Archive for the ‘Space Weather’ Category

Planetary Conjunction
June 29, 2015

A really cool sight will be visible in the skies Tuesday evening. It’s called a planetary conjunction and this one will feature our two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter. The planets will be within 1/3 of a degree of each other, appearing as one large bright star. This is also called, “The Star of Bethlehem” conjunction because Jupiter, Venus and the star Regulus (which is the star to the left) were all within 1/100 of a degree of each other in the year 3/2 BC. Many astronomers believe this is the celestial event that showed the way to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.

This will be visible at sunset Tuesday, which is at 8:09 p.m. in Los Angeles. It will be low on the horizon when you look west and will only be visible for about an hour to an hour and a half. The key will be the cloud cover, and there will be some clouds around. Hopefully there is clearing for your viewing.

My friends in Albuquerque and Houston won’t be left out! Look toward the west at sunset, which is at 8:25 and 8:26 p.m.

If you snap a photo of it, please share it on my Facebook page or tag @AnthonyNBCLA in a tweet.


Did you see this?
May 29, 2013


Mercury, Venus and Jupiter all visible on the horizon — These planets won’t be this close again until the year 2026.
Picture by Nick Strawn, Katy

Why A Total Lunar Eclipse is Red
December 9, 2011


According to atmospheric scientist Richard Keen of the University of Colorado, “During a lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the moon passes through the stratosphere where it is reddened by scattering. If the stratosphere is loaded with dust from volcanic eruptions, the eclipse will be dark; a clear stratosphere, on the other hand, produces a brighter eclipse. At the moment, the stratosphere is mostly clear with little input from recent volcanoes.” Also, as light passes by Earth’s atmosphere, short wavelengths, like blue, are scattered. By the time light finished its trip to the moon, only longer wavelengths, like red, remain. This is why the moon turns red during an eclipse!

To view past weather quiz answers click here:

Past Weather Quiz Answers

Total Lunar Eclipse Saturday
December 9, 2011


Click image to get a really good video explanation of what to expect with tomorrow’s total lunar eclipse.

Unfortunately, we aren’t in a good spot to view Saturday morning’s eclipse.  At moon set, 7:07 a.m., we’ll see a partial eclipse but won’t get the full view because we are on the edge of moon falling into the earth’s shadow.

Saturday morning will also have some thick clouds, especially south of I-10, which will prevent us from seeing even the partial view we’ll have.  If you are reading this and live on the west coast or Hawaii, get up early because our next total lunar eclipse won’t be until April 15, 2014. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Photo by: Loyd Overcash
The lunar eclipse seen from Houston on October 27, 2004.

Two of the really cool things about a total lunar eclipse is the moon appears a blood red or copperish orange.  It will also appear bigger than it actually is in what is called a “moon illusion.”  Low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects.  In fact, a low moon is no wider than any other moon (cameras prove it), but the human brain insists otherwise. To observers in the western USA, therefore, the eclipse will appear super-sized.

Last Time in the Sky Together
July 19, 2011

This was sent to me from Mark Singletary:

“Space Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station will appear together in the sky for the last time Wednesday morning.

The shuttle will appear to lead the space station across the sky by about 30 or 40 seconds.

From 5:43-5:44 a.m. Central Daylight Time, both spacecraft will be moving northeast over the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and then out over the Gulf of Mexico. Those situated near and along the Gulf Coast will be able to see this if the clouds aren’t too thick with the two space craft emerging above the south-southeast horizon.”

Four Planets in the Sky Tonight!
May 10, 2011

If you are an early riser and the clouds clear just a bit, you’ll have a chance to see four planets in the night sky.  Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and Mars will all be visible with the naked eye while looking east.  Venus and Jupiter are the two brightest planets in our solar system and will be 1/2 degree apart.  The best morning to view this spectacle is Wednesday, about a half hour before sunrise.  While that is the best time to view, all the planets will be visible through the month of May. 

Galveston From the International Space Station
December 15, 2010

Here’s a view of Galveston from the International Space Station 220 miles in the sky.

Galveston residents will be able to see the International Space Station early Thursday morning.  It will be overhead at 5:08am and 6:41am.  it will look like a shooting star.


NASA provides a schedule of times the I.S.S. will fly over the Island. Click images or go here to get sightings times for Galveston.


Mars As Big As the Moon
August 16, 2010

I watch you guys in the morning all the time and have heard you comment on things like the planets before. Could you tell me if Mars will really big as big as the moon August 27th?

There is an e-mail that goes around every year at this time claiming that the planet Mars will be as big as the moon on the 27th.  This is a hoax, but as most untruths go, it is based on some facts.

Mars did make a close approach on Aug. 27, 2003 when it came within 35 million miles of Earth.  It was the closest approach in 60,000 years.  On that date, Mars was 85 times brighter in the sky and appeared 6 times larger, but it only looked as big as the moon when VIEWED THROUGH A TELESCOPE.

To read the e-mail and a full explanation of this falsehood click the image, or click here:

Mars as big as the Moon

What We Look Like from the International Space Station
March 23, 2010

Here’s a view of southeast Texas from the International Space Station.  Downtown and our major highways are clearly visible.

The International Space Station will be overhead at 8:26 tonight.  It may be too cloudy to see but if you do get a look it will look like a shooting star.


NASA provides a schedule of times the I.S.S. will fly over the Space City.  Click images or go here to get sightings times for Houston.


Total Solar Eclipse
July 22, 2009

July’s total solar eclipse — the longest of the 21st century — will cover parts of Asia.  Unfortunatley we cannot see it in America. 


The Sun and the Moon align July 22, 2009, for this year’s only total solar eclipse. A cone of darkness will cut a narrow course through eastern Asia and the western Pacific. The Moon’s dark face will block the Sun’s brilliant disk for up to 6 minutes and 39 seconds, making this the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century.

Two factors make this the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century. First, the Sun is at its farthest point from Earth July 4. By July 22, the Sun hasn’t come much closer, so it appears near its smallest in our sky. A small Sun means the Moon can cover it longer.

Second, the Moon comes closest to Earth in 2009 — and thus appears biggest — less than 5 hours before the eclipse begins. Just as a small Sun lengthens an eclipse, a large Moon covers the Sun longer. The Sun and Moon normally appear about the same size in our sky. At maximum eclipse July 22, the Moon appears 6.2 percent bigger.


Track of the eclipse

A really good website explaining solar exlipses can be found here: