Moon Phases, a Lunar Eclipse, a Solar Eclipse, Planets, and a comet

Image Number Image (Click to Enlarge)CaptionImage Viewed
1 <strong>The Moon Phases as viewed from Earth</strong>
An easy way to remember the phases of the moon is to think of "DOC"! On the first night of the lunar month ("moonth") the moon is not visible, this phase is called the <em>new moon</em>. The sun is...

The Moon Phases as viewed from Earth An easy way to remember the phases of the moon is to think of "DOC"! On the first night of the lunar month ("moonth") the moon is not visible, this phase is called the new moon. The sun is...

The Moon Phases as viewed from Earth An easy way to remember the phases of the moon is to think of "DOC"! On the first night of the lunar month ("moonth") the moon is not visible, this phase is called the new moon. The sun is shining on the back side (what we call the "dark side" of the moon) which can't be seen from our vantage point. We always see the same side of the moon because it rotates so slowly the same face is always toward the Earth, fortunately, the side we see is the prettiest! In 3 days a tiny sliver of a waxing crescent can be seen, this is the "D" in "DOC". Every night more light is added on the right side (waxing), making more of the moon's disc visible. One week into the lunar cycle half of the moon is visible (but it is called the 1st Quarter). This is the best phase to view the moon with binoculars or a telescope because it can be seen early in the evening and the craters are well defined by the shadows. It is often possible to see the moon during the afternoon in this phase. On day 12 the moon is almost, but not quite, full. This is the waxing gibbous phase. Two weeks into the moon's revolution around the earth we enjoy a big, bright full moon, the "O". Up until this point, the moon has had more light added each night, from here on out, there will be less light each night. By day 16 the light begins to wane to the right and the moon is in the waning gibbous phase. Day 21 brings the 3rd Quarter phase when the other half is seen. The moon rises an hour later each night, by day 26 only a tiny crescent is visible early in the morning, this is the "C" phase. On Day 28 the moon has completed its cycle. The rare times that there are 2 full moons in one month, it is called a "Blue Moon". 11557
2 The <strong>Moon Phases as seen from space</strong> are different than how we see them on earth. If astronauts could observe the earth very far from earth for a month, this is the view  of the moon that would be seen from their spacecraft. The "DOC" is...

The Moon Phases as seen from space are different than how we see them on earth. If astronauts could observe the earth very far from earth for a month, this is the view of the moon that would be seen from their spacecraft. The "DOC" is...

The Moon Phases as seen from space are different than how we see them on earth. If astronauts could observe the earth very far from earth for a month, this is the view of the moon that would be seen from their spacecraft. The "DOC" is visible only from our vantage point on earth. Only one side of the moon is visible to us because it rotates one time every 28 days. Fortunately, the side we can see is the prettiest and most interesting! 3626
3 The Moon is in the <strong>waxing crescent phase</strong>, the"D", in this photograph. The moon rises an hour later each day, so during some phases in the 28-day lunar monthly cycle (which I call a "moonth"), it can be seen early in the afternoon. To f...

The Moon is in the waxing crescent phase, the"D", in this photograph. The moon rises an hour later each day, so during some phases in the 28-day lunar monthly cycle (which I call a "moonth"), it can be seen early in the afternoon. To f...

The Moon is in the waxing crescent phase, the"D", in this photograph. The moon rises an hour later each day, so during some phases in the 28-day lunar monthly cycle (which I call a "moonth"), it can be seen early in the afternoon. To find out the present phase of the moon check out this website:Moon phases for the month 3809
4 I gasped when I saw this spectacular view of the <strong>waxing crescent Moon and Venus</strong>. Of course, it was much prettier in real life than what the camera could capture! This sight was visible at 10:00 p.m. on May 19, 2007.
Venus is a very br...

I gasped when I saw this spectacular view of the waxing crescent Moon and Venus. Of course, it was much prettier in real life than what the camera could capture! This sight was visible at 10:00 p.m. on May 19, 2007. Venus is a very br...

