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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Saturday, January 31, 2015

‘Earth & Sky’ Archives

Earthsky Tonight – February 21, 2010: First

Earthsky Tonight – February 21, 2010: First quarter moon near Pleiades

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org The first quarter moon falls today at 6:42 p.m. Central Time. (That’s 7:42 p.m. Eastern time, 5:42 p.m. Mountain Time and 4:42 p.m. Pacific Time.) At first quarter phase, the lunar disk is half-illuminated in sunshine and half-engulfed in the moon’s own shadow. In other words, you are seeing half of the moon’s daytime side and half of the moon’s nighttime side. The moon is in front of the constellation ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight – February 20, 2010: Orion

Earthsky Tonight – February 20, 2010: Orion shows you the ecliptic and summer solstice point

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Diana asks, "Why is the waxing moon always so high in the evening sky in late winter and early spring?" In a nutshell, Diana, it is because the ecliptic arcs high across the evening sky right now. The ecliptic is the Earth’s orbital plane projected onto stellar sphere, or the dome of sky. The ecliptic is often shown on sky charts because the moon and planets are found on or near the ecliptic. If you are familiar ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight – February 18, 2010: Epsilon,

Earthsky Tonight – February 18, 2010: Epsilon, Auriga’s distant and mysterious star

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org At early evening, look up high for the brilliant star Capella, the brightest in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Close to Capella is a prominent triangle of starlets called The Kids. Lighting up the apex of this triangle is the star Epsilon Aurigae (Almaaz), one of the most mysterious stars in all the heavens. Although Capella looks much brighter than Epsilon, that is because Capella is so much closer. ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight – February 17, 2010: Asteroid

Earthsky Tonight – February 17, 2010: Asteroid Vesta at opposition

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Vesta is the third largest body in the asteroid belt – a region of the solar system where thousands of little rocky worlds orbit the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Vesta has a diameter of about 330 miles. Vesta will be at opposition – opposite the sun in Earth’s sky – tonight. It is around opposition time that a solar system world comes closest to Earth and shines most brightly in our sky. ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight – February 16, 2010: Moon,

Earthsky Tonight – February 16, 2010: Moon, Venus, Jupiter at dusk

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Tonight’s chart portrays the western sky for about 30 minutes after sunset at middle latitudes in North America. The waxing crescent moon should be fairly easy to spot tonight, because it sets almost 3 hours after the sun. It’s a different story for the planets Venus and Jupiter, which are in conjunction today. Although Venus is the third brightest celestial object in the sky and Jupiter ranks the 4th ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight – February 15, 2010: Young moon

Earthsky Tonight – February 15, 2010: Young moon hunting after sunset

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Our chart shows the western sky for about 30 minutes after sunset at middle latitudes in North American. If you are blessed with an absolutely level horizon and crystal-clear skies, you might – if you are extremely lucky – see the planets Venus and Jupiter by the horizon. At mid-northern latitudes, these planets set about 40 minutes after the sun. You will have a much better chance of spotting the ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight – February 14, 2010: The Double

Earthsky Tonight – February 14, 2010: The Double Cluster in Perseus

Face the northwestern horizon this evening – above and to the right of the place where the sun set on the western horizon – but mid- to late evening. Here you can find the Double Cluster in the constellation Perseus. These are two open stars clusters, known as “H” and “Chi” Persei (also called NGC 884 and 869). How to find them? First, you need a dark sky. As you work your way up from the northwest horizon you’ll see the famous constellation Cassiopeia forming a ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight, February 13, 2010: Cassiopeia is

Earthsky Tonight, February 13, 2010: Cassiopeia is shaped like an ‘M’ or ‘W’

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Erick wrote, “Do you have any information on Cassiopeia’s Chair?” Erick, you have used the lovely old-fashioned name for this constellation. In the 1930s, the International Astronomical Union gave this constellation an official name of Cassiopeia the Queen, but skywatchers still see the chair, and speak of it. Cassiopeia was a queen in ancient Greek mythology. According to legend, she boasted she was ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight, February 12, 2010: Use Big

Earthsky Tonight, February 12, 2010: Use Big Dipper’s Pointers to find Polaris

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org If you can find the Big Dipper in the northern sky in mid to late evening tonight, you can find the North Star, Polaris. The Big Dipper is not a constellation. Instead, it is an asterism, just a recognizable pattern of stars on the sky’s dome. It is part of the constellation Ursa Major, the Greater Bear. A well-known trick for finding the North Star, or Polaris, is that the two outermost stars in the bowl of ... Full Story

Earthsky Tonight, February 11, 2010: For those at

Earthsky Tonight, February 11, 2010: For those at southerly latitudes, Canopus!

Courtesy of EarthSky A Clear Voice for Science www.EarthSky.org Here is a star that northern stargazers rarely see. It is Canopus, and it is the second-brightest star in the entire sky. You won’t see this star from the northern U.S. or similar latitudes. But northern skywatchers who travel south in winter – or people in latitudes like those in the southern U.S. – enjoy watching this star. You can always find Canopus by first locating Sirius, the sky’s brightest ... Full Story

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