Well, that magnificent triple planetary conjunction I mentioned earlier in the month has begun! All you have to do is go outside tonight (and perhaps every night for the next couple of weeks) and watch the magnificent sunset. That way you’ll know where to look. Then go back outside at 7:15 and I hope you have a clear view to the west.
At 7:15, it won’t be quite dark, but you should still see three very bright ‘stars’ close to the horizon where the Sun disappeared. They aren’t stars; the top one is Jupiter, the incredibly bright one below Jupiter is Venus and below Venus, you just might be able to see Mercury.
Mercury moves very fast, and by Friday Mercury and Venus will be side by side and very close together. They will also be much closer to Jupiter.
So go outside at 7:15 every night this week. If you turn around, you’ll see a big triangle of bright stars in the eastern sky. The bottom one on the right isn’t a star: that’s Saturn so you can see four planets. (To see another one, just look down
Take your kids outside and introduce them to celestial mechanics in action. ENJOY!
Welcome to magnificent May! Just a reminder that there’s a partial solar eclipse tomorrow and Public Planetarium shows tonight (and tomorrow night and Saturday night!). And of course, there’s always the Magic Half Hour!
1. Partial solar eclipse tomorrow morning 2. Public Planetarium shows
1. Partial solar eclipse
There will be a partial solar eclipse visible from Guam tomorrow morning, Friday 10 May. It starts at 8:21 a.m., maximum coverage occurs at 9:16 a.m. and the eclipse is over at 10:29 a.m. Here on Guam, the Moon will cover less than a quarter of the Sun’s surface. There will be a substantial ‘bite’ out of the Sun’s right side, but that’s about it. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. Look at the small circles under a tree or use a mirror to reflect the Sun’s image onto a wall.
2. Public Planetarium shows
9, 10 and 11 May 2013
At 6:30 we’ll have “What’s Your Sign?” which tells you all about the Zodiac constellations and the difference between astrology and astronomy.
At 7:00 p.m. we’ll have “The Great Cosmic Race” which tells you about the
8 different ways you’re moving as you read this and explains why you don’t know you’re moving.
The doors open at 6:00 and Planetarium shows are free!
THANK YOU for your show suggestions and all your kind words. I’m featuring the top two vote getters this month (and public shows are NEXT
WEEK!) and we’ll feature the rest of them in June. I think there will be six different shows in June and there’s still space so if you have a favorite show, reply to this e-mail and tell me what it is!
Guam’s May skies this year are absolutely awesome! We have the early evening “Magic Half Hour” for the first two weeks of the month and during the last two weeks we’ll have a marvelous TRIPLE planetary conjunction in the western sky. There’s also a partial solar eclipse next week on Friday
10 May. Expect a couple more e-mails from me this month so I can tell you all about it!
Although it may be too cloudy to see it, there’s a bright pass of the International Space Station tonight and it will pass almost directly overhead. Keep reading for viewing directions. There’s also a meteor shower this weekend. The sky is astounding! Look up tonight, the universe awaits you!
1. Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
2. Bright pass of the ISS
3 Public shows
9, 10 and 11 May
1. Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
There’s a fairly active meteor shower this weekend (4 and 5 May).
Although the fat crescent Moon will be right in the middle of things, you still might see meteors, but you have to get up before dawn to do it.
Struggle out of bed around 5:00 a.m. this weekend and find the Moon in the eastern sky. You’re looking for the leftovers of probably the solar system’s most notorious litterbug: Comet Halley. They’re called the Eta Aquarids and the Moon will be in Aquarius on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Eta Aquarids usually produce about a meteor a minute.
2. Bright pass of the ISS tonight!
There will be a bright pass of the International Space Station tonight, 2 May. It’s a good one; the station’s magnitude will be -3.7 which will make it temporarily the brightest object in the sky. As I’ve said before, the ISS is now big enough that it appears as a moving line and not just a dot.
