Signs That You Drink Too Much Coffee
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.
February 26, 2019
Dragon Aurora over Iceland
Image Credit & Copyright: Jingyi Zhang & Wang Zheng
Explanation: Have you ever seen a dragon in the sky? Although real flying dragons don’t exist, a huge dragon-shaped aurora developed in the sky over Iceland earlier this month. The aurora was caused by a hole in the Sun’s corona that expelled charged particles into a solar wind that followed a changing interplanetary magnetic field to Earth’s magnetosphere. As some of those particles then struck Earth’s atmosphere, they excited atoms which subsequently emitted light: aurora. This iconic display was so enthralling that the photographer’s mother ran out to see it and was captured in the foreground. No sunspots have appeared on the Sun so far in February, making the multiple days of picturesque auroral activity this month somewhat surprising.
Spectacular moon, 3 planets, before dawn
Are you a morning person? If so, and you’re blessed with clear skies, the next several mornings are for you. Just look east, the direction of sunrise. You’ll find the moon sliding by three bright morning planets.
On the morning of February 27, 2019, the waning crescent moon closely couples up with the brilliant planet Jupiter as viewed from North America. Elsewhere around the world, the moon is not as close. From the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand – the moon shines to the west of Jupiter on February 27. For all of us, Jupiter and our companion moon will appear very bright and close enough to make waking up early more than worthwhile.
The lighted side of a waning crescent moon points east, the direction of sunrise. The planets Saturn and Venus lie to the east of Jupiter, so the lit face of the moon will point toward the other two planets on the morning of February 27. Notice that the planets and moon make a line on our sky’s dome. This line shows you the whereabouts of the ecliptic, or Earth-sun plane. Since the other planets in our solar system – and the moon – all orbit more or less in this same plane, we always see them strung across our sky in this graceful line.
Each morning – in the hour before sunrise – you’ll see the moon farther east relative to this lineup of planets. Watch for the moon to pass Saturn and then Venus, as it makes its way toward the sunrise.
From various parts of Earth, the planets and moon will appear oriented differently in your sky. No matter where you live, though, fainter Saturn will lie between much-brighter Venus and Jupiter. Saturn, by the way, shines as brilliantly as a 1st-magnitude star. Jupiter outshines Saturn by about 11 times. And Venus outshines Jupiter by nearly eight times!
All are bright. If your sky is clear, you’ll be able to see all three planets with the greatest of ease.
After the moon drops out of the morning sky in early March, you can continue to find Saturn in between Venus and Jupiter for several months to come. Day by day, however, Jupiter and Saturn will drift farther west of Venus (opposite the sunrise direction) in the morning sky.
By the way, when we see the moon as a thin crescent in our sky, someone on the moon would see Earth as almost totally full. The sunlight reflected from the nearly full Earth onto the dark side of the moon is called earthshine. Look for its ghostly luminescence on the nighttime side of the moon in the mornings ahead.
Bottom line: A beautiful scene awaits you in the early morning sky. It’s a golden opportunity to see the moon sweep past 3 glorious planets: Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.
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.
The Wisdom of Buddha
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
Daily Witches Rune
February 26, 2019
Keywords: Love, relationships.
Meanings: The Rings is the rune of love and when it is the leading stone, it is a positive answer to your question. It is very much a rune of relationship and can indicate engagement, marriage or a new/renewed relationship. It can also indicate the need for a fresh approach to an existing relationship.