March Moon Names

March Moon Names

March is a month of transition. The seasons are changing from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere. South of the equator it’s moving from summer to fall. All around the world, change is prevalent. This change is no better illustrated than in the names the Native American’s had for the March moon.

Days grow longer as we progress into spring. The sun makes its way a little higher into the sky every day. For the tribes of the Northern and Great Plains, this could cause a problem. The bright sun would reflect off the white snow and could sunburn their eyes. This can cause a painful condition known as snow blindness. This inspired the Souix to name the March moon, the “sore eye moon”.

In the Great Lakes region, the warming days and chilly nights caused the snow to constantly start to melt and refreeze.   An icy crust would form on top of the snow. Because of this, the Chippewa and Ojibwe tribes called the March moon the “snow crust moon.”

As the ground starts to thaw in many places, earthworms become active. In the American Northeast, the Alqonquins used the name “worm moon.” And worms make great fish […]

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 March 10th, 2017|Moon, Sky Events|0 Comments

Here Come the Fireballs!

Here Come the Fireballs

The few weeks surrounding the March Equinox are a great time to gaze into the night sky and search for incoming fireballs.

“The Earth getting bombarded by fireballs? Sounds disastrous. Is this the evil doing of some cosmic wizard or stellar sorcerer? “

No need to worry. As far as we know, no one has ever been killed by a fireball from space.

So what is a fireball?Fireball Meteor streaks across the night sky.

A fireball is just a particularly bright meteor. It has an apparent magnitude of at least -4, so it is about as bright, or brighter than the planet Venus. The brighter the fireball, the more rare they are.

Fireballs that are especially bright and explode in the atmosphere are commonly known as bolides. A bolide that detonates into a burst of visible fragments is a visual treat that you won’t soon forget.

More than a thousand fireballs enter our atmosphere every day.  Sounds like there’s a great chance to see one.

Unfortunately the vast majority occurs over the oceans or uninhabited areas, during daylight hours, behind clouds or behind our backs (sneaky little buggers!)

The good news? During the spring the nightly […]

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 March 4th, 2017|Meteors, Sky Events|0 Comments

Good time to view the Zodiacal Light

Good Time to View the Zodiacal Light

Fall is officially here and with that a good time to see the zodiacal light, and with the Moon absence from the morning sky for the next couple weeks it makes a particularly good time to get a glimpse.

zodiacal light viewed near observatory

What is zodiacal light and what causes it? It is a pyramid-shaped glow that appears in the eastern sky before dawn or western sky just after sunset. This phenomenon is caused by sunlight reflecting off the dust particles that move in the same plane as the Earth and other planets as they orbit the Sun. The zodiacal light appears brighter the closer you get to the equator.

At this time of year you can see the zodiacal light an hour or two before dawn in the eastern sky. Observers in the Southern Hemisphere can see it after sunset. Dark skies will be needed to see it, so try to get far away from the city lights.

 

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 October 10th, 2015|Sky Events|0 Comments

Draconid Meteor Shower 2015

Draconid Meteor Shower 2015 October 9th will mark the peak of this years Draconid Meteor Shower, named for the constellation Draco, where the meteors appear to originate from. This shower is also known as the Giacobinids, for comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner, the comet that left the dust debris responsible for this meteor shower. In the past the Draconids have been responsible for some of the most spectacular showers, but in general they tend to be one of the less impressive ones. This year a new Moon will be on October 13th, making viewing more favorable.

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 October 7th, 2015|Meteor Showers, Sky Events|0 Comments

Full Snow Moon 2015

Full Snow Moon 2015 Winter hits its stride is in February, and with it typically comes heavy snow falls. It’s these snow falls that inspired the most common name for February’s Full Moon, The Full Snow Moon. During this time hunting would become very difficult and food scarce for some Native American tribes, giving this moon another one of its names, the Full Hunger Moon.

This year’s Full Snow Moon occurs on February 3rd at 23:09 UTC.

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 January 29th, 2015|Celestial History, Moon, Sky Events|0 Comments

Full Wolf Moon 2015

Full Wolf Moon 2015 The howling of hungry wolves out in the still cold air and deep snows of January are what inspired Native Americans to call this month’s full Moon the Full Wolf Moon. A few tribes called it the Old Moon or the Snow Moon, and it is also know by some as the Moon After Yule.

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 January 7th, 2015|Moon, Sky Events|0 Comments

Scarecrow – Mars Curiosity Style Rover

Scarecrow: Curiosity’s Earthbound Brother Several rovers were in action at the JPL Open House that took place in Pasadena, CA this past October. “Scarecrow”, the earthbound surrogate of Mars Rover Curiosity, was on display and put through its paces for attendees to watch. Named Scarecrow because “it doesn’t have a brain”, this rover is not equipped with all the instruments that Curiosity has. This lack of extra weight gives Scarecrow the equivalent weight of Curiosity, with all its instruments, in the lower gravity of Mars.

To see this rover in action, watch the above video.

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 November 8th, 2014|Mars, Video|0 Comments

Full Beaver Moon 2014

Full Beaver Moon 2014 For the American colonist and the Algonquin tribes the November Full Moon was know as the Full Beaver Moon. This was the time of year to prepare for the upcoming winter by setting beaver traps before the swamps froze. This would help ensure warm beaver furs to fend off the winter cold. Also, beavers are also very busy this time of year, preparing for winter.   The November Full Moon is also know as Frosty Moon.

Full Beaver Moon arrives at November 6th, 22:23 GMT.

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 November 4th, 2014|Moon, Sky Events|0 Comments

Happy Halloween from Galileo and Under the Night Sky

Happy Halloween In keeping with the macabre nature of the day, we present Galileo’s Index Finger.

Galileo's Index Finger Bones Galileo’s index finger bones. On display at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy. Photo by Edward Dick, Jr.

Now residing in the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy this finger from Galileo’s right hand was removed by historian Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti during a ceremony on March 12, 1737. Galileo’s remains were unearthed and moved to a prominent tomb in the main body of the church of Santa Croce.   A middle finger, a thumb, a tooth and a vertebra were also removed.

This finger, along with the thumb and tooth, disappeared in 1905, only to be rediscovered in 2009.

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 October 31st, 2014|Celestial History, From Under the Night Sky|0 Comments

Full Hunter’s Moon 2014

Full Hunter’s Moon 2014 The crops have been harvested and winter is coming. Time for the Full Hunter’s Moon. Native Americans named this moon as such because it was time to build up their stores for winter and the reaped field and fallen leaves made it easier to see their prey. The Hunter’s Moon, also known as Blood Moon and Sanguine Moon, was considered an important time and was celebrated with feasts by Native American’s and in Western Europe. The hunter hits his mark on October 8th, at 10:51 (GMT).

By | 2017-11-17T21:34:27+00:00 October 7th, 2014|Moon, Sky Events|0 Comments
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