Under the Night Sky

Learn the Stars of the Big Dipper as you Wash your Hands

You need to wash your hands for twenty seconds with soap and water to effectively kill germs and viruses.  So why not use that time to learn everyone’s favorite asterism in the constellation Ursa Major?  With this video you can learn the names of the stars in the Big Dipper as you up you hygiene game and protect yourself from things like COVID-19. Be safe! Check out he Under the Night Sky Youtube Channel.

Native American gazing at March Full Moon. March Moon Names.

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 …

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Fireballs Enter the Earth's Atmosphere

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? 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 …

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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. 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. …

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Draconid Meteor Shower

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.

Full Snow Moon over snowy landscape

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.

Full Wolf Moon

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.

Scarecrow – Mars Curiosity Style Rover

https://youtu.be/ETqeikd7_UY 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.

Full Beaver Moon

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.

Happy Halloween from Under the Night Sky

Happy Halloween from Galileo and Under the Night Sky

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

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