Explanation: Our Moon’s appearance changes nightly. As the Moon orbits the Earth, the half illuminated by the Sun first becomes increasingly visible, then decreasingly visible. The featured video animates images taken by NASA’s Moon-orbiting Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to show all 12 lunations that appear this year, 2018. A single lunation describes one full cycle of our Moon, including all of its phases. A full lunation takes about 29.5 days, just under a month (moon-th). As each lunation progresses, sunlight reflects from the Moon at different angles, and so illuminates different features differently. During all of this, of course, the Moon always keeps the same face toward the Earth. What is less apparent night-to-night is that the Moon‘s apparent size changes slightly, and that a slight wobble called a libration occurs as the Moon progresses along its elliptical
A very full Moon rose over Manhattan’s Upper Eastside on June 28, known to some as the Strawberry Moon. Near the horizon, the warm yellow lunar disk was a bit ruffled and dimmed by a long sight-line through dense, hazy atmosphere. Still it fit well with traffic and lights along East 96th street in this urban astroimage. The telephoto shot was (safely) taken from elevated ground looking east-southeast from Central Park, planet Earth. Of course, the East 96th street moon was the closest Full Moon to this year’s northern summer solstice.
The planets play a key role in the design of who we are. In fact, everything is based on the movements and impact of the planetary spheres.
The key to understanding the impact of something as distant as a planet on our lives is a tiny, subatomic particle known as the neutrino. Neutrinos are extremely fine matter produced by the nuclear reactions within stars. All the stars, including our own Sun, are producing neutrinos all the time. The stars out in space are constantly beaming these neutrinos at us, and being made of such fine substance, the neutrinos can pass through our bodies, as well as the body of the Earth. Imagine then, how the movements of the planets around our Sun refract the neutrino information as it passes into us.
Planets vary greatly in density and makeup. Some consist of solid rock, whilst others consist purely of layers of gases. Every planet also has its own mythology as perceived by man. Our mythologies are, and always have been, our method of attuning to our greater body.
The planets are our local programming agents. This is why we have always seen them as the gods in our mythologies down the ages. Every planet lends its flavor to our nature.
Sun – Our Light – Yang
Here on Earth, scientists have estimated that 70% of the neutrinos that pass through the Earth come from our Sun. The remainder comes from either Jupiter or the stars in deep space. Thus, 70% of all the neutrino information that we receive is seen in the position of our Sun and Earth. The Sun represents the primary yang force of our nature. It is the archetype of the Father, just as the Earth is the Mother. The Sun and Earth are the prime yin/yang within us all. The Sun creates the electromagnetic field of the solar cell in which we live. The design Sun represents the biogenetic themes inherited from our father. If you look at your own design Sun, you will see the theme that you have inherited from your father. The personality Sun is the window through which the very light of who we are shines out on the world. Read more
“A Note About Sky Phenomena
The known universe has been around 14 billion years — Earth 4.5 billion years. If we’re lucky, we live 100 years. When anything happens in the sky while you are alive, it is not likely rare in the cosmos. It’s not even likely rare in your lifetime. But our collective urge to think so is strong. This state of mind exists deep within us, and drives all urges to believe that our fate lies in the stars and not within ourselves.
Further, there can be events in your life that don’t repeat for hundreds or even thousands of years. But those tend to be categories of events that repeat hundreds, even thousands of times in your life. For example, the precise configuration of all eight planets in this moment will not repeat for nearly 150,000 years. But the same is true for yesterday’s configuration of planets. And tomorrow’s configuration of planets.
So it’s possible for an event to be rare, but wholly uninteresting.
A Note About the Moon
“Blue” moons (the second full moon in a calendar month) occur, on average, every two and a half to three years. An event more frequent than the Summer Olympics. But nobody ever declares “Watch out for a rare Olympics coming up!”
Total Lunar Eclipses are more frequent than that, occurring, on average, once every two years or so. Some years have two. More frequent than any Olympics at all. Occasionally, the eclipsed Moon will take on a deep red-Rose color from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere that disperses into Earth’s shadow on the darkened full Moon. Note that our collective morbid mindsets have embraced the term “Blood Moon” instead.
