Post by: David Dickinson
Up early Sunday morning? Or perhaps, as we often do, you’re “pulling an all-nighter,” out observing until the break of dawn. Well, the clockwork celestial mechanics of the Universe has a treat in store on the morning of October 15th, as the waning crescent Moon occults (passes in front of) the bright star Regulus (Alpha Leonis the “Little King” or “Heart of the Lion”) for the contiguous United States, Mexico and southern Canada.
Ready to hunt for low-flying space rocks? We’ve got an interesting pass of a Near Earth Asteroid this upcoming U.S. Labor Day weekend one that just slides over the +10th magnitude line into binocular range.
We’re talking about asteroid 3122 Florence which passes 4.4 million miles from our fair planet (that’s 7 million kilometers, about 18 times the distance from Earth to the Moon) this Friday on September 1st at 12:06 Universal Time (UT)/ 8:06 AM Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT).
They came, they saw, they battled clouds, traffic and strange charger adapters in a strange land. Yesterday, millions stood in awe as the shadow of the Moon rolled over the contiguous United States for the first time in a century. If you’re like us, your social media feed is now brimming with amazing images of yesterday’s total solar eclipse.
It’s hard to believe: we’re now just one short weekend away from the big ticket astronomical event for 2017, as a total solar eclipse is set to cross over the contiguous United States on Monday, August 21st.
Celestial mechanics is a sure thing in this Universe, a certainty along with death and taxes that you can bet on. There are a few key question marks come eclipse day, however, something that we can only speak with a few intelligent assumptions out 72 hours out.
In a classic swords to plowshares move, two converted WB-57 aircraft flown by NASA’s Airborne Science Program and scientists from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado will greet the shadow of the Moon as it rushes across the contiguous United States on Monday, August 21st on a daring mission of science.
An angry monster lurks in the shoulder of the Hunter. We’re talking about the Red Giant star Betelgeuse, Alpha Orionis in the constellation Orion. Recently, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) gave us an amazing view of Betelgeuse, one of the very few stars resolved as anything more than a point of light.