Photo of the Week. Stormy skies can intensely
dramatic. The photo of this remarkable early morning turbulent
storm is unretouched, and just as it looked. See further
development in photos 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Oddly, nothing much happened on the ground as it passed over.
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, August 24, 2007.
This is the week of the full Moon, which
takes place the morning of Tuesday, August 28, just about the time
of moonset in North America. Earlier in the week we see the waxing gibbous
phase, while after full the Moon appears in the waning gibbous.
On the morning of Monday the 27th, the Moon passes just south of Neptune
(which still hangs out in eastern Capricornus), then two mornings later north of Uranus
(in eastern Aquarius). Three days
after full, the Moon passes perigee,
where it is closest to the Earth.
While the full Moon usually washes out the stars to keep us
indoors, this one is special, and deserves a look, as it will pass
through the shadow of the Earth and be totally
eclipsed. The partial phase begins the morning of Tuesday the
28th at 3:51 AM Central Daylight Time. Add an hour for EDT,
subtract 1 hour for MST, 2 hours for PST, 3 for Alaska, 5 for
Hawaii. Totality starts at 4:52 AM CDT; central eclipse is at 5:37
CDT; and totality ends at 6:23 AM CDT. The partial phase then ends
at 7:24 CDT. From the Great Lakes and east, however, the Moon will
set during totality, so the whole
show will not be visible, but it will make for an interesting
sight as long as you have a clear southwestern horizon. The view
improves toward the west; only from the Rockies and points west,
however, will we get to see the whole thing. Take a look for one
of nature's finer sights. Even though in total eclipse, the Moon
will be visible from light scattered through the Earth's atmosphere
into its shadow.
The nighttime bright planet scene consists of just Jupiter and Mars. Both are in
fine settings. Look for Jupiter to the southwest in early evening
above Antares in Scorpius. The giant planet sets
around midnight Daylight Time just as Mars rises in Taurus accompanied by the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters.
However, also look for
which is now briefly visible in the east in mid-dawn.
Want to see an asteroid?
Here's your chance. Vesta, the
brightest asteroid and the fourth discovered, will pass a mere half
degree north of Jupiter the night of Wednesday the 29th, the sight
made rather difficult by the near full Moon. Large binoculars
should still show it. With a diameter of 500 kilometers (310
miles), Vesta is the third largest asteroid. It orbits the Sun
every 3.6 years at an average distance of 2.4 Astronomical Units
(the AU the average distance between Earth and Sun). While looking
(with binoculars), note Jupiter's satellites strung out to the