Saturday, August 2, 2014

08Y2K+14 Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.

Indeed, our drought continues. Time for higher temperatures, could be hotter! Mercury has a temperature on the side of Mercury facing the Sun can reach 700 Kelvin, or 426 degrees Celsius. On the side facing away from the Sun – covered in shadow – dips down to 100 Kelvin, or -173 degrees Celsius.

From my weekly Astronomy Magazine Newsletter: The sky's two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, put on a spectacular show in mid-August. On August 18, Rarely do these luminaries come as close to each other in a nearly dark sky, which makes this predawn conjunction the month's top celestial event. As a bonus, the pair lies next to the wonderful Beehive star cluster (M44). Meanwhile, the evening stage features a nice show starring two lesser lights. Mars passes Saturn in late August, an occasion that provides a striking color contrast in addition to the normally stunning views of the ringed planet through a telescope. And the overnight hours belong to the distant ice giants, Uranus and Neptune. The latter planet reaches opposition and peak visibility this month, but both are easy to find through binoculars.

The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks August 12/13....moonlight may wash out all but the very bright streams of light!

Astronomy Club Note:  Since the group is holding Star Events at the TPML these days.  They have set up an new web site to gather more public interest. I added the new site to my Astronomy Links List.

News to consider:
Scientists discover vast methane plumes escaping from Arctic seafloor
Methane release likely caused mystery crateron Yamal peninsula
This subject remains controversial among hunters and anglers