Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Perseids of August - Meteors!!

Surely you remember our pals the Perseids, a meteor shower which comes this time every August.

What can we expect in a few days? The promise of wishing upon that falling "star" and knowing our dreams are heard - somewhere in the vastness of space/time. Yes I'm a romantic.

Here's a few seconds of an actual Perseid shower.

Peak viewing is from the 11th-12th to the 14th, under a moonless night sky would've been best (new moon on the 10th, full moon on the 24th). They'll appear to be coming directly toward you. It would help if you're not in a city. Pick the darkest space around you and just observe - you should have no trouble seeing a great light shooting across the sky at least every 20 minutes, with stragglers continually. Take pictures!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Baby Stars Found in Center of Our Galaxy

Look at this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of an area in our Milky Way Galaxy. In the center you'll see 3 bustling little baby stars - the first to be discovered in this region - because all previous attempts met with too much dust at the core. Spitzer caught it because it uses sharp infrared eyes which can cut through dust like butter.

The center of our Galaxy is hectic - packed with starstuff, gas, dust
- and we've always wondered how complex stars formed in such places. So we've known stars - like our star "Sol" - are born in such a nebula, but never able to see them actually forming - UNTIL NOW.
Eyes in space will be watching for a good while.More beauty: Two nebulae and a giant flare on Sol, the star keeping us in its orbit.