Uranus Sits Next to Moon

Written by The Night Sky Guy on December 18, 2015 – 2:16 pm -

Catch this Green Giant next to the Moon on Saturday night.

Catch this Green Giant next to the Moon on Saturday night.

After nightfall on Saturday, December 19, the waxing gibbous moon will be parked next to the planet Uranus.

Look for the green-hued ice giant less than two degrees above the the moon: equal to about four lunar disks apart. Also the moon, Uranus and the faint (4.2 magnitude) star Epsilon Piscium will form a straight line, with the planet nearly exactly in middle.

Shining at magnitude 5.8 magnitude, Uranus is best spotted using at least binoculars, through which it appears as a distinct but tiny greenish colored disk against a backdrop of faint stars of the constellation Pisces, the fishes.

For more about this and other celestial events, check out my Starstruck column at National Geographic.


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Waning Moon and Mars

Written by The Night Sky Guy on December 5, 2015 – 7:26 am -

The moon and mars will meet up in the early morning hours on Sunday, Dec. 6. Look toward the southeastern skies.

The moon and mars will meet up in the early morning hours on Sunday, Dec. 6. Look toward the southeastern skies.

During early morning twilight on Sunday, December 6th, skywatchers get a real sky show as the Red Planet gets its chance to hang out with the thinning crescent moon.

The dramatic pair will appear only four degrees apart—less than the width of your three middle fingers held at arm’s length.

For this and more celestial events, check out my National Geographic column, StarStruck.


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Moon Shows Crab Nebula

Written by The Night Sky Guy on October 29, 2015 – 11:18 am -

Waning moon sits next to beautiful Crab Nebula on Friday, October 30.

Waning moon sits next to beautiful Crab Nebula on Friday, October 30.

Late night on Friday, October 30, the waning gibbous moon will be parked just beneath one of the brightest supernova remnants in the entire sky, an expanding cloud that sits about 7,000 light-years from Earth.

Just above the moon is Zeta Tau, one of the stars that mark the tips of Taurus’s long horns. The star acts as a convenient guidepost to the famed Crab Nebula, the remains of a supernova recorded by Chinese astronomers in A.D. 1054.

Look for the faint Crab Nebula, also known as Messier 1, approximately 1 degree above Zeta Tau and 5 degrees above the moon—slightly less than the width of three middle fingers at arm’s length. The nebula shines faintly at magnitude 9.0, making it just visible through binoculars and an easy target for even small backyard telescopes.

For more information about night sky events, visit my National Geographic column, Starstruck.


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Beehive Next to Moon

Written by The Night Sky Guy on October 5, 2015 – 2:05 am -

Pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, October 6, in the southwestern sky the moon will buzz very close to the Beehive Cluster. (Image: NOAO/AURA/NSF)

Pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, October 6, in the southwestern sky the moon will buzz very close to the Beehive Cluster. (Image: NOAO/AURA/NSF)

 

In the early dawn hours on Tuesday, October 6, skywatchers can use the moon to find the Beehive star cluster (Messier 44) nearby. This open cluster lies in the heart of the zodiacal constellation Cancer in the southeastern sky.

This cluster is one of the closest to our Sun, sitting at 610 light-years distant. Seen with the naked eye in dark skies, the Beehive appears as a nebulous mass. Through binoculars or telescopes, though, the cluster reveals itself as a loose grouping of sparkling stars.


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Watch Lunar Eclipse LIVE Webcast

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 14, 2014 – 6:07 pm -

The Virtual Telescope Project and Astronomers Without Borders are teaming up to present the total lunar Eclipse on April 15 to everyone on the planet through live broadcasts from telescopes located throughout North America.

Catch the action starting at 2:30 am EDT /  06:30 UT right here. If video does not load on this page then go directly here.

2014TotalLunarEclipse

Also check out this alternate broadcast provided by the Coca-Cola Science Center at Columbus State University in Georgia. Feed should start Monday @ 11 pm EDT.

Live streaming video by Ustream


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NASA Plans to Grow Veggies on the Moon

Written by The Night Sky Guy on December 6, 2013 – 6:10 am -

Imagine turnips and carrots sprouting on Earth’s closest neighboring world.

May sound a bit far-fetched but if humans ever want to live and work on the the moon for not just days but months and years- growing plants will be a big part of of the adventure. Now NASA is working on a project to send a tiny, automated greenhouse to the moon that will eventually lay the foundation for setting up permanent lunar gardens.

Read the rest of my Moon garden story at National Geographic News


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Video: Weekly Space News Interview

Written by The Night Sky Guy on September 16, 2013 – 2:35 pm -

Check out some of the cool space news hitting the wire this past week on my weekly CTV News Channel interview.


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Video: Weekly Space News Interview

Written by The Night Sky Guy on May 28, 2013 – 11:07 am -

Check out some of the cool space news hitting the wire this past week on my weekly CTV News Channel interview.


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Jupiter joins Moon in the Evening Sky

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 12, 2013 – 9:20 pm -

If you have clear skies in your neck of the woods over the weekend of April 13th then step outside and look west for a beautiful pairing between the Moon and some of the brightest stars and planet in the night sky.

While conjunctions like thee are not rare by any means, they do make for a great opportunity to track down some celestial objects that otherwise may be a challenge to find for beginner stargazers.  And for those more experienced navigating the heavens, this cosmic close encounter makes for a pretty photo op.

Read all the details about the Moon-planet-star event, including detailed star charts,  at National Geographic News


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Look Up! Super Close Jupiter Moon Pairing

Written by The Night Sky Guy on January 19, 2013 – 9:19 pm -

Skywatcher everywhere be on the look out for two of the brightest objects in the night sky heading towards a close encounter on Monday night.

The sky show begins after local nightfall on Monday the 21st when the waxing gibbous moon snuggles up to brilliant white Jupiter in the southeast. The sky show should be easily seen even in light polluted cities!

Get an observer’s guide to the best Jupiter – Moon conjunction visible until 2026 at National Geographic


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