The Sky Tonight Update: Blue Moon & Mars at Opposition, May 20-23

This May 21st, the Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been known as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon. Since this is the third of four full moons in this season, it is known as a blue moon. This rare calendar event only happens once every few years, giving rise to the term, “once in a blue moon.” There are normally only three full moons in each season of the year. But since full moons occur every 29.53 days, occasionally a season will contain 4 full moons. The extra full moon of the season is known as a blue moon. Blue moons occur on average once every 2.7 years.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

Tonight: The Remnants of Halley’s Comet Brings Us The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

Eta Aquarids

The second meteor shower of the year will be in the form of the Eta Aquarids, an event that springs from the result of the passing of Halley’s Comet.  The Eta Aquarids is an annual event that runs from around April 19th through May 28th.  This year, the peak viewing time will be May 4 through Tuesday night, May 5th.

Continue reading

Viewing the Best Meteor Shower of the Year

Meteorwatch

It is time for the annual Lyrid meteor shower and this year it will be better than usual.  The peak of this spectacle will be the night of April 22 and will continue through the dark morning hours of the 23rd.  The moon will be in its waxing crescent phase and will set around midnight local daylight time, leaving the prime viewing hours before dawn moon-free.

Continue reading

Catch the Total Lunar Eclipse on April 4th

TLE

This April 4th, 2015, most of North America, South America, Asia, and parts of Australia will be able to view a Total Lunar Eclipse.  The moon will be eclipsed in totality for about 5 minutes.  The entire event will take place, from beginning to end, for 3 hours and 29 minutes.

Continue reading