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Day 88: Goodbye, McNaught! January 12, 2007

Posted by Admin in Astronomy, Links, Quiz, Science in the News.
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Comet McNaught is on its way to a close encounter with the sun. Currently, McNaught is visible even during the daylight hours, but unfortunately, we will be shrouded in clouds (a significant winter storm?) throughout the weekend.

070112mcnaughtmap.gif

Click map for a larger view of skymap from spaceweather.com

How to find McNaught in the daytime sky: If you’re going to be someplace where the sky is clear over the weekend or early this coming week, be sure to look for McNaught around noon – local time. McNaught will be found approximately 5 degrees to the left of the sun. Check out the sky map. The best way to measure 5 degrees in the sky? Your closed fist, stretched at arm’s length, is approximately equal to 5 degrees. Be careful though – the sun is a formidable foe when it comes to trying to view objects in the daytime sky! Also, do not ever aim binoculars, telescopes, or cameras at or even near the sun – the risk of eye damage is too great! Be sure to look around online to get daily updates on the location, intensity, and projected path of the comet. Below I’ve included some links to help you out.

Friday’s class included a brief discussion of Comet McNaught, as well as a quiz over the green “Scale of the Universe” activity that we completed this week. I will have the quiz graded and online grades updated by Tuesday. Next week we will continue our exploration of the Big Bang, including a lab on the expansion of the universe. Following the lab, the rest of the week will see us exploring the life cycle of stars. Enjoy the long weekend and the wintery weather!

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