Wednesday , January 20 2021

Sky Watch: As the nights grow older, the stargazing gets much better

Stargazing this time of year is becoming easier, because nights are now much more than we nowadays. Secondly, with the end of the summer time last weekend, it's pretty dark to end up until 6pm!
Nevertheless, the best jokes of the week are early in the morning two to three hours before sunrise. Who wants to sleep early and set the alarm for 3 or 4 in the morning? You will want this week's big show to happen in the early morning skies, ie if the clouds do not photograph the bomb in the sky. Fix yourself a large cup of coffee, pile up, grab a lawn chair and blankets, and get ready to be surprised. The performance is even better in the darker countryside, but even if you have to compete with the lights of the city, it is worth resting.
Mike LynchWhen you get away for the first time, just sit in a chair or lay your car and let your eyes use the darkness. You can not help, but move away from the great stellar representation that occurs in the early morning sky. The fantastic constellations of winter swell this part of the sky. This is where "Orion and his gang" hang out. Orion the hunter and his surrounding gang – Taurus the bull, Gemini Gemini and others – are gradually shifting from the south to the southwest sky as you approach the morning twilight. I'm never tired of seeing those great celestial characters. Although not quite winter, Orion and his football are considered winter constellations because in January, as the Earth continues the orbit around the sun, these bright flashes will become early in the evening, a preview of the great starfish night to come.
To get to know these constellations, download a good star chart in January. You can find a good at and arrange for early evening sometime in January. Make sure you use a red filter lens to see the map so you do not ruin your night vision. Of course there are many useful applications for smartphones. My favorite is the "Sky Guide". In this application, you can turn on the screen on the red phone to maintain night vision.
While you get the beauty of all the bright stars in the early hours, you will also see some stars that turn to the celestial dome. They are not really stars, but meteorites that penetrate our atmosphere. Later this week and especially this weekend, you are required to see more meteorites than normal. This is due to the fact that Leonid's annual meteor shower will peak. Leonidas is not the best shower of the season, but I would put them in the upper tier. What makes them attractive this year is that there is no light of the moon in the early morning hours, making it a much darker setting to catch those "falling stars."
Annual rain of meteors such as Leonidas occur when the Earth in its orbit around the sun sinks into debris left behind by a comet. Comets are more or less "dirty avalanches" of rock and ice spinning the sun in extremely elliptical elongated orbits. When their trajectories bring them close to the sun, they partially melt, leaving a trail of debris consisting of tiny particles of the size of the dust grains in small pebbles of small marble size.
The comet feeding the Leonid meteor shower is called Temple Tuttle, who last came from this part of the solar system in 1998 and will not return until 2031. The Earth in its solar track reaches this Temple Tuttle trail at 66,000 mph , and at the same time, these individual particles or balls of particles crash along their trajectory thousands of miles per hour as well. This means that debris can collapse into our atmosphere at speeds of over 150,000 mph!
With this kind of velocity, individual particles burn quickly due to the enormous friction of air, but the light we see is not due to combustion. It's impossible to find out because these tiny particles are burning anywhere from 50 to 150 miles high. The streak we see is the glowing column of air that is chemically excited by the particle that penetrates it. Sometimes these streaks appear to be different colors, indicating the kind of atmospheric gas that is temporarily caused.
Meanwhile showers appear better after midnight because this happens when you are on the side of the rotating Earth that sharpen the comet debris. It's like driving the cross county on a warm night in the summer. You get more bugs broken on your windshield than in the rear window. After midnight, we face the "windshield" of the land that travels.
The Leonid meteor shower does not have its name from the president of Soviet Leonid Breznev. They are called Leonides because the meteorites seem to come from the sky where the constellation Leo the Lion is ready. At midnight, Leo hangs in the eastern sky and looks like a posterior question mark. This does not mean you have to limit the hunt of the meteorites only to that area of ​​the sky. If you do, you will lose a lot of them because the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.
The best way to watch Leonidas or any other meteor shower is to lie down on a blanket blanket sometime after midnight, preferably after 2 or 3 in the morning, pour your eyes around the night sky and see how many meteorites you find at a given time. It is a fun or family activity.
This weekend from early in the evening, the new moon will be found next to the intense planet Venus in the low southwest sky. Later this week, the moon of the first quarter will be very close to the planet Mars on the night of the southern sky. On Thursday, the moon will be on the lower right side of Mars, and on Friday, Mars will be parked in the upper left of the red planet.
6: 30-8: 30 p.m. Thursday, November 15th. Middle School Princeton in Princeton, Minn .; 763-389-4789 or
7-9 pm Friday 16 November. Albany, Minn., 320-845-2171 or

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