King Tut

The (most likely) best known pharaoh of Ancient Egypt is King Tut. He was only nine years old when his reign began, but died ten years later. This young king did not do anything great during his run, but is famous because, in 1922, his tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings. Incredibly enough, his mummy and many treasures were still intact and in the burial chamber! The mummy was set inside a solid gold mummy-shaped coffin, which was covered by two gold-covered coffins, which were inside four gold-covered boxes all inside a stone sarcophagus. On the mummy’s head sat a solid gold funeral mask inlaid with stripes of a blue precious stone. Surrounding the mummy were many treasures; jewelry, oils, perfumes, statues of gold and ebony and toys from his childhood. These artifacts have astounded people all over the world as they’ve been exhibited in museums. King Tut’s tomb is one of the greatest archeology discoveries yet.


The Story Behind the Constellation Pegasus

via Constellations: Pegasus – Windows to the Universe.


The constellation Pegasus represents the white, winged horse of Greek mythology. This beautiful figure can be seen high in the sky starting near the end of summer and continuing through autumn if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are below the Equator, look for Pegasus in late winter and through spring. When looking at the image, it is difficult to see the figure as a horse. That is because the constellation is actually upside-down! Imagine it flipped over, and you can see what could be the neck and head of a horse and two legs sticking out from the famous “Square of Pegasus”.

This square represents the front half of the horse’s body. Mythologists are still not sure what happen to the other half of the constellation. The square is very easy to find in the night sky. The neck and legs of the horse shine brightly on clear nights.

The story behind Pegasus begins with the battle between Perseus and Medusa. When Perseus severed Medusa’s head, drops of blood fell into the sea. They mixed with sea foam, and Pegasus was born. The white sea foam gave the horse his brilliant color. Pegasus became friends with the warrior, Bellerophon. One day, Bellerophon tried to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus. This angered Zeus so much that he sent a gadfly to bite Pegasus. When the horse was stung, Bellerophon fell to the Earth. Pegasus made it to the home of the gods, where he still remains.

Pegasus is home to several galaxies and even a bright globular cluster.

▲ Pyramids ▲

For thousands of years, people have been amazed by the ancient pyramids of Egypt. Amazingly enough, the Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.” The Pyramid has about two million stones, which each weighed about two and a half tons. Historians believe that it took 100,000 men and twenty years to complete. The construction of these pyramids was an amazing feat. Most scientists studying the issue still do not understand how they were able to do so. These huge structures were built as tombs which encased the mummified remains of nobles and filled to the brim with their treasures for the afterlife. The architects wrote curses on the walls and created hidden doors to trick the robbers. Despite their efforts, most of the pyramids have already been robbed. But while their treasures are gone, about thirty pyramids still stand as a reminder of the amazing ancient Egypt.

Field Trip! Constitution Museum and Betsty Ross House Oct 13th, 2015

October 13, 2015

My family took a trip into Old Philadelphia to visit a couple of historic sites. First we went to the Constitution Museum. We had fun. I kept trying to vote, but the machine kept telling me I wasn’t allowed to vote since I am a girl. Of course, my family said it was funny watching me go to every voting station. I definitely remember which year women in Maryland were allowed to vote.  Women in Maryland were granted the right to vote by the passage of the 19th amendment on August 18, 1920.

I thought the signers gallery with life sized statues of was terrifying. I learned a lot about the signers and the dissenters. The dissenters had reasons for not approving the Constitution like slavery and they thought the Government was to strong and could overrun the States. It was an interesting way to view all the signers in one place. We have an ongoing project to learn about all the signers, I have the “Book of Signers” with bios of all of them. Come to think of it, we should have brought it so we could make some notes in the margins.

One of the docents (a person who who is kind of like a museum tour guide) made us turn around so we could appreciate an ORIGINAL signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln signed with his full name Abraham Lincoln which was unusual. Apparently, he signed 45 copies in Philadelphia when he spoke at Independence Hall. Abraham Lincoln signed his name A. Lincoln most of the time.

We also got to visit Betsy Ross House, I had no idea she had three different husbands. Sewing the first American Flag was an act of Sedition or Treason to the English Crown. IF she had been caught she probably would have been executed. She must have been very brave because English troops lived in the house with her. She sewed the flag in her bedroom, but she could have been caught at any time. She is buried in the courtyard there which was strange because she never owned that home but instead rented space for her living quarters and her upholstery shop. Later in life she moved in with a relative. She was completely blind for the last three years of her life and moved in with a relative closeby.

The Constellation Pisces

Pisces is a Zodiac Constellation. It is the 14th largest of the Constellations. Pisces contains a single Messier object, the spiral galaxy Messier 74 (M74, NGC 628) and has ten stars with known planets.
The brightest star in the constellation is Eta Piscium, with an apparent visual magnitude of 3.62. (not very bright) There is one meteor shower associated with the constellation; the Piscids which usually occur in September.

The Constellation Pisces as imagined by Babylonianspiscesfish

The Mythology Behind Pisces

Pisces constellation is of Babylonian origin. The Babylonians saw it as a pair of fish joined by a cord. The constellation is usually associated with the Roman myth of Venus and Cupid, who tied themselves with a rope and transformed into fish to escape the monster Typhon. The star Alpha Piscium, or Alrescha (“the cord” in Arabic) marks the knot of the rope.


