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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Morning's Sky

It was 5.45am. I could see something real bright outside my window the minute I opened my eyes. It looked like a star, or a planet. But it couldn't be, I would usually need my specs.

And so, this morning, I woke up without difficulty for a change. In fact, I jumped up from bed wide awake, and spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out the whole beautiful clear dawn sky. Note: I can see a partially obscured view of the Southern sky from my window.

It turned out Canopus was shining through my window. It is the second brightest star in the sky, and is 65 times bigger than our sun, 15,000 times brighter. Thus from my window, this star was easily the brightest one of all, despite being approx 300 lightyears away. It had got to be really bright for me to spot it even without specs.

To the Chinese and the Japanese, this star is also known as 南极老人星, or 老人星 (Star of the Old Man) for short. It signifies happiness and longevity.

To see this in the evening, we have to wait till April 2010. Do drop by SCOB, and we can tell you all about Canopus, and Sirius, the brightest star of all.

Other objects in the sky this morning include our beloved planets Mars and Saturn. Mars was gleaming away above my head looking all reddish and sparkling. Try and catch it tomorrow morning if the sky is clear.

With that, time to go to work.

Good Morning Folks!

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