How to see the extraordinary "supermoon" on Monday

full-moon-2016-lro_0
On Monday November 14, we'll have the opportunity to see the full moon closer to Earth than its been since 1948, and won't be again until 2034. It will be a spectacular sight. From NASA:

The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth it is known as a supermoon. At perigree — the point at which the moon is closest to Earth — the moon can be as much as 14 percent closer to Earth than at apogee, when the moon is farthest from our planet. The full moon appears that much larger in diameter and because it is larger shines 30 percent more moonlight onto the Earth....

The biggest and brightest moon for observers in the United States will be on Monday morning just before dawn. On Monday, Nov. 14, the moon is at perigee at 6:22 a.m. EST and “opposite” the sun for the full moon at 8:52 a.m. EST (after moonset for most of the US).

If you’re not an early riser, no worries. “I’ve been telling people to go out at night on either Sunday or Monday night to see the supermoon,” said Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. “The difference in distance from one night to the next will be very subtle, so if it’s cloudy on Sunday, go out on Monday. Any time after sunset should be fine.

Read the rest

Dinner in the Sky is coming to LA in July

dinner-in-sky

If you like heights and Los Angeles and food and have a grand or so lying around, maybe Dinner in the Sky would be a fun July adventure. Read the rest

The Milky Way

A wonderful night-sky photo shared in the BB Flickr Pool by Dave Hensley: "Unadjusted jpg made from 16bit/channel tiff created by a linux stacking script I wrote; operating on a series of images I captured over vacation." Read the rest

It's Only a Sliver Moon (Daily Astronomy Log with Mike Brown)

(photo via Wikipedia)

This past Sunday began the last lunar cycle of the year, which, for the first time in almost 20 years, includes a full moon on the winter solstice itself. I'm going to spend some of the time between now and then using the moon as a guide for a little tour of the night sky.

Tonight, if your clouds part enough in the evening to reveal the just-set sun - very nearly as far south as it will ever get - you should also get to see a tiny sliver of a new moon hanging like an ornament above it in the not-yet-dark skies. This sliver moon is, to my mind, one of the most impressive sights to periodically grace our skies. To me, the ethereal part is not the sliver itself, looking like a razor sharp sickle glowing in the sky, but the ghostly outline of the rest of the moon that can be faintly seen.

What is that ghostly outline? If you pay close attention you might even noticed that it disappears after a few days. By the time the moon is up to first quarter all you see is that bright sunlit half of the orb. It's hard to tell precisely what is happening, because as the moon waxes towards full it gets brighter and brighter and you might just think that you're having a harder time seeing that ghostly outline in the presence of that brighter moon. But, no, the outline is indeed getting fainter. Read the rest

Resembles Yoda, this cloud does

Image from Discover Mag's Bad Astronomy blog (thanks, Phil Plait) Read the rest