Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year: 2012

What's to come in 2012? For starters, the last transit of Venus takes place over June 5-6, 2012 (the last until 2117, that is). There are also several eclipses coming, and much more galactic fun! Most important ecvents will be listed in entirety later in January. The picture is NGC 6946, from January 1, 2011 (APOD).


Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Astronomical Christmas: Merry Christmas!

Although posts have been far and few between this December, Astronomical Events Calendar would like to wish a a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Even the universe wishes you a Merry Christmas, as these are some of our favorites:

THE CHRISTMAS BURST


Discovered Christmas Day 2010, this gamma ray burst is one of it's kind. It is two stars, with one neutron star intermixed with its companion. A few of these were from APOD, in the past years of Christmas. Each are a beautiful addition.



What about the Christmas Star? Although I wasn't able to publish this article as I liked to, EarthSky did a nice job. Again, Have a Merry Christmas!!

___
This is an addend attached on Christmas Day: here is Jupiter thanks to the SLOOH space Observatory. Credit: SLOOH



Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 10, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse Results

Yesterday, sky watchers across the Pacific side of Earth witnessed a total eclipse of the Moon. During its transit through Earth's shadow, the Moon turned a bright copper color. The hue was meaningful to scientists who monitor lunar eclipses as part of their research on climate change. More on that below, but first regard this snapshot taken by James Barclay of Maidenwell, Queensland, Australia:



"The Moon looked like some alien planet hanging in a star-studded sky," says Barclay. "The excitement of those who witnessed this event will never be forgotten." (First paragraph can be found on SpaceWeather.com.

This Eclipse shall remain as one of grandiloquence and a glissade of beauty. Nothing can compare to the beauty of a total lunar eclipse! Text Reprinted below from.
Last year's winter solstice eclipse (in 2010) was a true treat to astronomers, but this year's eclipse is even more significant. If you look through NASA's eclipse catalogs, you'll find that there is, in 2012 a partial and penumbral eclipse of the moon, in 2013, a partial and two penumbrals, but in 2014 the fun begins. Meanwhile, this eclipse on December 10, 2011 is the last total lunar eclipse until 2014. But this wait should be well-worth it. In 2014 and 2015, there are four total lunar eclipse back-to-back. That, in other words, means there are four total lunar eclipses in a row, called a 'tetrad.' 
And now to the results! Let's see what astronomers captured that night.

Stephen O'Meara; Maua Loa, Hawaii "After much rain, the skies cleared just in time for us to see a stunning total lunar eclipse. This view, from the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, shows the coppery-red totally eclipsed Moon and some of the waning phases in the early morning."

MORE AT SPACEWEATHER.COM's ECLIPSE GALLERY.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Last Total Lunar Eclipse Until 2014: December 10, 2011, The Moon Eclipses!

Last year's winter solstice eclipse (in 2010) was a true treat to astronomers, but this year's eclipse is even more significant. If you look through NASA's eclipse catalogs, you'll find that there is, in 2012 a partial and penumbral eclipse of the moon, in 2013, a partial and two penumbrals, but in 2014 the fun begins. Meanwhile, this eclipse on December 10, 2011 is the last total lunar eclipse until 2014. But this wait should be well-worth it. In 2014 and 2015, there are four total lunar eclipse back-to-back. That, in other words, means there are four total lunar eclipses in a row, called a 'tetrad.'


The above visibility map shows everything about how and when to view the eclipse. General information about this astronomical event is included below, courtesy of Wikipedia. This year, this event will take place in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. It is also part of Saros cycle 135.
Duration (hr:mn:sc)
Totality 00:51:08
Partial 3:32:15
Penumbral 5:56:21
Contacts
P1 11:33:36 UTC
U1 12:45:43 UTC
U2 14:06:16 UTC
Greatest 14:31:49 UTC
U3 14:57:24 UTC
U4 16:17:58 UTC
P4 17:29:57 UTC


Thanks to Night Sky Info: The eclipse's partial phases begin at 4:46 A.M. PST (12:46 UT), when the Moon's leading edge enters the dark umbra of Earth's shadow, and the celestial show ends at 8:18 A.M. PST (16:18 UT), when the Moon's disk completely exits the umbra. Totality starts at 6:06 A.M. PST (14:06 UT) and ends at 6:57 A.M. PST (14:57 UT). This year's last eclipse is a total lunar eclipse on December 10, best visible from Asia and Australia. For people on the west coast of the United States and Canada the eclipse is in progress as the Moon sets, and observers throughout Europe and Africa will miss the early eclipse phases because they occur before moonrise.




Tetrad Dates and Times provided by NASA:

2014 Apr 15 07:46:48 Total 122 1.291 03h35m
01h18m
Aus., Pacific, Americas
2014 Oct 08 10:55:44 Total 127 1.166 03h20m
00h59m
Asia, Aus., Pacific, Americas
2015 Apr 04 12:01:24 Total 132 1.001 03h29m
00h05m
Asia, Aus., Pacific, Americas
2015 Sep 28 02:48:17 Total 137 1.276 03h20m
01h12m
e Pacific, Americas, Europe, Africa, w       

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kepler and Voyager Come with Incredible News

KEPLER LOCATES FIRST EXOPLANET WITHIN HABITABLE ZONE

Designated Kepler-22b, this exoplanet becomes the first to ever be located within the habitable zone. According to the general definition of habitable zone, it is the zone around certain stars where a planet seized as Earth can maintain and sustain liquid water - hence, habitable for life. The Kepler exoplanet mission has over one-thousand exoplanetary candidates, and amazingly ten have been found near this zone; Kepler-22b has fit perfectly within this hypothetical orbit.