Once every lunar month the Moon is at perigee — the closest to Earth in the Moon’s oval orbit. Perigee coincides with the day of a Full moon about once every 30 months — 2.5 years. Some people who are adjective-challenged call this a “super moon”. Even though a such a moon is only 1% bigger than the full Moon that follows it a month later.
On January 31, 2018, all three events occur on the same calendar day: Blue Moon, Lunar Eclipse, Perigee. You get that every fifteen years or so on average. Although many time zones on Earth (all of Australia and New Zealand included) will not enjoy the Blue Moon since they will instead experience the Perigee Eclipse on calendar day February 1st.
For observing details on the Lunar Eclipse ( the only event of any real astronomical significance on January 31 ) I now, and often reference the Earth & Sky website.
As Always, keep looking up.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson, New York City
RCW 114: A Dragon’s Heart in Ara
Explanation: Large and dramatically shaped, this cosmic cloud spans nearly 7 degrees or 14 full moons across planet Earth’s sky toward the southern constellation Ara. Difficult to image, the filamentary apparition is cataloged as RCW 114 and traced in this telescopic mosaic by the telltale reddish emission of ionized hydrogen atoms. In fact, RCW 114 has been recognized as a supernova remnant. Its extensive filaments of emission are produced as the still expanding shockwave from the death explosion of a massive star sweeps up the surrounding interstellar medium. Consistent estimates place its distance at over 600 light-years, indicating a diameter of about 100 light-years or so. Light from the supernova explosion that created RCW 114 would have reached Earth around 20,000 years ago. A neutron star or pulsar has recently been identified as the collapsed remains of the stellar core.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft (launched in 1997) has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004 exploring the giant planet, its spectacular system of rings and moons. Cassini was also carrying with it the European Huygens Probe which was dispatched after arrival and successfully landed on the moon Titan, becoming the first human made craft to land on a surface in the outer solar system.
In 2017 – after more than a decade of bringing home remarkably successful scientific achievements, discoveries and a treasury of gorgeous photos – the spacecraft is running out of fuel to maneuver. In order to protect the moons Enceladus and Titan, and their potentially life-bearing sub surface oceans, from possible contamination in the unlikely event of a future collision, it has been decided to take Cassini permanently out of service. This is done by crashing the spacecraft into the atmosphere of Saturn – but not without doing some amazing science on the way.
22 times, Cassini dives through previously unexplored gap between Saturn and its rings, collecting new data on the mass of the rings (used to help determine their age), measurements of Saturn’s gravity and magnetic fields (used to help understanding its internal structure) and sending home stunning views of Saturn’s clouds and the rings – seen from a closer range than ever before.
Even up until the very end, Cassini will bring home data, as it tastes the atmosphere of Saturn, just minutes before burning up and becoming part of the planet itself.
Explanation: The beautiful Andromeda Galaxy is often imaged by planet Earth-based astronomers. Also known as M31, the nearest large spiral galaxy is a familiar sight with dark dust lanes, bright yellowish core, andspiral arms traced by blue starlight. A mosaic of well-exposed broad and narrow-band image data, this colorful, premier portrait of our neighboring island universe offers strikingly unfamiliar features though, faint reddish clouds of glowing ionized hydrogen gas in the same wide field of view. Still, the ionized hydrogen clouds likely lie in the foreground of the scene, well within our Milky Way Galaxy. They could be associated with the pervasive, dusty interstellar cirrus clouds scattered hundreds of light-years above our own galactic plane. If they were located at the 2.5 million light-year distance of the Andromeda Galaxy they would be enormous, since the Andromeda Galaxy itself is 200,000 or so light-years across.
Explanation: Blown by the wind from a massive star, this interstellar apparition has a surprisingly familiar shape. Cataloged as NGC 7635, it is also known simply as The Bubble Nebula. Although it looks delicate, the 7 light-year diameter bubble offers evidence of violent processes at work. Above and left of the Bubble’s center is a hot, O-type star, several hundred thousand times more luminous and around 45 times more massive than the Sun. A fierce stellar wind and intense radiation from that star has blasted out the structure of glowing gas against denser material in a surroundingmolecular cloud. The intriguing Bubble Nebula and associated cloud complex lie a mere 7,100 light-years away toward the boastful constellation Cassiopeia. This sharp, tantalizing view of the cosmic bubble is a composite of Hubble Space Telescope image data from 2016, released to celebrate the 26th anniversary of Hubble’s launch.