In the Sky this Week- October 17, 2017
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A wafer-thin waning crescent Moon is very close to Mars before sunrise on October 17th; there was earthshine from my location – morning drivers heading east got a real treat! The distance between Venus and Mars in the morning sky continues to grow; Venus getting lower, and Mars getting higher each day. Venus will disappear from the morning sky in Mid November. Saturn is still a good observing target after dusk in the southwestern sky, but it is getting a lit lower in the sky each day. A wafer-thin waxing crescent Moon will accompany Saturn on October 23rd. The Orionids Meteor Shower peak will occur on October 21-22; best times to view the shower are after midnight, and before dawn on October 22nd. For a second week there are no sunspots visible from Earth, but the lingering coronal hole in the Sun’s northern region has gotten its own article and video at the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) website: The Inner Solar System … Continue reading

In the Sky this Week- October 10, 2017
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The waning gibbous Moon is high in the southern sky before dawn; The Moon will be at third quarter on the 12th, traveling eastward and a bit lower each morning, it will be a waning crescent from the 13th through the 19th. The Moon will occult the star Regulus before sunrise on Oct. 15th. For a map and timing of the occultation for your location, click this link. Venus and Mars continue to appear close together, low in the eastern predawn sky. The Moon will appear very close to Mars on the morning of Oct. 17th. On October 14th, asteroid 2012 TC14 will pass by the Earth at 0.13 Lunar Distances – that’s WELL inside Earth’s geosynchronous satellite ring; the asteroid is estimated to be 8-26 meters in diameter. Earth’s gravity will bend the orbit of the asteroid as it passes by. There are currently no sunspots visible from Earth, but the coronal hole that has been hanging around for … Continue reading