Explore the Solar System FASTER!
I spent my early youth WAITING for the Apollo missions to hurry-up and get to the Moon already – with no appreciation how long such endeavors take. Working on a presentation about the Europa Clipper mission, I was both amused and dismayed at how long it would be before that mission reached its destination.
I was struck by the fact that I will probably never see everything in the solar system explored that I’d like to see explored, and that I selfishly want the pace of solar system exploration to accelerate exponentially!
Venus, Saturn and Mars continue to appear in the southeastern predawn sky all week.
You might be able to catch a glimpse of Mercury just before sunrise.
The Moon appears between the star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster high in the western sky after sunset on Mar. 8th.
The Moon appears near the star Aldebaran high in the western sky after sunset on Mar. 9th.
The Moon appears the middle of the Winter Hexagon high in the southwestern sky after sunset on Mar. 10th & 11th.
The Moon appears near the star Pollux in the southwestern sky after sunset on Mar. 12th.
The sky overhead this week before sunrise:
The sky overhead before sunrise from Santiago, Chile:
- The Moon is a Waxing Crescent – visible toward the southwest in early evening.
- The First Quarter Moon occurs on March 10th – visible high in the southern sky in early evening.
- After March 10th, the Moon will be a Waxing Gibbous – visible to the southeast in early evening, up for most of the night.
If you click on the Moon image above, or click this link, you will go to NASA’s Moon Phase and Libration, 2022 page – it will show you what the Moon looks like right now. If you click the image on that page, you will download a high-rez TIFF image annotated with the names of prominent features – helpful for logging your lunar observations!
Latest Moon Image from Rik Hill:
The Sun again has five named sunspots, and a new sunspot is rotating into view in the upper left of the image.
Spaceweather.com says “A faint CME (movie) might sideswipe Earth’s magnetic field on March 10th. It left the Sun on March 7th following the eruption of a magnetic filament; no sunspots were involved. The glancing blow could spark minor G1-class geomagnetic storms later this week.”
The Sun seen in 193 angstroms on March 7th.
Coronal loops everywhere! Whatever is rotating into view in the upper left is pretty obvious. Lot of eruptions in the bright active regions – both poles appear to have opened up a little.
The Sun seen in 304 angstroms on March 7th.
Prominences everywhere again – some very long-lived ones too! Whatever is rotating into view has a lot of prominence activity, and is spitting quite a bit.
Videos courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
You can view the Sun in near real-time, in multiple frequencies here: SDO-The Sun Now.
You can create your own time-lapse movies of the Sun here: AIA/HMI Browse Data.
You can browse all the SDO images of the Sun from 2010 to the present here: Browse SDO archive.
Amateur Solar Astrophotography
Solar wind speed is 441.1 km/sec ▼ with a density of 3.5 protons/cm3 ▼ at 1154 UT.
Click here to see a near real-time animation of the corona and solar wind from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
- Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) discovered this month: 60, this year: 628 (+172), all time: 28,553 (+90)
- Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs): 2263 (updated 2022-03-08)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (MPC): 1,165,988 (-148 updated 2022-03-08)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (NASA): 1,113,527 (updated 2021-08-17) – This value has not changed for months. I emailed the site manager offering to keep it updated for them.
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid||Date(UT)||Miss Distance||Velocity (km/s)||Diameter (m)|
|2022 DS3||2022-Mar-09||13.4 LD||3.7||15|
|2022 EC2||2022-Mar-09||10.8 LD||12.3||14|
|2021 EY1||2022-Mar-10||10.1 LD||15.5||16|
|2015 DR215||2022-Mar-11||17.5 LD||8.3||290|
|2022 EV1||2022-Mar-11||10.7 LD||8.3||23|
|2009 DV43||2022-Mar-11||8.2 LD||16.5||65|
|2022 DX2||2022-Mar-13||15.7 LD||12.7||36|
|2022 DR3||2022-Mar-13||15.7 LD||12.4||31|
|2018 GY||2022-Mar-13||11.9 LD||10.7||43|
|2022 BX1||2022-Mar-13||20.1 LD||11||161|
|2022 EA1||2022-Mar-14||8.1 LD||5.5||12|
|2022 DP3||2022-Mar-15||3 LD||10.8||44|
|2022 DB2||2022-Mar-18||11 LD||8.6||53|
