How Earth looks from outer space – EarthSky

Astronomy Essentials

If you were looking with the eye alone, how far away in space would our planet Earth still be visible?

Here is Earth from 900 million miles away, from the vantage point of the rings of Saturn. Image via the Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004.

This image was acquired by Cassini on July 19, 2013. How far away from Earth can we be, to see it still with our own eyes? To answer this question, you have to take into account how brightly Earth reflects sunlight. And the sun itself is an important factor. As seen from any great distance, Earth appears right next to the sun; from a great distance, the glare of our local star would make Earth difficult or impossible to see. But spacecraft exploring our solar system have given us marvelous views of Earth.

So imagine blasting off and being about 300 kilometers – about 200 miles – above Earth’s surface. That’s the height at which the International Space Station (ISS) orbits. The surface of the Earth looms large in the window of ISS. In the daytime, you can clearly see major landforms. At night, you see the lights of Earth’s cities.

Source: How Earth looks from outer space | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky


Milky Way over Green Lake, in Horsham, Australia | Today’s Image | EarthSky

Milky Way over Green Lake, in Horsham, Australia

Milky Way reflected in a lake

The glow of a town and more-distant glow of the zodiacal light shine above an Australia lake. Even farther away is the arc of the Milky Way.

via Milky Way over Green Lake, in Horsham, Australia | Today’s Image | EarthSky.

Moon and star Antares Tonight

Moon and star Antares near each other on May 15

Tonight | EarthSky

The planet Saturn shines over the southeast horizon at nightfall on May 15, and then the moon and the star Antares follow Saturn into the sky by around 10 p.m. local time (at mid-northern latitudes). At more southerly latitudes, the moon and Antares rise at an earlier hour. Look for the waning gibbous moon and Antares before going to bed on this night.

Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius, represents the Scorpion’s beating Heart. Beating? Yes, because from our northerly latitudes we tend to look at Antares low in the south, and the atmosphere causes it to scintillate. Thus Antares, a red star, is know to twinkle fiercely.

Antares is a red supergiant star, whose volume is a few hundred million times greater than that of our sun. If Antares replaced the sun in our solar system, its circumference would extend all the way into the asteroid belt in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

via Moon and star Antares near each other on May 15 | Tonight | EarthSky.

Where Can You See the Northern (or Southern) Lights?

I’ve always wanted to see these…the farthest north I’ve been in the US is in Minnesota and I’ve been (briefly) to Iceland, but no such luck! One of these days, I’d like to take a cruise up to Alaska.

Astronomy and Law

Beautiful and magical, the both the Aurora Borealis (Northern) and the Aurora Australis

File:Aurore australe - Aurora australis.jpg

Aurora australis image by Samuel Blanc.

Where can you see the lights of the aurora?  How can you plan to take an image?

The first place you would want to star is here, at Space Weather.  You can see how the local weather caused by the Sun is going to affect the Earth’s atmosphere and when it is going to send enough charged particles at us to light up the day and night.

I live pretty far south in Pasadena, but about three time a year on average, the Northern lights are visible this far south.  Granted you have to go to a dark sky sight, but it can still be done.

For the more adventurous, you can book a trip with my friend Dennis Mammana on one of his many journeys up to the…

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5 Amazing Facts About Tonight’s Blue Moon

When the full moon rises on Tuesday night, it will technically be a Blue Moon, but not for the reason you might think.

The Blue Moon on Aug. 20 is not the second full moon of August, but actually gets its name from a relatively obscure rule of astronomy. And there are a few other details about the full moon that might surprise you.

via 5 Amazing Facts About Tonight’s Blue Moon.

No Small Parts – Just Small Minds

No Small Parts – Just Small Minds
No Small Parts – Just Small Minds
We all have our roles to play, parts in the drama of dualistic life on Earth. As children, we dream big, imaging anything and everything that we can think of—it’s all possible. Until, of course, we tell someone—some adult or older child about our dreams.

It’s not that they are “wrong” – they had the same dreams themselves; they also “grew up” and realized that the world put limitations on what was possible. And, to the extent we believe in those limitations they are true. In truth, it is our own minds that create our limitations, downsizing our dreams of what is possible.
In this way, smallness is perpetuated once formed, it’s hard to increase the size of our dreams. Baby elephants in a circus are trained to know their limitations of movement by being stalked to a fixed point. But the time they’re big enough to pull the puny stake from the ground and escape, they do not even try.
Our minds—or rather the thought that our minds have—hold us captive. Small-mindedness captivates humanity, keeping it from fully-embracing our greatness and divine potential. We are actually scared to admit—to ourselves—just how powerful we are.
But, there are no small parts in life to play. Each of us came here, to fulfill our divine purpose. We are the ones who assign smallness—lesser authority, power or prestige—to the parts. Whether your part is to literally pick after someone else, say as a housekeeper or garbage man, this is an important component to keeping our environment clean and livable. Or, perhaps you feel your part of this life puzzle is merely a cog in the wheel for a business and a seemingly pointless pursuit, be assured that this too is important. On this mundane level, it is often hard to see the point of the work you perform in exchange for money.
In the outer world of work…or doing, being can sometimes get lost. Being requires that you be awake, aware and alive to the greater possibilities that nothing…no thing…that you do could be done without your participation. This participation in life is more than the sum total of all that doing that occupies most of your physical existence. All the great spiritual masters have told you this, but few belief it as true for themselves.
So, the first step in truly being is in this belief, belief in yourself as a powerful being who is here in the physical to make a difference. Believe this and a whole new level of understanding will be yours. Doubt it, as most do, and you will remain asleep to your higher calling, your greatest potential!