I gasped when I saw this spectacular view of the waxing crescent Moon and Venus. Of course, it was much prettier in real life than what the camera could capture! This sight was visible at 10:00 p.m. on May 19, 2007. Venus is a very bright planet due to its size and proximity to the sun and the Earth. It is the only planet named for a female, the Roman goddess of beauty and love. Being the only "female" in the collection of 8 planets, she has to be a little different! Not only does Venus rotate (spin on her axis) very slowly, the angle of her axis is tilted nearly 180 degrees (south and north are reversed), so she also spins backwards! If you could live on Venus (which you couldn't because of the hotter-than-an-oven heat and a crushing, poisonous atmosphere), your day would be equal to nearly 4 Earth days and the sun would rise in the west and set in the east! Venus has an active crust with mountains, volcanoes and "Venusquakes". 3076
5 This <strong>1st Quarter Moon</strong> was visible at 4:30 p.m. in late February. I was photographing strange cloud formations when I noticed it. 
This is the best phase to observe the moon with a telescope, it is not too bright and some of the crater...

This 1st Quarter Moon was visible at 4:30 p.m. in late February. I was photographing strange cloud formations when I noticed it. This is the best phase to observe the moon with a telescope, it is not too bright and some of the crater...

This 1st Quarter Moon was visible at 4:30 p.m. in late February. I was photographing strange cloud formations when I noticed it. This is the best phase to observe the moon with a telescope, it is not too bright and some of the craters are side-lit by the sun making them easier to see. My school (Willow Brook Elementary) has had "Star Night" where we set up telescopes for moon and star gazing in the soccer field. I schedule it to be during the 1st quarter phase in February. Once a parent asked, "Who in the world came up with the crazy idea to have this in February?!" I just smiled and said, "I did!" I explained that we needed to have it in the winter for 2 reasons, first of all it is still dark early in the evening and the humidity is usually pretty low so the sky is clearer. Out of the 4 years we have had the program, we had 2 good nights and 2 rainy nights. The first year we saw Venus, Mars, Jupiter and its 4 Galilean moons, Saturn and even a fly-by of the International Space Station! We have people from the local astronomy club and astronomy students from Roane State Community College come with telescopes and their expertise to help. I love to see the look on a child's face the first time he or she sees the rings of Saturn! Priceless! 2126
6 The <strong>1st Quarter Moon</strong> with a halo. The halo is caused by the refraction of the moonlight shining through the ice crystals in high, cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are the first clouds to move in before a rain or storm system. The larger th...

The 1st Quarter Moon with a halo. The halo is caused by the refraction of the moonlight shining through the ice crystals in high, cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are the first clouds to move in before a rain or storm system. The larger th...

The 1st Quarter Moon with a halo. The halo is caused by the refraction of the moonlight shining through the ice crystals in high, cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are the first clouds to move in before a rain or storm system. The larger the halo, the sooner rain is expected. This was hand-held, so it's a bit blurry. 2233
7 This <strong>waxing gibbous Moon</strong> was seen around 5:30 p.m. in February 5, 2009. The craters can barely be seen in the lower right corner of the moon. The light gray patches are the <em>mare</em> (pron. "mah-ray"), which is Latin for "sea". Ear...

This waxing gibbous Moon was seen around 5:30 p.m. in February 5, 2009. The craters can barely be seen in the lower right corner of the moon. The light gray patches are the mare (pron. "mah-ray"), which is Latin for "sea". Ear...

This waxing gibbous Moon was seen around 5:30 p.m. in February 5, 2009. The craters can barely be seen in the lower right corner of the moon. The light gray patches are the mare (pron. "mah-ray"), which is Latin for "sea". Early people assumed those areas had water, just as the earth has oceans. We now know that the mare are flat plains that once had lava flows. The moon is approximately 240,000 miles from the Earth and is about 1/4 size of the Earth. This photo was taken with a Nikon ED-82 spotting scope and my Nikon D80 camera. 1858
8 <strong>Full Moon</strong> at Perigee
12-12-08

The moon is at <em>perigee</em> in this photo. Due to its slightly eliptical orbit, the moon is closer to the Earth at times than others. The average distance of the moon from the Earth is approximatel...

Full Moon at Perigee 12-12-08 The moon is at perigee in this photo. Due to its slightly eliptical orbit, the moon is closer to the Earth at times than others. The average distance of the moon from the Earth is approximatel...

Full Moon at Perigee 12-12-08 The moon is at perigee in this photo. Due to its slightly eliptical orbit, the moon is closer to the Earth at times than others. The average distance of the moon from the Earth is approximately 240,000 miles (384401 kilometers). When it is at perigee, or the closest, it is 221,441 miles (356375 km) away. At apogee, the farthest in its orbit, it is 252,724 miles (406720 km). The gray mare (pron. mah-ray) and impact craters are easy to see. For more indepth information on this subject see: perigee and apogee 2096
9 <strong>Map of Full Moon</strong> 

Many of the Moon's prominent features are visible in this photo (major ones are labeled). For a more detailed map click on: <a href="http://www.penpal.ru/astro/">interactive moon map</a>. The dark gray areas are ca...

