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

Across the Universe: Clouds of Unknowing
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  (This column first appeared in the Tablet in November 2006) When she first knew me, I was a rabbi; Heidi played drums in the band. It was a production of Fiddler on the Roof at MIT, where I was a lecturer and she a student – in fact, she wound up taking a course from me. Six years later, I had entered the Jesuits and she, with a newly minted PhD, had a job at the Jet Propulsion Lab helping guide the Voyager spacecraft towards Neptune. Then Comet Shoemaker-Levy hit Jupiter, and she was the scientist in charge of the Hubble images of the event… This past week, Dr. Heidi Hammel was in my classroom again, but this time as a lecturer. This year [2006] finds me at Fordham University, in the Bronx, filling the Loyola Chair for visiting Jesuit scholars. It’s not far from where Dr. Hammel now lives and works. We’d run into each other at a meeting … Continue reading