October 23rd, 2014

Partial solar eclipse for North America on October 23

Partial Solar Eclipse with Airplane, Image Credit & Copyright: Phillip Calais

Partial Solar Eclipse with Airplane, Image Credit & Copyright: Phillip Calais

Get those solar viewers out… the final eclipse of 2014 occurs this Thursday on October 23rd, and most of North America has a front row seat. Though this solar eclipse will be an exclusively partial one as the Moon takes a ‘bite’ out the disk of the Sun, such an event is always fascinating to witness. And for viewers across the central U.S. and Canada, it will also provide the chance to photograph the setting crescent Sun along with foreground objects.

Partial solar eclipse simulation from Star Walk 2 app.

The shadow or ‘antumbra’ of the Moon just misses northern limb of the Earth on October 23rd, resulting in a solar eclipse that reaches a maximum of 81% partial as seen from the high Canadian Arctic. The eclipse would be annular in any event had the Moon’s shadow touched down on Earth’s surface, as the Moon just passed apogee on October 18th. The penumbral cone of the Moon’s shadow touches down at 19:38 UT in the Bering Sea just west of the International Date Line before racing eastward across North America to depart the Earth over southern Texas at 23:52 UT.
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October 21st, 2014

Orionid meteor shower peaks on October 21


Meteors streak outwards from the top of Orion’s head as seen in 2012 from central Victoria. (Phil Hart)

October 21, 2014 is the best time for watching the annual Orionid meteor shower. And an awesome shower it is! For one thing, it stems from debris from the most famous of all comets, Comet Halley. In fact, the object in the picture at the top of this isn’t a meteor. It’s Comet Halley itself at its 1910 visit. The comet last visited Earth in 1986 and will return next in 2061. Debris in the orbit of this comet – the Orionid meteor stream – is now encountering Earth’s atmosphere.

Use Star Walk app (iOS or Android) to help you locate the meteor shower in the night sky. Just tap the Search icon in the lower left corner and type in “Orionids”.

Image via Star Walk2

Image via Star Walk2

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October 17th, 2014

Great Time to Spot Jupiter and Moon


Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Goddard Space Flight Center

Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Goddard Space Flight Center


This is a montage of New Horizons images of Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, taken during the  New Horizons’s Jupiter flyby in early 2007. The image shows a major eruption in progress on Io’s night side, at the northern volcano Tvashtar. Incandescent lava glows red beneath a 330-kilometer (205-mile-high) volcanic plume, whose uppermost portions are illuminated by sunlight. The plume appears blue due to scattering of light by small particles in the plume.

Given clear skies, everyone around the world can see the waning crescent moon pairing up the brilliant planet Jupiter on October 18 – that is, if you’re willing to get up in the wee hours before sunrise. If you’re up before dawn, you might also see Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion, near the moon and Jupiter.

Image from Star Walk

Image from Star Walk 2

At present, Jupiter is in front of the constellation Leo, near the Leo-Cancer border. The faint constellation Cancer lies to the west of Leo. Throughout October and November, Jupiter will be moving eastward in front of the backdrop stars, onward toward the star Regulus. But, starting in December 2014, Jupiter will change direction, to move in retrograde (westward), going away from Regulus, and toward the constellation Cancer. Jupiter will enter Cancer in early February 2015, to stay within Cancer’s borders until early June 2015.


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October 15th, 2014

Possible Future Mars Landing Site in Oxia Planum


Oxia Planum is broad clay-bearing surface between Mawrth and Ares Vallis that has been proposed as a future landing site on Mars.

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

October 7th, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse on Night of October 7-8!

This month’s full moon is going to be an amazing sight for observation. This lunar eclipse falls on October 8, 2014 and will be visible from the Northern Hemisphere.


The moon casts a reddish hue over Lake Pend Oreille during a lunar eclipse as it begins to set behind the Selkirk Mountain Range near Sandpoint, Idaho on December 10, 2011. (Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters)

This moon is called Hunter’s Moon – the full moon after the Harvest Moon. It’s also a Blood Moon, and this eclipse is the second in a series of four so-called Blood Moon eclipses. For North America and the Hawaiian Islands, the total lunar eclipse happens in the wee hours before sunrise on October 8. For New Zealand, Australia and eastern Asia, the total eclipse is seen after sunset on October 8. A partial lunar eclipse can be seen before sunrise, October 8, from much of South America, or after sunset, October 8, from western Asia.


The moon sets above the Golden Gate Bridge during an eclipse on December 10, 2011, in San Francisco. (Frederic Larson/San Francisco Chronicle/AP)

To track the moon use Star Walk for your iPhone, iPad or Android. Tap the Search icon on the lower left and choose the moon from the tab with objects of the solar system. As you point your phone at the sky, an arrow will show you where to look for the object. To learn more about eclipses and lunar phases, check out educational movies in Solar Walk.


via Star Walk app

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