Tag Archives: Venus

Space, the Final Frontier 2021 – or what’s that in the night sky?

Space, the Final Frontier 2021
– or what’s that in the night sky?

solar-system-planets
The Planets:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, (Moon), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune (and Pluto)

Astronomy = the science of celestial objects, space, and the physical Universe.
And the study of the Universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere: the Sun, the Moon, galaxies, planets, stars, other objects that exist naturally in space, and other cosmic phenomena.
There are two main types of Astronomy: observational and theoretical.
Astronomy has been used to measure time, mark the seasons, and navigate the oceans.

Eclipses, meteor showers and other astronomical events in 2021:

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JANUARY 2021

Quandrantids Meteor Shower peaks on January 2 and 3 (only runs January 1-5)

Conjunction of Mercury and Saturn on January 9
Conjunction of Mercury and Saturn and Jupiter on January 10 and 11

New Moon on January 13 (not visible)

Full “Wolf” Moon on January 28 (aka the “Old” Moon, the “Ice” Moon, the “Moon after Yule”)

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FEBRUARY

Chinese Start of Spring is February 3

New Moon on February 11 (not visible)

Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter on February 11

Chinese Lunar New Year begins on February 12 – Year of the Yin White Metal Ox

February 18 is Pluto Day! Celebrate the discovery of the NINTH PLANET!
Clyde Tombaugh, an American astronomer, discovered Pluto on today’s date in 1930.
Pluto is named for the Roman G-d of the Underworld and has five known moons.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) changed Pluto classification to a Dwarf Planet.
IAU claimed Pluto failed qualify as a full-sized planet. A full-sized planet must orbit Sol, the sun; have a sufficient mass to “assume hydrostatic equilibrium”, and “clear the neighborhood around its orbit.” Pluto has the first two, but not the third.
One day on Pluto is equal to 6.4 days on Earth. (6 days, 9 hrs, 36 mins)
Hundreds of dwarf planets exist, but the IAU only officially recognizes five:
Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake.

Full “Snow” Moon on February 27 (aka the “Hunger” Moon)

MARCH

New Moon on March 13 (not visible)

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Vernal “Spring” Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20
The Sun shines directly on the equator, there is an equal amount of day and night

Full “Worm” Moon on March 28 (aka the “Crow” Moon, the “Crust” Moon, the “Sap” Moon, the “Lenten” Moon)

APRIL

New Moon on April 12 (not visible)

Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks on April 22, 23 and 24 (runs April 14-25)

Earth Day is April 22 – LOVE YOUR MOTHER EARTH!
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“A peaceful place, or so it looks from space,
a closer look reveals the human race.”

Our Earth is ~4.6 Billion Years Old in the Sol system and Milky Way Galaxy.
Earth (aka “the World” or “the Globe”) is the third planet from the Sun
and is the birthplace of humanity and the cradle of human civilization.
Earth is the fifth largest planet in our solar system.
Earth is the only known planet that has a single moon.
The moon is (an average distance of) 238,855 miles away from Earth.
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Earth Day = anniversary of the birth of the modern Environmental Movement in 1970.
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“We have not inherited the earth from our fathers,
we are borrowing it from our children.”
~ Native American saying

NOTE: CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL!

Super Pink Moon on April 27 (aka the “Sprouting Grass” Moon, the “Growing” Moon, the “Egg” Moon, the “Fish” Moon)

MAY

Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower peaks on May 6 and 7 (runs from April 19 – May 28)

New Moon on May 11 (not visible)

International Astronomy Day is Saturday, May 15, 2021
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Super “Flower” Moon on May 26 (aka the “Corn Planting” Moon, the “Milk” Moon)
The Total Lunar Eclipse on May 26 will be visible in western North America and the Pacific Northwest, across the Pacific Ocean and in parts of eastern Asia, Japan, and Australia

JUNE

supemoon

New Moon on June 10 (not visible)

“Ring of Fire” Annular Solar Eclipse on June 10
(visible in the northeast US and parts of the Midwest)
eclipses
Annular Solar Eclipse = when the Moon is too far away to completely block out the Sun from Earth and a ring of light around the Moon is created,

Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21
Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere on June 21
Summer Solstice = the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere
when the North Pole is directly over the Tropic of Cancer.

Full “Strawberry” Moon on June 24 (aka the “Rose” Moon, the “Honey” Moon)

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JULY

New Moon on July 10 (not visible)

Close conjunction of Venus and Mars on July 12 and 13

Full “Thunder” Moon on July 24 (aka the “Buck” Moon, the “Hay” Moon)

Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower (runs July 12 to August 23)
and Alpha Capricornid Meteor Shower
both peak on July 28 and 29

AUGUST

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Saturn at Opposition on August 2
Saturn at Opposition
= when the planet Saturn is at its brightest
and closest point to Earth, fully illuminated by the Sun, and visible all night long.
Saturn’s Rings and some of Saturn’s Moons should also be visible.

New Moon on August 8 (not visible)

Perseid Meteor Shower will peak on August 12 and 13 (runs July 17 to August 24)

Conjunction of Mars and Mercury on August 18

Jupiter at Opposition on August 19
Jupiter at Opposition = when the planet Jupiter is at its brightest
and closest point to Earth, fully illuminated by the Sun, and visible all night long.
Some of Jupiter’s Moons and Cloud Bands should also be visible.

Blue “Sturgeon” Moon on August 22 (aka the “Green Corn” Moon, the “Grain” Moon)
Blue_Moon
Usually there are only three Full Moons during each season of the year, so the fourth Full Moon is called a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon occurs once every 2.7 years.

“Blue Moon you saw me standing alone, 
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own”

Aurigid Meteor Shower peaks on August 31

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SEPTEMBER

New Moon on September 7 (not visible)

Neptune at Opposition on September 14
Neptune at Opposition = when the planet Neptune is at its brightest
and closest point to Earth, fully illuminated by the Sun, and visible all night long.

Full “Harvest” Moon on September 20 (aka the “Corn” Moon)

Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere on September 22
The Sun shines directly on the equator, there is an equal amount of day and night

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earth – Sol system, Milky Way galaxy

OCTOBER

New Moon on October 6 (not visible)

Draconids Meteor Shower peaks on October 7 and 8 (runs October 6 to 10)

Orionid Meteor Shower peaks on October 20, 21 and 22 (runs October 2 to November 7)

Full “Hunter’s” Moon on October 20 (aka the “Travel” Moon, the “Blood” Moon)
full-moon

NOVEMBER

New Moon on November 4 (not visible)

Taurids Meteor Shower peaks on November 4 and 5 (runs September 7 to December 10)

Uranus at Opposition on November 5
Uranus at Opposition = when the planet Uranus is at its brightest
and closest point to Earth, fully illuminated by the Sun, and visible all night long.

Leonid Meteor Shower peaks on November 16 and 17 (runs November 6 to 30)

Full “Beaver” Moon on November 19 (aka the “Frosty” Moon, the “Dark” Moon)
Partial Lunar Eclipse (97%) on November 19 (visible in the entire US)

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DECEMBER

New Moon on December 4 (not visible)
Total Solar Eclipse on December 4 (only visible from Antarctica, and the extreme south)
Total Solar Eclipse = when the Moon completely blocks out the Sun, revealing the Sun’s outer atmosphere known as the corona

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Geminid Meteor Shower peaks on December 13 and 14 (runs December 4 to 20)

Full “Cold” Moon on December 19 (aka the “Long Nights” Moon and the “Moon Before Yule”)

Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere on December 21
Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere on December 21
Winter Solstice = the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere
when the South Pole is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.

