Here’s when to see the full Worm Moon
Look east and you will find the bright Worm Moon rising over the horizon just before 8 p.m.March’s full moon is referred to as the Worm Moon because earthworms begin to appear as the soil warms in spring. March’s full moon is also the Paschal Full Moon in 2021, the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. April’s full moon is also a supermoon meaning the moon is full while also in perigee or closest approach to Earth. During a supermoon, the moon is about 14% larger and 30% brighter than a normal full moon. AdThere is no set definition as to how close the moon must be to be considered super and therefore some also consider March’s full moon super.
Jupiter, Mercury to get up close and personal Friday morning
ORLANDO, Fla. – Skywatchers will want to set their alarms for this one as the largest planet in our solar system hangs out with the smallest. Similar to the Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in December, Jupiter and Mercury will form a conjunction of their own before sunrise Friday. Conjunction between Jupiter and MercuryMercury is typically difficult to see in the sky due to its proximity to the sun and its size. Jupiter and Mercury will rise above the eastern horizon around 5:30 a.m. Friday and gradually get higher in the sky. AdThe window to view the planets will be short as the sun rises a little more than an hour later.
First full moon of 2021 to shine bright Thursday
A full moon as seen outside WKMG studios on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. ORLANDO, Fla. – The sky should be mostly clear across Central Florida to catch a glimpse of the first full moon of the year Thursday. January’s full moon is also known as the Wolf Moon because howling wolves were often heard at this time of the year. The moon has looked full for the past several nights, but will officially be full Thursday. The moon will be at its fullest at 2:18 p.m. Thursday, but will still appear full after it rises shortly after 6 p.m.Full Wolf Moon rises ThursdayIf you snap any photos upload them to the PinIt section of the Pinpoint Weather App.
Backyard astronomers will not want to miss these 5 events in 2021
Total Lunar Eclipse (May 26)May’s total lunar eclipse will be the first total lunar eclipse in the Americas in more than two years. In a total lunar eclipse, the moon turns a red, rusty color, often referred to as a blood moon. In Central Florida, it will be a partial lunar eclipse as the Moon will set prior to totality. Partial lunar eclipse (Nov 19)November’s lunar eclipse will be partial, meaning the Earth’s shadow will never fully engulf the Moon, but it’s going to be close. In the pre-dawn hours of the 19th, Central Florida will actually see more of the Moon covered than in May’s total eclipse (partial for Central Florida).
Photos: Jupiter, Saturn conjunction put on a show forming ‘Christmas star’
Jupiter and Saturn during the Great Conjunction on Dec. 21, 2020 as seen above the Space Coast Lightfest in Melbourne, Florida. Central Florida lucked out with clear sky and cool weather prompting sky gazers to observe the Great Conjunction. Photographer Michael Seeley captured Jupiter and Saturn in the night sky above the Space Coast Lightfest in Melbourne at Wickham Park. Jupiter and Saturn during the Great Conjunction on Dec. 21, 2020 as seen above the Space Coast Lightfest in Melbourne, Florida. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) ((NASA/Bill Ingalls)\rFor copyright and restrictions refer to -�http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/guidelines/index.html)Their next Jupiter and Saturn Great Conjunction won’t happen again until March 15, 2080.
Clear skies allow Floridians to view rare ‘Christmas Star’
ORLANDO, Fla. – The rare Great Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn took center stage Monday night. Great Conjunction through a telescopeAlso in that field of view will reside the biggest moons of the two bodies. Not every Great Conjunction, however, is created equal and that’s what makes the one occurring on the winter solstice so rare and special. This will set up the next Great Conjunction in 2040, although that one will not be as brilliant as 2020s. The Great Conjunction occurs because Jupiter has the inside track while orbiting the sun in our solar system.
