Welcome to 2012 and the end of the world. NOT!! True, the current Mayan ‘long count’ ends this year, but just as the world didn’t end on 31 December 2011, it will keep right on going into the start of the next ‘long count’ on 22 December 2012.
We’ve got an exciting year coming up including the last transit of Venus you’ll ever see (the next one occurs in 2117), bright passes of the ISS and some lovely planetary conjunctions.
And speaking of bright passes of the International Space Station, on Friday night, you may be able to watch it pass *directly* between Guam and the Moon! Keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it *and* this month’s public shows.
Don’t forget to visit the newly updated Planetarium website at www.guam.net/planet I’ll be posting information about the ISS/Moon encounter on my blog (link is on the website)
1. DO NOT MISS this Bright pass of the ISS
2. January Public Planetarium shows
12, 13 and 14 January 2012
1. ISS and the Moon Encounter
There will be a bright pass of the International Space Station this Friday, 6 January starting at 6:52 p.m. You are definitely going to want to watch this one because as near as I can tell, the ISS may pass directly between Guam and the Moon!
Just find Venus (hard to miss) in the western sky and measure 9 fist-widths to the right (or face Venus and then turn 90 degrees to your right). Starting at 6:52 p.m., you should see the ISS appear near the horizon below this spot and move upward and to the right. It should be easy to spot because it will be almost as bright as Venus.
At 6:54:43 p.m. (get an accurate time check for your watch!) it will be due north and three fist-widths above the northern horizon. Keep watching closely because at 6:56:00 p.m. the ISS will be quite close to the Moon.
According to Heaven’s Above, the website I use for satellite passes, the ISS will pass very close to the Moon. According to the Planetarium program ‘Stellarium’ it will pass *directly* between Guam and the Moon.
The only way to figure out which one is true, is for you to go out and watch what happens!!
At 6:56:51 p.m. the ISS will be right below Rigel, the upper foot star of Orion the Hunter and just after 7:00 p.m. it will disappear between Sirius, the brightest star and Canopus, the second brightest star.
Even if the ISS doesn’t appear to travel across the face of the Moon, bright passes are always fun to watch. Make sure you take your binoculars and cameras out for this one and let me know what you observe!
2. Winter Skies
‘Winter Skies’ will be presented next week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the 12th, 13th and 14th of January at 6:30 p.m. We’ll first journey to the North Pole and then travel to Denver, Miami and finally to Guam. Then we’ll embark on a tour of the Perseus legend cycle constellations, the southern sky groups and the winter Zodiac constellations. We’ll find all the bright stars of winter and tell you how to spot three galaxies without a telescope.
‘Winter Skies’ on Guam are amazing and perhaps the most amazing thing about them is that you can go out and look at them without risking frostbite! After Winter Skies, stay for Quality Time with the Star Lady at 7:00 p.m. I’ll answer your sky questions and then we’ll go out in that lovely (and warm) tropical night and find all the stuff you learned about in the real sky!!
The doors open at 6:00 p.m. each night and Planetarium shows are always free. Don’t miss it!!