When August comes around, the best sky show of the year is also on its way. The Perseids are an annual meteor shower. What's it all about?
(1) The article on the Perseids is general, so I've linked it to the BellaOnline Astronomy forum to give you more specific information as it's available.
(2) Venus, Mars and Saturn are still moving closer together in the sky after sunset. On Saturday, they will form a planetary trio - this is a grouping of three planets within a 5 degree circle.
(3) I know some of you have seen this picture already, but if not, take a look. It's a stunning picture of *four* planets in a row, taken from Indonesia last week.
(1) The APOD picture above includes the elusive Mercury. Mercury is difficult to see from Earth because it is so close to the Sun. Even large telescopes are hampered by this in terms of studying the surface. Astronomers had almost no information about the surface of Mercury until Mariner 10 took pictures in 1974-5.
It wasn't until thirty years later that another probe was launched to study Mercury. In fact, it was six years ago yesterday, August 3, 2004, that Messenger was launched. It has done three flybys of Mercury and on March 18, 2011 is expected to go into orbit.
More information here: http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/the_mission/index.html
(2) Tomorrow August 5th is Neil Armstrong's 80th birthday.
If you're a teacher, home educator, curious child or know someone who is, I will be doing a series of articles for educators which look at online resources. If a site is included in my article or review, you can be sure that I have looked at it first in terms of its interest and usefulness, including whether its links are up to date.
Watch for the first article next week, which looks at astronomy projects for science fairs.
*The Big Picture*
If you haven't come across The Big Picture, please let me introduce you. Three times a week a selection of full-screen photos on a particular topic are collected. Below is the selection on space probes to Mercury, but you can search the site for other things that might interest you.
That's all for this week. Wishing you clear skies.
Please visit astronomy.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Astronomy.
To participate in online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Astronomy located here -
I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I welcome your feedback!
Do pass this message along to family and friends who might also be interested. Remember it's free and without obligation.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor