Friday, April 23

Look up | Entertainment | smdailyjournal.com


And the meteor showers continue, according to In-The-Sky.org. The Monocerotid meteor shower has been active between Nov. 15 and Nov. 25 and will produce its peak rate of meteors around Saturday.

From San Mateo, the shower will not be visible before 11:45 p.m. each night, when its radiant point, the constellation Canis Minor rises above the eastern horizon. It will then remain active until dawn breaks around 6:25 a.m. The shower is likely to produce its best displays in the hours around 4 a.m., when its radiant point is highest in the sky. It must be a weak meteor shower because they don’t even mention the potential number of meteors per hour. However they do identify the parent body responsible for creating the Alpha-Monocerotid shower as comet C/1917 F1 (Mellish).

We should still be able to see the close approach of the moon and Jupiter and Saturn. Saturday is the first quarter of the moon. Sometimes when you look at the crescent moon, the dark unlit portion of the moon will glow! According to Alamanac.com, this phenomenon is called earthshine. It is the sunlight that’s been reflected off of Earth, then bounced off the moon and back to our eyes! It gives the dark, unlit portion of the moon an eerie radiance.

This is unique in all the universe: Only the moon is near enough to reflect back our own light for our own enjoyment. This occurs because 38% of the sunlight that strikes Earth bounces back into space; some of this earthlight bathes the lunar surface. About 10% of that light bounces off the lunar surface (which is not very reflective) to create the visible glow (earthshine) on the moon’s dark side.

Look Up appears in the weekend edition. If you have any astronomical questions or facts you’d like to share email news@smdailyjournal.com with the subject line “Look Up.”



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