The Sky Tonight Update: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

An eclipse of the moon can only happen at full moon, when the sun, Earth and moon line up in space, with Earth in the middle. At such times, Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, creating a lunar eclipse.  Lunar eclipses happen a minimum of two times to a maximum of five times a year. There are three kinds of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbral.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Full Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 09:32 UTC (3:30am Central time) but can be seen throughout the night.

This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon and the Hunter’s Moon.

 

The Sky Tonight Update: Taurids Meteor Shower

The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke.

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OSIRIS-REx: Playing Tag with an Asteroid

Let’s talk about OSIRIS-REx, the spacecraft that landed on an asteroid, collected a sample, and then lifted off to bring it all back home to us on Earth. It’s pretty incredible that we were able to navigate 200 million miles away from Earth to an asteroid in orbit around our sun, land on it, and then lift off again. So, here’s some information about this historic event.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Uranus at Opposition

The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long and can be found within the constellation, Aries.  It will be visible for much of the night, reaching its highest point in the sky around midnight local time.

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The Sky Tonight Update: Draconids Meteor Shower

The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers.

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