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

Subtropical Storm Sean developed early Tuesday morning

Our next named system of the 2011 Tropical Season developed early Tuesday morning east of the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean. Here's the latest color-infrared satellite image of the convection in Sean:

Subtropical Storm Sean will not impact the U.S., but it should track near Bermuda at the end of this week, bringing tropical storm force winds, rain, and rough waves. Here's the official forecast track for Sean from the National Hurricane Center:

So what does it mean to be a "subtropical" storm as opposed to a "tropical" storm? Sean possesses both characteristics of a tropical (warm-core low pressure system) and an extratropical (cold-core low pressure system) cyclone. The low that became Sean in the Atlantic is part of the remnants of a system that tracked through the eastern U.S. last week and stalled off-shore, spinning as a closed low for days. It's a pretty shallow low pressure system, not as deep as a tropical cyclone would be. As you could see in the satellite image above, it also doesn't "look" like a typical circulation associated with a tropical cyclone, being asymmetrical. But because of the convection and gale-force winds and rough waves, it behaves like a tropical cyclone. Therefore, it can only be classified as "subtropical."

Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm.
--Meteorologist Carrie Rose