Words from Greek myths: Arachnid

Another english word that roots in a Greek myth is “Arachnid”. As dictionary.com defines, and Arachnid is; any wingless, carnivorous arthropod of the class Arachnida, including spiders, scorpions, mites, ticks, and daddy-longlegs, having a body divided into two parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen, and having eight appendages and no antennae. An example of an arachnid is a spider, it’s body is divided into two parts and it has eight arms/legs. The word came from the name of a young girl, Arachne. Her favorite thing to do was weave, as she was exceptional at it. The young girl believed she was better than anyone, even Athena, the goddess of wisdom and weaving. Arachne boldy challenged Athena to a weaving contest. In the contest, the young girl’s work was flawless, but it was a scene that made fun of the gods. Athena was so enraged that she ripped Arachne’s work, broke her loom, and turned the young girl into a spider. Arachne would now have to weave webs for the rest of her spider life. Everytime you see a spider, think of poor Arachne of the Greeks. She is one of many characters within myths that gave us an english word.

 

Moon at aphelion

The Moon‘s monthly orbit around the Earth will carry it to its furthest point from the Sun – its aphelion – at a distance of 0.9860 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 0.9835 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.0025 AU (375,000 km) from the Moon.

 

All articles in this post were found at: in-the-sky.org

Asteroid 27 Euterpe at opposition

Asteroid 27 Euterpe will be well placed for observation, lying in the constellation Gemini, well above the horizon for much of the night.

Regardless of your location on the Earth, 27 Euterpe will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time.

From Washington DC it will be visible between 18:58 and 05:10. It will become accessible at around 18:58, when it rises 24° above your eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 00:06, 74° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible at around 05:10 when it sinks to 24° above your western horizon.

The geometry of the alignment

This optimal positioning occurs when it makes its closest approach to the point in the sky directly opposite to the Sun – an event termed opposition. Since the Sun reaches its greatest distance below the horizon at midnight, the point opposite to it is highest in the sky at the same time.

At around the same time that 27 Euterpe passes opposition, it also makes its closest approach to the Earth – termed its perigee – making it appear at its brightest in the night sky. This happens because when 27 Euterpe lies opposite to the Sun in the night sky, the solar system is lined up so that 27 Euterpe, the Earth and the Sun lie in a straight line with the Earth in the middle, on the same side of the Sun as 27 Euterpe.

On this occasion, 27 Euterpe will pass within 0.958 AU of us, reaching a peak brightness of magnitude 8.3. Nonetheless, even at its brightest, 27 Euterpe is a faint object beyond the reach of the naked eye or binoculars; a telescope of moderate aperture and a good star chart are needed.

 

All articles in this post were found at: in-the-sky.org

Words from Greek myths: Tantalize

Some English words today have roots in Greek myths. In this instance, we have the word “Tantalize.” Tantalize means to tempt or tease by putting something of desire just out of reach.

The word comes from Tantalus, the mortal son of Zeus. Since he was the son of one of the gods; he was often invited to dine with them. But one particular day, Tantalus made the gods upset. There are many different versions of what exactly he did wrong, so sadly we cannot pinpoint it.

One version says that Tantalus gave heavenly ambrosia to other mortals, while another says that at a banquet he served the gods parts of his own dead son. Whatever he did, he was inevitably punished in the underworld. Tantalus was placed in a pool of water that was up to his neck. Whenever he tried to drink the water, the water evaporated, just out of reach. Above the son of Zeus was a branch filled with deliciously fresh fruits. Whever he reached for a piece of the fruit, the wind blew the branch away. So, Tantalus was tantalized for eternity. Tantalize is only one of many words with roots in Greek myths.

 

Ursid Meteor Shower 2015

The Ursid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 22 December 2015. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 17 Dec to 25 Dec.

The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 10 per hour (ZHR). The Moon will be 11 days old at the time of peak activity, and being so close to Full Moon, will severely limit the observations that will be possible.

The radiant of the Ursid meteor shower is at around right ascension 14h00m, declination +78°, as shown by the green cross on the planetarium above. At midnight, it appears 32° above your northern horizon from Washington DC All of the meteors will appear to be travelling directly outward from this point, as indicated by the white lines drawn above.

The best place to look to see as many meteors as possible is not at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 90° away from it, since it is at a distance of around 90° from the radiant that meteors will typically appear at their brightest.

 

All articles in this post were found at: https://in-the-sky.org/

Moon at first quarter.

From Washington DC, the Moon will be visible in the evening sky. It will become visible at around 17:03 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 47° above your south-eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 18:03, 49° above your southern horizon. It will continue to be observable until around 23:17, when it sinks to 8° above your 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.

All articles in this post can be found at https://in-the-sky.org/ .

Two dogs, one stick.

One cold day in our little lush backyard, there was a controversy between two little dogs; Chloe and Daisy. Chloe was burying the stick she had found, confident Daisy would not find it this time. But little did she know, Daisy was looming over her shoulder watching her every move. “Back off, Daisy! This is my stick!” Chloe yelped. “But I want it.” Daisy replied. The dogs began to growl at each other, before Daisy picked up the stick and took off. “If you want it you got to catch me!” The tall dog taunted. Chloe growled once more before attempting to catch up to Daisy, failing because of her short and stubby legs. Eventually, Daisy settled down with the stick and began to gnaw on it, while Chloe sadly watched. After Chloe tried to get the stick back, a giant hand seemingly came from the sky and broke the stick in half. Now both of the dogs were happy and had their own sticks.