Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2019 January 10
Explanation: The plane of our Milky Way Galaxy runs through this complex and beautiful skyscape. Seen toward colorful stars near the northwestern edge of the constellation Vela (the Sails), the 16 degree wide, 200 frame mosaic is centered on the glowing filaments of the Vela Supernova Remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star. Light from the supernova explosion that created the Vela remnant reached Earth about 11,000 years ago. In addition to the shocked filaments of glowing gas, the cosmic catastrophe also left behind an incredibly dense, rotating stellar core, the Vela Pulsar. Some 800 light-years distant, the Vela remnant is likely embedded in a larger and older supernova remnant, the Gum Nebula. Objects identified in this broad mosaic include emission and reflection nebulae, star clusters, and the remarkable Pencil Nebula.
Moon sweeps past Mars January 11 to 13
On January 11, 12 and 13, 2019, use the waxing crescent moon to find the red planet Mars. You’ll find both Mars and the moon in the evening sky, with the moon in a waxing crescent phase and Mars much fainter than it was six months ago, when it outshone all the stars, brighter than since 2003. Now, Mars is still shining as brightly as a 1st-magnitude star. It’ll be that bright “star” close to the moon on these evenings.
Of course, when we say the moon and Mars are close together, we mean they are close together on our sky’s dome. These two worlds are not particularly close together in space. When you see them, know that our moon lies about a quarter million miles (400,000 km) away, whereas Mars – a neighboring planet – lodges way beyond the moon, at some 467 times the moon’s distance.
The moon appears large in Earth’s sky because it’s close to us, relative to Mars. Meanwhile, Mars’ diameter is roughly twice that of the moon, yet Mars’ surface area exceeds that of the moon by about 4 times. Still, to the eye, Mars appears starlike in our sky – like a point, not a disk – because it’s so much farther away than the moon.
Even when Mars made its closest pass to Earth since Stone Age times on August 27, 2003, the red planet’s angular diameter was only 1/74th the moon’s angular diameter. In other words – contrary to a persistent internet hoax that has circulated each year since 2003 – Mars never comes anywhere close to appearing as large as the moon in Earth’s sky.
In many respects, Mars is the most earthlike planet. The tilt of Mars’ spin axis is almost the same as Earth’s (25.19 degrees versus 23.26 degrees), and day length on Mars and Earth almost match (24.6 hours versus 24 hours). The mean temperate of Earth most resembles that of Mars, though Mars is quite a bit colder: -85 degrees F (-65 degrees C) versus 59 degrees F (15 degrees C). And, quite by coincidence, Mars’ surface area pretty much equals Earth’s land area.
Want to know more? Check out this planetary fact sheet.
Bottom line: These next several evenings – January 11 to 13, 2019 – use the waxing crescent moon to locate Mars, the fourth planet outward from the sun, and the next planet outward from Earth.
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky’s popular Tonight pages since 2004. He’s a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.
Published on EarthSky.org
What we think, we become.
Your Daily Runes for January 10
“The mind will trust the body, the body will trust the mind.”
Ehwaz – “eh-was” – Literally: “Horse” – Esoteric: Trust
Rune of harmonious teamwork and trust. Rune of pairs of entities working together for a common goal.
Psi: trust between individual entities, sexuality
Energy: trust, cooperation, the Fetch
Mundane: animals, teamwork, friendship
Divinations: Harmony, teamwork, trust, marriage, loyalty, a friend; or duplication, disharmony, mistrust, betrayal, nightmares, indecision, an enemy.
Activating the energies of your inner Fetch
Ability to detect deceit and uncover subtle queues
Facilitates swiftness in every regard
Establishing trust and bonds with animals (ie. horse whisperers)
Your Daily Runes for January 11
“We are each a savior, each a god.
It is the fear of what this means which binds us to the realm of humankind.”
Mannaz – “Man-az” – Literally: “Mankind” – Esoteric: Humankind, awareness
Rune of the Divine structure of intelligence in the human soul or psyche. Rune of the horizons of human existence and collective potential.
Psi: mind & memory (Hugin & Munin), the difference between human and all other life, development of the intellect, rational mind, perfected intelligence
Energy: psychic order of the gods reflected in humankind, projection of Self into time
Mundane: thinking, planning, analysis, the human condition, people at large (contemporary: the masses)
Divinations: Divine structure, sustainability, intelligence, awareness, social order, divine influence in life; or depression, mortality, blindness, self-delusion, collective suicide, bigotry, elitism, intellectual arrogance.
Realization of the divine structure in humankind
Increase in intelligence, memory and mental powers (passing tests)
Unlocking the third-eye hvel, the “mind’s eye”
Activating the dynamics of your own inner Christus, or Higher Self
Awareness of our roles as co-creator with the gods and nature
Mental and spiritual potential
Your Daily Love Tarot Card for January 10
If you are single, this is an important time in your life when everything is close at hand if you just look for it. Will you find love? This card promises it. It is like gardening magic if you are in a union! Watch how a relationship grows when it is nurtured by two devoted and loyal people with the faith that anything and everything is possible.
Your Daily Love Tarot Card for January 11
In the World, things are changing. If they are in your world, do you honestly think the changes for the better? They aren’t if you are losing your sense of self. They aren’t if you are editing your own beliefs. You have to be comfortable with who you are. This card says, freeze-frame like a photo or like a VCR on pause. Then, take a deep breath and put yourself back.
Your Daily Tarot Card for January 10
Keywords: victory, (material) success, mastery, graduation, completion!
Astrological Correspondence: Cancer
The Chariot symbolizes enthusiasm, competitiveness, and triumph. Success and victory are achieved by employing all powers at one’s disposal – physical, spiritual, and intellectual. The Chariot symbolizes the positive side of the self, being strong and self-controlled, balancing conflicting emotions, triumphing over obstacles, sustaining an effort, and support attaining goals, thereby leading the way to transformation and self-knowledge. A dictatorial approach, recklessness, and extreme ambition can be on the other, negative side of the equation.
Your Daily Tarot Card for January 11
Keywords: inner strength, vision, self control!
Astrological Correspondence: Leo
The Strength card, depicting a gracious queen-like figure and a wild lion, shows that real strength has to be combined with graciousness and gentleness to become a force. It symbolizes inner strength, determination to overcome obstacles, self-knowledge and self-discipline, as only when we know ourselves and act in a responsible manner will we be able to deal with challenging situations and overcome difficulties successfully. Yet this card not only represents physical strength; moral and emotional strength are also included in the meaning. Patience, compassion, dealing with frustration, accepting of others, and tolerating imperfection (in oneself and in others) all leads to being a complete person. The negative qualities of Strength include misuse of power, aggressiveness, and intolerance.