Ursid Meteor Shower peaks on December 21 and 22 (runs December 17 to 26)

JANUARY 2022 – January 1st is a Saturday

New Moon on January 2, 2022 (not visible)

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Giant steps are what you take – Walking on the moon
I hope my leg don’t break – Walking on the moon
We could walk forever – Walking on the moon
We could live together – Walking on, walking on the moon….
Feet they hardly touch the ground – Walking on the moon
My feet don’t hardly make no sound – Walking on, walking on the moon
– The Police “Walking On The Moon”

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Pluto with it’s moon Charon

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“Space, The Final Frontier” Meteor Showers 2017 Schedule & Guide
https://joshwilltravel.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/space-the-final-frontier-meteor-showers-2017-schedule-guide/

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Pluto

Your Moon Sign (the Zodiac):
Your Date Of Birth and the time and location of your birth, determine the location of the Moon and which zodiac sign the Moon was in when you were born.

signs

zodiac-glyphs

Your Sun Sign, (aka your Star Sign), is your Zodiac Sign:
where the Sun was positioned in space at the moment of your birth.
The 12 Zodiac Signs in order are:
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio,
Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

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Lunar Eclipse:
Earth’s shadow blocks the Moon – Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, and Earth’s shadow creates a lunar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse:
The Moon blocks the Sun – The Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon’s shadow creates a solar eclipse.

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The New Moon = when the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction, and the Sun and Earth are on opposite sides of the Moon. The New Moon is not normally visible from Earth because only “The Dark Side of the Moon” faces Earth at the New Moon.

The Full Moon = when the Sun and the Moon are on opposite sides of Earth

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Full Moon on Friday December 25, 2015 at 3:11am PST

“Don’t you know that you are a shooting star
And all the world will love you just as long, as long as you are?”
~ Bad Company “Shooting Star”

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Is this the end of time and space?




SPACE 2020! The Universe and (our home planet) EARTH

SPACE 2020! The Universe and (our home planet) EARTH 

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“Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free
Dizzy with eternity
Paint it with a skin of sky, brush in some clouds and sea
Call it home for you and me
A peaceful place, or so it looks from space
A closer look reveals the human race
Full of hope, full of grace, is the human face
But afraid we may lay our home to waste”
– Grateful Dead “Throwing Stones”

NOTE: CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL!

Meteor Showers

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January 3-4, Quadrantid meteor shower peak: A meteor shower January 1-5. The Quadrantids produce up to 40 shooting stars an hour at the peak; but in 2020, there may be up to 100 meteors an hour during the Jan. 3-4 peak. The first-quarter moon sets just after midnight, leaving dark skies for optimum viewing conditions.

April 22-23, Lyrid meteor shower peak: This meteor shower April 16-25. The Lyrids reliably produce 20 meteors an hour, sometimes with bright dust trails for several seconds. A relatively new moon will make for dark skies. Best viewing time is after midnight. The meteors radiate from the constellation Lyra but can be seen anywhere in the sky.

May 6-7, Eta Aquarid meteor shower peak: This meteor shower from April 19-May 28 produces up to 30 meteors an hour at its peak. Unfortunately, a supermoon will wash out all but the brightest meteors, though patience may be rewarded for those who seek out dark skies after midnight. The constellation Aquarius is the radiant point, but meteors are visible anywhere in the sky.

July 28-29, Delta Aquarid meteor shower peak: Produced by debris left behind by the Marsden and Kracht comets, this meteor shower produces about 20 meteors an hour July 12-Aug. 23. A second-quarter moon will wash out some of the faintest meteors. The meteors radiate from the constellation Aquarius but are visible anywhere in the sky.

August 12-13, Perseid meteor shower: If you can catch only one meteor shower in 2020, make it the Perseids, which produce up to 60 shooting stars an hour at the peak. The shower runs July 17-Aug. 24. A second-quarter moon will wash out some of the faintest meteors. The Perseids fly mainly after midnight and can be seen anywhere in the sky, though they radiate from the constellation Perseus.

