14 March 2006

Some Events in our Solar System for 2006

Quote for the day:

Man is a strange animal; he doesn't like to read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.”
Adali Stevenson
Vice President USA
(1835 – 1914)

Here it is the middle of March with wonderful things going on in our heavens' this month. The full moon arrives today and a Solar Eclipse graces our skies March 29th.

We have been fortunate enough to have beautiful clear skies at night this past week and the stars are twinkling like crystals spread out on black velvet. Soothing for the Soul to sit out wrapped up in a blanket to keep warm and breathe in the crisp mountain air and gaze in awe at the magic of it all!


Star chart by Hencoup Enterprises

Some of the interesting things going on in our solar system that draw my interest for the coming month and year:

Scientists Say Next Solar Cycle Will Be Stronger Posing More of a Threat to Communications

photo credit: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Thanks to Cyberspaceorbit for archiving

David Hathaway, a solar astronomer with NASA - Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, does not doubt that the next sunspot cycle will be stronger than the previous one.

The current research, funded by the
National Science Foundation in Boulder, Colorado is published in the latest Geophysical Research Letters.

Jupiter Growing Another Red Spot and NASA - Jupiter's New Red Spot


photo credit: Christopher Go (Cebu, Phillipines)

The gas giant is growing another red spot, nicknamed "Red Jr". Both red spots are actually raging storms in Jupiter's cloud layer, Red Jr is about half the size of the Great Red Spot and almost exactly the same colour,

The new storm’s official name is Oval BA and was first observed in 2000, when three smaller spots collided and merged.

Two solar and two lunar eclipses occur in 2006:

2006 Mar 14: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
Best visible from Europe and Africa

2006 Mar 29: Total Solar Eclipse
Begins in Brazil and extends across the Atlantic, northern Africa, and central Asia, where it ends at sunset in western Mongolia. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the northern two thirds of Africa, Europe, and central Asia

2006 Sep 07: Partial Lunar Eclipse
Best seen from Africa, Asia, Australia and Eastern Europe.

2006 Sep 22: Annular Solar Eclipse
Begins in northern South America and crosses the South Atlantic with no further landfall. A partial eclipse will be seen from a much larger region including South America, the eastern Caribbean, western Africa, and Antarctica

The Vernal Equinox arrives March 20th, 2006 and Spring is coming earlier than you think

Illumination of Earth by Sun on the day of equinox (vernal & autumnal).

photo credit: Przemyslaw "Blueshade" Idzkiewicz (Wikipedia)

Links:

Sunspots and Human Behavior
Join The Star Hunting Party - March 22 - 29, 2006
NASA - Eclipse Home Page
Hubblesite - Tonight's Sky
Gamma-ray Burst Real-time Sky Map
Magnetic Flips
Solar System Live
Virtual Tour of the Sun

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