Map of Full Moon Many of the Moon's prominent features are visible in this photo (major ones are labeled). For a more detailed map click on: interactive moon map. The dark gray areas are ca...

Map of Full Moon Many of the Moon's prominent features are visible in this photo (major ones are labeled). For a more detailed map click on: interactive moon map. The dark gray areas are called mare (pron. mah-ray), the Latin word for "sea". Early people assumed the dark areas on the moon contained water, thus the "seas" and "ocean". There is little if any atmosphere and with temperature extremes between -250 degrees F (on the dark side) and +250 degrees F (on the sunlight side), it is impossible to have liquid water on the surface of the moon. The Mare Tranquillitatis or Sea of Tranquility was the location of the first Moon landing by the Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969. Mare are smooth plains formed when lava rose to the surface and hardened after asteroid impacts billions of years ago. Two of the moon's large impact craters, Tycho and Copernicus, look like sunbursts. Copernicus Crater is 57 miles wide and was caused by an asteroid impact about 800 million years ago. At 109 million years, Tycho is much "younger". Since there is no air or water on the moon, there is no weathering or erosion to change the surface features. The Apollo astronauts' footprints and moon buggy tracks will be up there forever unless they are struck by another meteorite or blown away by a manned lunar landing! Websites explaining a theory of how the Moon formed: moon formation moon formation animation and what might have happened if there was no moon 4105
10 A <strong>Lunar Eclipse</strong> occurs when the moon passes through the earth's shadow. The moon turns a reddish color because the longer red wavelengths of the sun's light bend slightly around the earth. A lunar eclipse happens only during the full p...

A Lunar Eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the earth's shadow. The moon turns a reddish color because the longer red wavelengths of the sun's light bend slightly around the earth. A lunar eclipse happens only during the full p...

A Lunar Eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the earth's shadow. The moon turns a reddish color because the longer red wavelengths of the sun's light bend slightly around the earth. A lunar eclipse happens only during the full phase of the moon if the moon is in the correct orbital plane. 4866
11 <strong>Lunar eclipse February 20, 2008</strong>
A lunar eclipse happens during a full moon when it passes into the earth's shadow. The orange color is due to the small amount of light that is refracted around the Earth. An eclipse doesn't happen very...

Lunar eclipse February 20, 2008 A lunar eclipse happens during a full moon when it passes into the earth's shadow. The orange color is due to the small amount of light that is refracted around the Earth. An eclipse doesn't happen very...

Lunar eclipse February 20, 2008 A lunar eclipse happens during a full moon when it passes into the earth's shadow. The orange color is due to the small amount of light that is refracted around the Earth. An eclipse doesn't happen very often because the sun, earth and moon have to be in the correct plane alignment for it to occur. The next total lunar eclipse will occur in December 2010. The word "lunar" comes from the Latin word for moon, luna. The less common "solar" eclipse happens during a New Moon when the moon passes between sun and the Earth. The moon's shadow races across the earth at 1000 miles per hour, so the time of totality (darkness) in a particular area lasts just 2 minutes or less. If the sky is clear during totality, the stars can be seen, birds roost, and insects turn in for the night! I'll bet they wonder why they got such a short nap when the area starts to lighten up again a few minutes later! :) 2084
12 <strong>Lunar eclipse, Saturn and the star Regulus on February 20, 2008</strong>
Wow, what a treat to get to see a lunar eclipse and Saturn (lower left) at the same time! Fortunately, the clouds broke up and I was able to take these photos, it had bee...

Lunar eclipse, Saturn and the star Regulus on February 20, 2008 Wow, what a treat to get to see a lunar eclipse and Saturn (lower left) at the same time! Fortunately, the clouds broke up and I was able to take these photos, it had bee...

Lunar eclipse, Saturn and the star Regulus on February 20, 2008 Wow, what a treat to get to see a lunar eclipse and Saturn (lower left) at the same time! Fortunately, the clouds broke up and I was able to take these photos, it had been completely cloudy 2 hours earlier. Unfortunately, my 300mm lens could not capture the scene as clearly as I would have liked. It can't quite compete with the Hubble Space Telescope or the camera on the Cassini space probe! :( 1860
13 I almost missed the lunar Eclipse on 3-3-07 because it happened so early in the evening! Here the moon is half-way through the eclipse.