|2016 FZ12||2022-Mar-19||2.2 LD||8.3||16|
|2022 DX||2022-Mar-19||8.5 LD||1.5||8|
|2022 DG3||2022-Mar-21||18.3 LD||7.2||37|
|2020 SQ||2022-Mar-21||2.8 LD||6||12|
|2013 BO76||2022-Mar-24||13.3 LD||13.8||271|
|2011 GE3||2022-Mar-26||7.6 LD||7||22|
|2012 FX35||2022-Mar-26||13.7 LD||5.9||25|
|2010 GD35||2022-Mar-29||17.7 LD||12.5||43|
|2020 FW5||2022-Mar-30||8.9 LD||13.1||27|
|2022 EK1||2022-Mar-30||19 LD||7.6||43|
|2022 DX4||2022-Mar-31||16.7 LD||6||41|
|2007 FF1||2022-Apr-01||19.4 LD||12.8||155|
|2021 GN1||2022-Apr-02||14.4 LD||14.3||19|
|2016 GW221||2022-Apr-02||9.8 LD||5.9||41|
|2022 EN2||2022-Apr-04||18.7 LD||5.6||41|
|2012 TV||2022-Apr-05||19.2 LD||18.1||32|
|2020 GH1||2022-Apr-09||16.8 LD||7.2||28|
|2017 TO2||2022-Apr-10||17.9 LD||11.6||78|
|2020 TQ6||2022-Apr-18||13.4 LD||15.4||43|
|2017 UR2||2022-Apr-22||19.4 LD||9.3||10|
|2020 VN1||2022-Apr-25||19.3 LD||2.3||9|
|2017 XO2||2022-May-01||18.8 LD||12.4||118|
|2017 HG1||2022-May-04||18.2 LD||6||11|
On March 7, 2022, the NASA All Sky Fireball Network reported 6 fireballs!
Position of the planets & several spacecraft in the inner solar system on March 8th:
Position of the planets in the middle solar system:
Position of the planets in the outer solar system:
Solar System News
James Webb Space Telescope
Bahrain signs the Artemis Accords
Image taken by Perseverance's front left NavCam on March 7
HiRISE - Beautiful Mars
International Space Station
419.20 ppm #CO2
March 1 @ 4:38 p.m. EST
See a list of current NASA missions here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions?mission_status=current
ex·o·plan·et /ˈeksōˌplanət/, noun: a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.
* Confirmed Planets Discovered by TESS refers to the number planets that have been published in the refereed astronomical literature.
* TESS Project Candidates refers to the total number of transit-like events that appear to be astrophysical in origin, including false positives as identified by the TESS Project.
* TESS Project Candidates Yet To Be Confirmed refers to the number of TESS Project Candidates that have not yet been dispositioned as a Confirmed Planet or False Positive.
Well THIS is pretty cool!
SpaceWeather.com Realtime Aurora Gallery: https://spaceweathergallery.com/aurora_gallery.html
Latest Aurora Oval Forecast
- Visit an International Dark Sky Park: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/
- If you live in Michigan, visit the Michigan Dark Skies site: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/darkskies/
Messier Tour: M8
Messier 8 (M8), also known as the Lagoon Nebula, is a large, bright emission nebula located in the constellation Sagittarius. The star-forming nebula has an apparent magnitude of 6.0 and lies at a distance of 4,100 light years from Earth. It has the designation NGC 6523 in the New General Catalogue.
The Lagoon Nebula is currently undergoing a period of active star formation and has already formed a sizable cluster of stars. NGC 6530, the extremely young open cluster formed from the material of M8, has a visual magnitude of 4.6 and covers an area of 14 arc minutes in the sky. It is centred in the eastern part of the nebula. – messier-objects.com
The Lagoon Nebula is estimated to be between 4,000–6,000 light-years away from the Earth. In the sky of Earth, it spans 90′ by 40′, which translates to an actual dimension of 110 by 50 light years. Like many nebulae, it appears pink in time-exposure color photos but is gray to the eye peering through binoculars or a telescope, human vision having poor color sensitivity at low light levels.
The nebula contains a number of Bok globules (dark, collapsing clouds of protostellar material), the most prominent of which have been catalogued by E. E. Barnard as B88, B89 and B296. It also includes a funnel-like or tornado-like structure caused by a hot O-type star that emanates ultraviolet light, heating and ionizing gases on the surface of the nebula. – Wikipedia
The Trifid Nebula (M20) is located near to the Lagoon Nebula:
Cover Image: Messier 8. Credit: Allanalaoui on Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0
Messier Object List: [Link]
Software Apps used for this post:
NASA Eyes on the Solar System: an immersive 3D solar system and space mission simulator – free for the PC /MAC.
Stellarium: a free web-based planetarium app. It’s a great tool for planning observing sessions.
SpaceEngine – Explore the universe in 3D and VR!
Worldwide Telescope – operated by the American Astronomical Society (AAS).