Astronomy Picture of the Day

Highlights of the Winter Sky
Illustration Credit & Copyright:

Explanation: What’s up in the sky this winter? The featured graphic gives a few highlights for Earth’s northern hemisphere. Viewed as a clock face centered at the bottom, early winter sky events fan out toward the left, while late winter events are projected toward the right. Objects relatively close to Earth are illustrated, in general, as nearer to the cartoon figure with the telescope at the bottom center — although almost everything pictured can be seen without a telescope. Highlights of this winter’s sky include the Geminids meteor shower peaking this week, the constellation of Orion becoming notable in the evening sky, and many planets being visible before sunrise in February. As true in every season, the International Space Station (ISS) can be sometimes be found drifting across your sky if you know just when and where to look.

Tomorrow’s picture: meteors reflected

Skunk Walk

A family of skunks went for their morning walk. They came to a fork in the road.

The daddy skunk said, “My instinct tells me to take the left fork.”

The momma skunk said, “My instinct tells me to take the right fork.”

The baby skunk pondered a moment and said, “My end stinks too but I still don’t know which road to take!”


If You Carry A Flashlight

A tourist was being led through the swamps of Florida.

“Is it true,” the tourist asked, “that an alligator won’t attack you if you carry a flashlight?”

“That depends,” replied the guide, “on how fast you carry the flashlight.”



The Editor:    What should we watch out for, LL ?

Sunshine State Cat:  I would advise all of our loyal readers to be careful in Florida, California, and Australia.  If you want a bizarre story,  one will have it.

Even sending emojis can be dangerous.

Wear warm clothing in Siberia.

Here is a Congressman-want-to-be, The Retiring Conyers’ Son.

Here is a want-to-be-cat burglar.

This judge dropped out of the news.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Mercury Visualized from MESSENGER
Video Credit: NASA, JHUAPL, CIW; Processing: Roman Tkachenko; Music: Open Sea Morning by Puddle of Infinity

Explanation: What would it be like to fly over the planet Mercury? Images and data taken from NASA’s robotic MESSENGER spacecraft that orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015 have been digitally combined to envision a virtual flight that highlights much of the hot planet’s surface. In general, the Solar System’s innermost world appears similar to Earth’s Moon as it is covered by a heavily cratered gray terrain. MESSENGER discovered much about Mercury including that shadows near its poles likely host water ice. The featured video opens as Mercury is viewed from the Sun-facing side and concludes with the virtual spacecraft retreating into Mercury’s night. Mercury actually rotates so slowly that it only completes three rotations for every two trips around the Sun. In 2018, Europe and Japan plan to launch BepiColombo to better map Mercury’s surface and probe its magnetic field.

Tomorrow’s picture: seasonal sky


The Editor:    What are the UPS this week, LL ?

Be There By Tuesday Cat:   UPS is having delivery problems.

Here are some DOWNS.  The first is– a cat wants an education that California children don’t want.

More that half of the children will be too obese to function, in addition to being illiterate.