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Comet McNaught visible in morning and evening skies

Friday, January 12, 2007

Comet McNaught
Comet McNaught from Hammerfest, Norway Jan. 6, 2007.
Credit: Roger Johansen
If you watch the morning or evening sky these days and have a clear view of the horizon, you will be able to spot Comet McNaught, a bright object with a prominent tail.

Instructions for viewing the comet in the morning from Spaceweather.com:

  1. At dawn, go outside and face east
  2. Using binoculars, scan the horizon
  3. The comet is located just south of due east

Instructions for viewing the comet in the evening from Spaceweather.com:
  1. At sunset, go outside and face west
  2. Using binoculars, scan the horizon
  3. The comet is located low and to the right of Venus
  4. A clear view of the horizon is essential

More: NASA - A Bright Comet is Coming - information about Comet McNaught

More: Spaceweather.com - Comet McNaught Photo Gallery

Soyuz Fireball seen over Colorado

Friday, January 5, 2007

Something from space disintegrated over Denver, Colorado, this morning around 6:20 am MST (1320 UT). Witnesses describe it as "brilliant, slow, twinkling, sparkly and full of rainbow colors." It was not a meteor. The fireball was the decaying body of a Soyuz U rocket that launched the French COROT space telescope on Dec. 27th. The re-entry caused no damage on the ground--just a beautiful display in the sky.


Story Credit: Spaceweather.com, January 4, 2007

More: Cloudbait Observatory January 4, 2007 Fireball

Link: CNES - COROT Space Telescope

Meteor impacts on the Moon

Friday, January 5, 2007

"On Dec. 14, 2006, we observed at least five Geminid meteors hitting the Moon," reports Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, AL. Each impact caused an explosion ranging in power from 50 to 125 lbs of TNT and a flash of light as bright as a 7th-to-9th magnitude star.

The explosions occurred while Earth and Moon were passing through a cloud of debris following near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon. This happens every year in mid-December and gives rise to the annual Geminid meteor shower: Streaks of light fly across the sky as rocky chips of Phaethon hit Earth's atmosphere. It's a beautiful display.

More: Science@NASA - Lunar Geminids