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International Dark Sky Week 14 – 20 April, 2012 April 16, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Celestial Events, Current Events, Miscellaneous, News Stories, Projects & Fun Things.
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Celebrate the stars! Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, IDSW has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. The goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.

Light pollution is a growing problem. Not only does it have detrimental effects on our views of the night sky, but it also disrupts the natural environment, wastes energy, and has the potential to cause health problems.

Full Story: http://www.darksky.org/idsw

Eyes on the Sky: Apr 9 thru Apr 15 April 9, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Celestial Events, Current Events, Reblogged.
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Thanks to Heavens With Lamps for the weekly reminder of what to look out for in the skies above 🙂

Heavens With Lamps

Eyes on the Sky: Apr 9 thru Apr 15

Seeing double in Taurus with the Goddess galloping by

Venus continues moving away from the Pleiades star cluster this week, nearby the Hyades instead, setting up both color contrasts with the 1st magnitude Aldebaran and helpfully pointing the way to some binocular double stars in the vicinity.  Saturn reaches opposition at the end of the week on April 15th, and offers up an even more steeply-tilted ring system this year compared to last.  With a handful of bright moons revolving around it – plus the planet splitting some 8th and 10th magnitude stars – there’s plenty to see in the sky naked eye, with binoculars and/or with a small telescope this week.  Wishing you clear and dark skies as you find and see what’s up this week!

Download Saturn chart here (file size is 2.9MB).

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Live Feed of Venus-Pleiades Conjunction, Apr. 3 April 2, 2012

Posted by astronewsus in Celestial Events, Conjunctions, Deep Sky Objects, Open Clusters, Solar System, Venus.
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Slooh Space Camera will broadcast a free, real-time feed of the most famous star cluster in the heavens, the Pleiades, meeting up with our nearest and brightest planetary neighbor, Venus. Slooh’s coverage will begin on Tuesday, April 3rd starting at 1:30 PM PDT / 4:30 PM EDT / 20:30 UT. Slooh will provide an observatory feed from our world class observatory site in Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. The broadcast can be accessed at Slooh’s homepage or by visiting Slooh’s G+ page, where you will be able to see the panel interact live via G+ Hangouts On Air.

The Pleiades, otherwise known as the Seven Sisters, is a beautiful bright blue open star cluster 440 light years from Earth. The relative tightness of the cluster is indicative of its young age as the member stars were formed some 100 million years ago and will probably travel together through space as a bound cluster for another 250 million years before the gravity of the Milky Way breaks up the cluster into individual field stars. The central core radius of the cluster is only about 4.5 light years but the remote outer regions of the cluster may extend out as far as 52 light years from the center. The brighter members of the cluster, which make up the Seven Sisters, are blue stars with surface temperatures of about 20,000 degrees which is four times hotter than our own Sun.

Venus is sometimes called the Earth’s sister planet because they are so close in size. However, Venus is very different in many ways, with an atmosphere almost 100 times thicker than Earth’s composed of sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide. Even though it is only slightly closer to the Sun, the surface of Venus averages 900 degrees making it the hottest place in the solar system outside the Sun itself.

While Venus and Pleiades are hundreds of light years apart, they will appear together as neighbors in the same field of view. Venus will pass just below the bright blue star cluster. This incredible event happens only once every eight years.

Full Story: http://www.slooh.com/pr/slooh-live-feed-venus-pleiades-conjunction-april-2012.php

Auroras Broadcast Live from Alaska, Mar. 22/23 March 20, 2012

Posted by thelastsongiheard in Astrophotography, Aurorae, Celestial Events.
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Solar activity is at its highest in years and Slooh Space Camera will capture the beauty and fire of one of natures most spectacular phenomena — The Aurora Borealis. Astronomer Bob Berman will be onsite outside of Fairbanks, Alaska at one of the best viewing sites in the world, reporting in as we view the beautiful blaze of the Northern Lights live and in true color.

The show will begin on Thursday. 3/22 starting at 11:00 PM PDT / 2:00 AM EDT (06:00 UTC on 3/23). The broadcast can be accessed at Slooh’s homepage or by visiting Slooh’s G+ page, where you will be able to see the panel interact live via G+ Hangouts On Air.

Media websites can embed Slooh’s live syndicated image feed directly into their own coverage of the event by visiting Slooh’s media page.

Viewing the Aurora Borealis is not easy unless the display is unusually intense, the auroral oval has thickened and moved south, you live in the northern third of the US, and observe away from city lights, where the sky is dark. However, central Alaska sits directly under the auroral oval and can see the Northern Lights most nights when the sun is active, like now.

Full Story: http://www.slooh.com/pr/slooh-live-feed-aurora-march-2012.php

Come Take A Trip In My Airship – Natalie Merchant March 18, 2012

Posted by thelastsongiheard in Celestial Events, Conjunctions, Jupiter, Moon, Personal Recollections, Solar System, Venus.
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This is a post I wrote a few weeks back when my son and I were looking at Venus, Jupiter and the Moon.

Venus and Jupiter were approaching their conjunction, which happened about a week ago.

Come Take A Trip In My Airship – Natalie Merchant.