Hey, sky fans. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Friday! Here’s to you for getting through again. I hope you have something fun ahead for the weekend.
Before I forget… again, I wanted to mention something great about this weekend’s full Moon that slipped my mind yesterday. As the days get shorter, and the full Moons spend more time above the horizon than they do in the warmer months, each month you have a chance for another great sky watchin’ treat.
Does anyone else ever do this? If you’re in North America, let’s say, you can make it outside to see the almost-but-just-about-kinda-almost-not-quite-full Super Hunter’s Moon rising Saturday night. Like I said yesterday, the timing will be different depending on where you are. Then, the fun begins: you can do whatever you want with your night (now, at long last, you have my permission), and get up the next morning to see the giant ball of the super full Moon, complete with its cape, mask, and a giant M on its chest, setting in the brightening western skies. This works for you, too, in the southern hemisphere, but not until it becomes fall again, next March.
Around the New York City area, the Moon will rise at 6:18 in the evening on Saturday, and then set at 7:27 in the morning on Sunday. I don’t know how much you care to get up early on a weekend morning, but there you have it. It’s really quite a sight, especially this month with the full Moon near perigee. You can use http://www.timeanddate.com/moon/ to help set your alarm clock, if you like.
Of course, you can see the full Moon setting any month you want, but they tend to set earlier in the warmer months, when the nights are shorter, than they do in the months on the cooler sides of the equinox.
Okay, that’s that. Have any of you noticed over the last few days a bunch of news about new and exciting things being discovered in space? It’s been busy, but I’ve been sticking some of these to my notebook over the last week or so. It’s time for another Friday Photo, and some October Post-Its. Up, up, and away (see… it’s a Super joke)….
- First, closest to home, there’s a new study using data gathered by the Cassini spacecraft that says Saturn’s Moon Dione might also have an ocean of liquid water under a delicious candy shell. Is my count right? I have seven biggish places in the solar system with evidence of liquid water: Mars; Jupiter’s moons Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede (come on Io, get with it!); here on Earth; and Enceladus and Dione over in the Saturn system. I’m making no declarations of anything, but here on Earth, where there’s water there’s life. So, you never know. Maybe one day.
Dione is about 700 miles (1100 km) across and orbits Saturn at about the same distance the Moon orbits Earth. It gets around much faster, though, only about three Earth days, because of how much more massive Saturn is.
- How about a round of applause as we welcome a new dwarf planet. Word spread the other day of the discovery of the alluringly named 2014 UZ224, a dwarf planet orbiting about 8.5 billion kilometers away, in the area of the solar system called the scattered disc. It’s about 13 billion km (from the Sun 8.5 billion miles) from the Sun at the moment, which is about twice as far as Pluto, maybe a little less, and is a bit closer than the dwarf planet Eris. Every day it seems like what we know and believe about the solar system changes and grows.
- Finally, for now, a new study using data from Hubble says there may be ten times as many galaxies in the observable universe than previously thought. The earlier estimates put the number only around 100 or 200 million (“only,” he says), but now it’s believed it could be as many as 2 trillion (that’s trillion with a T) galaxies. As if the scale of the universe wasn’t hard to process before, but two trillion galaxies, billions of stars each, is almost impossible. Imagine the things we haven’t discovered yet.
That’s it for today; I have to get some groceries and avoid the gaze of the white chocolate candy corn-flavored candy bars I saw in the store right around the time the 2014 UZ224 was being announced. Who do you think had the better day that day? Have a great weekend, everyone. I hope it’s a good one for you. Thanks for stopping by, and clear skies!