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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Sunday, April 20, 2014

‘Earth & Sky’ Archives

Earthsky Tonight—11: Altair, guide star to two small

Earthsky Tonight—11: Altair, guide star to two small constellations

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Look in the east at nightfall and evening to locate a sparkling blue-white star not far from the horizon. That is Altair, the brightest star in the constellation Aquila the Eagle, and the second brightest star in the Summer Triangle. The Summer Triangle formation is made up of the three bright summer stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair. The Summer Triangle lights up the eastern sky on June evenings. Once you have found Altair, ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 10: Find the Summer Triangle

Earthsky Tonight—June 10: Find the Summer Triangle ascending in the east

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org An asterism is not the same thing as a constellation. Constellations generally come to us from ancient times. Earlier in this century, the boundaries of 88 constellations were officially drawn by the International Astronomical Union. On the other hand, asterisms are whatever you want them to be. They are just patterns on the sky’s dome. You can also make up your own asterisms, in much the same way you can recognize ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 8: Crow, cup and water snake

Earthsky Tonight—June 8: Crow, cup and water snake sail the southern sky

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Early on this June evening, look to the southern sky shortly after sunset. The first star you will likely see, nearly due south, is Spica, in Virgo. However, wait a little and given clear skies and a lack of lights, a number of fainter stars will begin to become visible. Below and to the right of Spica are the constellations of Corvus the Crow, Crater the Cup, and Hydra the Water Snake. In Greek mythology, Apollo sent the ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 7: Closest two planets of 2010

Earthsky Tonight—June 7: Closest two planets of 2010 on June 8, but one may require binoculars

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org The closest planet/planet pairing takes place in the morning sky on Tuesday, June 8. Jupiter and Uranus stand less than 1/2 degree apart. (For reference, the moon’s diameter spans 1/2 degree of sky.) The brighter of these two planets, Jupiter, beams as the brightest celestial point of light in the dawn and predawn sky. Uranus, though, only appears about 1/2000 as bright as Jupiter. In other words, you will need a dark ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 6: Mars and Regulus in

Earthsky Tonight—June 6: Mars and Regulus in conjunction

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org The planet Mars and the star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo, highlight their conjunction this evening. Two heavenly bodies are said to be in conjunction whenever they stand north and south of one another. Tonight, Mars and Regulus shine about a pinky-width apart. By all means, look at the evening couple through binoculars or low power on a telescope. The contrast of color makes their partner’s ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 5: Moon and Jupiter pair up

Earthsky Tonight—June 5: Moon and Jupiter pair up before sunrise

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Before daybreak tomorrow (Sunday, June 6), the two most brilliant heavenly bodies of the early morning sky – the waning crescent moon and the dazzling planet Jupiter – couple up together to light up the dawn and predawn hours. The moon and Jupiter showcase themselves all over the world, except at far northern latitudes near and north of the Arctic Circle. That far north, the June sun shines for 24 hours, or nearly 24 ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 4: Rastaban and Eltanin belong

Earthsky Tonight—June 4: Rastaban and Eltanin belong to constellation Draco

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org One of you asked, "What are constellations?" The answer is that they are just patterns of stars on the sky’s dome. The Greeks and Romans, for example, named them for their gods and goddesses, and for many sorts of animals. In the 20th century, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) formalized the names and boundaries of the constellations. Now every star in the sky belongs to one or another constellation. The ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 3: See Draco the Dragon and a

Courtesy of EarthSky   A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org If you have a dark sky, you will be able to pick the constellationDraco the Dragon winding around the North Star, Polaris. First, find the Big Dipper high in the north on June evenings. The two outer stars in the Dipper’s bowl point to Polaris, the North Star, which marks the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. The Little Dipper is relatively faint. If you can find both Dippers, then your sky is probably pretty ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 2: Little Dipper, Clipped

Earthsky Tonight—June 2: Little Dipper, Clipped wings of Draco the Dragon

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org The Little Dipper is an asterism – a star pattern that is not a constellation. The Little Dipper really belongs to the constellation Ursa Minor the Little Bear. Richard Hinkley Allen in his book STAR NAMES Their Lore and Meaning claims the Greek constellation Ursa Minor was never mentioned in the literary works of Homer (9th century B.C.) or Hesiod (8th century B.C.). That is probably because this constellation was not ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—June 1: Big Dipper high in north on

Earthsky Tonight—June 1: Big Dipper high in north on June evenings

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Here is the legendary Big Dipper, now high in the north during the evening hours. It is one of the most familiar star patterns in the sky because its shape really resembles a dipper. Less familiar – and tougher to find – is the Little Dipper. Here is how you can find it. First, locate the Big Dipper in the northern sky during the evening hours. Notice that the Big Dipper has two parts: a bowl and a handle. See the ... Full Story

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