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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Ontario Fireball Sets Off Meteorite Hunt

Written by The Night Sky Guy on March 21, 2014 – 2:28 pm -

This is a shot of the bright metoer that streaked across southwestern Ontario on March 18, 2014 as captured by special all-sky camera monitors. Credit: University of Western Ontario

This is a shot of the bright meteor that streaked across southwestern Ontario on March 18, 2014 as captured by special all-sky camera monitors. Credit: University of Western Ontario

On Tuesday, March 18 at 10:24 pm EDT a super-bright fireball lit up southwestern Ontario skies.

Here is a photo captured by Univ. Western Ontario all-sky camera of the meteor event. Researchers now estimate it was a meteor the size of a basketball that entered Earth`s atmosphere. The cosmic intruder spend about 5 seconds traveling through North American skies before the air pressure pulverized it. Meteor experts say this is the first time in a half decade that such a bright event happened in Ontario.

The space rock most likely fragmented with pieces probably making it to the ground. Now the hunt is on for meteorites just 5 km NW of St. Thomas, Ontario. According to researchers the odds of finding a fragment of the meteor are small since it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack but the general public has the best shot.

Stay tuned for more details as they are made available.


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Amazing Stargazing Sights This Week

Written by The Night Sky Guy on February 10, 2014 – 3:31 pm -

Credit: Spaceweather.com

Credit: Spaceweather.com

On this very special week we celebrate Valentine’s Day the sky is full of romance too with the moon pointing to a giant  lion’s heart and the mythical goddess of love shining at its most brilliant.

Over the course of the next few days there is a whole line-up of stargazing targets for both the unaided eyes to backyard telescopes.

The brightest planets in the sky remain both Jupiter and Venus. Meanwhile you can still catch Mercury as it is fading fast low in the evening twilight in the southwest horizon.  Your best chance to see the innermost planet now is with binoculars.

Mars aficionados will have to wait until near midnight for it to rise in the east and will be at its highest in the south in the pre-dawn hours. If you have good atmospheric conditions a telescope will show off some of its largest surface features. Best views of the Red Planet though will be in April when its apparent diameter will be 50% wider.

Finally Saturn rises around local 1 am  and climbs to its highest point in the southern sky by dawn.  You can get a two-for-one deal since Mars will be its far right.

Get all your observing details for these and other sky events this week at my weekly skywatching column at National Geographic News.

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, also on Twitter and Facebook


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Amazing Stargazing Sights This Week

Written by The Night Sky Guy on January 27, 2014 – 9:10 pm -

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Sitting more than 2,100 light years from Earth, the Little Beehive Cluster shines bright in the evening sky this week. Credit: NOAO

As we head towards the final days of January, the night sky is filled with cosmic wonders, from a supernova explosion, Mercury at its best, and Martian close encounters.

For the naked-eye observers nothing beat the moon gliding past bright planets – and this week Luna’s close encounter with Venus will be a beauty. For binocular observers – the forth brightest asteroid is fairly easy to hunt down in Pisces constellation in the evenings, while a stunning open star cluster hits prime-time  in backyard telescope with scores of diamond-like stars huddling together.

Get all your observing details for these and other sky events this week at my weekly skywatching column at National Geographic News.


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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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Eastern Canada Meteor Event Confirmed

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 28, 2013 – 7:10 pm -

If skies would have been clear Tuesday night then skywatchers might have witnessed a bright fireball like this one.

If skies would have been clear Tuesday night then skywatchers might have witnessed a bright fireball like this one.

Yes that loud sonic boom and flash of light in the sky on Tuesday night at 7:47 pm EST was indeed a meteor racing across the southern Ontario, eastern Quebec region.

Prof.Peter Brown, a leading expert on meteor physics at the University of Western Ontario reports that infrasonic microphones, part of the USArray network of seismological detectors across the continent detected the series of shockwaves produced by the break up of the meteor as it traveled at supersonic speeds across the region.

“From a very casual examination of the records from five of these stations, it appears the fireball went roughly north-south passing almost right over the Island of Montreal,” said Brown in an email statement.

According to the data, the meteor had energy- on the order of less than a ton of TNT at most, indicating that the space rock might have weighed in the tens of kilograms category, explained Brown.

In comparison, the Russian meteor event in February measured some 20 meters across and had enerrgy equivalent of more than 500 kilotons of TNT.


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Possible Meteor Rattles Ontario-Quebec Skies

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 27, 2013 – 12:16 am -

fireball-bolide-fragments
Folks from Ottawa, Ontario through Laval, Quebec are reporting a blue flash of light followed by a sonic boom that occurred around 7:50 pm ET, November 26th.

This may be signs of a meteor event and could indicate the stone – which could be anywhere in size from a sofa to compact car- may have fragmented with some bits making it to the ground.  Scientists will comb through all the observation reports along with any photo and video evidence so that they can triangulate the trajectory of the possible meteor fall.

Thankfully this appears to be a minor event since there are no reports of any damage -not like what we saw earlier this year occur in Siberia where a 20 meter wide, 60 ton space rock exploded in the atmosphere and injured 1500.


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Photos: Stars From Space

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 12, 2013 – 5:51 pm -

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are avid stargazers just like the rest of us down here on Earth- expect they have a much more exotic perch to watch the stars.

Check out some of the cooler shots of familiar constellations and star clusters posted on social media by the residents of the orbiting laboratory.   Surprisingly the astronauts use regular off-the-shelf DSLR cameras to capture the starry sky and the results are really incredible.

Visit my photo gallery at National Geographic News.


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King Tut Connection to Ancient Comet Crash

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 12, 2013 – 5:30 pm -

This is an artists rendition of the comet exploding in Earths atmosphere above Egypt.

This is an artist's rendition of the comet exploding in Earth's atmosphere above Egypt.

In the Sahara, a team of scientists claim to have found the first evidence of a comet directly impacting Earth.

About 28 million years ago a comet exploded over Egypt, creating a 3600°F (2000°C) blast wave that spread out over the desert below. The fiery shockwave melted the sand, forming copious amounts of yellow silica glass scattered over 2,300 square miles (6,000 square kilometers) of the Sahara.

Polished into the shape of a scarab beetle, a large piece of this glass found its way into a brooch owned by the famed Egyptian boy king Tutankhamen.

Read the rest of my comet story at National Geographic News.


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Final Days for Life on Earth Reckoned

Written by The Night Sky Guy on October 29, 2013 – 11:44 am -

When the Sun heats up and become a red giant  Earth will slowly begin to die and cook.

When the Sun heats up and become a red giant Earth will slowly begin to die and cook.

Researchers have come up with a detailed model for how and when  life on our planet will be snuffed out. But no worries – it will be at least 500 million years from now when plants will begin to die and another 2 billion years before the final microbe fries. All this thanks to our parent star. When it begins to die so will our planet.

Read all the details about this sobering study in my story at National Geographic News


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