It’s 69! Two New Moons Join Jupiter’s Family

Jupiter’s moon count just hit 69! Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science added the latest two in announcements published in the Minor Planet Circulars on June 2nd and June 5th. Named S/2016 J 1 and S/2017 J 1 (S=satellite, J=Jupiter), they’re only about a mile across apiece and very, very faint, about magnitude +24.…
Read More

Arietid Meteor Shower Peaks — Watch For Earthgrazers

Hundreds of meteors have been shooting from the constellation Aries this week. Known as the Arietids, the meteor shower peaks tomorrow morning (June 7). Pity the radiant, the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to stream, shares the sky with the sun. That’s right. This is daytime meteor shower.  If we could…
Read More

NASA’s Lunar Orbiter Jiggled By Meteoroid Hit

On Oct.13, 2014 something very strange happened to the camera aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The camera normally does a bang up job producing sharp and beautiful images of the lunar surface, but this one had the jitters. From the sudden and jagged pattern apparent in the image, the orbiter team determined that the…
Read More

Moon-Planet Conjunctions — The Possibilities Are Infinite!

Every month, the traveling moon circles across the entire sky, passing through the 12 constellations of the zodiac and briefly lining up with various bright planets that currently inhabit those star groups: Jupiter in Virgo, Saturn in Ophiuchus (not an official zodiac constellation, but that’s another story) and Venus in Pisces. The alignments are called conjunctions,…
Read More

Venus And Uranus Go Bump In The Dawn

Tomorrow morning, you can see see the hottest planet in the solar system pair up in conjunction with the coldest. That would be Venus, with a surface temperature of 864°F (462°C), and remote Uranus with cloud tops chillin’ at –357°F (–216°C). Venus is the most brilliant planet and easy to spot if you have a clear view to…
Read More