Archive for the ‘Meteors’ Category

A Sky Full of Stars: January’s Joys!

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

The New Year begins with an astronomical bang, with two perigee Full Moons, four morning planets, two Moon/planets conjunctions, the Quadrantid Meteor Shower, and a lunar eclipse – all in the month of January!

 

PERIGEE FULL MOON – January 1/2: January’s first perigee Full Moon will also be the closest, thus largest-appearing, of 2018. The Moon will reach lunar perigee at 21:54 UTC on the 1st and 100% illumination about five hours later, at 02:24 UTC on the 2nd.

You can use a timezone convertor to determine your local times, but wherever you are, the Full Moon will look especially large and bright during the first two nights of the New Year!

FUN FACT: January’s Full Moon is also know as the Wolf Moon. At perigee, it will be 221,559-miles from Earth.

 

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Triple-Treat SkyWatching This Week!

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

This week’s night sky offers a solar system triple-treat, with the Geminid meteor shower on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (12/13-12/14) – a close grouping of Jupiter, Mars, and the crescent Moon on Thursday morning (12/14) – and a near-Earth pass of the Geminids’ source, 3200 Phaethon, on Saturday night (12/16).

 

GEMINIDS PEAK – DEC 13/14

Geminids, NASA/JPL

The Geminids; so-called because the shower appears to radiate from constellation Gemini; is a typically prolific event, with frequent fireballs and peak rates of dozens of meteors per hour – and the  meteors, themselves, are bright and often leave long trails. This year’s event should be especially fruitful, with a morning crescent moon offering darker skies for better viewing. Spaceweather.com has already reported 40+ fireballs in the past three days, so peak night could be especially exciting. UPDATE: Spaceweather.com reported 475 Geminid fireballs, as of 12/14!

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