Tracking Twilight: ‘Purple Sunset Effect’ Seen Worldwide

Has twilight looked at little… purple to you as of late? The ‘purple sunset’ effect is subtle, but currently noticeable on a clear evening. Sunsets are always colorful events, as the Sun’s rays shine through a thicker layer of the atmosphere at an oblique angle, scattering out at longer, redder wavelengths. When the air is clear and relatively dust free, this effect is at a minimum… but when the upper atmosphere becomes saturated with dust particles and aerosols, the sky can erupt in a panoply of colors at twilight.

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Our Guide to Saturn Opposition Season 2019

Saturn opposition season never disappoints. Slowly, one by one, the planets are returning to the dusk sky. In June, we had Jupiter reach opposition on June 10th. Now, although Mercury and Mars are fleeing the evening scene low to the west at dusk and Venus lingers low in the dawn, magnificent Saturn reaches opposition tonight on July 9th, rising to the east as the Sun sets to the west.

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Our Complete Guide to the July 2019 Total Solar Eclipse

This image combines many exposures of different durations taken to reveal aspects of the widely-viewed total solar eclipse of 21 August 2017, from the Moon, to the solar corona. Image credit: ESO/P. Horalek/Solar Winds Sherpas Project.

You couldn’t order up a geekier solar eclipse from the cosmos. Next Tuesday on July 2nd, the second of three eclipse seasons begins for 2019, with the only total solar eclipse of the year spanning the southern tip of South America, including the nations of Chile and Argentina. As an extra-special part of the spectacle, however, the path of totality for the eclipse passes right over the La Silla observatory complex in the Atacama Desert.

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Is Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Vanishing as We Near Opposition 2019?

Jupiter opposition season is nigh, and with it, the largest planet in our solar system and its iconic Great Red Spot present us with a key mystery.

Jupiter in 2019

Jupiter reaches opposition for 2019 on June 10th. For an outer planet with an orbit exterior to the Earth, opposition simply means it’s ‘opposite’ to the Sun as seen from our Earthly vantage point. This means that Jupiter will rise in the east and dominate the sky throughout the June night, after the Sun sets in the west.

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Catching a Ride on the Starlink Satellite Train: Midnight Marvel, or Night Sky Menace?

Have you seen Starlink? It all started, as all good breaking astronomical events seem to do, late on a Friday night. We got the notification first from veteran satellite tracker Dr. Marco Langbroek over in the Netherlands via the venerable See-Sat-L message board, and on Twitter soon after:

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Mars Odyssey Reveals Phobos Using THEMIS

Phobos THEMIS

Welcome to the moons of Mars, as you’ve never seen them.

NASA’s aging 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter recently snapped some unique views of the twin moons Phobos and Deimos, in an effort to better understand their texture and surface composition. The images are courtesy of the spacecraft’s THEMIS (the Thermal Emission Imaging System) heat sensitive instrument, and show the thermal gradient across the surface of the moons in color. Odyssey has been studying the moons of Mars since September 2017. The recent images of Phobos taken on April 24, 2019 are especially intriguing, as they occurred during full illumination phase.

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The International Space Station Rides High Through the May Sky

May is graduation month, and with it, school star party season is about to conclude. If you happen to be out this coming weekend showing the sky off to the public, keep an eye out for one of the top celestial sights that you won’t see at the eyepiece, as we’re in for a slew of good visible passes of the International Space Station worldwide.

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