I almost missed the lunar Eclipse on 3-3-07 because it happened so early in the evening! Here the moon is half-way through the eclipse.

I almost missed the lunar Eclipse on 3-3-07 because it happened so early in the evening! Here the moon is half-way through the eclipse. 1981
14 I took this photo of the <strong>waning gibbous moon</strong> through my picture window in the living room at a little after 7:00 in the morning on March 6, 2007. The light is beginning to disappear from the right side.

I took this photo of the waning gibbous moon through my picture window in the living room at a little after 7:00 in the morning on March 6, 2007. The light is beginning to disappear from the right side.

I took this photo of the waning gibbous moon through my picture window in the living room at a little after 7:00 in the morning on March 6, 2007. The light is beginning to disappear from the right side. 1800
15 This photo of the <strong>3rd Quarter Moon</strong> was taken at 7:15 in the morning. The light is becoming less and less each night, soon it will be a waning crescent.

This photo of the 3rd Quarter Moon was taken at 7:15 in the morning. The light is becoming less and less each night, soon it will be a waning crescent.

This photo of the 3rd Quarter Moon was taken at 7:15 in the morning. The light is becoming less and less each night, soon it will be a waning crescent. 1920
16 This photo of the Moon, as it is beginning the waning crescent phase, was taken in the desert of southern California on March 23, 2007 at 8:15 p.m. I was excited to finally get a good shot with the craters visible! Using a tripod, of course, I set the ...

This photo of the Moon, as it is beginning the waning crescent phase, was taken in the desert of southern California on March 23, 2007 at 8:15 p.m. I was excited to finally get a good shot with the craters visible! Using a tripod, of course, I set the ...

This photo of the Moon, as it is beginning the waning crescent phase, was taken in the desert of southern California on March 23, 2007 at 8:15 p.m. I was excited to finally get a good shot with the craters visible! Using a tripod, of course, I set the camera on Aperture mode and stopped it down -4.7 stops to get this shot without the "blinkies"! In this phase, the moon looks like a "C". You'll have to get up very early to see the moon in the thin, "fingernail" sliver crescent since it rises shortly before dawn. 3266
17 Finally, I have my photo of the <strong>waning crescent Moon</strong>, the "C", to finish out the "moonth" (no, it <u>isn't</u> a waxing crescent reversed)! This was taken at 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2007. I woke up at 4:15 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. in anticipati...

Finally, I have my photo of the waning crescent Moon, the "C", to finish out the "moonth" (no, it isn't a waxing crescent reversed)! This was taken at 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2007. I woke up at 4:15 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. in anticipati...

Finally, I have my photo of the waning crescent Moon, the "C", to finish out the "moonth" (no, it isn't a waxing crescent reversed)! This was taken at 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2007. I woke up at 4:15 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. in anticipation of getting this shot, but the moon would not have been visible at those times (we have a lot of trees in the way). I "got caught" by only one neighbor in my mis-matched clothes and bleary-eyed state while I was set up on the cul-de-sac in front of my house with the tripod! I don't think anything I do surprises them anymore! :) 3690
18 During a <strong>Solar Eclipse</strong> the <em>new moon</em> casts a shadow on the earth. When the sun's light is completely blocked there is a total eclipse. It becomes as dark as night for up to 2 minutes. It doesn't stay dark for long though, the s...

During a Solar Eclipse the new moon casts a shadow on the earth. When the sun's light is completely blocked there is a total eclipse. It becomes as dark as night for up to 2 minutes. It doesn't stay dark for long though, the s...

During a Solar Eclipse the new moon casts a shadow on the earth. When the sun's light is completely blocked there is a total eclipse. It becomes as dark as night for up to 2 minutes. It doesn't stay dark for long though, the shadow moves across the earth's surface at 1000 mph! 2084
19 <b>Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017</b><sp>

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017 On August 21, 2017 a total eclipse crossed the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. We were fortunate to live close enough to the path of totality that we could drive to Spring City, Tennessee to spend 2 minutes, 39 seconds in darkness. This photo is the beginning of the eclipse at 1:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time. I used a 500mm telephoto lens with a solar filter to take the following photos of the eclipse as it progressed. Note the three small sunspots in the upper center of the photo. 469
20 <b>Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017</b>