October 7, Draconid meteor shower peak: The Draconids are a minor meteor shower with only about 10 shooting stars an hour; but occasionally, Draco the Dragon — the radiant point of the Draconids — breathes fire, and an outburst occurs. The shower runs October 6-10. Unlike other meteor showers, the peak viewing time is in the early evening hours. A second-quarter moon means viewing conditions should be good.

October 21-22, Orionid meteor shower peak: The Orionids run Oct 2-Nov. 7, and produce about 20 meteors an hour at the shower’s peak. Viewing is best after midnight, and a crescent moon will set before then. Produced by dust grains left behind by the comet Halley, the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Orion but can be seen anywhere in the sky.

November 4-5, Taurid meteor shower peak: The Taurids are active for longer than any other meteor shower of the year Sept 7-Dec. 10. The Taurids produceonly about five to 10 meteors an hour. What makes this shooting star show unusual is that the meteors come from separate debris streams — dust grains left behind Asteroid 2004 TG10 and debris from Comet 2P Encke. A first-quarter moon at the shower’s peak may block out all but the brightest meteors. After midnight is the best time to look for meteors, which radiate from the constellation Taurus but can be seen anywhere in the sky.

November 17-18, Leonid meteor shower peak: This average shower, produced by dust grains from the comet Tempel-Tuttle, runs Nov. 6-30 and produces about 15 meteors an hour at its peak. It’s unpredictable, though, and produces hundreds of meteors an hour during cyclonic peaks, which occur about every 33 years. That last happened in 2001, so don’t expect a cyclonic flurry this time. The best time to watch for Leonids is after midnight, and the crescent moon will already have set, leaving dark skies. The meteors radiate from the constellation Leo but are visible anywhere in the sky.

December 13-14, Geminid meteor shower peak: The only thing the Perseids have over the Geminids is that they occur in the summer when it’s comfortable to be outside. The Geminids, which run Dec. 7-17 every year, are known to produce up to 120 multicolored meteors at their peak. Produced by debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, this shower is best viewed after midnight. A nearly new moon will make for excellent viewing conditions. The meteors radiate from the constellation Gemini but are visible anywhere in the sky.

December 21-22, Ursid meteor shower: This minor meteor shower runs Dec. 17-25 and produces around five to 10 meteors at the peak. Viewing conditions are best after midnight. The first-quarter moon sets just after midnight, so dark skies will enhance meteor viewing. The meteors come from the constellation Ursa Minor but can be seen anywhere in the sky.

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Full Moons, Supermoons, Lunar Events

January 10, full moon and penumbral lunar eclipse:
Native American tribes called the first full moon of the year the “Wolf Moon”. It is also called the “Old Moon” and the “Moon After Yule”. A penumbral lunar eclipse (when the moon passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra) will occur on January 10 but won’t be visible in the United States.

February 9, full moon and Supermoon:
The first of four 2020 Supermoons (moons that appear to be larger and brighter when they get closest to Earth). Heavy snow fell at this time of year, so they called it either the “Snow Moon” or the “Hunger Moon” because hunting was difficult.

March 9, full moon and Supermoon:
The second of the four 2020 Supermoons. It heralds the approach of spring. Native American tribes called it the “Worm Moon” to mark the time of year earthworms began working their way out of the newly thawed ground. It’s also called the “Crow Moon”, the “Crust Moon”, the “Sap Moon, and the “Lenten Moon”.

April 8, full moon and Supermoon:
The third of the four 2020 Supermoons is called the “Pink Moon” because it’s the time of year when wild pink ground phlox reappeared. The first full moon after the spring equinox is also called the “Sprouting Grass Moon”, the “Growing Moon” and the “Egg Moon”. Some coastal Native American tribes called it the “Fish Moon” to mark the time of year when they swim upstream to spawn.

May 7, full moon and Supermoon:
The last of four consecutive Supermoons of 2020. Native American tribes called it the “Flower Moon”. It’s also called the “Corn Planting Moon” and the “Milk Moon”.

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Supermoon!

