astronomy

This week the dragon constellation Draco is host to a fickle meteor shower; thousands of years ago, it was host to the North Star. In between then and now, it lent itself to origination myths of King Arthur.

Every once in awhile there’s a particular line up that allows for a convergence of things historic and astronomic, and here’s how it happens this first week of October, 2018:

After the Full Harvest Moon Monday night, the Moon spends the rest of the week waning through its gibbous phase. “Gibbous” is the term we use to describe the phenomena of light on the Moon’s surface, when it makes the Moon appear convex on both edges, as opposed to one edge being concave, like at crescent phase. So what’s so unique about this now?

This month marks the 172nd anniversary of the discovery of Neptune, the only planet in our system that can’t be seen with the naked eye, and this week, it comes to its annual opposition with the Sun.

Adams resigns from Headlands Dark Sky Park

Mar 19, 2018
Aaron Selbig

The leader of Michigan’s only International Dark Sky Park has resigned. Mary Stewart Adams served as program director at the Emmet County-owned park for nine years.

Adams says a “difference in philosophy” with county leaders led to her resignation Monday.

“It’s unfortunate that it had to come to this,” says Adams. “My understanding was that we would stay in conversation with one another, and that while I needed to hear from them what I could be doing better, they also needed to hear that from me. But it felt very much like a one-sided conversation.”

 

This week’s Full Moon is not the Harvest Moon. Harvest Moon is the name given to the Full Moon closest to Autumn Equinox, and this year, that Moon will happen in October. So what becomes of September’s ull Moon when it’s not Harvest Moon? 

 

In some traditions, the September Full Moon is then known as the Wine Moon. This Moon will come to Full Phase at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, September 6.

So why Wine Moon? This may be connected to the region of the sky that’s settling into the horizon after sunset at this time. 

Megan Nadolski

Monday afternoon people can step outside and watch the solar eclipse. From our view here in northern Michigan, only part of the sun will be blocked by the moon – 75 percent. Peak coverage happens at 2:20 p.m.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope – it’s a meteor, or a fireball, or space junk...

A bright, unidentified object flying over Lake Michigan last night caught onlookers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan saying just that.

But what was it?

In this all-too-fast-paced era we live in, it's comforting to see something that's managed to stick around for 225 years – the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

What Massachusetts schoolteacher and bookseller Robert B. Thomas started in 1792 is still with us. The 2017 edition is now out.

Michigan native Brother Guy Consolmagno is one of 12 Vatican astronomers. He oversees the Vatican’s meteorite collection and was recently appointed as the director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope Francis.

A year ago, he became the first clergyman to win the Carl Sagan Medal, one of planetary science’s most distinguished honors. It’s given to the scientist who makes science accessible and understandable to the public.

Astronomy enthusiasts are gearing up for a viewing of the Leonid meteor shower, set to peak between midnight and dawn tomorrow.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinaw City is welcoming a host of stargazers for one of the biggest meteor showers of the year. Mary Stewart Adams, program director at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, spoke with Stateside about the Leonids.

The shower is produced when a comet coming through our planetary system breaks into pieces as it approaches the sun, Adams says. The Earth orbits through the comet debris, giving the appearance of falling stars.

 


University of Michigan researchers believe the water in your glass or bottle might be older than the sun.

One of those researchers is Ilse Cleeves, an astronomy PhD student. 

Cleeves and her fellow researchers arrived at the estimate by simulating the chemistry that went on as our solar system formed. They studied the ratio of two different varieties of water – common water and a heavier version. Through the simulation, the researchers found that at least half of our water likely formed in the cold molecular cloud that spawned our solar system. 

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