Wow! What a great month for planets! Watch Venus, Mars and Jupiter pop out at nightfall. Jupiter opposition February 6. Venus/Mars conjunction February 21. Mercury and Saturn before dawn.
Happy Groundhog Day 2015! This U.S. and Canadian tradition comes every year on February 2. It has its roots in astronomy, in the sense that it’s a seasonal festival, tied to the movement of Earth around the sun. In the U.S. and Canada, we call it Groundhog Day – a great excuse to go outside and enjoy some revelry during the winter months.
Among dinosaurs, it seems, there were long necks and there were looooonnnnnggggg necks. Paleontologists reported on January 26 on the discovery in China of a new species of dinosaur, a creature they said was “half neck.” They are calling it Qijianglong, meaning dragon of Qijiang, for its discovery in Qijiang, a district of the municipality of Chongqing, China, where many other dinosaur fossils have been found.
February 2015 will be a grand month for watching planets in the evening sky. Venus, the sky’s brightest planet, and modestly-bright Mars appear rather close together in the western sky. And magnificent Jupiter, the sky’s second-brightest planet, beams low in the east as darkness falls, and then stays out all night long.
Radar data obtained from NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia were used to make this movie of asteroid 2004 BL86 and its small, newly discovered moon.
NASA hopes communications with the Philae comet lander can be regained by May or June. While you’re waiting, check out these stunning newly released images!
The moon might look full these next few nights as it shines fairly close the constellation Gemini’s brightest stars, Castor and Pollux. But the moon won’t be astronomically full – most opposite the sun – tonight. For us in North America, the moon will turn full during the evening hours on February 3. Tonight’s moon is actually a waxing gibbous moon.
What would happen to our planet if all us humans – for some reason – suddenly vanished? Here’s AsapSCIENCE’s take on it.
Many people are familiar with Orion, the most noticeable of all constellations. The three stars of Orion’s Belt jump out at you midway between Orion’s two brightest stars, Betelgeuse and Rigel, which are two of the brightest stars in the sky. Once you find the Belt stars, you can also locate the Orion Nebula, otherwise known as M42, a stellar nursery where new stars are being born. If you look closely, you’ll notice a curved line of stars “hanging” from the three Belt stars. These stars represent Orion’s Sword. Look for the Orion Nebula about midway down in the Sword of Orion.
January 30, 1826. Workers completed construction of the first modern suspension bridge on this date. It was the Menai Bridge between Wales on the island of Great Britain and the smaller island of Anglesey, to the west. According to local reports about the bridge from nearly 200 years ago, travel in the strait between Wales and Anglesey was hazardous, due to shifting currents and unpredictable weather patterns. But the island of Anglesey had the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west, and, especially after Ireland joined the United Kingdom in 1800, people increasingly wanted to use Anglesey as a jumping off point to reach the Emerald Isle by ferry boat.