June 5, full moon:
Native American tribes called this the “Strawberry Moon” to signal the ripening of the sweet fruit. It is also called the “Rose Moon” and the “Honey Moon”.

July 5, full moon and penumbral lunar eclipse:
Native American tribes called it the “Buck Moon” because it’s when male deer begin growing antlers. It’s also called the “Thunder Moon” and the “Hay Moon”. And a penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible throughout most of North America and South America, the eastern Pacific Ocean and western Atlantic ocean. This type of eclipse happens when the moon passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, called a penumbra, and the moon darkens slightly.

August 3, full moon:
Native American tribes called it the “Sturgeon Moon” because the large fish found in the Great Lakes and other major lakes were easier to catch at this time of the year. It is also called the “Green Corn Moon” and the “Grain Moon”.

September 2, full moon:
Native American tribes called it the “Corn Moon” because it signaled the time to begin corn harvests.

October 1, full moon:
This year the October full moon is also a “Harvest Moon”. It always occurs closest to the September Equinox. Native American tribes called it the “Hunter’s Moon”, because it’s the time of year when the game was fat and ready to be hunted. It is also called the “Travel Moon” and the “Blood Moon”.

October 31, full moon and a “Blue Moon”:
There’s a “Blue Moon” (the second full moon in the same month) on Halloween in 2020.

Blue_Moon

“Blue Moon you saw me standing alone, 
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own”

November 30, full moon and penumbral lunar eclipse:
It is called the “Beaver Moon” by Native American tribes who trapped and hunted beaver before the swamps and rivers froze. It’s also called the “Frosty Moon” and the “Hunter’s Moon”. November’s full moon occurs as it passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse the moon darkens slightly.

December 30, full moon:
Native Americans called it the “Cold Moon”. It’s also called the “Moon Before Yule” and the “Long Night’s Moon”.

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Equinoxes And Solstices

March 20, first day of Spring:
During the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator and there are nearly equal amounts of day and night.

June 22, first day of Summer:
Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere when the North Pole is directly over the Tropic of Cancer.

September 22, first day of Fall:
The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the sun shines directly on the equator and there are nearly equal amounts of day and night around the world.

December 21, first day of Winter:
Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere when the South Pole is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.

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Planetary Events

February 10, Mercury at its greatest eastern elongation: The planet is 18.2 degrees from the sun, and will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. See the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
March 24, Mercury at its greatest western elongation: Mercury will be at its highest point above the eastern horizon just before sunrise.
March 24, Venus at its greatest eastern elongation: Venus will make its closest approach to the sun, and will be at its highest point above the western horizon after sunset.
June 4, Mercury at its greatest eastern elongation: Mercury will again be close to the sun. Look for it low in the western sky just after sunset.
July 14, Jupiter at opposition: Jupiter is a giant planet, and when it makes its closest approach to the Earth, its face is fully illuminated by the sun. Jupiter is never brighter than at this time of year, making it an ideal time to view and photograph the planet and its moons. You’ll be able to see Jupiter all night, and a medium-size telescope should be powerful enough to reveal some of the details in the planet’s cloud zone. The moons should be visible through a good pair of binoculars.
July 20, Saturn at opposition: See Saturn’s ring and a few of its brightest moons with a medium-size or larger telescope when the planet makes its closest approach to Earth and it will be fully illuminated by the sun.
July 22, Mercury at its greatest western elongation: Mercury will be at its highest point above the horizon in the eastern sky just before sunrise.
August 13, Venus at its greatest western elongation: Venus will be at its highest point above the eastern sky horizon just before sunrise.
September 11, Neptune at opposition: Neptune will be fully illuminated by the sun, and will be brighter than at any other time of the year. You’ll need a powerful telescope to see it as more than a tiny blue dot. It will be visible all night.
October 1, Mercury at its greatest eastern elongation: Mercury will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
October 13, Mars at opposition: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth, and it will be illuminated by the sun and the planet will be brighter than at any other time of the year and will be visible all night.
October 31, Uranus at opposition: Uranus will make its closest approach to Earth on Halloween, and it will be illuminated by the sun. Brighter than at any other night of the year, and will be visible all night. If you want to see it, you’ll need a powerful telescope.
November 10, Mercury at its greatest western elongation: Mercury’s last close appearance of the year. Look for it low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.
December 21, rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn: These two planets appear within 7 arc minutes of each other, known as a “Great Conjunction” (last happened in 2000). They’ll be so close they will appear as one bright planet. Look to the western sky just after sunset to view it.

