Monday, May 30, 2016

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT Mars CLOSEST Today 5/30/16

Hey Space Placers!

Well the wild weather we had earlier in May has given way to occasionally clear skies so that we can see the planet Mars at its closest and brightest.

At 4:35 pm EDT today Mars will be closer to planet Earth than it has been since November 2005. Its distance will be 46,762,695 miles. Mars will be a bright yellowish-orange and easily visible in the SE sky right after dark. The Red Planet will remain visible through most of the night.

If it is cloudy tonight www.slooh   main.slooh.com/event/the-red-planet-rocks/   will be carrying a live Internet program viewing Mars through a telescope from 9-10 pm EDT.

Mars has close company in the sky as the planet Saturn and the reddish-colored star Antares form a celestial triangle. Mars will be far brighter than the other two. 

Saturn is a yellowish-colored ‘star’ to the lower left of Mars. NASA’s Cassini mission  https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html   has been studying the ringed planet for 11 years and is still going strong.

The Greek name Antares means ‘equal of Mars’ and this month you can really see why the star got its name. Antares is below and to the left of Mars

Mars has several active and planned missions exploring it from orbit and on the surface http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/missions-to-mars.html . It is a fascinating world and in amateur sized telescopes  actual features can be seen for the next several weeks. 

If you have a dark sky you can also see the gorgeous Milky Way to the left of this celestial triangle. The view will be best around 1:00 a.m. in the South.

Mars will remain bright for the next several weeks before it begins to noticeably fade so make sure you take a look. Mars gets close to our planet every 26 months and will do so again in July 2018 when it will be even closer and brighter than it is now.

You can also see bright Jupiter high in the southwest sky all month. The four main moons of Jupiter  http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/jupiter/moons    can be seen in binoculars and mimics the view Galileo would have had in his crude telescope in 1610 when he discovered them. NASA’s Juno spacecraft   http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/where    is closing in on the king of the planets and is due to arrive July 4, 2016.


As  we head into June and summer I hope you can join me at Shenandoah National Park for one of my lectures and sky viewing sessions  http://www.goshenandoah.com/activities-events/astronomy .

You can see my Mars pics in earlier posts.

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Jupiter Is Now in The Driver's Seat For Juno!

Hey Space Placers!


Artist's Conception Of Juno at Jupiter
NASA JPL
Jupiter's gravity is now dominating the flight path of the Juno spacecraft. Get details here.

Jupiter is high in the SW sky at dark, take a look and envision Juno enroute to the king of the planets in our solar system.

Sky Guy in VA

Friday, May 27, 2016

More Mars Pics

Hey Space Placers!

More Mars Pics.

 BIG MEADOWS MARS WITH ANTARES & SATURN 5/27/16

 BIG MEADOWS MARS WITH ANTARES & SATURN 5/27/16

SKY & TELESCOPE MARS PROFILE FOR MY PIC BELOW

USE MAP ABOVE TO MATCH FEATURES
More this weekend I hope.

Sky Guy in VA

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mars 5/24/16

Hey Space Placers!

FIRST pics of Mars.

Thru 10" telescope & DSLR - some features

Firefly in Lower Right Keeps Mars Company

Beautiful Mars 
More & better tonight hopefully.

Sky Guy in VA

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Are Primordial Black Holes the Dark Matter?


Hey Space Placers!

Left: This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows an infrared view of a sky area in the constellation Ursa Major. Above: After masking out all known stars, galaxies and artifacts and enhancing what's left, an irregular background glow appears. This is the cosmic infrared background (CIB); lighter colors indicate brighter areas. The CIB glow is more irregular than can be explained by distant unresolved galaxies, and this excess structure is thought to be light emitted when the universe was less than a billion years old. Scientists say it likely originated from the first luminous objects to form in the universe, which includes both the first stars and black holes.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/A. Kashlinsky (Goddard)

Here is a VERY interesting news story on the possibility that primordial black holes could be the mysterious dark mater.

Be sure to click on the links in the article to get more background information.

I might FINALLY have clear skies to see Mars tonight. Wish me luck.....

Sky Guy in VA

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT!!! Full Flower BLUE Moon 5/21/16

Hey Space Placers!

Tonight is the Full Flower - and Blue - Moon.


CREDIT: www.skyandtelescope.com

Tune in to Slooh tonight  5:00 PM PDT | 8:00 PM EDT | 00:00UTC (International Times: http://bit.ly/1siTmXJto see it LIVE.

Enjoy the view as we here on Planet Venus Virginia continue to be cloud covered.

Sky Guy Under Clouds

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sky Guy VIEWING ALERT - Mars Beckons Part 4

Hey Space Placers!

Read this article for viewing Mars the next several weeks.

Credit Sky & Telescope 
I'm still cloudy with more of the same for the coming week :-(

Sky Guy on Venus