Thursday, September 07, 2006

Look, The Moon Is Full

I got the latest space-related tidbits from this morning. It seems the Pluto lovers of the world are still up in arms that their favorite planet has been demoted to "dwarf" status. Some people just refuse to accept the new level of planet snobbery in the solar system, and the debate rages on. If you are among those still reeling from the notion that our neighborhood only has eight planets, Space Weather has a petition, with a place for comments, where you can add your two cents. Three even, if you're so inclined.

Another astronomical item of note is our very own satellite. Tonight's a full Moon, and it will be bigger and brighter than any other full Moon of 2006. Here's what Space Weather had to say about the why and wherefore:

What makes it big? Answer: The Moon's lopsided orbit. One side of the Moon's orbit is 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other side. The two sides are called, respectively, perigee, from Greek, meaning "close to Earth," and apogee, meaning "far from Earth." Tonight's Moon is at perigee.
In further action, eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia will get the chance to see a partial lunar eclipse this evening, and there's some exciting sunspot activity for people who have the right telescope and filters to stare at our ball of fire in the sky. There's a nifty little animation of the lunar show if you follow the link at Space Weather. There's also a chart with recent near miss asteroid information, if you like to think of impending doom scenarios.

Well, I think that catches us up on Space Weather info. I'm out to work on our giant mountain of dirt in the back yard. I'll be in again when I need a rest, and I'll see what's going on in the world. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting.