October 2009

Watching Space

Watching the skies is just part of the day, and night for some people. I am one of them. The first thing I do every morning is go outside and look up at the sky. The last thing I do before going to bed, each night, is to watch the sky for awhile. Sometimes, I even lay in bed and just look up through the window until it is morning. When I am not outside looking at the sky, often with a camera in my hand, I check in with my favorite websites to catch up on space weather and the new photos of sky watchers around the world.

The sky is always changing, revealing itself in glimpses. I think that is why I find it so fascinating. Space is a mystery we will never stop discovering and its interaction with our earth's atmosphere create some of the most spectacular sights we will ever witness.

Unexplained UFO Shaped Halo Hovering over Moscow

The dramatic appearance of a vortex shaped cloud formation hovering over Moscow in recent days has put the internet abuzz with UFO speculation. While the amazing footage seems to be surreal enough to be questioned as a hoax, it is in fact real.

Additionally, there is no explaination for this seemingly supernatural formation. Witnessed by millions in Moscow who braced themselves for a close encounter, scientists and officials are saying that it is some kind of optical illusion. The halo can only be explained away as an anomoly of clouds due to a combination of differing air temperatures.

New Giant Ring Around Saturn

Scientists using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope

have discovered that there is an enormous ring outside of all of the other rings around Saturn. The ring is composed of widely diffused particles of dust and ice. The orbital Spitzer telescope, which "sees" in infrared, enabled scientists to spot the glow of the cooler dust against the warmer matter surrounding it. The ring really is absolutely ginormous; astronomer Anne Verbiscer from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville compares it to the size of Earth's moon. "If you could see the ring, it would span the width of two full moons' worth of sky, one on either side of Saturn." Verbiscer and her colleague at the University of Charlottesville, Michael Skrutskie are co-authors of a paper in the journal Nature.