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Corpus Christi, Texas, Astronomy, Telescope, Binocular, Observing, Stars, Planets, Moon, Earth, Universe, Big Bang, Star Party, Star Parties


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Astrophotos from Around the World of the Venus-Pleiades Conjunction
Posted by jmartin5 on 2012/4/6 6:36:25 (493 reads)

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The past several evenings, Venus has been snuggling up to one of the most famous star clusters, the Pleiades. Universe Today readers have taken some beautiful images of that event, and they have generously shared them with us. Above is John Chumack’s stunning view from Ohio in the US; see below for more images from around the world!

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  0   Article ID : 39
Is the Moon bigger tonight?
Posted by jmartin5 on 2012/4/5 7:10:00 (197 reads)

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The Moon illusion is famous and intriguing phenomenon, the rising or setting of an unbelievably big full moon. When the full moon rises on 6 April around 8pm BST and you are able to get to a location that has a clear east-south-east horizon so as to see the moonrise in its earlier stages, then you can experience this illusion first hand. The phrase 'you can't believe your eyes' is often banded about, but this time it's true. And you are not alone as explanations for this phenomenon have been sought since ancient times and surely recognised since humans first gazed in awe at our beautiful companion in space.It's all the fault of your brain deceiving your eyes. The perception is that the full moon looks much bigger at moonrise than when it's nearer the zenith. Distant buildings, hills or trees in the line of sight heighten the effect. It takes much convincing that this is not the case but it's an illusion caused by us perceiving that the shape of the sky is a 'squashed dome rather than a high hemisphere', as Astronomy Now's lunar expert Peter Grego puts it. The same illusion occurs with the rising and setting of the Sun through haze at the horizon. Of course the Moon doesn't always have the same angular size in the sky due to its elliptical orbit around the Earth; This month it's closest to us (perigee) on 7 April at 6pm, when it's as close as 358,311 kilometres and at its farthest from us on 22 April (apogee), at a distance of 406,421 kilometres. The effect of this is to make the Moon almost four arcminutes larger at perigee and the fact that the full moon and perigee are but a day out from coinciding this month, reinforces the Moon illusion.

So if your local forecast promises a clear early evening then why not try to see for yourself this almost wondrous sight; children especially are sure to be wowed. But this is not the end of it as May and June's full moon will be belters too, especially the latter. For more on the Moon illusion pick up a copy of the current (April) edition of Astronomy Now. If you manage to get any nice pictures we would be delighted to receive them at Astronomy Now. Send them to gallery2012 @
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  0   Article ID : 38
Must-See Skywatching Events for April 2012
Posted by jmartin5 on 2012/4/5 6:40:00 (180 reads)

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In April 2012, the brilliant planet Venus will shine at its brightest for the year and the Lyrid meteor shower will light up the night sky. But these are just a couple of the must-see skywatching events in the weeks ahead. Take a look at April's best skywatching events below and happy stargazing!

Moon Phases

Fri., April 6, 3:19 p.m. EDT

Full Moon
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  0   Article ID : 36
Oldest Alien Planets Found—Born at Dawn of Universe
Posted by jmartin5 on 2012/4/5 5:54:04 (129 reads)

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Two huge planets found orbiting a star 375 light-years away are the oldest alien worlds yet discovered, scientists say.

With an estimated age of 12.8 billion years, the host star—and thus the planets—most likely formed at the dawn of the universe, less than a billion years after the big bang.

"The Milky Way itself was not completely formed yet," said study leader Johny Setiawan, who conducted the research while at the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

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  0   Article ID : 37
Venus and Pleiades Star Cluster Shine in Celestial Show Tuesday
Posted by jmartin5 on 2012/4/1 21:00:00 (165 reads)

As the bright planets Venus and Jupiter go their own separate ways after their spectacular tryst in mid-March, Venus continues to grow ever-brighter as the northern spring evenings warm up. The planet seems to gleam almost like a sequined showgirl, hovering in the west-northwest sky high above the setting sun.

Next week, Venus is will continue its celestial display when it shines near the well-known Pleiades star cluster in the western sky on Tuesday (April 3). But first, some basic facts about Venus:
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  0   Article ID : 35
Mustang Island State Park
Posted by jmartin5 on 2012/4/1 12:31:40 (175 reads)

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Last night turned out so-so. We had about 35-40 people show up for the Star Party at Mustang Island State Park. Though it was cloudy off and on, the skies did clear briefly for us after sunset. The parents were really good about letting their kids operate the 8" Orion and they gave it quite a workout. It was great hearing them squeal when they found the moon or Venus. Even the little Celestron tabletop got used by the kids and adults. We had an older couple down from northern Wisconsin who said they liked to watch the Milky Way from their porch.

Thanks to Ron, Maria, and Joey for bringing the scopes and helping our guests find their way across the night sky.

  0   Article ID : 34
New Milky Way photo captures 1 billion stars
Posted by stargazer1053 on 2012/3/31 20:17:40 (175 reads)

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More than a billion stars blaze bright in a new photo of our Milky Way galaxy snapped by an international team of astronomers.

The new picture, which was released today (March 28), combines infrared images of the Milky Way taken during sky surveys by two different instruments, the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii and the VISTA telescope in Chile. The photo is part of a 10-year project that is gathering mountains of data to help guide future research, scientists said.

"This incredible image gives us a new perspective of our galaxy, and illustrates the far-reaching discoveries we can make from large sky surveys," Nick Cross, of the University of Edinburgh, said in a statement. "Having data processed, archived and published by dedicated teams leaves other scientists free to concentrate on using the data, and is a very cost-effective way to do astronomy."

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  0   Article ID : 33
Why the Night Sky Changes With the Seasons
Posted by jmartin5 on 2012/3/29 8:10:00 (395 reads)

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Have you ever wondered why most star patterns are associated with specific seasons of the year? Just why, for instance, can evening skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere enjoy Orion the Hunter only during the cold wintry months?

During balmy summer evenings it is not Orion, but the stars of Scorpius, the Scorpion, that dominate the southern sky. Spring evenings provide us with a view of the Sickle of Leo, the Lion. But come fall evenings, it’s the Great Square of Pegasus that vies for the stargazer’s attention.Read More

  0   Article ID : 32
Mystery Cloud Appears on Mars
Posted by stargazer1053 on 2012/3/27 21:30:00 (150 reads)

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The amateur astronomy community is abuzz over a strange phenomenon spotted over Mars last week. Astrophotographer Wayne Jaeschke reports on his website of a "strange feature" over the Martian plain called Acidalia that moves with the planet and seems to rise over the limb.

The discovery has professional astronomers taking note. NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft will try to image the cloud with a camera that can take pictures in visible and infrared light simultaneously.

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Wayne Jaeschke's website.

Amateur astronomy is alive and well.

  0   Article ID : 31
Earth from above: Astronauts photograph our planet
Posted by stargazer1053 on 2012/3/27 21:17:49 (295 reads)

Astronaut like André Kuipers, Doug Wheelock, Soichi Noguchi and others have been tweeting back stunning photos of Earth from the International Space Station. Here are some of their pictures and thoughts.

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  0   Article ID : 30
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