One of the best meteor shower events of the year will be happening this weekend, peaking late tonight. Most of the country should have at least a decent view.
Discovery Channel Telescope: ‘First Light’ Photos
July 21, 2012 — The Discovery Channel Telescope at Lowell Observatory, near Flagstaff, Ariz., is complete and has begun observing the cosmos with its 16-million-pixel camera. This camera is a close relative to the NSF-funded 36-million-pixel Large Monolithic Imager (LMI) that is now undergoing advanced testing and will soon be the primary imager for the DCT.
In this first light observation by the DCT, the barred spiral galaxy M109 has been imaged. M109 is around 84 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.
On (And Near) The Center-Line: The 20th May annular solar eclipse from Utah
Kanarraville, Utah was very close to the center-line of Sunday’s eclipse, meaning that it was nearest to the center of the darkest shadow cone produced by the Moon as it crossed the face of the Sun. In this image, the disk of the Sun (red) perfectly frames the shadowed outline of the Moon at mid-eclipse. Compare with the photo below, taken from Zion National Park (about 18 miles southeast of Kanarraville) at the same time.
(Credit: G.A. Esquerdo)
The location of the two sites is shown on the map below. The red line is the eclipse center-line; Kanarraville is very close to where the red line crosses the thick orange line indicating Interstate 15. Zion is at bottom-center.
Even though the moon is about 240,000 miles away, a linear difference of 18 miles on the surface of the Earth is sufficient to noticeably shift the apparent position of the Moon in the sky. This becomes crucial in total solar eclipses, when the region in which the eclipse is total may be only a few miles in width.
Annular eclipses occur when the Moon is slightly further away from the Earth than on average; when it is closer than average, the solar disk is completely blocked and a total eclipse occurs. The next annular eclipse is on May 10, 2013.
Solar Eclipse from Kanarraville, UT. May 20th, 2012
Hand, Moon, Supernova. Anasazi pictographs at Chaco Canyon (USA).
This image is suspected to represent the historic supernova SN 1054 at the time of its conjunction with the moon in the morning of 5th July. SN 1054 created the Crab Nebula.
From New Mexico occupied around 1000 AD by the Anasazi (Pueblo). On a vertical surface plane of a construction, it represents a hand, below which there is a crescent moon facing a star at the bottom-left. On the ground in front of the petroglyph there is a drawing which could be the core and tail of a comet.
Apart from the petroglyph, which could represent the configuration of the moon and supernova on the morning of 5 July 1054, this period corresponds to the apogee of the Anasazi civilisation. It seems possible to propose an interpretation of the other petroglyph, which, if it is more recent than the other one, could possibly correspond to the passing of Halley’s Comet in 1066.
Although plausible, this interpretation is impossible to confirm and does not explain why it was the supernova of 1054 that was represented, rather than the supernova of 1006, which was brighter and also visible to this civilisation.