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Transit of Venus! June 5, 2012

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Just witnessed the Transit of Venus earlier today!  It was amazing, a more detailed post will come soon regarding the Transit and all its details.

May 11, 2012 May 11, 2012

Posted by orionrising in Uncategorized.
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Venus and Alnath (Beta Tauri) were in a beautiful pairing tonight as I was walking home.  It’s always interesting to have a planet paired brilliantly with a star.  Oftentimes in astronomy when several planets are in close proximity they get the most attention, but tonight Alnath was close enough to complement Venus quite well. The supermoon a few days ago was also quite spectacular, it was indeed very bright and full and the sky was clear.  No screenshot tonight unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the Stellarium on my Linux system to behave properly lately.  Hopefully the next time I make a posting I’ll have pretty pictures. The sky was very clear tonight.

Beta Tauri is so named because it’s the second brightest star in the constellation Taurus.  The brightest star in a constellation will often be assigned the alpha designation; for example, alpha centauri is the brightest star in the constellation Centaurus.  If you quickly search up a star map of Beta Tauri’s surrounding stars on Google or your favorite planetarium program, you’ll quickly notice that Beta Tauri is very close to the constellation Auriga, and may be connected to Auriga’s stars.  Lying on the boundary of both constellations, the star can be referred in older texts as part of Auriga instead of Taurus [http://bit.ly/KvLt7u]. Interestingly, Alnath is one of the closest major stars to the Galactic Anticenter, a region in space opposite to the Galactic Center (the center of the Milky Way Galaxy) [http://bit.ly/Jv7DUE].

March 14, 2012 March 14, 2012

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Venus and Jupiter in the Western Sky at Dusk

Venus and Jupiter were in this beautiful pairing tonight. These two planets are not actually close to one another, it is due to their location in space and our vantage point from Earth that they seem to be so close. Jupiter has an apparent brightness of -1.96, and Venus -4.18; apart from the Sun and the Moon, these are some of the brightest celestial objects visible in the night sky.  The weather was amazing tonight.

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