Watch the skies, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the skies! ( -- Ned "Scotty" Scott: "The Thing from Another World")
Screw Darrel Issa, screw Syria and Iran, screw the government of Israel, screw North Korea, screw all the GOP presidential candidates, screw the government of Honduras.
Looking down at its surface, Earth seems ugly, brutish, hopeless, dirty, polluted, a notorious slum and embarrassment in a bad part of the Milky Way.
But Earth is constantly drowning in Beauty.
To see the Beauty, Wonder, the magnificent Creation, look up at the night sky.
Required Equipment: eyeballs, binoculars, cheap telescope. (Or expensive telescope.)
Subscription Fee: $0
Age Range: 2 or 3 years old or older.
Offer lasts only until the End of Time. (Offer began at the Beginning of Time, 13,700,000,000 years ago.)
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
God speaks to Job
Job 31-33, King James Version
(USA multimedia empire defying accurate description)
Friday 17 February 2012
Night Sky News:
Gaze Up at a
by Andrew Fazekas
While winter is not usually thought of as a great time to gaze at the starry heavens, some of the brightest planets are putting on a show not to be missed. Starting off with Venus, you can find the goddess of love dominating the early evenings in the southwest starting right after sunset. Look to its upper left and you cannot miss the king of all worlds, Jupiter. Not quite as bright as Venus it still looks impressive, especially through binoculars and telescopes.
Despite its 650,000,000 km distance, Jupiter’s brilliance is due to its monster size -- more than 11 times the diameter of Earth.
You can expect binoculars will show off Jupiter’s four main moons which look like a row of ducks beside the planet, while a telescope will reveal atmospheric details like brown cloud belts straddling the equatorial region. If you have good viewing conditions while using at least a 6 to 8 inch sized telescope you could even catch the Big Red Spot -- a hurricane three times the size of the Earth, raging for at least three centuries.
Over the next month keep an eye on Venus-Jupiter planetary duo as they quickly begin to converge in the sky. This weekend the two will be separated by about 23 degrees; by the end of the month it will be half that, and by mid March they will be less than 3 degrees. That’s equal to the width of your three middle fingers held at arms’ length!
Saturn dominates the southern sky before dawn.
Meanwhile for those late night owls, the ringed planet Saturn will be on display in the southern sky after midnight until dawn. It shines like a yellowish bright star more than 1,500,000,000 km away and is in the middle of the constellation Virgo. Look carefully and you will notice just to the lower right of Saturn is Virgo’s brightest star, Spica, shining away at more than 260 light years away. They really make a pretty pair to the unaided eye being only 7 degrees apart -- less than the width of your fist held at arm’s length.
By the way, if you have a chance, check out Saturn thru a telescope, and the rings will knock your eyes out -- especially now that they are tilted towards Earth at nearly 15 degrees!
Friday 17 February 2012
Elusive planet Mercury
shines bright in evening sky
Mercury is called an "inferior planet" because its orbit is nearer to the sun than that of the Earth. Since it always appears from our vantage point to be in the same general direction as the sun, relatively few people have set eyes on it. There is even a rumor that the famed scientist Copernicus, living in northern Poland, never saw it.
Yet the planet Mercury is not really that hard to spot in the night sky. You simply must know when and where to look, have a night of good weather, and find a clear western horizon.
And for those living in the Northern Hemisphere, we're about to move into a very fine "window of opportunity" for seeing Mercury in the evening sky. That window, which will open on Feb. 22 and close after March 12, will provide several good opportunities to see this so-called "elusive planet" with your own eyes. The sky map of Mercury with this column shows how it will appear on Wednesday 22 February alongside the bright planets Venus and Jupiter.