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#925539 - 01/01/18 07:12 AM 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky  
Joined: May 2010
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Mona - Astronomy Offline
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Tiger

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The year is off to a good start with a full moon on the first night of 2018. Steve Cariddi has some viewing suggestions for this week.

Quote:
A "supermoon" occurs Monday night. As with all supermoons, the difference between the Moon's size on Monday and the average apparent size of a full Moon is not that dramatic, but it's a great excuse to get out and look at our nearest celestial neighbor. The full Moon on Monday will be among the stars of Gemini, so look for bright Castor and Pollux (the twins) to the Moon's left.

Quote:
The other big news this week is the very close conjunction of Mars and Jupiter in the morning sky. The two rise around 3am local time and are a little more than 3° apart when the week begins, but on the mornings of January 6th and 7th, the two are less than half a degree apart! They are easily visible about 30° up in the southeastern sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. This is one of the nicest planetary conjunctions of the year, so don't miss it! Sky & Telescope created a chart to show you what to expect.

Here is Sky & Telescope's chart of the Mars/Jupiter conjunction.


Mona Evans
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#925583 - 01/03/18 12:27 PM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Jane Houston Jones of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab tells about what's up in the January sky. There's video and a transcript of the video.


Mona Evans
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#925651 - 01/06/18 01:39 PM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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EarthSky's Deborah Byrd reminds us that there's a beautiful planetary conjunction coming up tomorrow (Sunday). Mars and Jupiter have been getting closer to each other this week in the pre-dawn sky, and tomorrow they'll be about half a moon-diameter apart.

To see Jupiter and Mars together before dawn, you need to be looking southeast. Jupiter will be very bright. Once you've seen it, look nearby for reddish - but much fainter - Mars. Also watch out for Antares, a bright reddish star, lower in the sky. And the star Zubenelgenubi.

Here is a view of Jupiter and Mars taken by Chirag Upreti. Although Antares and Zubenelgenubi aren't included, you can see the 4 largest moons of Jupiter. (They can't be seen with the unaided eye.) The photographer says
Quote:
Jupiter (and its moons) and Mars seen close together from Bronx, NYC. The cold temperatures here cause instant white plumes of exhaust to form from heating vents, the light pollution from the city illuminates this with the orange tinge.


Mona Evans
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#925695 - 01/09/18 01:22 PM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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I've had a long spell of overcast skies, so I was surprised a few nights ago to see something bright - could it be an actual star? - through the kitchen window. Even with the kitchen lights reflected in the window, this was bright and twinkly. Decided it must be Sirius. From another room, which has a window I can open and lean out, I had a good look.

Besides being the brightest star in the sky, Sirius is twinkly and tends to change color. This is because it's low in the sky and therefore its light comes farther through more of the atmosphere, and the atmosphere affects the steadiness. If you think you're seeing Sirius, you can check it out by looking for Orion.

For most people, only the Big Dipper is easier to find than Orion. There's a bright reddish star - that's Betelgeuse, one of Orion's shoulders. And one foot is a bright blueish star - that's Rigel. Orion's belt is three evenly-spaced stars which point towards Sirius.

If you find Orion and Sirius, you can spot the Winter Triangle. Since you already have 2/3 of it, it should be obvious where Procyon has to be to complete the triangle.

You may think, from the picture, that it'll be hard to find these stars, because there's so much else there. I rarely find myself anywhere with really dark clear skies. Most of the time it's easy to pick out constellations and asterisms, because they're made up of fairly bright stars, and without binoculars or a telescope, you can't see the many dim ones.


Mona Evans
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#925809 - 01/15/18 05:38 AM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Steve Cariddi has some pointers for some easy skywatching that needs only your eyes! But if you have binoculars, you might be surprised at the extra detail you can see.
Quote:
A new lunar month begins on Tuesday. By Thursday, you should be able to see an increasingly thicker crescent in the southwestern sky each night at sunset. While the Moon holds your attention in the early evening sky, you'll have to turn to the predawn southeastern sky to see some planets. About half an hour before sunrise, look for Mars and Jupiter (brighter) about halfway up in the south-southeastern sky, while Mercury (brighter) and Saturn are very low in the southeast.


Mona Evans
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#926181 - 02/01/18 10:49 PM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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February's issue of Cosmic Pursuits has a lunar eclipse time lapse from Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California and lots of pointers on looking at the sky this month. And reminds us that one special sky sight will be missing this month - there's no full moon in February.


Mona Evans
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#926249 - 02/06/18 12:13 AM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Tiger

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The Sky this Week from Steve Cariddi
Quote
The waning Moon is prominent in the predawn sky this week. Watch it pass by Jupiter and Mars on the mornings of the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Here is a good finder chart from Sky & Telescope to show you what to expect. About half an hour before sunrise, look for Saturn about 30° to the lower left of Mars, close to the southeastern horizon.


Mona Evans
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#926332 - 02/12/18 08:25 AM Re: 2018 - Keep an eye on the sky [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Mona - Astronomy Offline
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What to look out for this week? Steve Cariddi gives us the basics.
Quote
Venus is emerging into the early evening sky this week. Look for it bright and very low in the west, less than half an hour after sunset.

I'm delighted to have Venus back in the evening sky, as I'm not an early morning person. But for those that are:
Quote
Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn are easily seen in the predawn southern sky. Look for Jupiter highest and brightest, due south around 6 AM local time. About 20° to its lower left is reddish Mars, not to be confused with the star Antares, which is similar in brightness and color but about 5° below Mars.

It's interesting to note that Antares means "rival to Mars" or "equal to Mars" in ancient Greek, and it's easy to see how this star, the brightest in the constellation Scorpius, has long been considered Mars's double.

About 25° to the lower left of Mars, Saturn is visible in the southeastern sky.

The Moon will be new on Thursday, marking the start of a new lunar month.


Mona Evans
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