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 ~*~WATCH THE NIGHT SKY ~ August/2007 ~*~
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~*~WATCH THE NIGHT SKY~August:2007~*~

`From spectacular meteor showers to an excellent eclipse~find out why this may be
THE BEST MONTH EVER to be a `stargazer`.

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`Starry~Starry Nights`

This may be the best month ever to look up at the sky~No matter where you are in the United States~an amazing array of shooting stars~constellations and other wonderful events will fill your night.
Excerpts from Julian Smith
USA WEEKEND Magazine` {August: 2007 Edition}

The most magical and mysterious theatre is above our heads `high in the heavens` the naturally occurring display that stars~comets~planets and other celestial wonders present before our eyes.

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August 2007~will be a month to remember for sky watching~hosting a unique combination of shooting stars~a total lunar eclipse~enchanting formations and other highlights that may not be seen again until the next decade.

The evening sky has inspired fascinations~ with many mythical tales of how all of this came to be.
The Wasco Indians believed~for example~that stars were arrows flung into the sky by the fabled Coyote.
We know better now~thanks to science~and those like one of my dearest friends~studying the mystic wonders of this `vast universe` ~but we don't know so much that the entire mystery has been unraveled.

 A METEOR SHOWER TO REMEMBER:

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A meteor shower happens when tiny specks of comet debris enter Earth's atmosphere~creating an eye-catching light show as they  vaporize during a streak through our atmosphere.

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`PERSEIDS WILL SHINE BRIGHTER~THANKS TO A NEW MOON.`

Perseids happen when Earth passes through the debris trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle as the comet makes its 130-year orbit around the sun.
Every brilliant flash is a fragment burning at 37 miles per second~and you will be able to spot as many as 100 of these flashes when the shower peaks on the nights of
Aug. 12 and 13.

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Adding to its appeal is the fact that~this year~a new moon falls on Aug. 12 {my son's 35th Birthday, by the way}~
for the first time since 1999~so skies will be at their darkest; therefore, the meteors will be quite visible.
"Happy 35th. Birthday~♥~Dennis JR."

A TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE

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On August 28~the full moon will darken and turn deep orange near dawn~caused when the moon passes through Earth's shadow. The same process that turns sunsets red causes this dramatic color change.

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Sunlight that passes through Earth's atmosphere is reflected and scattered.
Shorter blue~green and yellow wave-lengths scatter the most ~ leaving the longer reddish wave-lengths to tint the moon the color of autumn maple leaves during the eclipse.
If you miss this one~the next total lunar eclipse will be visible next February.

TAURUS GETS A SECOND RED EYE FROM MARS:

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Mars Visits Taurus:
The constellation Taurus~"the bull"~is known for the "V"of its head and horns ~with the red star Aldebaran forming an eye.

Between Aug. 18 and 24~after Mars passes close to Aldebaran ~ the planet will form a second red eye ~completing the bull's fiery gaze and making for a striking sight from anywhere in the USA~esp. between 4 to 5 am. This occurs every several years.

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THE ASTEROID VESTA PASSES JUPITER:

On Aug. 29~Jupiter will get a new neighbor:
Vesta~the brightest asteroid in the sky ~named after the
Roman Goddess of the hearth~was the fourth
steroid ever discovered.
The potato-shaped rock is about 330 miles across and has an unusually reflective surface~which makes Vesta the only asteroid that's visible to the naked eye.

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With a small telescope or high-powered binoculars~you should be able to see Vesta change in brightness from anywhere in the country~as the asteroid rotates every 5.3 hours.
It hasn't shone this brightly since 1989.
Vesta is about as bright as Jupiter 's largest moons ~making it look for a while
as if a new one had appeared suddenly.

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SATELLITES ENHANCE THE NIGHTLY SKY SHOW:

Satellites: Man's Contribution to Sky Watching:

Since the USSR launched a little beeping ball called `Sputnik` in 1957~manmade objects have circled the Earth.
Today~many satellites are exciting to watch and easy to find .

They look like slowly moving stars.
The best time to look is in the early morning hours before sunrise or after sunset`when you can spot as many as 20 in an hour from anywhere in the country.

The easiest satellite to see is the largest spacecraft ever built.  The International Space Station orbits the the planet about 210 miles up and can outshine even the brightest planets.

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It is visible from anywhere between nearly 52 degrees north and south latitudes, which includes the entire continental United States.
It's large solar panels are very reflective~
You may be able to see the station and the space shuttle trailing it.

An even more dramatic sight is a flare off one of the 66 Iridium communications satellites.
The space-crafts have antennae ~ and even when the sun is below the horizon ~ its light still can hit the antennae ~ making for a dazzling reflection that can last a few seconds.

As with other `satellite spottings` it's best to catch this show in the hours just before sunrise or sunset.
If you're right underneath when a flare goes off~it's bright enough to cast shadows.

USA WEEKEND:
{August 2007 Edition}
Contributing: Maggie Gordon

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If interested, these sites on line, have interesting information on Star Gazing!

~On Line Star Charting: Following Links:~

Space.com's NightSky:
space.com/nightsky

Sky & Telescope 's Lets Go Star Gazing:
skyandtelescope.com/letsgo

Heavens Above:
heavens-above.com

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Presented by:
Mary Jane Balthazar
{with graphics from`Photobucket.com}

~*~♥~*~
"HOW GREAT OUR CREATOR IS"
~*~♥~*~
'WE GIVE ALL GLORY TO GOD~
~ FOR HIS MAJESTIC CREATIONS~
~INCLUDING EARTH AND MANKIND"~




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