Comet PANSTARRS is now near the Andromeda Galaxy and in a darker sky. They appear together in the northwest after dark, and in the northeast before sunrise. Use binoculars. Look to the northwest as soon as it gets dark, around 70 to 90 minutes after sunset. Moreover, you can look for this comet in the northeast sky before dawn. Comet PANSTARRS is intrinsically fainter now as it heads back out to the outer solar system, but it now appears against in a slightly darker sky background, making it easier to spot. Plus the moon is past full and gone from the early evening sky. If you haven’t caught Comet PANSTARRS yet, try now!
Faint, distant comets get discovered all the time, usually by robotic telescopes that sweep up huge swaths of sky every clear night. Most come and go quietly. But a new find made on September 24th by a pair of amateur sky sleuths has the astronomy world atwitter (in this word’s traditional and modern connotations) with the prospect that it could become very bright late next year.
Ophiuchus is one of thirteen constellations that cross the ecliptic. It has therefore been called the ‘13th sign of the zodiac’. However, this confuses sign with constellation. The signs of the zodiac are a twelve-fold division of the ecliptic, so that each sign spans 30° of celestial longitude, approximately the distance the Sun travels in a month, and (in the Western tradition) are aligned with the seasons so that the March equinox falls on the boundary between Aries and Pisces. Constellations, on the other hand, are unequal in size and are based on the positions of the stars. The constellations of the zodiac have only a loose association with the signs of the zodiac, and do not in general coincide with them. In Western astrology the constellation of Aquarius, for example, largely corresponds to the sign of Pisces. Similarly, the constellation of Ophiuchus occupies most of the sign of Sagittarius.
This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My blog is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life.
Without me my blog is useless. Without my blog, I am useless. I must fire my blog true. I must shoot straighter than other bloggers who are trying to blog me. I must blog them before they blogs me. I will.
Before God I swear this creed. My blog and myself are defenders of my country. We are the masters of the bloggers. We are the saviours of my life. So be it … until there is no other bloggers … but peace. Amen.