Image Credit: Ron Garan, ISS Expedition 28 Crew, NASA
Denizens of planet Earth typically watch meteor showers by looking up. But this remarkable view, captured on August 13, 2011 by astronaut Ron Garan, caught a Perseid meteor by looking down. From Garan’s perspective onboard the International Space Station orbiting at an altitude of about 380 kilometers, the Perseid meteors streak below, swept up dust left from comet Swift-Tuttle heated to incandescence. Theglowing comet dust grains are traveling at about 60 kilometers per second through the denser atmosphere around 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface. In this case, the foreshortened meteor flash is right of frame center, below the curving limb of the Earth and a layer of greenish airglow, just below bright star Arcturus. Want to look up at a meteor shower? You’re in luck, as the 2014 Perseids meteor shower peaks this week. Unfortunately, the fainter meteors in this year’s shower will be hard to see in a relatively bright sky lit by the glow of a nearly full Moon.
APOD NASA 10-Aug-14
Arcturus (α Boo, α Boötis, Alpha Boötis) of the constellation Boötes is the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. With a visual magnitude of −0.04, it is the fourth brightest star in the night sky, after −1.46 magnitude Sirius, −0.86 magnitude Canopus, and −0.27 magnitude Alpha Centauri. It is a relatively close star at only 36.7 light-years from Earth, and, together with Vega and Sirius, one of the most luminous stars in the Sun’s neighborhood.
Arcturus is a type K1.5 IIIpe orange giant star, with an absolute magnitude of −0.30. It has likely exhausted its hydrogen from the core and is currently in its active hydrogen shell burning phase. It will continue to expand before entering horizontal branch stage of its life cycle.
Imaging telescopes or lenses: 127 ED doublet f/9 (homemade)
Imaging cameras: Homemade Planet 640×480 Color
Mounts: Konus EQ3.2
Software: Star Tools, Corel Paint Shop Pro x2, Emil Kraaikamp’s AutoStakkert!
Dates: July 2, 2012
Author: Giuseppe Donatiello
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 10 June 2014
Image Credit & Copyright: John Chumack
Sometimes it is hard to believe what you see in the sky. While leading his annual aurora tour last month near Fairbanks in central Alaska, astrophotographer John Chumack and his company saw a most unusual aurora. This bright aurora appeared to change into the shape of a jumping dog, complete with a curly tail. He was able to capture the fleeting natural apparition in the above image with a 15-second exposure through a wide-angle lens. By coincidence, he also captured a background sky filled with familiar highlights. Planets visible include bright Jupiter through the dog’s front legs and reddish Mars below the dog’s hind legs. Stars visible include the Big Dipper stars above the dog’s midsection and reddish Betelgeuse shining on the far right. This dog would not be following him home, however, and within a few minutes morphed into other shapes before thegeomagnetic storm particles that created it shifted to strike the Earth elsewhere.
NASA APOD 29-Apr-14