Sky Tonight Update: Total Solar Eclipse – 03/09/2016

total solar eclipse 2016

This year, on March 9th, there will be a Total Solar Eclipse, visible over Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the its beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona. An eclipse thereby totally or partly obscures the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth. The view you see here will be the view of the sky visible in parts of central Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean.

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The Sky Tonight Update: March 8 – Jupiter at Opposition

jupiter at opposition

March 8 will bring us what is called “Jupiter at Opposition.” This means the giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. Jupiter will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. It will be seen on the eastern horizon after sunset under the constellation Leo, the lion.

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The Irene W. Pennington Planetarium Blog is Your Place for the Astronomical Calendar of 2016

astronomy calendar 2016

Hello everyone:  people of Baton Rouge and around the world.  This is just an update for what is going to happen periodically through 2016 on this blog.  Here at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum and the Irene W. Pennington Planetarium, we will be producing a series of astronomical updates that will be appearing both on our big planetarium dome and on this blog.  Most of the significant astronomical events will be discussed here in detail and accompanied by an original video production.
These videos will, for the most part, display what you will see in your Baton Rouge sky and where you can find what is being discussed.

Sometimes there will be astronomical events outside the US.  We’ll cover those, too.  For example, the total solar eclipse coming up on March 9th will be discussed this coming Monday.  Look forward to a video detailing what the eclipse will look like from Indonesia and what it will look like from space.

So, for all upcoming blogs labeled “The Sky Tonight Update” you can find not only information on  what is coming up in your sky, but a video production of that very event as well.

Come back soon, we’ll be having many of these updates–as well as other blogs about interesting astronomical events–throughout the coming year.

~ Jay Lamm, Planetarium Producer
Louisiana Art & Science Museum

The David Bowie Constellation – Aladdin Sane

aladdin sane

Since the passing of David Bowie, Belgian astronomers have announced an unofficial constellation dedicated to the musician, located just below Virgo.  The grouping of stars makes out the shape of a lightening bolt, familiarized from the cover of Bowie’s 1973 album, “Aladdin Sane.”  But where can you find it and is it truly constellation? Continue reading

Meet the Black Hole 21 Billion Times the Mass of Our Sun

ngc 4889

It is believed that the black hole at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy, Sagittarius A, is 4 million solar masses.  This is the the most massive object in our galaxy.  Even so, it is dwarfed in comparison with the black hole located at the center of NGC 4889, a galaxy 308 million light-years away at the center of the Coma Cluster.  This elliptical galaxy is one of the brightest and largest galaxies in the Coma Cluster, and even though it doesn’t display much activity, it contains a black hole with a mass 21 billion times that of our Sun.

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Why Do We Have A Leap Year?

why we have leap year

It’s 2016.  This is the year that Juno will arrive at Jupiter to study the gas giant’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.  This year also brings us February 29–the Leap Day.  It happens every four years.  So why is it that we have Leap Year?

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The 10 Brightest Stars in the Night Sky

top ten brightest stars

Many people think that the Polaris, aka “the North Star,” is the brightest star in the sky.  Actually, Polaris is about the 47th brightest star in the nighttime sky.  So, you may ask, what exactly are the brightest stars?  Here is the list of the top 10 brightest stars you can see in our nighttime sky.

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The Astronomical World of Harry Potter part 4: Hermione and Ginny

the astronomical world of harry potter

Last year, we had a series of three blogs dealing with the astronomical world of Harry Potter.  Not only did we looked at how some of the characters in the Harry Potter series got their names from the Roman, Greek, & Norse mythologies, but how those mythologies played into the develop of their respective characters.  If you missed it, we covered Draco, Luna, Dumbledore, Fenrir, Sirius and Bellatrix.

So, what about two of Harry Potter’s most trusted friends: Hermione and Ginny?

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