‘Christmas Star:’ Jupiter, Saturn combine for rare Great Conjunction
The Great Conjunction is rare. The Great Conjunction happens when Jupiter and Saturn get very close to each from our perspective. Not every Great Conjunction, however, is created equal and that’s what makes the one occurring on the winter solstice so rare and special. This will set up the next Great Conjunction in 2040, although that one will not be as brilliant as 2020′s. The Great Conjunction occurs because Jupiter has the inside track while orbiting the Sun in our solar system.
Hubble Space Telescope is a gift of science that keeps giving
Some of the new Caldwell images include celestial gems that can be spotted with a telescope, binoculars or the naked eye. Originally, the space telescope was designed to last 15 years in orbit. This Hubble image captures Caldwell 78 (or NGC 6541), a globular star cluster roughly 22,000 light-years from Earth. When Hubble first began returning science data, astronomers did not see the clear images expected but fuzzy stars. The space agency is building another even more powerful telescope called the James Webb Space Telescope that will ultimately replace Hubble.
Northern Lights again possible in parts of contiguous US
ORLANDO, Fla. – Seeing the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis is on the bucket list of many people. The northern lights are a result of these storms. Typically the northern lights hang out closer to the poles, way up north in Canada, Alaska and northern Europe, but during a strong event like this one, they can be seen further south. Northern Lights forecastThe further south you are, the lower in the sky the potential glow will be. The northern lights have been seen in Florida a few times, but it’s extremely rare and takes a large disruption of Earth’s magnetic field from an intense geomagnetic storm.
Moon, planets putting on a show in the night sky
ORLANDO, Fla. – Jupiter and Saturn have been prominent fixtures in the evening sky over the past few months, but Wednesday, the waxing crescent moon joined in on the socially distant party. The moon will remain in close proximity to the two bright dots through Nov. 21. Look for the three in the southern sky as night falls. Cloud forecastJupiter and Saturn and will also continue to get closer and closer together in the night sky until the winter solstice on Dec. 21. It’s shaping up to be a good end to 2020 in the astronomy world.
On brink of collapse Arecibo Observatory telescope to be decommissioned
The world’s second largest radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory is on the verge of collapse following two structural support cables mysteriously snapping and will be be decommissioned as soon as possible, officials with the National Science Foundation announced Thursday. [TRENDING: County prepares for vaccine | Remote learning continues in spring | ‘We’re failing:’ Mayors call for COVID-19 action]The University of Central Florida manages the observatory for the National Science Foundation. While some of the facility will remain operational the telescope was the most well-known part of Arecibo and had operated for 57 years. “There’s thousands of people that have a story that they can share with Arecibo,” Lugo said. Lugo described the outpouring from students who told the National Science Foundation of its importance to them.
No sun for two months: Sun sets for last time in 2020 in America’s northernmost city
ORLANDO, Fla. – Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska, will watch the sun set for last time this year on Wednesday. In the winter months, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, keeping the sun below the horizon. The northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun and, therefore, the sun won’t set for a couple of months. This is also known as polar day or the midnight sun. Daylight will continue to decrease until the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter on Dec. 21.
Your best bet for catching a breathtaking glimpse of the Leonid meteor shower this month
Have you heard of the Leonid meteor shower? It comes around every November, but the chances of seeing it this year are much higher than last year. The shower happens at the same time every year, when Earth’s orbit crosses the orbit of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to Space.com. A trail of dust is left behind the comet, and when Earth’s orbit crosses that trail, pieces of the comet fall toward our planet’s surface. Luckily for us, meteors are visible to the naked eye, and the shower will peak overnight Monday into Tuesday (Nov. 16-17) around 3 a.m.
Fake asteroid? NASA expert IDs mystery object as old rocket from failed moon mission
Instead of a cosmic rock, the newly discovered object appears to be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission 54 years ago that’s finally making its way back home, according to NASA's leading asteroid expert. The lander ended up crashing into the moon after one of its thrusters failed to ignite on the way there. The rocket, meanwhile, swept past the moon and into orbit around the sun as intended junk, never to be seen again — until perhaps now. What caught Chodas’ attention is that its near-circular orbit around the sun is quite similar to Earth’s — unusual for an asteroid. Chodas' latest target of interest was passed by Earth in their respective laps around the sun in 1984 and 2002.
Look Up! You won’t be able to see this spectacle again until 2035
Orlando, Fla. – The planets have been putting on a show recently in the night sky and it will get even better early next week. As the sun sets Tuesday in the west, Mars will rise in the east, getting higher in the sky as the night goes on. Mars will also “only” be about 39 million miles away Tuesday, it’s closest until 2035. The Red Planet was actually a little closer to Earth last week, but it wasn’t in opposition. The night skyFor an additional treat, Saturn and Jupiter continue to hang out together in the southern sky.
Don’t miss it: Rare full moon set to light up Halloween sky
As if 2020 wasn’t eerie enough, this year’s Halloween night will be once in a blue moon. October 2020 Full Moon Schedule:Oct. 1 (The Harvest Moon): This name is given to the first full moon after the autumnal equinox. Oct. 31 (The Hunter’s Moon): This name is typically given because hunters would track and kill prey under the fall moonlight, collecting food before winter. This rare double full moon occurrence would also mean that this Halloween will be a blue moon because it’s the second full moon in one month. This is where the saying “once in a blue moon” comes to play.
Look up: International Observe the Moon Night is a great reason to sky gaze
Every year, International Observe the Moon Night occurs in September or October when the Moon is around first quarter. Planetarium Director Derek Demeter and planetarium specialist Justin Cirillo will host a virtual sky party on Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics Cape Canaveral chapter is hosting two virtual events beginning on Friday. NASA is also hosting a number of lunar-learning opportunities on the Observe the Moon Night. Next year, International Observe the Moon Night is Oct. 16.
15 things you (probably) didn’t know about the moon
Bye-bye, moon -- The moon is slowly moving away from us. Not only does the Moon influence the oceans' tides, it’s the reason why we only see one side, because the Earth and Moon are so in sync. One of the spacecraft’s main goal was to make a 3D map of the Moon’s surface from lunar orbit to identify potential landing sites and resources. We know the shape of the solid surface of the Moon better than the shape of the solid surface of the Earth. It’s called “the Moon” because people didn’t know about other moons existing until 1610.
Repairs to Arecibo Observatory slow going to ensure safety before removing damaged parts
The Arecibo Observatory, located in Puerto Rico, was damaged Aug. 10 when an auxiliary cable, designed to last up to 40 years, broke away from one of the observatory’s structural towers. The University of Central Florida manages the National Science Foundation-owned facility, along with Universidad Ana G. Mendez and Yang Enterprises. “And that’s why the analysis is key to the safety plan.”Once the National Science Foundation is sent the analysis the damaged cable and socket will be removed soon after. “We know the process is taking a long time and we are eager to begin repairs,”Arecibo Observatory Director Francisco Cordova said. UCF and Arecibo plan to provide updates when plans for major milestones of the project are determined.
Cosmic Legos: Black holes merge into never before seen size
Black holes are compact regions of space so densely packed that not even light can escape. There are small ones called stellar black holes that are formed when a star collapses and are about the size of small cities. Then in May 2019 two detectors picked up a signal that turned out to be the energy from two stellar black holes each large for a stellar black hole crashing into each other. Black hole collisions have been observed before, but the black holes involved were smaller to begin with and even after the merger didn't grow beyond the size of typical stellar black holes. It could instead be that supermassive black holes were formed in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang.
No, the moon and Mars will not be the same size in the sky, tonight -- or ever
Every 26 months Mars and Earth are on the same side of the Sun, which is known as Mars opposition, making the Red Planet closer to our home planet. What doesn’t happen during opposition, even if your Facebook friends say it does, is make Mars appear just as big as the moon in the night sky to the naked eye. That opposition year Mars appeared bigger and brighter in the night sky but still not the same size as the moon, that’s just not possible. “Somehow, things got mixed up a bit to claim that Mars would look as big as the moon,” Fienberg said. An illustration of the relative 'tilt' in the orbits of Earth and Mars during opposition.
Damages another test for resilient Arecibo Observatory but the science goes on
The University of Central Florida manages the National Science Foundation facility, along with Universidad Ana G. Mendez and Yang Enterprises. The reflective dish of the Observatory is one of the largest in the world at 1,000 feet in diameter and 167 feet deep. For years Arecibo was also the largest telescope but earlier this year China opened its FAST Observatory, which spans more than 1,600 feet. Damage to the Arecibo Observatory collecting dish after a cable snapped on Aug. 10,2020. While research from Arecibo will still go on because there is still new data to analyze, the Observatory notified all scientists that new observation time would be put on hold.
Worlds most powerful telescope damaged after cables snaps, creating 100-foot whole
Arecibo Observatory, the most powerful telescope in the world, located in Puerto Rico, was damaged Monday after a cable snapped and tore a large hole in the telescopes reflector dish. The University of Central Florida manages the National Science Foundation facility, along with Universidad Ana G. Mendez and Yang Enterprises. Located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the telescope was still undergoing repairs from Hurricane Marie in 2017. From the bridge of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The damaged Observatory will be a huge blow to the radio astronomy community and scientists who rely on it for research in understanding the universe.
Astronomers find galaxy similar to Milky Way
In a galaxy far, far away. Its a galaxy and astronomers say it looks a lot like ours, a Milky way doppelganger if you will. The galaxy is more than 12 billion light years away from ours which means we're seeing this galaxy as it appeared when the universe was only 1.4 billion years old. Clearly, the Milky Way got the better name. Astronomers have always thought galaxies were basically wild and unformed in the early years of the universe but seeing this galaxy thats calm and well-ordered just like ours completely changes their way of thinking.
Look up: Annual Perseid meteor shower visible this week
Get ready for an all-natural light show in the night sky, the Perseid meteor shower. It's considered the northern hemisphere's most popular meteor shower of the year. This year, it's been active since July, but it's set to peak this Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. If you can't get out to have a look then you may still be able to catch a glimpse of Perseid meteors the following two nights. Perseid meteors are caused by dust and debris left behind from the tail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle.
Look up: It’s Jupiter’s moment to shine
The July astronomical events continue in the night sky overnight into Tuesday and this time, it’s Jupiter’s moment in the limelight. Monday night and into early Tuesday morning Jupiter is expected to reach “opposition.”This means that Jupiter will be at its closest approach to Earth, opposite of the sun. When the sun begins to set to our west, Jupiter will rise from the east and continuing to shine bright through the night. It will climb to its highest spot in the sky at midnight and then set in the west around sunrise Tuesday morning eastern time. Click here to see what other astronomical events are expected this month.
Here are the top 3 astronomical events you should look up for in July
Penumbral eclipseA penumbral lunar eclipse isn’t as exciting and definitely not as noticeable as a total lunar eclipse. When the moon completely moves through the earth’s shadow it is known a total lunar eclipse. The penumbral lunar eclipse starts at 11:07 p.m. and lasts until 1:52 a.m. Planets galoreThrough the middle of July, the planets will continue to put on a show in the morning sky. The evening star will now rise in the morning joining Jupiter, Saturn and Mars through the month.
Comet SWAN could soon brighten a sky near you
ORLANDO, Fla,- – It was just last month we told you about newly-discovered Comet ATLAS having the potential to be the next, great naked-eye comet. Like exploding aerial fireworks shells, comet ATLAS is breaking apart into more than 30 pieces, each roughly the size of a house. Hubble captured detailed images of the breakup last week: https://t.co/PYcgDD64hA pic.twitter.com/hV2n2OrVnY — Hubble (@NASAHubble) April 28, 2020Enter Comet SWAN. SWAN was discovered in late March by amateur astronomer Michael Mattiazo after analyzing data from NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory SWAN instrument. Comet SWAN will also become fainter as May turns into June.
Look up! Lyrid meteor shower peaks this week
ORLANDO, Fla.- – The Lyrids don’t match up to the meteor count per hour of the Geminids in December or Perseids in August, but this shower is special in its own way. Producing only 10-15 meteors per hour, the Lyrids are known for producing brighter meteors and the occasional fireball. The light display during meteor showers are caused by that debris, meteoroids, about the size of a grain of sand, entering the earth’s atmosphere and burning up. That heat produces the iconic glow that dances across the night sky. Unlike most meteor showers, the best time for viewing the Lyrids is in the morning before the sun comes up.
Newly discovered comet ATLAS could become visible with naked eye
A few weeks ago, Comet ATLAS showed all the promise of the next great comet, coming into view at the end of April. ATLAS, named after being discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, was found in late December. The famous Halley’s Comet is a short-period comet that comes by every 75-76 years. Comet ATLAS can be found with a good pair of binoculars or telescope by locating the Big Dipper and Camelopardalis in the northern sky. “I basically narrate over that and tell people about the weeks coming up, what you can see in the sky,” Mayo said.
Biggest, brightest supermoon of 2020 rises this week, when to see it
Fresh on the heels of March’s supermoon, April’s supermoon will appear slightly bigger and brighter. April’s full moon is also a supermoon meaning the moon is full while also in perigee, or closest approach to Earth. supermoonDuring a supermoon, the moon is about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a normal full moon. The April full moon is referred to as the pink moon because it coincides with the blooming of the moss pink wildflower. Your photo comes right into the Pinpoint Weather Center!
Eyes to the sky: Venus, the Pleiades to put on rare display Friday night
ORLANDO, Fla. – Venus and the Pleiades star cluster won’t be social distancing in the sky Friday evening. Once every eight years, the Pleiades --also known as the Seven Sisters-- star cluster and Venus appear very close in the sky when in reality they are not. The Pleiades is an open star cluster located in the constellation Taurus. How to see:Just after sunset, look west, about halfway up the sky. As the sky gets darker, more of the fainter stars within the Pleiades cluster will become visible.
Look up: Cluster of planets dazzle Thursday morning’s sky
Step outside one hour before sunrise Thursday and you’ll be treated to the sight of several planets bright in the morning sky. Look southeast and you’ll be able to spot the three bodies, Jupiter being the brightest. Mars will be in the middle of Jupiter, to the right and Saturn, to the left. Don’t worry, while the planets looks close together in the sky, they’re still practicing social distancing being extremely far apart in reality. There will be clouds moving in and out, especially along the coast which could prohibit viewing, but if you’re up early and we get a little lucky, space will put on a pretty awesome show before the sun takes over.
Look Up! Supermoon, planets to dazzle Monday’s sky
ORLANDO, Fla.- – March’s full “worm” moon will be a supermoon, meaning the moon is full while also in perigee, or closest approach to Earth. Monday’s supermoon will appear to be the second-biggest full moon of the year. The March full moon is referred to as the worm moon because the ground begins to thaw and earthworms soon reappear for spring. Before sunrise, opposite of the supermoon in the western sky, will reside four planets in the east. Your photo comes right into the Pinpoint Weather Center!
Early risers: Planetary alignment to provide early-morning treat Thursday
ORLANDO, Fla. – A few planets have been prominent in the early-morning sky recently and that will continue again Thursday. Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will be aligned and the crescent moon will come out to play. Look southeast an hour before sunrise and the four bodies will put on a show, depending on the weather. RPMClouds and even a few showers will be around Thursday morning, but if there are breaks in the clouds, look up!
