For those people living in the Northern Hemisphere, August is the month to enjoy the Perseid Meteor Shower. However, this year many skywatchers will be facing a mean adversary in their attempt to see this annual spectacle: the bright presence of the Moon. But don’t fret, there’s still some windows of opportunity for you to catch a few shooting stars.
European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosseta spacecraft arrived at Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko Wednesday after a 10 year flight to catch up with the comet.
Copyright ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
This image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 3 August from a distance of 285 km. The image resolution is 5.3 metres/pixel.
Watch the press conference at ESA on Wednesday for the latest in images and how scientists are going to proceed now that Rosseta has reached the comet.
Stunning close up detail focusing on a smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and downloaded, 6 August. The image clearly shows a range of features, including boulders, craters and steep cliffs. The image was taken from a distance of 130 km and the image resolution is 2.4 metres per pixel.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
There will be some amazing science done in the next 2 years by the team at ESA.
Recently, at a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Gongjie Li of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics predicted the death of two exoplanets. “As far as we know, this is the first time two known exoplanets in a single system have a predicted ‘time of death,'” she said. The two planets she’s talking about, Kepler-56b and Kepler-56c, are predicted to be swallowed by their star in 130 million and 155 million years, respectively.
Japan is known as the “land of the rising sun” (a phrase derived from how the characters in the Japanese name mean “sun-origin) but did you know there were places you could go where the Sun doesn’t appear to rise in the east and set in the west but instead appears to bounce?
Do you remember that probe we sent to Titan? You know, the one that was the first ever to land on Saturn’s largest moon? Well that was the Huygens probe and was part of the Cassini-Huygens mission. I bring this up because it was named after Christiaan Huygens, a man that has contributed a huge amount to science: early telescopic studies of the rings of Saturn, the invention of the pendulum clock, and the discovery of several interstellar nebulae and double stars to name a few. But even if you are familiar with Christiaan Huygens you still may not know that he actually contributed quite a bit to the world of music as well.
Nine hundred light years away in the direction of the constellation Aquarius resides a recently discovered dwarf star that is so cold its carbon has crystallized – much like a diamond.
Yes, the oceans are quite large. You wouldn’t want to get lost in one. But did you know that there was a recent discovery of an ocean reservoir that has a volume three-times larger than all the other oceans combined? This finding is making scientists rethink the origins of Earth’s water supply.
Five Hundred and Sixty light years away, in a constellation called “Draco,” circling an old star named “Kepler-10,” resides a recently discovered planet that is twice the size and 17 times heavier than our own Earth. This so called “Mega-Earth” was announced on Monday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston.
How great would it be to wake up one morning and find out that Scientists have finally discovered proof of intelligent alien life out beyond our planet? I’ve often wonder if I’d live to see the day when the answer to the question “are we alone in the galaxy” is finally answered. Well, recently at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing Wednesday (May 21), Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute gave us a timeline for when this question might be answered when he said, “”It’s unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth. I think that situation is going to change within everyone’s lifetime in this room.”
North America is predicted to have the best view of a possible new meteor shower from Comet 209P/LINEAR Friday night through Saturday morning (May 23-24, 2014). (Deborah Boyd-EarthSky)
We have had some astronomical disappointments of late but we might just see a really nice meteor shower this Friday night into Saturday morning.
Meteors from the May 24th’s early-morning display can appear anywhere in the sky, but they will appear to originate from a point (called the radiant) in the constellation Camelopardalis, the Giraffe. Stars are plotted for 2 a.m. local daylight time as seen from mid-northern latitudes. Sky & Telescope illustration.