Posts Tagged ‘Moon’

Major Lunar Eclipse on October 8th

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Following hot in the heels of the last Lunar Eclipse which occurred on April 15th, once again the Western Hemisphere will be treated to a second Full Lunar eclipse.

In Vancouver it was a slight disappointment as right at the high point of the event in came the clouds and ironically enough, just as the show was winding down, well, so the clouds began to race away again! Hopefully we will get a better chance of a more complete show on October 8th and it seems to be happening around the same time as the last, so that means a very late night or very early morning for some.

For accurate times and what to expect wherever you are in the world take a look at this link: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2014-october-8

There has been plenty of excitement surrounding these particular Lunar eclipses as they are a series of ‘Tetrad’ eclipses, this means that there will be 4 Eclipses happening over 2014 and 2015 which is quite a rare happening. Here in Vancouver we will be lucky enough to witness a full Lunar eclipse.

There are a few other type of eclipses that can be watched around the earth and they are catogorised into the following types.

Total lunar eclipse
This is the daddy of them all, it essentially means that we are right in the path of totality where the Earth is exactly in between the Sun and the Moon – if it is a clear evening you can watch the Sun set and if you look in the opposite direction, pretty much at the same time as our gorgeous Sun sets the Full Moon will also start to rise. It is quite the sight and stunning moment where the transition from day to night occurs with the two brightest objects in our sky.

Partial lunar eclipse
If you are able to witness the full Eclipse one thing you will notice is that as the Earth begins to pass in front of the Sun a bite is taken out of the Moon as the shadow of the Earth starts to remove the light of day from the disk of the Moon, unlike a Full eclipse where the Moon will completely darken and redden in colour, with a partial eclipse only a portion of the Moon is covered in the Earths shadow. Some are not very spectacular, while others may dominate much of the Moon, either way it is a noticeable difference for us down here on earth.

Penumbral lunar eclipse
This is the least spectacular of the bunch as all we are witnessing here is the Earth slightly passing in front of the Sun, for any astro boffins this is called the Prenumbral stage – when watching the full Lunar eclipse this marks the very beginnings and ending of the stages of an eclipse – to many this is not very noticeable eclipse depending on how much of the Earth is blocking the Sun.

The next eclipses of the Moon after October 8th will occur on April 4, 2015: Total Lunar Eclipse: Visible from the Pacific Ocean and bordering regions in the Americas, Asia and Australia, and on Sept. 28, 2015: Total Lunar Eclipse: Visible from east Pacific Ocean, Americas, Europe, Africa, western Asia.

For further in depth information on the process of how these eclipses are broken down, please click here for an illustration of the full eclipse. http://www.sunsetinn.com/blog/?attachment_id=4261

Celestial News and happenings in April 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Full Lunar Eclipse
On April 15th the majority of North America will be treated to a spectacular full Lunar eclipse, this occurs when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun.

The viewing time for this celestial treat will occur at a reasonable hour for once – so for us Vancouverites here in Sunny Canada will be able to watch the show from from the start time at 9.55pm when the Earth’s shadow begins to darken the moon. Totality occurs 12.08am – this is by far the most breathtaking moment to witness – the Moon will darken a-lot but will glow with a deep dark red colour as the Earth still reflects the Suns Rays – seeing the Earth eclipse the Sun from the Moons vantage point you would be treated to a darkened globe of the earth with a red fiery Halo circling the earth – which really is an infinite image of the Sun rise and Sun set- quite an awesome trick of the light.

Totality ends at 12.46am as the deep red glow moves over so you just have a more darkened disc of the moon as the larger earth shadow still prevents the full light from the sun penetrating the Lunar landscape. The whole spectacle will all be over by 3.36am. This event is quite a long one as we are luckily enough to be in the direct path of the full eclipse.

This event is also a little rare as it is the first of Four Full Eclipses that will happen between now and September 2015. This series is known as a Tetrad of eclipses. The next full eclipse in our part of the world will happen again on October 8th 2014.

For further information on future events: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/canada/vancouver

Other Celestial events this month to watch for.
Planet Mars at opposition.
Carrying on with the Red colour – the month of April also marks the best time to witness the Red planet Mars which sits at opposition where our planet Earth sits directly between the Red Planet and the Sun – this gives us the best viewing of Mars in a couple of years, it will rise at Sunset and set when the Sun rises and should be easily visible in the night sky the whole night!

For further details on the oppsotion of Mars click here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/28mar_opposition/

April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower.

These may not be the strongest of Meteor showers, but with patience you may get to see some pretty bright streaks across the sky, especially if you are in a location that is away from the bright street lights.
These showers happen every April as the Earth swings around the Sun on its orbit and during this part of the year it passes through the dust trail once left by the long-period Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.

The actual event lasts around a week – but the dates of April 22 and 23rd will be the peak times to watch the show.

