Thursday, July 3, 2008


Space Weather News for July 3, 2008

WEEKEND SKY SHOW: Saturn, Mars and a slender crescent
Moon are gathering together for a pretty sunset sky show over
the 4th of July weekend. For people in the USA celebrating
Independence Day, it's a bit of heavenly charm among the smoke
and flash of evening fireworks. Check
for the full story and sky maps.

EARTH AT APHELION: On the 4th of July, you will be farther
from the sun than at any other time of the year. Earth's orbit
around the sun is not a perfect circle, it's an ellipse, and on July
4th, Earth is at the end of the ellipse farthest from the sun. Astronomers
call this "aphelion." When we are at aphelion, the sun appears
slightly smaller in the sky (by about 1.7%) and global solar heating
is actually a little less (by about 3.5%) than the yearly average.
This provides scant relief from northern summer heat, however.
Today's edition of explains why.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Dwarf Planets R Planets 2

Received from Siobhan Elias:

Organizations members:

As we all know, the IAU has really made a mess of the definition
of the word "planet". My reason for writing your organization is
to ask for your help. Take action, get involved and explore this site:

This is a site dedicated primarily to contacting the IAU president
regarding the IAUs planet definition. It's a way for us all to unite
and make an impact through an "email protest" of the current
definition....OR we can call it, "A quest for rationality in
distinguishing planets from rocks".

Also included are links to government resolutions regarding
planet Pluto, astronomy sites, observatories, petitions, group
events and even a "rock ballad" tribute song called "New
Horizons". Make sure you bookmark this site to check for
"newly added items".

I urge you to distribute this letter to your organization
members, so they may also "take action" & "get Involved"

I appreciate your help and welcome your thoughts!

Thanks for your help,
Siobhan Elias


Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lavender Sun & ISS at Dawn for couple weeks

LAVENDER SUN: Ignited by lightning, hundreds of wildfires are
burning in California, smothering the northern half of the state
with thick plumes of smoke. The unusually widespread haze is
causing a rare atmospheric optics phenomenon--the lavender
sun. Many Californians report seeing the sun, when viewed
through the smoke, turn a bright shade of purple. Today's
edition of features pictures of the
phenomenon and an explanation.

ISS AT DAWN: A new batch of ISS flybys is underway. For
the next two weeks, Europeans and North Americans can
see the International Space Station flying overhead just before
dawn. Recent additions to the station have made it bigger and
brighter than ever, and if you haven't seen the ISS in a while,
you might be surprised by its increased luminosity. Some sky
watchers have spotted it in broad daylight. Check our Simple
Flybys page to find out when to look: .

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society