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5 Sky Events This Week: Red Planet, Lord of the Rings, and Space Mountain

Posted by Andrew Fazekas in StarStruck on February 17, 2014

This image of supernova remnant E0102" 190,000 light years away combines both an X-ray view from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and optical view from the Hubble Space Telescope. Sky-watchrs get to glimpse a similar but much farther exploding star 12 million light years away in another galaxy.  Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/MIT/D.Dewey et al. & NASA/CXC/SAO/J.DePasquale); Optical (NASA/STScI)

This image of 190,000-light-years-distant supernova remnant E0102 combines both an x-ray view from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and an optical view from the Hubble Space Telescope. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/D.Dewey et al. & NASA/CXC/SAO/J.DePasquale; Optical: NASA/STScI

The bright moon moves into late-night skies this week, offering backyard observers some early-evening opportunities to hunt down celestial sights ranging from a fading supernova to a giant asteroid.

Last-chance supernova. For Monday, February 17, and the rest of the week, the exploding star SN 2014J will be visible in darker skies in the early evening, thanks to the moon rising late at night. The supernova illuminates the 12-million-light-years-distant Cigar Galaxy.

Reports indicate that the extragalactic supernova peaked over a week ago at 10.4 magnitude. It has since steadily dropped in brightness. As of February 16 it has dimmed to 11th magnitude, which still puts it well within the reach of small backyard telescopes equipped with mirrors of at least four to six inches. Observers using high magnification may notice the supernova’s distinctive orange hue, caused by its light refracting off the surrounding dust that fills its host galaxy.

Check out more details on how to track down SN2014J for yourself here.

Moon visits Spica. On Wednesday, February 19, early-bird sky-watchers get a chance to watch the waning gibbous moon glide past the brilliant blue-white star, Spica. The 263-light-years-distant star in the constellation Virgo, the Maiden, will appear only 3 degrees apart. That is less than the width of your three middle fingers held at arm’s length.

This mosaic of 102 Viking 1 Orbiter images of Mars taken in February 1980. Credit: NASA

This mosaic of 102 Viking 1 Orbiter images of Mars taken in February 1980 shows some of the planet’s main topographical features, including volcanoes and canyons. Credit: NASA

Moon joins Mars. By the next morning, Thursday, February 20, the brilliant moon will have popped over to the other side of Spica and Mars.

Riding alongside Spica, the red planet is easy to spot rising in the northeastern sky around 10 p.m. local time. However, the best views are through a telescope at high magnification just before local dawn, when the planet sits nearly overhead, looking toward the south. While the views of Mars will get better in April, when the distance between our two planets decreases and its planetary disk therefore increases in size, even now some of its surface features are visible.

Luna and Lord of the Rings. Finally, on Friday and Saturday, the near quarter moon snuggles up to Saturn. On both days the stunning cosmic duo will appear only 6 degrees apart, a little more than the width of your fist at arm’s length.

The planet is now dominating the high southern night sky in the Northern Hemisphere (north sky in the Southern Hemisphere) rising after local midnight and reaching its highest altitude in the predawn hours. It’s easily visible in the constellation Libra—you won’t need any optical aids to see it.

Saturn will be easy to find  when it joins the waning gibbous moon in the southern sky  in the early morning hours of February 21. Credit: Starry Night software / A.Fazekas

Saturn will be easy to find when it joins the waning gibbous moon in the southern sky in the early morning hours of February 21. Credit: Starry Night software/A. Fazekas

The gas giant world shines so brightly in the sky because of its massive size—nine times larger than Earth—and its highly reflective cloud-tops. To the naked eye, the sixth planet from the sun shines with the creamy yellow color of its gaseous atmosphere. (Related: “NASA Probe Spies Giant Hurricane on Saturn.”)

This is the real sky.

…and this is what “Mass – Astrology is selling:


