus ( O is you enjoying it ) and they are about 3 degrees angle away from each other. If you extend your arm out and stick your fingers out in between the two that is how we measure in angles. Watch out what fingers your holdin up there, your neighbor may be out!
If he is show him the amazing sight and show off your astro knowledge. Then have fun watching him rolling his eyes because it's not nice.
I just came inside after having a lookyloo to tell the good folks who are keeping watch for my sky watchers alerts (warning Will Robinson!! )
Originally published : Nov 26, 2008
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the first launched module of the International Space Station. Meteor Mike, a regular reader of this blog sent this to my email and I have got to share it. AMAZING photos and so vivid.Check em out here space explorers! Thanks Mike !!!!!!! I love it when people share astro goodies!
Originally published: November 20 2008
Go outside at sunset and look southwest . Venus and Jupiter are rushing together, drawing noticably closer every night. The climax occurs at the end of the month when, with the two planets only 2o apart, the crescent Moon leaps up from the horizon to join them for a three-way conjunction of rare and spectacular sight in binoculars / telescope & unaided eye. The pic above shows what you will see but wrong date, loved the photo !
Depending on what night/date it is here are some maps to help you track these tangoing planets ..
December 1st The crescent moon tries to cut in for a dance with Venus but Jupiter is not going to let it happen ! that's his girl.
Get your camera out astro-photographers , it is going to make for beautiful pictures .Take any during the dancing planet's nights of coming together ?? Send them here and I'll add them to this post. Share with other's tour experience watching the planets in comments.
don't miss out on this! I'll be out there, freezin my heiny off but this night is worth it.
Thanks goes too Meteor Mike for sending it in.
There’s nothing anywhere close to their brightness. I've seen these two planets both together and each on their own during the night but this is too amazing to miss. New to the skies or have a new telescope ? Perfect time for telescope viewing.
Get out there fast after dusk .. Venus is a little ferret and sneaks away fast into the horizon right now ! both planets are heading for an even more spectacular pairing with Jupiter at the end of the month. Speaking of the largest planet of our solar system , Take a look at it's 4 moons - You will be able to see them in binoculars and telescopes. They appear to be 4 big stars . They are named Io, Europa, Ganymeade and Callisto. Each night they will have appeared to move in different spots.
Cool Jupiter fact -- The 5th planet from the sun ,It takes about 35 minuits for the light of this gas giant planet to leave and hit your eye.
Cool Venus Fact -- The 2nd planet from the sun ,can take as little as 2.3 minutes and as much as 10.5 minutes to reach the Earth.
Originally Published :November 18 2008
I AM JUST STARTING MY SITE BUT HERE'S A PREVIEW OF THE UNIVERSAL THINGS TO GET YOU STARTED ON WHAT THIS IS ABOUT..
- MY WORK AS AN ASTRONOMER
- MONTHLY METEORS
-NITE SKY NEWS
- COMETS THAT ARE AROUND
-HOW TO SEE THE PLANETS,STARS AND BEYOND EACH WEEK
- MOON PHASES DAILY
- MY SKY DIARY , WHAT I OBSERVE IN THE NIGHT SKY
AND OTHER COOL STARGAZING & OBSERVING HIGHLIGHTS AND TOURS
TO OBSERVE .
CLEAR NIGHT TONIGHT SO I'M HEADING OUT ... GET THIS COSMIC BLOG STARTED TOMORROW !
NITE SKY GIRL