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“We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.” ~ Native American saying

NOTE: Ripped from patch.com and re-edited.
From Seaandsky.org, NASA.gov, Space.com and Earthsky.org

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Satellites to stars, NASA information, astronomy, the Sun and the planets!

NOTE: CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL!

galaxy_song

The Galaxy Song by Monty Python
Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,
And you feel that you’ve had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough,
Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
The sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun, and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In the outer spiral arm, at 40, 000 miles an hour,
Of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars;
It’s a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it’s just three thousand light-years wide.
We’re thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go ’round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy itself is one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

apolo

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PLUTO! We Have Arrived!

PLUTO! We have arrived!

Today’s the day! 9 and a half years! NASA NewHorizons has made it to Pluto!

“Space, the final frontier!”

The dwarf planet Pluto is 3.26 billion miles away at the very edge of the solar system, and has never been seen in detail. After a nine-year journey, the New Horizons probe will pass closer to the surface than any other has ever before, passing within 7,767 miles of Pluto at 12.49pm UK time. (4:49am PST)

Moving faster than any spacecraft ever built at a speed of about 30,800 miles per hour, the nuclear-powered New Horizons, about the size of a baby grand piano, snapped pictures of Pluto as it hurtled by on auto-pilot. The photos will reveal details of Pluto never seen before in the history of space travel.

Pluto

Pluto

The closest pictures ever captured of dwarf planet Pluto will be beamed back to Earth today when US spacecraft New Horizons makes its historic fly-by. For much of the day, New Horizons will be out of communication with mission control as it gathers data about Pluto and its moons.

New Horizons' path past Pluto

New Horizons’ path past Pluto

The moment of closest approach will be marked during the live NASA TV broadcast that includes a countdown and discussion of what’s expected next as New Horizons makes its way past Pluto and potentially dangerous debris and into the Kuiper Belt and Deep Space.

NASA TV will share the suspenseful moments of this historic event with the public and museums around the world. The New Horizons spacecraft will send a preprogrammed signal after the closest approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal later in the day when New Horizons “phones home”.

Pluto with it's moon Charon

Pluto with it’s moon Charon

MORE FACTS:

Pluto sports a reddish-orange hue, while Charon is quite gray. At 750 miles (1,200 km) in diameter, Charon is about half as wide as Pluto.

Pluto has four other very small moons: Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx. Nix is about 20 miles (35 km) wide, while Hydra turns out to be approximately 30 miles (45 km) in diameter.

Pluto

Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons mission observations have already shown the dwarf planet’s surface is a complex blend of bright and dark features, and provided data measuring Pluto at 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) in diameter. Previous estimates had put its radius at 1,430 miles (2,301 km).

The feature previously thought to be a polar cap has been confirmed to consist of methane and nitrogen ice. The pole differs in composition from the dark features around the dwarf planet’s equator.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto on July 14, 2015, exactly 50 years after the first robotic visit to Mars. On July 14, 1965, NASA’s Mariner 4 probe flew by the Red Planet, the first spacecraft ever to capture up-close looks at another planet. (Mariner 2 gathered data but no images when it zoomed past Venus in December 1962.)

CGI rendering of New Horizons Pluto fly-by

CGI rendering of New Horizons Pluto fly-by 9.5 years & 3.26 BILLION miles in the making

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And Pluto makes nine!

And Pluto makes nine!