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.
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.
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.
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.