Sun, Earth and Sky

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We acknowledge with thanks the comet observations from the COBS Comet Observation Database contributed by observers worldwide and used in this table to report recent comet observations. These are the top 10 brightest asteroids visible tonight. Click on each line to go to the asteroids's detail page, or click the blue 'full screen' icon to view an accurate deep sky chart showing the asteroids's current position in real time.

Also check the full list of tracked asteroids and dward planets This is a list of the currently active meteor showers.

The celestial coordinates refer to the meteor shower radiant position, i. This number is an estimate, the actual number an observer could see depends on the actual intensity of the shower which can be highly variable and on the actual sky conditions. Clicking on the blue square icon will bring you to a sky map showing the radiant position. The data used here is derived from Wikipedia.

Bibliographic Information

If you find this website useful please consider a small donation that will help covering hosting costs. Thank you! Left-click and drag to change the viewing angles; Right-click and drag to pan; Pinch or mouse-wheel to zoom. View larger 3D Solar System Simulator.

Moon and Stars in Sky

Aquarius Aqr. Auriga Aur. Perseus Per. Even with a high-quality telescope Pluto only ever appears as a faint star-like object, and it will be a challenge for most myself included to find it in its current position among all the stars near the bright Milky Way. If you are up for the challenge, a free astronomy program such as Stellarium is ideal to help locate the planets.

Screen music and the question of originality - Miguel Mera — London, Islington. UEA Inaugural lecture: Alternative performance measures: do managers disclose them to inform us, or to mislead us? A Modern Engineer — Edinburgh, Midlothian. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Enjoying the planets lined up in a row. Tanya Hill , Museums Victoria.

Stars and constellations

After sunset around Australia, the five bright planets can be seen in the western sky this week. Five planets, two groups The planets have been doing a merry dance in the night sky over the past few months. The five planets were last seen together in the western sky, August Alex Cherney As Mercury and Venus are the inner planets, orbiting closer to the Sun than Earth does, we only ever see these two low to the west after sunset, or low to the east before sunrise.

Watch the planets come together.


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Up for a challenge? Voyager 2 flew by Uranus in and Neptune in capturing stunning close-up images. Read more: Aboriginal traditions describe the complex motions of planets, the 'wandering stars' of the sky It is best to wait until later in the evening, when Uranus has risen higher, to try to observe it.

The ALMA telescope has seen tantalising hints of a violent event. Pluto in enhanced color, to illustrate differences in the composition and texture of its surface. Here on Earth, perihelion occurs on January 3rd: just 2 weeks after the December solstice.

Five in a row - the planets align in the night sky

All told, we can combine these effects to make an equation for where the Sun will be located at any particular time as viewed from any location on Earth. We call this derived quantity the equation of time. The equation of time is determined by both the shape of a planet's orbit and its axial tilt, as well as how they align. All told, it's only axial tilt and ellipticity that determine the shape of the Sun's path as viewed at the same time, every day, from Earth.

The Earth's analemma is fixed in this particular shape. But there are two more factors at play in determining the exact orientation of the analemma. One is your location on Earth: observers from the Northern Hemisphere will see the small analemma loop occur high in the sky and the large loop occur lower in the sky, while Southern Hemisphere observers will see the reverse. If you photograph the Sun every day at noon, your analemma will appear perfectly vertical left.

Before noon upper right , the analemma appears to rotate counterclockwise towards the horizon, while after noon, it appears to rotate clockwise with respect to the horizon. These images are further proof, for any doubters out there, that the Earth is round. And the other is at what time of day you take your photographs.

If you take your daily photograph:. Over the course of a day year, the Sun appears to move not only up-and-down in the sky, as determined by our axial tilt, but ahead-and-behind, as determined by our elliptical orbit around the Sun. When both effects are combined, the pinched figure-8 that results is known as an analemma.

Occurring approximately on April 14th and August 30th, those dates are only determined by the way our seasons, determined by axial tilt, align with our planet's orbit around the Sun. If our perihelion and aphelion were aligned with the equinoxes, rather than the solstices, we'd have a teardrop-shaped analemma, rather than a figure-8, which is how the Sun appears from Mars!


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The Sun reaches its highest point at a variety of times as the seasons change, not merely at noon every day. I have won numerous awards for science writing s Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin.