Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name
of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a
fun new astronomy helper from Meade.
Great beauty can cause loss of balance,
so before you click on this
link, sit down. Done? That was Comet 17P/Holmes gliding by the
California Nebula. The comet-nebula encounter is taking place right
easy target for backyard telescopes equipped with digital cameras.
Photographers, after sunset, point your optics north at the constellation
Last night the sun's magnetic field near Earth tipped south, opening
a crack in our planet's defenses against the solar wind. Charged
particles poured in, fueling a brief but beautiful display of aurora
EOS 30D, 15s, 1500 ISO, f3.5
"The lights were fantastic with a lot of colors," reports
Sylvain Serre who took the above photo from Salluit in northern
The display has subsided, but it could flare up again tonight or
tomorrow when a solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic
field. Sky watchers from Alaska to Scandinavia should remain alert
for auroras: gallery.
This weekend after sunset, look west for a ghostly triangle of light
jutting upward from the horizon. If you can see it, you've spotted
"Here its subtle glow appears over the small-town lights of
Borrego Springs in Southern California's Anza-Borrego Desert,"
says photographer Dennis
Mammana. He took the picture, a 30-second exposure, on March
2nd using a Canon
20D at ISO 800.
Zodiacal light is sunlight reflected from dust
particles littering the solar system's orbital plane. (These
are the same dust particles that make meteors when they occasionally
hit Earth's atmosphere.) March is a good month to look because the
glowing dust band is oriented nearly vertical at sunset. A trip
to the countryside on a moonless March evening often results in
a Zodiacal Light sighting. Try it!
more images: from
Thorsten Boeckel at the Santa Maria de Santiaguito volcano,
Phillip Chee of South Monaghan, Ontario, Canada; from
Doug Zubenel of Linn Co., Kansas; from
Ajay Talwar of A.R.I.E.S., Manora Peak, Nainital;