August 13 2015 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Mizar and Alcor – Horse and Rider
The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major. It's probably the best known item in the night sky after the Moon. More people could pick out its seven stars than could locate the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. But are there only seven stars in the Big Dipper? What about the Horse and Rider?
*Discovery of Deimos and Phobos*
On August 12, 1877 and August 18, 1877, American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered, respectively, Deimos and Phobos, the moons of Mars. Deimos (meaning terror) and Phobos (meaning fear) were the twin sons of Ares (Greek Mars) and Aphrodite (Greek Venus).
*The Perseids peaked early this morning*
I hope you've had a chance to see the Perseid meteor shower. Even though they've peaked, you should still be able to see meteors for some time. The Perseids are particularly attractive, as they produce more fireballs than any other shower, and they also leave persistent trails.
*Comet C-G was at perihelion early this morning*
Rosetta's comet was at its closest point to the Sun today. The spacecraft has been moved away to a safe distance to protect its instruments from the comet's activity as the Sun warms it. The activity usually increases during the few weeks after perihelion, so it will be interesting to see what happens now.
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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