Watch Today’s Lunar Eclipse From Anywhere – Thanks Google

June 15, 2011 at 11:17 am | Posted in Astronomy, Events, Science News | Leave a comment
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Call this a “Science Tuesday Supplemental”. It’s supplemental because it’s Wednesday. After calling the cosmos and being turned down in my request to move today’s lunar eclipse to either a Tuesday or Thursday, as those are the normal days for our real science reports here on Roqoo Depot, I’ve decided that this was too big an event to let slide. Thus, we have our supplemental report.

In order to allow everyone on Earth with an internet connection to view today’s Lunar eclipse, scheduled to begin at 11:20 PDT (2:20 EDT) the good folks at Google will be providing a variety of viewing options for North American astronomy enthusiasts who will sadly miss the event due to daylight.

Your first option would be to watch the live streaming video on the Google Youtube channel which can be accessed by clicking here.

Another method of viewing would by via the Slooh Space Camera app for Android phone users. You can download the app by clicking here.

Last but not least, you can view from your computer desktop by simply downloading and installing Google Earth to your computer. You will find the download page by clicking here.

While watching the livestream on Youtube seems to be the easiest way to watch today’s awesome astronomical attraction, I suggest either the Slooh app or Google Earth for anyone with a real interest in viewing images of our planet and the space around it on a regular basis.

So for you lucky folks around the world who will see the eclipse in real time, live and in person, enjoy the show you lunatics. Those of us here in North America will have to enjoy the show on line.

by Revmacd For Roqoo Depot – All The Latest Star Wars News and real space news too
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Eyes On The Sky – This Month in Astronomy – June 2011

May 31, 2011 at 10:07 am | Posted in Astronomy, Regular Feature, Science News | 2 Comments
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The Lonely Shepherd

Quick!  Name a constellation.  Which one comes to mind?  The Big Dipper?  Leo?  The Gemini twins?  Orion?  Perhaps Draco the Dragon or Perseus?  Hercules the Hero?  The teapot-shaped Sagittarius?  Cassiopeia? Or maybe the beautiful Andromeda?

Ask people to make a list of constellations they know or have at least heard of, and the name  Boötes probably wouldn’t appear in the top 10.  Or even the top 20.  In fact, it probably wouldn’t appear on most people’s lists at all.  It is without a doubt one of the most overlooked, most forgotten of the modern constellation.  A lonely shepherd wandering the skies.

Boötes (pronounced boh-OH-teez) is a prominent constellation in the late Spring and early Summer.   Although it seems to have fallen into obscurity with the passage of time, it is one of the oldest constellations ever documented and has a variety of myths and legend associated with it.  An Arab legend sees the circumpolar stars as a flock of sheep and Boötes as their shepherd. Other early civilizations in the Mediterranean and Middle East saw Boötes as a herdsman, cart driver, or plowman.  Greek mythology had several references to the constellation.  In some legends it represented the son of Zeus and a nymph, Callisto.  Homer referred to Boötes in his epic story The Odyssey.   And some of civilization’s earliest star-charts show Boötes as a running figure holding a spear.

To modern star-gazers like us, Boötes is easily recognized as the shape of a kite with its bright Alpha star Arcturus anchoring the constellation at the point of the kite where the tail is attached. Arcturus is a red giant star only 36 light-years away from our own humble home.  It is the fourth brightest star in our night sky.

The easiest way to locate the constellation is to locate Arcturus using a favourite star-hopping phrase:  Arc to Arcturus!  How do you Arc to Arcturus?  Locate the Big Dipper which is directly overhead in our June sky. Follow the handle’s arc shape past the last star, straight on through to the brightest star you can spot along the line of that imaginary arc, and you’ll have found Arcturus. From there, the rest of the constellation should be easy to assemble: the body of the kite shape comprised of the five stars above Arcturus, as well as the tail of the kite – one star on Arcturus’s either side.

Other Heavenly Happenings

The constellation Boötes is the radiant point of a meteor shower this month.  While not one of the showiest of meteor showers, the best viewing for this herd of shooting stars will be the early hours of the morning June 27th and 28th.

For those who own a telescope, Saturn is a sight to behold this season as our view of the gaps between the planet’s rings becomes more prominent.  For those without a telescope, Saturn – though a distant planet – is definitely visible to the naked eye. Through June it appears in the constellation Virgo, to the right of Virgo’s alpha star Spica (pronounced spEE-kah).  To find Spica, use the star-hopping technique you used to Arc to Arcturus.  Continue the arc down toward the south-west horizon and Speed on to Spica.

Finally, the planetary summit which gathered on the low Eastern Horizon in May is coming to an end.  Jupiter will break away from the group and start a dramatic ascent throughout June.  If you are late to bed or an early riser, look for this spectacular point of light in the Eastern sky a few hours before sunrise.  It will be unmistakable and breathtaking.  No matter the season, the King of Planets never fails to put on a show!

by Myri Antilles for Roqoo Depot – All The Latest Star Wars and Real Stars News

Eyes On The Sky – This Month In Astronomy

March 29, 2011 at 7:21 am | Posted in Regular Feature, Science News | 4 Comments
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The night sky has fascinated humanity since the dawn of time.  To our knowledge every culture throughout history has created stories based upon the stars.  From the myths of antiquity to modern science fiction, our imaginations compel us to create stories about what we see in the night sky. As our planet spins through space and time, our seasons offer us a glimpse of our galaxy from varying perspectives.  It also rotates the mythical characters of the constellations on and off the stage.

Set course for Rigel 7 Number 1

When April comes around the phrase that comes to mind is “Shift Change”; time for one ancient hero to rest, and another to step into the spotlight.  

The constellation Orion dominates the winter sky in the Northern hemisphere.   The legendary hunter patrols our night sky from November to March accompanied by his faithful dog, Canis Major.  The dog’s heart is marked by the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius, a stunning star visible at the heels of his master, twinkling on the Southern horizon with an apparent magnitude of -1.46.

But April means spring, and Orion’s shift is nearly complete.  Most evenings find him and his canine companion in the Western Sky after sunset, heading toward a well-earned rest.  It’s time for Orion’s counterpart, Hercules, to take the stage and the next watch over the night sky.

The first stars of Hercules begin their ascent in mid-March, and by the end of April, most of the recognizable features of the constellation are visible on the Eastern horizon.  Four relatively bright stars roughly in the shape of a square form his torso, or what is commonly known as the Keystone. Hercules’ arms and legs extend from this central square.  By mid-summer Hercules will be directly overhead.

Orion in the West. Hercules in the East. Watch for the hand-off between these two legends as the month of April unfolds.

Planets

To catch the planetary show this month, you have to be an early riser. Venus has been the morning star for several months now, and continues to dominate the pre-dawn sky in the South-East. On April 1st, between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m. local time, watch for Venus to be joined by the smallest sliver of a waning crescent moon.

Another spectacular show happens in the dawn sky on April 29-30. Jupiter, hugging the low Eastern horizon, will be easily visible as a very bright ‘star’. The light should be steady and strong. A little higher and to its right will be Mars, much fainter and slightly red in hue. Further to the right will be the unmistakable brilliance of Venus outshining any other object in the sky. Nestled directly between Mars and Venus will be Mercury (visible through binoculars). What is tremendous exciting about this grouping is the opportunity to compare the brightest planets in our sky – Venus and Jupiter. The two are often mistaken for one another when seen independently, and are seldom close enough in proximity as to offer us a side-by-side comparison of their brilliance and beauty.

So set your alarm, cradle your coffee, and head out into the pre-dawn light on April 29th. It will be more than worth the price of admission.

by Myri Antilles

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