Sa 01 08:44:30 12AQ02 27AQ38 00PI23 13CP33 23LI09 12CN14 22SC34 09AR27 04PI12 12CP19 02SC38
Su 02 08:48:26 13AQ03 12PI34 01PI16 13CP35 23LI26 12CN08 22SC37 09AR29 04PI14 12CP20 02SC34
Mo 03 08:52:23 14AQ04 27PI05 01PI60 13CP39 23LI42 12CN02 22SC40 09AR31 04PI16 12CP22 02SC31
Tu 04 08:56:19 15AQ05 11AR06 02PI35 13CP45 23LI58 11CN56 22SC43 09AR33 04PI19 12CP24 02SC28
We 05 09:00:16 16AQ06 24AR37 03PI01 13CP53 24LI13 11CN50 22SC45 09AR36 04PI21 12CP26 02SC25
Th 06 09:04:12 17AQ07 07TA41 03PI16 14CP04 24LI28 11CN45 22SC48 09AR38 04PI23 12CP28 02SC22
Fr 07 09:08:09 18AQ07 20TA20 03PI20 14CP17 24LI42 11CN40 22SC50 09AR40 04PI25 12CP30 02SC18
Sa 08 09:12:06 19AQ08 02GE41 03PI14 14CP32 24LI56 11CN35 22SC53 09AR43 04PI27 12CP31 02SC15
Su 09 09:16:02 20AQ09 14GE47 02PI56 14CP49 25LI09 11CN30 22SC55 09AR45 04PI30 12CP33 02SC12
Mo 10 09:19:59 21AQ10 26GE45 02PI28 15CP08 25LI22 11CN25 22SC57 09AR48 04PI32 12CP35 02SC09
Tu 11 09:23:55 22AQ10 08CN37 01PI50 15CP29 25LI34 11CN20 22SC59 09AR50 04PI34 12CP37 02SC06
We 12 09:27:52 23AQ11 20CN28 01PI03 15CP52 25LI46 11CN16 23SC01 09AR53 04PI36 12CP38 02SC03
Th 13 09:31:48 24AQ12 02LE20 00PI09 16CP16 25LI57 11CN12 23SC03 09AR56 04PI39 12CP40 01SC59
Fr 14 09:35:45 25AQ12 14LE16 29AQ08 16CP42 26LI07 11CN08 23SC05 09AR58 04PI41 12CP42 01SC56
Sa 15 09:39:41 26AQ13 26LE16 28AQ02 17CP10 26LI17 11CN04 23SC06 10AR01 04PI43 12CP43 01SC53
Su 16 09:43:38 27AQ13 08VI21 26AQ54 17CP40 26LI27 11CN00 23SC08 10AR03 04PI45 12CP45 01SC50
Mo 17 09:47:35 28AQ14 20VI33 25AQ45 18CP11 26LI36 10CN57 23SC10 10AR06 04PI48 12CP47 01SC47
Tu 18 09:51:31 29AQ15 02LI54 24AQ37 18CP44 26LI44 10CN53 23SC11 10AR09 04PI50 12CP48 01SC44
We 19 09:55:28 00PI15 15LI24 23AQ31 19CP18 26LI52 10CN50 23SC12 10AR12 04PI52 12CP50 01SC40
Th 20 09:59:24 01PI16 28LI06 22AQ30 19CP53 26LI59 10CN47 23SC13 10AR15 04PI54 12CP51 01SC37
Fr 21 10:03:21 02PI16 11SC02 21AQ33 20CP30 27LI05 10CN44 23SC14 10AR17 04PI57 12CP53 01SC34
Sa 22 10:07:17 03PI16 24SC16 20AQ43 21CP08 27LI11 10CN42 23SC15 10AR20 04PI59 12CP54 01SC31
Su 23 10:11:14 04PI17 07SG50 19AQ60 21CP47 27LI16 10CN40 23SC16 10AR23 05PI01 12CP56 01SC28
Mo 24 10:15:10 05PI17 21SG47 19AQ23 22CP28 27LI20 10CN37 23SC17 10AR26 05PI04 12CP57 01SC24
Tu 25 10:19:07 06PI18 06CP06 18AQ54 23CP09 27LI24 10CN35 23SC18 10AR29 05PI06 12CP59 01SC21
We 26 10:23:04 07PI18 20CP45 18AQ33 23CP52 27LI27 10CN34 23SC18 10AR32 05PI08 13CP00 01SC18
Th 27 10:27:00 08PI18 05AQ39 18AQ18 24CP35 27LI29 10CN32 23SC19 10AR35 05PI10 13CP01 01SC15
Fr 28 10:30:57 09PI19 20AQ41 18AQ11 25CP20 27LI31 10CN31 23SC19 10AR38 05PI13 13CP03 01SC12

There is no Saturn in Scorpio – Saturn is in Libra.

No Jupiter in Cancer – he is still in Gemini.

No Mars in Libra – he is still in Virgo.

The list goes on and on… Don’t trust those free available “Astrology-Ephemerids” – they are an illusion and are not based on REAL ASTRONOMICAL CALCULATIONS.

Watch out in the coming 3 nights, you might get lucky to catch Aurora Borealis

2013 – Atemberaubende Space-Bilder

In an exclusive interview with the MailOnline earlier this month, the Canadian astronaut revealed that he took over 40,000 photos during his five month stint on the spaceship, with unseen photography expected to be released by Nasa next year.