Category Archives: sky

Stars within 50 light years

[a very cool graphic]

Stars within 50 light years

This is a map of every star within 50 light years visible with the naked eye from Earth. There are 133 stars marked on this map. Most of these stars are very similar to the Sun and it is probable that there are many Earth-like planets around these stars. There are roughly 1400 star systems within this volume of space containing 2000 stars, so this map only shows the brightest 10% of all the star systems, but most of the fainter stars are red dwarfs.

Stars within 50 light years

Meteors from Halley’s Comet Before Dawn May 6th

Meteors from Halley’s Comet – NASA Science

Mark your calendar. On May 6th, Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley’s comet, producing a mild but beautiful meteor shower known as the "eta Aquarids."…

The eta Aquarids are best viewed from the southern hemisphere, but there’s something special about them no matter where you live: "Each eta Aquarid meteoroid is a piece of Halley’s Comet doing a kamikaze death dive into the atmosphere," explains NASA astronomer Bill Cooke. "Many people have never seen this famous comet, but on the morning of May 6th they can watch bits of it leave fiery trails across the sky." …

Early risers are in luck, as the best viewing is an hour or two before dawn.

Meteors from Halley’s Comet – NASA Science

Happy May Day, Everyone!

The Sky This Week, 2011 April 26 – May 3 — Naval Oceanography Portal

May 1st is one of the ancient seasonal markers that were once widely observed throughout Celtic and medieval Europe. Now widely observed as "May Day", an international workers’ holiday, its origins date back well over a thousand years. Celtic societies knew it as "Beltaine" a celebration of the opening of the agricultural planting and breeding season and the end of boreal winter. It was celebrated by huge bonfires and much merry-making, with attendant May-poles, May Queens, and general "mayhem". May Day is one of the so-called "cross-quarter" days that mark the mid-points of the astronomical seasons. The four seasonal markers and four cross-quarter days were the traditional dates when serfs paid their rent to their feudal masters in medieval times. We still unwittingly observe three of the four cross-quarter days in modern times. In addition to May Day, the old Celtic observance of Samhain is now celebrated as Halloween, and Imbolc is now observed as the Christian Candlemas or secular Groundhog Day. The fourth cross-quarter day, Lughnasadh, falls on August 1st, and is still observed in a few locations in Scotland as "Lammas". Whatever the origins, May Day is still a time to celebrate the rebirth of spring as new leaves green the trees and new life emerges in field and forest.

The Sky This Week, 2011 April 26 – May 3 — Naval Oceanography Portal

Aprils Full Moon

http://www.sunrisesunset.com/ for sun and moon rise and set times for any location.

The Sky This Week, 2011 April 12 – 19 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The Moon continues to brighten the evening sky this week, waxing to her Full phase on the 17th at 10:44 pm Eastern Daylight Time.  April’s Full Moon is popularly known as the Grass Moon or Egg Moon in Native American skylore, but it also happens to be a very important marker in the religious calendars of Jews and Christians.  Known as the Paschal Moon, it sets the beginning of Passover and fixes the date of Easter.

The Sky This Week, 2011 April 12 – 19 — Naval Oceanography Portal

Super Full Moon3/19/11 12:10pm MDT

Super Full Moon – NASA Science

"The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1983," says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. "I’d say it’s worth a look."

Super Full Moon – NASA Science

The Sky This Week, 2011 March 15 – 22 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The Moon brightens the nighttime sky this week, with Full Moon occurring on the 19th at 2:10 pm Eastern Daylight Time.  The March Full Moon is variously known as the Worm Moon, Sap Moon, or Crow Moon in various skylore traditions…

The Sky This Week, 2011 March 15 – 22 — Naval Oceanography Portal

Globe at Night Campaign Star Visibility Survey Through March 6

The Sky This Week, 2011 February 22 – March 1 — Naval Oceanography Portal

For the next two weeks you’ll once again have the opportunity to participate in a global survey of the visibility of our night sky.  The 6th annual Globe at Night campaign is underway and will last through March 6th.  This program aims to bring sky awareness to as many people as possible, and with half the world’s population now living in cities it’s especially important to bring the wonders of the night sky to their attention.  The premise is very simple.  All you need to do is go outside between 8:00 and 10:00 pm local time and look for the bright constellation of Orion, the Hunter.  Compare the number of stars that you can see in and around the constellation with the sky charts located on the project’s website, then submit a report.  If you live well away from city light, you should be able to see stars as faint as sixth magnitude.

The Sky This Week, 2011 February 22 – March 1 — Naval Oceanography Portal

New Moon

The Sky This Week, 2011 February 1 – 8 — Naval Oceanography Portal

New Moon occurs on the 2nd at 9:31 pm Eastern Standard Time. … On the evening of the 3rd you’ll have the rare opportunity to sight a very young crescent Moon. If you look about five degrees above the west-southwest horizon at around 6:00 pm EST you may be able to spot the 21-hour-old crescent as a thin, hair-like gash of light against the twilight sky. A very clear atmosphere and an unobstructed view of the horizon are essential to accomplish this feat, and a pair of binoculars will make it a little easier.

The Sky This Week, 2011 February 1 – 8 — Naval Oceanography Portal

First Full Moon of the New Year

The Sky This Week, 2011 January 18 – 25 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The Moon brightens the late night and early morning skies this week, with Full Moon occurring on the 19th at 4:21 pm Eastern Standard Time. The year’s first Full Moon is popularly known as the Moon After Yule or the Old Moon in traditional sky lore. Like the Full Moon in December it occurs at a high northerly declination and because of this often appears particularly bright.

The Sky This Week, 2011 January 18 – 25 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The Latest Sunrises of the Year

The Sky This Week, 2011 January 11 – 18 — Naval Oceanography Portal

January 12th marks the end of the doldrums of winter. For the past week we have been experiencing the latest sunrises of the year here in Washington, but each day from now until the summer solstice the Sun will come up a little earlier each day. We experienced the earliest sunsets back in early December. By the end of this week Old Sol will be setting half an hour later than he did back then.

The Sky This Week, 2011 January 11 – 18 — Naval Oceanography Portal

Sol stands still for an instant, then returns North

The Sky This Week, 2010 December 14 – 21 — Naval Oceanography Portal

The 21st also marks the beginning of the astronomical season of winter, with the Winter Solstice occurring at 6:38 pm on the 21st. This is the moment when the Sun reaches its southernmost declination in the sky and we experience the year’s shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. At this time the Sun stands directly over the Tropic of Capricorn over the remote islands of Kiribati in the South Pacific Ocean. Gradually over the next few days, then more rapidly as the new year begins, Old Sol will climb back toward more northern climes. Spring is surely on the way!

The Sky This Week, 2010 December 14 – 21 — Naval Oceanography Portal