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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Sunday, October 26, 2014

‘Earth & Sky’ Archives

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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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. ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight — March 2, 2010: Moon still near

Earthsky Tonight — March 2, 2010: Moon still near Saturn, closer to Spica on March 2

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Last night, the moon was close to the planet Saturn on the sky’s dome. Tonight, the moon will pair up with Spica, the constellation Virgo’s brightest star. Our chart shows the eastern sky for fairly late tonight, around 10:00 p.m. That is when the waning gibbous moon and the star Spica will be low in the sky, below the planet Saturn. The moon and Spica will travel westward across the sky throughout the night. ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight – Mar 1, 2010: Moon and Saturn

Earthsky Tonight – Mar 1, 2010: Moon and Saturn rise shortly after dark

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org If the skies are clear, you cannot miss the planet Saturn this evening. The waning gibbous moon and Saturn rise above your eastern horizon by around 8:00 p.m. tonight. For the precise rising times for the moon and Saturn into your sky, check out the links on our almanac page. These rising times presume a level horizon. Saturn is that star-like object by tonight’s moon. Saturn is no star, however. Stars put ... Full Story

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