I can take good advantage of this occultation since I live in the middle of the country just shy of 40 degrees north latitude. If I were visiting my daughter in the Pacific Northwest, I’d have a bit more dark time but might not see it as well being at a more northern latitude at 47 degrees.
Actually, not just Mars will be in the spotlight in mid-February. Three planets are center stage in the predawn skies starting February 18th (see first graphic above). Listen to Sky Tour courtesy Sky & Telescope for some viewing tips and other astronomical tidbits for February observing.
My only concern will be the weather, which in February in Kansas, is dodgy at best.
Keeping my fingers crossed and as always keep looking up!
On the basis of lunar rocks brought back by the astronauts, explain why the maria are dark-colored, but the lunar highlands are light-colored?
Regions of both the near side and far side of the Moon not covered by mare basalt are called highlands. The highlands consist of the ancient lunar surface rock, anorthosite, and materials thrown out during the creation of the impact basins. (“Lunar Rocks | National Air and Space Museum,” n.d.)
The anorthosite rock highlands are brighter than the maria basalts. Pulverized by meteoric action, both the basalts of the maria and the anorthosite of the highlands are covered by a blanket of powdered rock, also known as regolith. Continue reading “Dark Seas and Bright Highlands”
Another semester is upon me and my continuing pursuit of a degree. This fall I’m seeking my science lab course credit so I decided to enroll in something I can easily get excited about: Astronomy
The following post begins a series of weekly discussion topics I’m required to choose and post to my online Introduction to Astronomy class discussion board. Since the formatting is very similar to that employed here at my blog, I’ll draft and publish my topics here as well. Feel free to comment or ask questions. I’ll do my best to answer or at least point you in the right direction.
Near and Far, Light and Dark; the Many Sides of Our Moon
Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects (for instance, shadow cannot exist without light).
The moon’s rotation (axial spin) matches its revolution (orbit), also known as a synchronous rotation or tidally locked. This results in the same side, the near side, always facing towards Earth. Until 1959, humans had no idea what the far side of the moon looked like.Continue reading “Lunar Yin Yang”
I went to bed slightly early last night, but first I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. Central. As I noted a couple of days ago, I wanted to get up early to observe a total lunar eclipse. As usually happens, I woke up early at 4:15 a.m. Who needs an alarm?
I decided to go ahead and throw on my clothes, grab my purse and smartphone and take the van to Dillons to fill it up. While I drove west (one mile) and north (two miles), I noted that the full moon was already missing a good chunk in the upper left-hand quadrant. After filling up the van, I continued west on Eisenhower Road, crossing Tonganoxie Road and heading up over the ridge. I crossed over 187th street, leaving the paved roads behind and continued until I was forced to turn left at 195th street, just south of an electrical substation (talk about light pollution out in the middle of no where). Continue reading “Observing the Blood Moon Eclipse”
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 4:15 a.m. CDT on October 8
Total eclipse begins: 5:25 a.m. CDT
Greatest eclipse: 5:55 a.m. CDT
Total eclipse ends: 6:24 a.m. CDT
Partial eclipse ends: 7:34 a.m. CDT
There is a total eclipse of the full moon on October 8, 2014. This is the Northern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon – the name for the full moon after the Harvest Moon. It’s also a Blood Moon, and this eclipse is the second in a series of four so-called Blood Moon eclipses. For North America and the Hawaiian Islands, the total lunar eclipse happens in the wee hours before sunrise on October 8.
For more information about the total eclipse and answers to questions like ‘What’s a Hunter’s Moon?”, please visit the full article at EarthySky.
But back to my telescope. I know I don’t need it to see the above two events, anyone with eyeballs can observe them. I wanted to get out my telescope and shake off the cobwebs. It’s been a cloudy spring this year, at least on the weekends. I observed Mars first, trying to see the polar ice caps, then I switched to Saturn, where I clearly saw the separation between the rings and the different cloud layers. The angle of the rings with respect to Saturn is spectacular right now.