Posted by Bruce McClure in Astronomy Essentials | Space|7 days ago
The 3rd of this year’s 3 Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions is coming up on November 12, 2020. Jupiter won’t have another conjunction with Pluto again until February 4, 2033. And another one this good? Not for centuries.
November 2 brings the year’s earliest noon – or midday – by nature’s clock. The earliest solar noon is a harbinger of the year’s earliest sunset in the Northern Hemisphere and earliest sunrise in the Southern Hemisphere. Both take place before the December 21 solstice.
Jupiter and Saturn are getting closer, as they near their once-in-20-years conjunction on December 21, 2020. At their closest, they’ll be only 0.1 degrees apart. That’s just 1/5 of a full moon diameter. Start watching them now, and you’ll see them draw close together.
Posted by Bruce McClure in Astronomy Essentials | Human World|2 weeks ago
The 4 cross-quarter days fall between equinoxes and solstices. Halloween is the spookiest one – derived from a sacred festival of ancient Celts and Druids – coming as days grow short and nights long in the Northern Hemisphere.
At mid-northern latitudes, the star Arcturus sets about 2 hours after sunset around Halloween. It sets at the same point on the horizon as the summer sun. It’s a Halloween ghost of the summer sun and an echo of long summer afternoons.
We have a Blue Moon coming up on October 31, 2020. It’ll be called a Blue Moon because it’ll be the 2nd of 2 full moons in a single calendar month. And it’ll be near a bright red object in the sky, Mars!
Posted by Deborah Byrd in Astronomy Essentials | Today's Image|1 month ago
A fireball is an especially bright meteor from space. It can start out icy and burn up entirely in our atmosphere, or rocky … in which case a meteorite sometimes falls to Earth’s surface. This bright fireball blazed over northeastern Mexico on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
The South Taurid meteor shower rarely produces more than 5 meteors per hour, but has been known to produce fireballs. The shower is long-running. Watch for it in October and November. Considering the moon phase, the weekend starting on Friday, October 16, 2020, might be your best bet for watching.