Sunday, April 6, 2014

F is for Fireball (The NASA All-sky Fireball Network) and 2014 Celestial Calendar

The NASA All-sky Fireball Network is a network of cameras set up by the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) with the goal of observing meteors brighter than the planet Venus, which are called fireballs. The collected data will be used by the MEO in constructing models of the meteoroid environment, which are important to spacecraft designers.
 
The network currently consists of 12 cameras, 6 of which are placed in locations in north Alabama, north Georgia, southern Tennessee, and southern North Carolina. 4 are in the northern Ohio/Pennsylvania area, and the remaining 2 are located in southern New Mexico.
 
The network is growing all the time, with plans to place a total of 15 cameras in schools, science centers, and planetaria in the United States, predominantly east of the Mississippi River, where there are few such systems.
 
2014 Celestial Calendar: April 8 - Mars at Opposition. The red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Mars. A medium-sized telescope will allow you to see some of the dark details on the planet's orange surface. You may even be able to see one or both of the bright white polar ice caps.
 
Check out the 2014 Celestial Calendar Tab at the top of this post. You’ll be amazed at what you can see in the night time sky with an average telescope, a good pair of binoculars, and even the naked eye.