Tag Archives: Mercury

Mercury, Atypically Visible This Week, Is Supposedly Sporting A Comet-Like Tail.

by Anura Guruge

To access above ‘cincinnati.com article click here.

Click to ENLARGE. From ‘timeanddate.com’ ‘Sky Map’. Link: timeanddate.com/astronomy/night/

Mercury, however, is NOT a comet. It is beyond unlikely that it contains any frozen volatiles. It has been too close to the Sun for way, way too long. So, this tail has to be dust being blown away from its surface by Solar winds. Neat. Mercury, at best, naked eye, is but a small, faint spec. A dot. Very unlikely you would see this tail naked eye. But, try to get a gander. The above map should help.

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by Anura Guruge

‘Mysteries of China’ (2016) IMAX Movie (Boston, Museum Of Science) — Short, But Enlightening.

by Anura Guruge

Click image to access the IMDb.com listing for this IMAX movie.

Click to ENLARGE and read here. The Boston ‘Museum of Science’ description.

The Emperor responsible. Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qin_Shi_Huang

The army in terracotta. Click to ENLARGE. From Wikipedia.

Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army

Yes, this happened in the U.S. Click to access this NBC News coverage. Google for more.

Though I have been to Hong Kong twice, and associate with a number of Chinese, I am ashamed to admit that my knowledge of Chinese history is cursory at best.

Yes, I knew they had Empires and Emperors, was familiar with the famous ‘Terracotta Army‘, even knew about the ignoble thumb stealing incident in Philadelphia. But, I could NOT have told you anything about the ‘First Emperor‘ until I saw this IMAX movie yesterday, at the BostonMuseum of Science“. Kind of apropos in that we had gone to Chinatown (in Boston) to celebrate the Chinese New Year 2018.

I had wanted to see this movie and it also happened to be the only one that worked in with our schedule, yesterday, given that we did not get to the museum till around 2:15pm.

It was SHORT. It is NOT 50-minutes. That 50-minutes includes the usual 10-minute PLUS preamble introducing the technology of the Mugar Omni Theater.

I learnt a lot. Did not know they had that much mercury in China that long ago.

Definitely worth watching IF you can.

This movie, alas, also highlights some of the negatives of IMAX projection on 180° curved screens. All the tall buildings in modern-day China appeared bent and in danger of keeling over!

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by Anura Guruge

Cool Conjunctions Of Jupiter – Mercury & Saturn – Mars Over New England — The Next Few Nights (At Dusk).

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE. Base skymap (as ever) from: neave.com/planetarium/

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by Anura Guruge

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn & Jupiter Over New Hampshire, Wednesday, January 27, 2016.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

From “Neave Planetarium“.


A rather rare treat. 5 major planets, in conjunction — in nearly a straight line (clearly illustrating the nearly flat orbital plane, the ‘ecliptic’) — across the morning sky, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter (in that order, left to right, South to Southwest).

Pluto is right below Mercury but not visible to the naked eye. The Moon, fairly full and bright, will be just to the right of Jupiter.

Trees will again be a problem for us in New Hampshire. Mercury could be in the tree line.

The planets are RISING from the South. Mercury, the last to rise, only comes over the horizon (but definitely in the trees) at 5:47 am Eastern. That is why I am suggesting around 6:30 am.

They keep on rising, BUT so does the Sun! Sunrise around 7:15. That will end the show.

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by Anura Guruge

Hoped For ‘Planet X’, The Ninth Planet, CAN NOT Be Named After David Bowie. Period.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access original.

Contrary to what many realize the officially recognized names of celestial bodies are carefully governed and assigned per some very strict guidelines maintained by the ‘International Astronomical Union’ (IAU) — an organization recognized by 74 world powers.

To have the supposed ninth planet (or any other planet in our Solar System) named after David Bowie he would have to be deemed a god.

Yes, there are those that will avow that David Bowie is a god. But, alas, that alone is not enough.

To be considered for planetary naming honors the god ALSO has to be a well established very long term player, such as Venus, Mercury, Jupiter or Saturn, and it has to be a MYTHICAL god. David Bowie is not mythical. So he is ruled out forever, forever.