Look up! Full Snow Moon tonight
ORLANDO, Fla.- – The second full moon of winter will shine bright this weekend. Just after 2 a.m. eastern time, the Snow Moon will be at its fullest. February’s full moon gets its name from the heavy snow that usually comes with the month. If you snap a photo, upload it to the Pins section of the Pinpoint Weather App. It’s the best way way to get your picture on News 6.
Mark your calendars: Top astronomical events of 2020
ORLANDO, Fla- – The transit of Mercury highlighted the 2019 astronomical calendar and once again in 2020, planets will steal the show. The moon puts on a bright display first with the first supermoon of 2020. They will be joined by a crescent moon Dec. 16 and reach their closest point Dec. 21. The two planets won’t be this close again until 2040. The next total eclipse will be a lunar eclipse in 2022.
Moon, Venus, Saturn put on evening show this weekend
ORLANDO, Fla.- – There will be breaks in the clouds, but it will be a battle across Central Florida to see a couple of planets in our evening sky. Shortly after sunset Saturday, Venus will hang out with the crescent moon. As usual, Venus will be the brightest object in the sky. Closer to the horizon, a dimmer Saturn will. The moon will move further away from Venus Sunday.
The king of meteor showers peaks this week
ORLANDO, Fla. – Arguably the best meteor shower of the year peaks at the end of this week. Unlike the “Unicorn" meteor shower in November which didn’t live up to the hype, the Geminids are one of the most reliable meteor showers. Most of the meteor showers witnessed on Earth are comet debris that crosses Earth’s orbit. As with all meteor showers, to get the full effect, stargazers should try and get away from city lights and let their eyes adjust to the darkness for about 15 minutes. Venus and Saturn will appear close to each other in the night sky before sunset Dec. 27-29.
Bright planets take over Central Florida sky this weekend
Orlando, Fla- – The two brightest planets in our sky will join together for a second time this year. Over the pasts several nights, Jupiter and Venus have been inching closer to each other and this weekend, will put on a show in the evening sky. After sunset, look southwest and the two brightest objects in the sky will quickly grab your attention. Saturn will also be in view over the weekend. Look up and to the left of Venus and Jupiter and you will find a dimmer Saturn in comparison.
Look up: ‘Unicorn’ meteor shower could produce hundreds of meteors per hour
The alpha Monocerotid meteor shower is typically quiet, producing just a few meteors per hour, but a handful of times in the past 100 years, the shower produced hundreds of meteors per hour. Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through the debris field leftover by an asteroid or comet. Don’t be alarmed, the particles from the debris field are only the size of a grain of sand. If the debris field from the comet or asteroid is extremely dense, hundreds or even thousands of meteors per hour will be possible. If this occurs the meteor shower is deemed a meteor storm.
400 meteors per hour? Meteor shower could dazzle Nov. 21
The Alpha Monocerotids are typically quiet, producing just a few meteors per hour, but a handful of times over the past 100 years, the shower produced hundreds of meteors per hour. Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through the debris field left over by an asteroid or comet. Don’t be alarmed, the particles from the debris field are only the size of a grain of sand. Peter Jenniskens, a senior research scientist with SETI and the NASA’s AMES Research Center, has been monitoring the shower. If Earth passes through the dense part of the debris field as it did in the years Jenniskens mentioned in the link above, we could be in for a treat.
Hundreds flock to UCF for ‘blood moon’ viewing
ORLANDO, Fla. – Hundreds of people gathered at the University of Central Florida's Memory Mall early Tuesday for an up-close viewing of the "blood moon" lunar eclipse. 'Blood moons'In a total lunar eclipse, the full moon turns a coppery red as it passes into Earth's shadow. "Woke up in just enough time to see half of the blood moon," tweeted LaTara Hammers of Columbia, Missouri. 'A chance arrangement of gravity'Ed Krupp, director of the observatory, described it as a "typical copper red" total lunar eclipse. North America will see a blood moon four times -- known as a tetrad -- between now and September of next year.