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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Monday, September 26, 2016

‘Earth & Sky’ Archives

Earthsky Tonight—March 13, Use the Big Dipper to

Earthsky Tonight—March 13, Use the Big Dipper to locate the Hunting Dogs

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org You can locate the Big Dipper in the northeast in mid- to late evening around now. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, the Greater Bear. In addition, if you can find the Big Dipper, you can find two Hunting Dogs seen by the ancient stargazers to be nipping at the Bear’s heels. The Hunting Dogs are a separate constellation: tiny Canes Venatici. You will need a dark sky to see these two little stars ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 12, Tangle of stars in

Earthsky Tonight—March 12, Tangle of stars in Berenice’s Hair

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org What we are about to describe requires a dark sky to be seen: a faraway cluster of stars known as “Coma Berenices.” How can you spot it? One way is to use the famous constellation Leo the Lion, now in the east each evening. Leo is relatively easy to see. The front part of the Lion looks like a backwards question mark, and the back part is a little triangle, which includes the star Denebola, marked on today’s chart. The ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 11: Mars stationary in front

Earthsky Tonight—March 11: Mars stationary in front of stars

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Almanacs say the planet Mars is “stationary” today. However, stationary doesn’t mean that Mars stays in the same place in Earth’s sky all night tonight. Mars actually shines in the southern sky at mid-evening, and crosses the sky westward throughout the night. This ruddy world sets beneath the western horizon before dawn tomorrow. Does stationary mean that Mars is staying still in its orbit around the sun? Hardly! Mars ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 10: Is Sirius the most

Earthsky Tonight—March 10: Is Sirius the most luminous star in the sky?

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Look south at nightfall and early evening, and you can’t miss Sirius, the brightest star in the nighttime sky. Mia asks, “Isn’t there a brighter star in absolute magnitude which appears dimmer because of its distance?” Yes, Mia, you are right. Sirius looks extraordinarily bright in Earth’s sky because it is only 8.6 light-years away. Many stars on the sky’s dome are intrinsically more luminous than Sirius, but ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight—March 9: Ancient eye test relied on

Earthsky Tonight—March 9: Ancient eye test relied on two stars in Big Dipper

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Look back to “this chart”  for more about how to recognize the Big and Little Dippers on these almost-spring evenings. The ancient eye test for those wishing to join the Roman army was administered using stars in the handle of our modern-day Big Dipper. If you passed, you got a job as an archer. If you failed, you had to serve in another capacity … perhaps as a cook. It is said that sultans of the past also tested their ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — March 8, 2010: The Summer

Earthsky Tonight — March 8, 2010: The Summer Triangle, a signpost for all seasons

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org As seen from our northern temperate latitudes, the three brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – Vega, Deneb and Altair – are out for at least part of the night every night of the year. Presently, the Summer Triangle shines in the eastern sky at and before dawn. Like the Big Dipper, the Summer Triangle is an asterism – a pattern of stars that is not one of the officially recognized 88 constellations. To gauge the size of ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — March 7, 2010: Predawn moon

Earthsky Tonight — March 7, 2010: Predawn moon points out Scorpion’s Stinger

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org On the morning of March 8 (Monday), the rather wide waning crescent moon helps you to locate the two stars in the tail of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. These two very noticeable stars – called Shaula and Lesath – are often shown on old star maps at the tip of the Scorpion’s Stinger. These star names mean raised tail and stinger respectively in Arabic, although there is some controversy over the origin of Lesath. ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — March 5, 2010: Star Arcturus is a

Earthsky Tonight — March 5, 2010: Star Arcturus is a harbinger of spring

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org The gloriously bright star Arcturus rises into your east northeastern sky around 9 p.m. tonight. This yellow-orange beauty – like any brilliant star – sparkles wildly when it hovers near the horizon. Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Bootes, which represents a Herdsman – though to our modern eyes, this star formation might look more like a kite or snow cone. Arcturus is the fourth brightest star in the ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — March 4, 2010: Recognize the Big

Earthsky Tonight — March 4, 2010: Recognize the Big Dipper … and Little Dipper

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org We received a question about the Big and Little Dippers. “How can I locate both Ursa Minor and Ursa Major? I am seeing one of them in the sky . . . but cannot tell which one and where the other one is.” The answer is that, if you are seeing only one dipper, it is probably the Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major. This constellation, also called the Greater Bear, contains the Big Dipper asterism that is familiar to so ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — March 3, 2010: Use the Big Dipper

Earthsky Tonight — March 3, 2010: Use the Big Dipper to locate Polaris

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org At one time, sailors’ livelihoods and survival depended on their lucky stars – most especially, the pointer stars of the Big Dipper. Drawing a line through the two outer stars of the bowl faithfully points to Polaris, the North Star. Polaris is not the brightest star in the sky, as is commonly believed. It is a moderately bright second magnitude star, radiant enough to be easily seen – even on a moonlit night. Polaris, ... Full Story

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