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017 441
21 <b>Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017</b>

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017 The Moon is covering more of the Sun's disk at this stage. 462
22 <b>Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017</b>

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017 The Sun is nearly covered by the moon! In just a few seconds there will be... 453
23 <b>Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017</b>

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017

Solar Ecipse 8-21-2017 ...Totality!!! When the Moon completely blocked the Sun, it was safe to take off our eclipse glasses and enjoy this spectacle! The white corona is the hot gases that surround the sun. They are visible only during a total eclipse. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our part of the country. It is something that anyone who saw it will never forget! 482
24 <b>Solar Eclipse sunset 8-21-2017</b>

Solar Eclipse sunset 8-21-2017

Solar Eclipse sunset 8-21-2017 When darkness fell during totality, we could see a faint glow in the distance. This is where the Sun was still shining outside the Moon's shadow about 35 miles away. If we had been somewhere without so many trees, we would have had a 360 degree view of it! 441
25 <b>Kris viewing the Solar Eclipse 8-21-2017</b><sp>

Kris viewing the Solar Eclipse 8-21-2017

Kris viewing the Solar Eclipse 8-21-2017 We viewed the eclipse at the base of the TVA fire tower at Grandview, TN (above Spring City). I was glad there was a concrete pad from an old building that I could set up my tripod on. We had to wear special eclipse glasses with strong filters to block the ultraviolet and sunlight to protect our eyes. I used a solar filter from my telescope to photograph the sun before totality. 444
26 <b>Solar Eclipse shadows 8-21-2017</b>

Solar Eclipse shadows 8-21-2017

Solar Eclipse shadows 8-21-2017 During the eclipse, we enjoyed seeing the shadows of the Moon passing in front of the Sun. 485
27 <strong>Venus and Jupiter</strong> were in close alignment in early Dec. 2008. Venus is on the left. This was the first time I've been able to get a decent (but not great!) shot of any planet and I was able to get 2 at the same time! Two of Jupiter's m...

Venus and Jupiter were in close alignment in early Dec. 2008. Venus is on the left. This was the first time I've been able to get a decent (but not great!) shot of any planet and I was able to get 2 at the same time! Two of Jupiter's m...

Venus and Jupiter were in close alignment in early Dec. 2008. Venus is on the left. This was the first time I've been able to get a decent (but not great!) shot of any planet and I was able to get 2 at the same time! Two of Jupiter's moons are just barely visible on its upper left if you look very closely. 1691
28 <strong>Venus</strong> is sometimes called the "Morning Star" or "Evening Star" because it is seen just after sunset or just before sunrise. This shot was taken on Sept. 29, 2009 at 6:30 a.m. Like the Moon, Venus has phases. Click this link or <a href=...

Venus is sometimes called the "Morning Star" or "Evening Star" because it is seen just after sunset or just before sunrise. This shot was taken on Sept. 29, 2009 at 6:30 a.m. Like the Moon, Venus has phases. Click this link or

Venus is sometimes called the "Morning Star" or "Evening Star" because it is seen just after sunset or just before sunrise. This shot was taken on Sept. 29, 2009 at 6:30 a.m. Like the Moon, Venus has phases. Click this link or more information on the phases (most of it is in German, but it can be translated through one of the translation sites). Being the only "female" in the planetary line-up, Venus has to be a bit different! It is the hottest planet (~900 degrees on the surface); it is upside down, so it spins backwards (east to west); and just like a female, she takes her time doing things, her day is longer than her year! But, like her Roman goddess namesake, she is a true beauty sparkling on the morning or evening horizon like a diamond in the sky. This photo was taken with a Nikon D82 spotting scope (what I call a "poor man's high power telephoto lens) attached to my camera. 1776
29 Jupiter and the 4 Galilean moons 
August 13, 2009

I finally got a chance to take a photo of Jupiter with my spotting scope. When I received it last December, Jupiter was too low on the horizon and rose just before sunset, so I didn't get a chance t...

Jupiter and the 4 Galilean moons August 13, 2009 I finally got a chance to take a photo of Jupiter with my spotting scope. When I received it last December, Jupiter was too low on the horizon and rose just before sunset, so I didn't get a chance t...

Jupiter and the 4 Galilean moons August 13, 2009 I finally got a chance to take a photo of Jupiter with my spotting scope. When I received it last December, Jupiter was too low on the horizon and rose just before sunset, so I didn't get a chance to try it out then. I was happy to get all four of the moons lined up, when I saw them last night only 3 were visible and one was on the left side of Jupiter. 1598
30 <strong>Jupiter and 4 of its moons</strong> on 9-28-09. 

Jupiter is the largest planet and has 63 moons, but only 4 of them are easily visible from Earth. The 4 that can be seen with binoculars from Earth are: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. In ...

Jupiter and 4 of its moons on 9-28-09. Jupiter is the largest planet and has 63 moons, but only 4 of them are easily visible from Earth. The 4 that can be seen with binoculars from Earth are: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. In ...

Jupiter and 4 of its moons on 9-28-09. Jupiter is the largest planet and has 63 moons, but only 4 of them are easily visible from Earth. The 4 that can be seen with binoculars from Earth are: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. In 1610 Galileo observed these moons and noted that they orbit Jupiter as does Earth's moon. He observed the movement of the moons and deducted that the Earth orbits the Sun the same way the moons orbit Jupiter. His highly controversial theory stated the Earth was not the center of the universe and was rejected by the Catholic church, he was forced to retract his statements. Hmm, it sounds a bit like the evolution controversy! :) This is the best planet photo I have been able to get so far. I took it with my spotting scope. 2276
31 I took this photo of Comet 17P / Holmes at 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2007. This comet is visible with the naked eye, it looks like a "smeared star" (presently near the constellation Perseus). This is an amazing comet because it has greatly increased in br...

I took this photo of Comet 17P / Holmes at 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2007. This comet is visible with the naked eye, it looks like a "smeared star" (presently near the constellation Perseus). This is an amazing comet because it has greatly increased in br...

I took this photo of Comet 17P / Holmes at 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2007. This comet is visible with the naked eye, it looks like a "smeared star" (presently near the constellation Perseus). This is an amazing comet because it has greatly increased in brightness over the past 3 days. This photo has been lightned to better show the comet and stars. I took it with a 300 mm telephoto lens. I don't have a tracking motor, so the stars are a bit stretched due to the long exposure time. I'm going to have to get a camera adapter for my telescope! See the following photo for a better view. 1644
32 This is a bit better photo of <strong>Comet 17P / Holmes</strong>, it was taken on Nov. 2, 2007 from the roof at the University of Tennessee Knoxville Physics Building. This was a photo I made from a TV monitor that was attached to a large telescope. T...

This is a bit better photo of Comet 17P / Holmes, it was taken on Nov. 2, 2007 from the roof at the University of Tennessee Knoxville Physics Building. This was a photo I made from a TV monitor that was attached to a large telescope. T...

This is a bit better photo of Comet 17P / Holmes, it was taken on Nov. 2, 2007 from the roof at the University of Tennessee Knoxville Physics Building. This was a photo I made from a TV monitor that was attached to a large telescope. The nucleus of the comet is the bright white dot within the illuminated gas and dust cloud (the coma). Unfortunately, my camera did not pick up the even larger, paler ring that was visible on the monitor. Scientists estimate, at this point, that the coma is wider than the diameter of the orbit of the Moon around the Earth (nearly 500,000 miles)! The tail cannot be seen because the comet is coming straight toward Earth and is behind it. It was exciting to see this comet because it is rare for them to increase in brightness as rapidly as this one did over 3 days! The white spot on the right is the star Algol (a binary star). This photo was taken in manual mode, I had to hand-hold the camera because I didn't think it would go over too well to set up a tripod in a crowd of ~100 people packed onto the roof! Comets can be thought of as "little (relatively speaking!) cosmic crumbs" of water ice, dry ice, dust and rock left over from the formation of the solar system. Since they are made of ice, they are obviously, quite cold. They are not hot and do not make their own light, what we see from earth is light reflected from the Sun. The "P" designation in 17P / Holmes signifies that this is a "periodic" comet, it has an orbital period of less than 200 years. It was first discovered on November 6, 1892 by Edwin Holmes, for whom it was named. It went through a similar outburst of brightness at that time too. 1778
33 <strong>The 8 Planets in the Solar System</strong>
Much to nearly every science educator's dismay, there are now only 8 planets; Pluto was demoted to "dwarf planet" status in 2006. It is still out there, but because of its small size and irregular orb...

The 8 Planets in the Solar System Much to nearly every science educator's dismay, there are now only 8 planets; Pluto was demoted to "dwarf planet" status in 2006. It is still out there, but because of its small size and irregular orb...