For further information on the Lyrids:
http://www.astronomynow.com/news/n1204/19lyrids/

Airing on right now is a great TV show called COSMOS which is a reworking of the original TV series from 1980 that was concieved by Carl Sagan – the new updated version is now airing every Sunday and presented by Neil Tyson Degrasse

Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey Link: http://www.cosmosontv.com/

If Science and Space is your cup of tea then you really should be heading to Telus World of Science aka Scienceworld and the H.R. Macmillan Space museum.

Telus World of Science http://www.scienceworld.ca/

H.R. Macmillan Space museum. http://www.spacecentre.ca/

December is a busy month for Celestial Sky watching….

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Time to geek out again!

There has been a lot of talk in the media as of late about the possibility of a Comet of the Century making a grand appearance this month, yet, as it happens it seems like this particular celestial visitor for many was an incredible dud as it didn’t transpire to be the X factor Comet many had hoped for. However, all is not lost as since the confirmation of Comet ISON‘s demise after it passed perilously close to the Sun there is another Comet to take a look at if you are keen enough!

Move over ISON – Comet Lovejoy is in town!
Comet ISON was clearly the star attraction over the last few weeks, and in all the excitement and attention that was being paid to ISON many astronomers were also paying attention to Comet Lovejoy which is currently gracing our skies in the early hours of the morning very close to The Big Dipper (or otherwise known as The Plough).
For any visitors who come here from the Southern Hemisphere the name Lovejoy may seem to be quite familiar – this is because the Australian and amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy has been pretty good at spotting new Comets over the last few years…notably this one back in 2011 which wowed people in the South with an amazing display before its own ultimate demise – C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy).

Video and pictures of the 2011 Comet Lovejoy.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/comet-defies-death-brushes-up-to-sun/story-e6frea6u-1226228904311

This has no connection to the current Comet that has a similar name, the current Lovejoy Comet and its official Scientific name is C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) and as we have mentioned before, if you have a keen eye and know your constellations you will find the Comet to be very close to the ‘handle’ of The Big Dipper which is one of the most recognisable constellations to spot.

Please look at the links below to see the final passage of Comet ISON and current pictures and information for Comet Lovejoy.

The last hurrah of Comet ISON: http://www.space.com/23803-comet-ison-fate-visibility-uncertain.html

Comet Lovejoy most recent image


Its location in relation to the Big Dipper

Take a look at Planet JUPITER and the Planet VENUS which are both now shining at maximum Magnitude and at its most striking!
Our Sister planet and the Second Rock to the Sun is now performing a truly stunning display before it slowly starts to move its way pass the Sun and start to fade.

Jupiter which is the ‘daddy’ of all our planets and is now rising higher in the overnight sky, and, as the seasons move by it will be the most dominant feature second only to the Moon. If you are looking at Jupiter on the right day and you have sharp vision, there is a slight chance you will be able to make out some of the Planets largest ‘Moons’ a pair of binoculars will greatly increase your chances of seeing this.

Venus has been gracing our Skies for most of this year and if you look South to South West not too long after Sunset you will see the planet at its most dazzling. Venus is about to start to move towards the Sun as it Orbit brings about the transition from Venus being the ‘Evening Star’‘ where it will wander during the early part of next year to become the veery bright ‘Morning Star’.
As the nights have been unbelievably clear around Vancouver, we do suggest that you wrap up and take a look above you, with the New Moon at its current phase – this means for anyone who loves astronomy will get to see the stars brightly without the Moon stealing the show.
If you are looking at Venus from the open country that is away from any kind of Light pollution, the planets light and glare is so bright that it can actually cast shadows, its over the next few weeks that you may be lucky enough to witness this incredible phenomenon.

The Mighty ORION Constellation and the PLEIADES Star cluster
Now that the darkest days of Winter are well and truly upon us, we do get to witness some of the most stunning and most recognisable structures of the night sky – the most obvious of them are the Constellation of ORION THE HUNTER and the PLEIADES Star Cluster also known to many as the SEVEN SISTERS

Orion is very famous due to the 3 stars that form a straight line and are imagined to be Orions Belt. This is a great constellation to view especially if you are just getting interested in Astronomy. It is also a great chance for you to spot a Nebula with the naked eye. A Nebula is the remnants of a Star that previously died in an explosive fashion, what you are left with is the Gasses and other Elements that the former star stripped away before succumbing – with the Nebula that is located just below the belt of Orion and is the middle fuzzy Star that forms Orions Dagger, f you take a closer look at this object with a decent pair of binoculars you will see that it is in fact not a living Star but a a ball of Red Gas and new baby stars that are have been created from the original material of its expired parent Star. Once you have spotted this, it is easily noticeable with the naked eye alone….pretty cool.

ORION CONSTELLATION

PLEIADES STAR CLUSTER

If this is a subject that you like and would like to visit some tourist destinations with a flare for Science then you really will enjoy visiting SCIENCE WORLD and the H.R MACMILLAN SPACE CENTRE…click on the links below for further information on Exhibits and events…

SCIENCE WORLD: http://www.scienceworld.ca/

SPACE MUSEUM: http://www.spacecentre.ca/

We will finish this blog with some of the latest stunning footage from the International Space Station:

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/the-best-space-station-time-lapse-yet-has-an-incredible-1475534367