Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Look East after sunset for a Moon-Jupiter meeting

With clear skies this evening, go outside after sunset (it happens early at 5:05PM) and look East. The Full Moon will be bright in the sky a mere ten degrees apart from the brilliant planet Jupiter (it's the next brightest light in the sky; you can't mistake it). Here's a sky map to orient yourself on where to look (notice some of the surrounding constellations of interest):

(Map: Spaceweather.com)

Also worthy of noting is the Near Earth Asteroid "2005 YU55" that will safely pass by Earth this evening at 6:28 PM EST. The aircraft carrier-sized asteroid will be relatively close to the Earth at a mere 201,697 miles away, which is closer than the Moon's distance from Earth. However, astronomers are confident of the asteroid's track safely away from any Earth impact. Unfortunately for us, we won't be able to see the asteroid with the naked eye, or even with most standard backyard telescopes. The big research telescopes will be trained on the asteroid, though, collecting valuable scientific research for asteroid astronomers to analyze.

The last time an asteroid passed this close to earth was in 1976 when "2010 XC15" zoomed quietly by, unnoticed at the time by astronomers. Astronomers are currently monitoring approximately 1250 Near Earth Asteroids, including one that will be in our neighborhood December 26, 2011. That asteroid is a tiny 262 feet wide, and will be almost three times as far away from us as is the Moon.
--Meteorologist Carrie Rose

No comments: