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Gemini Observatory took this image of spiral Galaxy NGC 6946.

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spiral Galaxy NGC 6946.
Gemini Observatory took this image of spiral Galaxy NGC 6946.

five planets are visible - Jan 3 - Jan 9, 2005.

Greetings, fellow sky watchers! I trust everyone's holidays were wonderful? It's time to start a New Year and what better way than with a bit of celestial "fireworks" as the Quadrantid meteor shower begins the week! Dance along the ecliptic plane as five planets are visible in the morning skies and Moon occults Jupiter for Africa and part of Australia! Journey with me as we explore the "death" of a star in the M1 and celebrate the "birth" of a new solar system with T Tauri. We will begin exploration of Orion with the M78 and the "Flame" nebula. Who knows? This could be your lucky "Knight"! The week end becomes even more exciting as the last of the Moon occults Antares for the northwest and the "Magnificent Machholz" joins the Pleiades in a spectacular showing! As Saturn reaches the ascending node, we'll be out reaching for the stars...

Because here's what's up!


The powerful Gemini Observatory took this image of spiral Galaxy NGC 6946, which is awash in star formation. This image was taken with a special filter designed to highlight the regions of star formation. Astronomers aren't sure why this Galaxy is so furiously building new stars, compared to the other Galaxies in our local neighborhood. And all this starbirth leads to supernovae, which are explosions of massive stars that "live fast and die young." Just in the last century, Astronomers have seen 8 supernovae explode - more than any other Galaxy ever observed.

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