At Christmas of 1934, a bright “new” star exploded to life in Hercules. For a few days, it was one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It made the front pages of newspapers, and astronomers tracked it for months as it slowly faded from sight.
If you missed Saturday’s supermoon, don’t worry, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet as the August 2014 supermoon will be the closest the moon comes to earth all year, and should be the best of the five supermoons of 2014 as it passes within 221,765 miles of us.
If you find yourself out gazing at a supermoon with a special someone, here are a few facts to help you impress them because you can actually tell them why the moon looks so huge, and where the term ‘supermoon’ came from.
Mercury and Venus, the Sun’s closest planets, team up in the eastern sky at dawn the next few mornings. Venus is the “morning star,” so it’s an easy target. Mercury is fainter, but it’s not far to the lower left of Venus, which will help you pick it out.
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS McDONALD OBSERVATORY, AS HEARD ON KCBS RADIO WEEKDAYS @ 9:52 A.M., 7:35 P.M. & 2:52 A.M. STARDATE 07/04/2014: The Sun may feel bigger and brighter during the hot days of […]
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS McDONALD OBSERVATORY, AS HEARD ON KCBS RADIO WEEKDAYS @ 9:52 A.M., 7:35 P.M. & 2:52 A.M STARDATE 06/30/2014: One of the most graceful and beautiful of all constellations soars high […]
A star cluster in the constellation Serpens blazes with the fires of dozens of young stars. And it’s not that far away — perhaps 1300 light-years or so. That should make it an easy target for most telescopes. Yet until a few years ago, no one knew it even existed.
Space rocks hit our planet all the time. Most of them burn up in the atmosphere, but a few hit the ground. And most of those are unseen — they hit the oceans or deserts or other uninhabited regions. But like the one in New Zealand, a few have witnesses.
If you judge by the layout of the night sky, you might think that centaurs roamed across every field and mountain in ancient Greece. That’s because these mythological beasts are represented by not one, but two constellations created by the Greeks.
Regulus is the bright heart of Leo, the celestial lion. It’s several times bigger and heavier than the Sun, and hundreds of times brighter. Its most interesting feature, though, is its shape. Instead of a nice, round ball, it’s shaped more like a round jelly doughnut.