The Moon at Aphelion, October 2015 –

Vocab Aphelion:  When the moon is at its farthest place from the sun, the moon is in Aphelion.

The Moon at aphelion
Sun, 25 Oct 2015 at 05:59 EDT (4 days ago)
09:59 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Moon feed
This event is not visually apparent from the DC Area
Click and drag to rotate
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The sky at 23:03 EDT on 24 Oct 2015
Information about the Moon »
Finder-chart for the Moon »

The Moon’s monthly orbit around the Earth will carry it to its furthest point from the Sun – its aphelion – at a distance of 0.9965 AU from the Sun.

This happens at around the time when the Moon’s orbit carries it around the far side of the Earth as seen from the Sun, at around the same time that it passes full moon. For comparison, at the moment of this aphelion, the Earth will lie at a distance of 0.9944 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.0024 AU (359,000 km) from the Moon.

The exact positions of the Sun and Moon in the sky will be:
Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 00h07m40s +00°41′ Pisces 33’12”
Sun (centre) 13h57m -11°58′ Virgo 32’10”

via The Moon at aphelion, October 2015 –

October 20, 2015 Moon at First Quarter

Moon at First Quarter

Tue, 20 Oct 2015 at 16:33 EDT (10 hours away)
20:33 UTC

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Moon feed

This event is visible to the naked eye from Odenton.

From the DC area, the Moon will be visible in the evening sky. It will become visible at around 18:38 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 34° above your southern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 19:02, 34° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 23:22, when it sinks to 8° above your south-western horizon.

The Moon‘s orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result its phases cycle from new moon, through first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days.

This motion also means that the Moon travels more than 12° across the sky from one night to the next, causing it to rise and set nearly an hour later each day. Click here for more information about the Moon’s phases.

The Moon’s path in coming days

Over the next few days, the distance between the Moon and Sun will increase each night as the Moon approaches full phase. Rather than rising in the afternoon and appearing high in the sky by sunset, it will rise later and make it less far above your eastern horizon before nightfall. All times are given below in Odenton local time.

Date Sun
sets at
sets at
Altitude of Moon
at sunset
Direction of Moon
at sunset
15 Oct 2015 18:25 20:10 14° south-west
16 Oct 2015 18:24 20:50 19° south-west
17 Oct 2015 18:22 21:35 25° south-west
18 Oct 2015 18:21 22:24 29° south-west
19 Oct 2015 18:20 23:18 32° south
20 Oct 2015 18:18 00:17 33° south
21 Oct 2015 18:17 00:17 33° south
22 Oct 2015 18:15 01:20 31° south-east
23 Oct 2015 18:14 02:26 27° south-east
24 Oct 2015 18:13 03:33 22° south-east
25 Oct 2015 18:11 04:43 15° east
26 Oct 2015 18:10 05:55 east

Observing the Moon at first quarter

The period when the Moon shows half phase is ideal for observing the Moon with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, because the mountains and craters on its surface are presented very clearly. Even though only half of the Moon’s face is illuminated, this is a time when the terminator line which divides the illuminated and unilluminated portions of the Moon’s disk is clearly visible.

Along this line, an observer on the Moon would see the Sun rising above the horizon. As it does so, it illuminates the lunar landscape at a low angle, making mountains and crater rims cast long shadows which are easy to see from Earth, even through a modest pair of binoculars.

Seasonal variation

Although the Moon is always separated from the Sun by the same amount – 90° – when it passes first quarter, it is more favourably placed in the early evening sky at some times of year than others.

Specifically, it appears high up in the evening sky around the spring equinox, but much lower towards the horizon around the autumn equinox.

This is because it always lies close to a line across the sky called the ecliptic. This is the line through the zodiacal constellations that the Sun follows through the year, and marks the flat plane in space in which all of the planets circle the Sun.

The altitude at which the Moon appears above the horizon at sunset depends how steeply the line of the ecliptic is inclined to the horizon. If the plane of the ecliptic meet the horizon at a very shallow angle, the Moon will rise or set along a line which is almost parallel to the horizon, and a large separation from the Sun along this line would still only correspond to a very low altitude in the sky.

The inclination of the ecliptic plane to the horizon at Odenton varies between 74° (sunset at the spring equinox) and 27° (sunset at the autumn equinox). On October 20, the ecliptic is inclined at 28° to the western sunset horizon, as shown by the yellow line in the planetarium view above, meaning that on this occasion the Moon is poorly placed for viewing from the DC AREA.

The Moon’s position

At the moment it reaches first quarter, the Moon’s distance from the Earth will be 379,000 km. Its exact position will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 19h52m00s -16°09′ Sagittarius 31’27”

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 20 October 2015
Sunrise: 07:20
Sunset: 18:21
Twilight from 05:51
until 19:50
All times shown in EDT.

7-day old moon
Age of Moon:
7 days

Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:53 11:50 17:47
Venus 03:31 09:58 16:24
Moon 13:59 19:08 00:17
Mars 03:55 10:20 16:46
Jupiter 03:50 10:16 16:42
Saturn 10:16 15:14 20:13


The circumstances of this event were computed from the DE405 ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).