Skylights featured five times on Earth Science
Picture of the Day: 1
Photo of the Week.. Venus (the brightest body,
toward the bottom) and Jupiter on August 27, 2005, just 5.5 days
before their September 2 conjunction (to be shown next week). Spica appears to the left of Jupiter,
Vindemiatrix is near the top
to the left of center, Porrima is
just above Jupiter, and Denebola
is up and to the right of center.
Astronomy news for the week starting Friday, October
The week begins with the Moon well into its waxing crescent phase as it heads
quarter, which will take place around the time of its daylight moonrise on Monday the 10th. It
thereafter waxes toward full, that phase not reached until the
morning of Monday the 17th, when the Moon will just barely clip the
Earth's shadow for a minimal partial eclipse visible in central and western
North America and in Hawaii.
The night of Friday the 7th, the crescent will make a very close
pass to Antares in Scorpius and actually occult it as
viewed from the central Pacific (but not in North America). That
night the Moon will still be making a nice sight with brilliant Venus, which
will lie to the right of the lunar disk. Later in the week, on
Wednesday the 12th, the Moon will pass well south of Neptune in
Capricornus, and then the night of
Thursday the 13th it glides south of Uranus in
Venus, dominating the evening sky, now sets a half hour after
twilight ends. Creamy-white Venus is so bright that in a clear sky
(with a dark, clean horizon) you can actually see it setting, and
like the Sun, getting redder as a
result of absorption of its light by the Earth's thick atmosphere.
Look up and to the left of the planet to see the trio of stars (Jabbah, Dschubba, and Pi Scorpii) that make the scorpion's
head. Dschubba (Delta Sco) is especially notable in that it is
still in a brightened outburst state.
Just before Venus sets, Mars rises
redly almost due east. Second in the night sky now in brightness
only to Venus, the planet is quite glaringly obvious. Mars now
transits the meridian to the south around 3 AM Daylight Time, about
an hour and a half after Saturn
rises (at the same time as Sirius
in Canis Major), giving the morning
sky two naked-eye planets to evening's one (Mercury
quite out of sight in bright evening twilight).
As the Big Dipper of Ursa Major drops in the northwest and
prepares to go under the pole (marked nicely by Polaris), Cassiopeia climbs in the northeast to replace it. By
morning, the Dipper is rising in the northeast again, standing on
its handle, the Bear (of which the Dipper is a part) climbing
upward on its three visible feet, three pairs of stars that the
ancient Arabians saw as the leaps
("springs") of the gazelle.