Posts Tagged: Astronomy

Venus and Other Planets in the Evening Sky from Larry Koehn

Venus in the evening sky 45 minutes after sunset from December 2014 through August 2015 from LarryKoehn on Vimeo.

Larry Koehn has created a great visual in the form of the above Vimeo video to illustrate where Venus, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter will be in the evening western sky over the course of the next year! EarthSky has a wee bit more info here.

Here is Larry Koehn’s description of the video:

Each frame represents one day with a total of 238 days from December 10, 2014 through August 3, 2015. The focus of the animation is on Venus, since it is the brightest planet as seen from Earth. Last year, Venus traveled low along the horizon from the northwest to the southeast. This year, our "sister planet" is moving in the opposite direction and making a steady climb high into the sky with it peaking early next summer. From now through August, Venus will come closer and closer to the Earth with it reaching inferior conjunction on August 15, 2015. But before reaching that point, Venus will reach greatest elongation east on June 6. Around May 10th, Venus will be the furthest from the horizon.Venus will be in conjunction with Mercury on January 11th, then Mars on February 22nd, and finally with Jupiter on July 1st. Many of the dates were obtained at

I have inserted a small view of what you would see if you were to watch Venus through a telescope over the coming months near the green buttons. Venus starts off small and round in December. As the days progress, Venus becomes larger and closer to the Earth, and it goes through various phases of illumination much like the Moon. By the time it reaches August 2015, Venus will have a thin crescent phase.

The Star of Bethlehem: Astronomy Theories

Several sites I visited today had links to various astronomical theories on the Star of Bethlehem, thus in the spirit of the season, I give you the links:
The Star of Bethlehem by Colin Humphreys, originally printed in Science and Christian Belief , Vol 5, (October 1995): 83-101 – Humphreys advances the theory of a planetary conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn or a comet.
Revealing the Star of Bethlehem by Michael Molnar – Molnar’s website has a Q&A about his book on Jupiter as the Star of Bethlehem
What was the Star of Bethlehem? by Nigel Henbest in First Science – Henbest summarizes all the major astronomical possibilities for the Star.
Understanding the Christmas Star by Stephen Milton – Also a summary, but with more Bible exegises in combination with reviewing Molnar.
Happy reading!

Happy MidSummer Night!

I will be on an airplane flying from Los Angeles to Stuttgart, Germany, most likely somewhere over northern Canada when the official summer solstice occurs tonight 10:45pm PDT (5:45am UTC), which is highly appropriate to be in a northern clime during the actually time of “sun-standing“.
Here is a cool chart from the US Navy on the relative length of longest day and longest night depending on your latitude: If you live just a bit north of Los Angeles at 35N, then today/tomorrow will have 14 hours and 31 minutes of sun, but if you live in Helsinki or Anchorage at 60N, then you will have 18 hours and 53 minutes of sun (providing it is not cloudy, so I should say daylight)!
If you belong to a good old fashioned Sun based religion, enjoy your day and evening… Happy Midsummer!

Happy Longest Day of the Year!

According to the nice folk at the US Navy Observatory, today, June 20, 2008 at 23:59 UT will be the Summer Solstice.
To most North Americans, this is the day we mark as the start of Summer. When I was in Ireland, May 1st was the first day of Summer and today would be considered the high point of Summer. Where ever you are north of the equator and whenever you start your Summer, Happy Longest Day of the Year!
Enjoy it as you will. I will be driving to Lake Tahoe for CampCamp 5.0. I should be on the Interstate 5 driving north at 4:59pm Pacific Daylight Time.

CARMA Radio Telescope Open House

CARMA Radio Telescope Open House

Start of the Tour: James Explains the Mission of CARMA Start of the Tour: The CalTech Post-Grad Explains the Observer Software & Projects Start of the Tour: Dave (?) Explains the Million Dollar "Digital Camera" Walking out to the CARMA "B" Array The CARMA Open House: The CalTech Radio Telescopes & Transporter CARMA: Lovely CARMA Open House Mom and the Telescope Transporter Detail of the Transporter Truly Lovely CalTech Radio Telescope and Sun The CARMA CalTech Radio Telescopes The CARMA UC Berkeley Radio Telescopes Radio Telescope Dish CARMA Backsides Number 14 Nice Telescopes All In An Array Mom in the Control Room of One of the UC Berkeley Telescopes The Cyrogenics Pump that Cools the Receiver Chip to 4 Degrees Kelvin
All photos taken at the CARMA Radio Telescope Array by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95 camera phone.

Sat. 06.14.08 – The Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) Radio Telescopes (aka The Ears) in the White Mountains had their annual Open House today. My Mom and I have been wanting to go to The Ears’ open house for a couple of years now and today it worked out.
It was a blast. I love all things astronomy and this radio telescope array up at 7,000 ft plus was a true delight, both from the scientific curiosity perspective and then it was just aesthetically lovely perspective. A real treat.