The 8 Planets in the Solar System Much to nearly every science educator's dismay, there are now only 8 planets; Pluto was demoted to "dwarf planet" status in 2006. It is still out there, but because of its small size and irregular orbit scientists decided it didn't truly fit the mold of a true planet. Poor Pluto! The correct pronunciation of the 7th planet is "YUR-uh-nus", not "your-ANUS"! I tell my students that "your anus" is the hole at the lower end of your digestive tract, and that isn't a very nice thing to call a planet! :) They don't forget that! See following photo for more information on the planets... 2535
34 <strong>The 8 Planets</strong> poster You can print this poster! (see printing instructions in following photo)
Click on the photo to enlarge.
A brown background denotes "terrestrial" planets and asteroids, these have a solid, rocky surface.
A light...

The 8 Planets poster You can print this poster! (see printing instructions in following photo) Click on the photo to enlarge. A brown background denotes "terrestrial" planets and asteroids, these have a solid, rocky surface. A light...

The 8 Planets poster You can print this poster! (see printing instructions in following photo) Click on the photo to enlarge. A brown background denotes "terrestrial" planets and asteroids, these have a solid, rocky surface. A light blue background denotes the "gas" planets, they have a core for gravity to hold in the gases, but no solid surface. Pluto is no longer considered a planet, so it is not included on this chart. 4864
35 You can print this page!
<strong>Movable Earth, Moon and Sun revolution Demonstration Diagram</strong>

This poster is designed to help students understand the revolutions of the earth around the sun and the moon around the earth. It can be printed ...

You can print this page! Movable Earth, Moon and Sun revolution Demonstration Diagram This poster is designed to help students understand the revolutions of the earth around the sun and the moon around the earth. It can be printed ...

You can print this page! Movable Earth, Moon and Sun revolution Demonstration Diagram This poster is designed to help students understand the revolutions of the earth around the sun and the moon around the earth. It can be printed onto 8.5"x11" paper in a landscape page layout. To get a full page layout: 1. Right click on the picture 2. Click "save picture as" and store it in your photo file manager 3. Insert the saved photo into a Word document (go to "properties" and set to print in landscape layout and make the page margins as small as the program will allow) 4. Enlarge the photo to fit the page (look at "print preview" first) and print. Follow the directions on the diagram to put the pieces together. 4705
36 <strong>The Pleiades</strong> 

The tiny <strong>Pleiades</strong> Constellation is also known as the "Seven Sisters" or <em>Subaru</em> in Japanese. 7 stars can be seen without binoculars or a telescope, but with those instruments over 100 stars are...

The Pleiades The tiny Pleiades Constellation is also known as the "Seven Sisters" or Subaru in Japanese. 7 stars can be seen without binoculars or a telescope, but with those instruments over 100 stars are...

The Pleiades The tiny Pleiades Constellation is also known as the "Seven Sisters" or Subaru in Japanese. 7 stars can be seen without binoculars or a telescope, but with those instruments over 100 stars are visible. In Oak Ridge we are lucky to see any stars at all, we have terrible "light pollution" here! This photo was taken with a 300mm telephoto lens. It is extremely difficult to photograph this constellation because it is usually located straight overhead, not an easy position to aim a spotting scope or a telescope! (To see the stars in an enlarged photo, click on the thumbnail) 2069
37 <strong>Orion Constellation</strong>
Jan. 2010

Orion is the "hunter". In his upper "armpit" there is a huge star called <em>Betelgeuse</em> (pronounced "beetle juice"). This large red star is 500 light-years away from Earth. If it was our sun, it w...

Orion Constellation Jan. 2010 Orion is the "hunter". In his upper "armpit" there is a huge star called Betelgeuse (pronounced "beetle juice"). This large red star is 500 light-years away from Earth. If it was our sun, it w...

Orion Constellation Jan. 2010 Orion is the "hunter". In his upper "armpit" there is a huge star called Betelgeuse (pronounced "beetle juice"). This large red star is 500 light-years away from Earth. If it was our sun, it would reach Mars! It is a relatively cool star, with a temperature of 5,000 degrees F. Rigel is a small, blue star in Orion's righ "ankle". It is super-hot, reaching 35,000 degrees F. The 3 diagonal stars in the middle of the constellation make up his belt. His "sword" is the 3 small vertical dots. The middle one is Orion's Nebula (a gas cloud and birthplace of new stars). 1716

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