Sunday, February 5, 2017
Welcomed in the New Year; now the Year of the Rooster! We missed the January 3 meteor shower. If you have enjoyed the sightings of "Iridium flares, flashes in the sky, a new group of Satellites just launched, have different antennas that will make it impossible to view the Iridium flares in the future. As these newer Satellites take over, the flares will disappear over our portal. Our sun has started showing Zero - few sunspots, bringing in the Solar Minimum? Forecasters expect the next Solar Minimum to arrive in 2019-2020. Solar Minimum brings many interesting changes. For instance, as the extreme ultraviolet output of the sun decreases, the upper atmosphere of Earth cools and collapses. This allows space junk to accumulate around our planet. Also, the heliosphere shrinks, bringing interstellar space closer to Earth. We have been tracking the planets at dawn and dusk, when possible on clear nights. Jupiter was in Virgo and Saturn in Ophiuchus. Mars in Capricorn and Venus in Aquarius. Chinese New Year was January 28. Lots of cloudy nights with some clear cool nights thrown in. Warmer than usual!