The current convention is that Dwarf Planets are also named after mythical gods/goddesses THOUGH they don’t have to be, for obvious reasons, as towering as those assigned to the planets.

Comets, if named, are named after the discoverers or the ‘team’ that discovered them. David Bowie did not discover any comets.

Giving stars official names is now in decline and as with planets/dwarfs any and all OFFICIAL names assigned have to be mythical characters.

So the only option for having a (non-satellite) celestial body named after Bowie is to name an asteroid after him — and that has already been done! 342843 Davidbowie.

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by Anura Guruge

3 Planets: Jupiter, Venus & Mercury Will Be Visible Over New Hampshire Tomorrow Night, Monday, May 27, 2013 Soon After Sunset.


Anura Guruge

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Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

This conjunction has been there for the last few days, but if you recall it has been raining or cloudy the last few nights. It is a tad cloudy in the west tonight, around 8:50 pm. Trees are also a big problem for us.

The challenge here is that these three stars are setting below the horizon rather than rising. Yes, a bummer. So my 9:30 pm they would be below the skyline. I have a feeling we are not going to see them, even though tomorrow is said to be clear, unless you can get above the tree line — facing west.

But, don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up. Enjoy if you can. Quite rare.


The Other Bright ‘Star’ In The Night Sky, Over NH, Is ‘Sirius’, Low To The East, Below Jupiter.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.


by Anura Guruge

Related post:
>> That Bright Yellow ‘Star’ In The Night Sky Over New Hampshire, Is Jupiter — Dec. 3, 2012.

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

Jupiter, given that it is invariably higher in the sky, will most likely be the bright object that first arouses your curiosity and awe.

If it is later in the night you might see a very bright, burning WHITE star, close to the tree line, maybe even glimpsed through the trees in the East. That would be Sirius, the Dog Star — the brightest star in the night sky. It is actually brighter than Jupiter. This serious brightness of Sirius is due to two factors: it is relatively nearby and it is big — twice as big as the Sun. It is 8.6 light years away. So what we are seeing now, in December 2012, is what Sirius was doing 8 years 7 months ago.

Many never think about this. Light thought it travels fast, still has a speed limit. So if an object is far away, it does take time before light from that object gets to us. Even Sun light takes 8.3 minutes to reach us. The light from Jupiter (i.e., sunlight reflected off Jupiter’s gaseous, yellowish atmosphere) takes nearly 35 minutes to reach us. So in reality when we look up and see Jupiter, we are not actually seeing Jupiter in ‘real time’. We are seeing Jupiter as it was 34.9 minutes ago. Think about that. You can have fun pondering this. ‘Rigel‘, the bright white star that makes up the leg of Orion, is ~860 light years away. So what we are seeing is light that left Rigel 860 years ago. For all we know Rigel could have exploded — supernovaed. It would be 860 years before we would see it.

So the next time you look up at the night sky remember that much of what you are seeing is in time lapse. Light that was there sometime before.

That Bright Yellow ‘Star’ In The Night Sky Over New Hampshire, Is Jupiter.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.


by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.

If you were curious, or if the kids were asking, what you are most likely seeing is Jupiter. Other than the Moon, it is the brightest object currently in the night sky, over NH. It is hard to miss. Given its brightness it appears in the sky quite early — even at dusk. It rises in the East, moves a bit to the South but then continues across the sky, right through the night, to set in the West. Its position, at a specific time each night, say 11 pm, will change slightly — typically further to the West. This has to do with the relative orbits of us and Jupiter.

Jupiter, right now, is about as close as it ever gets to Earth. So it is atypically bright. I take out the dogs for their last little jaunt for the day around 10:45 pm each night. In the winter, if there are no clouds, I search out Jupiter. It always uplifts me.

Saturn, Venus and Mercury are also visible this month — but in the morning. So, I won’t see those.

We might also get some meteor showers this month.

If you don’t already have a favorite site for checking out the night sky, try this. It is accurate and easy enough to use. IF I ever get enough time I will do more posts on the night sky because astronomy happens to be another of my interests. More on that later. Enjoy.