Although it’s completely overcast as I write this, Guam’s clouds can scatter pretty fast. To see the pass if the clouds let you, get a time hack for your watch or phone and go outside at 7:10 p.m. and face where the Sun disappeared. It won’t be quite dark.
Watch the area to the right of and below Jupiter and Capella and the ISS will appear above the western horizon at 7:13 p.m. It will climb virtually straight up from the horizon and by 7:17 p.m. it will be straight up. It will then plunge downward toward the southeastern horizon and at 7:20 it will be close to the Crux the Southern Cross. I sure do hope the clouds let us see this one!
3. Public Shows
9, 10 and 11 May
6:30 p.m. What’s Your Sign?
7:00 p.m. The Great Cosmic Race
Our show at 6:30 p.m. is the marvelous “What’s Your Sign?” You’ll learn where the Zodiac constellations are in the sky and you’ll also learn the difference between astrology and astronomy. But most important, you’ll learn that your Zodiac sign isn’t the one they’ve always told you it was and why that really doesn’t make any difference at all. Don’t miss “What’s Your Sign?”
The winner of the “What’s Your Favorite Show” contest is our 7:00 p.m.
show “The Great Cosmic Race” and is one of my favorites too. It’s the show that tells you all about the eight different ways you’re moving as you’re reading this e-mail and why you don’t know you’re moving.
Please join us next week for “What’s Your Sign?” and “The Great Cosmic Race”. The petition to save the Planetarium will also be available for you to sign.
I’m sending this update out early for a couple of reasons. First, this Friday, 26 April is a busy day for the sky and second I have a request of you all. Read on! It’s probably the best time for sky watching for the whole year!
1. Lunar and Solar Eclipses
2. The Day Of No Shadows
3. What Would You Like to See?
1. Lunar and Solar Eclipses
First of all, there will be no lunar eclipse over Guam on Friday night, 26 April, despite what you’ve been seeing on Facebook and the Internet.
There is a lunar eclipse, but the Moon passes through the penumbra, the lightest part of Earth’s shadow and there will be hardly any change in the Moon’s appearance. But most importantly, it happens over the Indian Ocean and we don’t see it at all.
There will be a partial solar eclipse over Guam on 10 May, and you’ll receive an e-mail about it as the date draws closer. (And as a special preview for you loyal supporters of the Planetarium, there’s going to be an ASTOUNDING triple planetary conjunction at the end of May!)
2. The Day of No Shadows
I’ve been posting about the Magic Half Hour and that’s what this month’s Planetarium show was all about. You can only see the gathering of bright stars observable during the Magic Half Hour from the equatorial tropics, but there is something else you can see only from the tropics. Go outside this Friday 26 April at 19 minutes past noon. If it’s sunny you’ll discover something totally unexpected. Your body and all the things around you will cast no shadows! Who stole all the shadows?
The Earth is tilted as it spins. This causes the seasons, but it also means if you live in the temperate zones, the Sun is never directly overhead. However, if you live in the tropics, the Sun does pass directly over your head on two days of the year. Friday is one of those days and at 19 minutes past noon; the Sun will be directly overhead. I call it “The Day of No Shadows”. Connect with your planet. Enjoy the Day of No Shadows on Friday at 12:19 p.m.
3. A Request
I’m writing radio spots for May this week and I can’t decide which Planetarium shows I want to feature for the month of May. So, I thought I’d ask you guys what shows YOU want to see! Do you have a favorite Planetarium show? If May and June are going to be the last months for the UOG Planetarium, I’d like to feature your favorite shows.
Just reply to this e-mail and let me know what shows you’d like to see before Friday (because I have to record Tropical Skies on Friday afternoon). The Friends of the Planetarium have also asked me to tell you that they have placed a petition at the Planetarium that you can sign if you don’t want the Planetarium to close
There will be a lopsided smiley face in the western sky tonight as it grows dark after sunset. The ‘eyes’ will be Aldebaran on the left and Jupiter on the right and the ’smile’ will be, of course the crescent moon.
It will be visible until after nine, so don’t forget to go out and look!