NASA and the online Slooh community telescope will host separate webcasts featuring the Lyrid meteor shower tonight (April 21) and into the wee hours of Tuesday (April 22) morning. FULL STORY: Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight: How To Watch Live
Slooh's webcast will begin at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 April 22 GMT) and carry on throughout the night. NASA's live stream, which will show views from a sky camera in Huntsville, Ala., will start at about 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT). You can watch both webcasts in the windows below:
Watch Slooh's webcast directly at www.slooh.com.
Learn more about the Lyrid meteor shower and watch the NASA webcast directly through the space agency.
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Slooh Webcast, Closest Approach of Mars
The Mars and lunar eclipse webcasts will begin Monday night at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT), when the Slooh community telescope will host a free webcast on the closest approach of Mars to Earth since 2008. Editor's Note: If you snap amazing pictures of the total lunar eclipse or Mars, you can send photos and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can watch the webcast live here:
Mars will be within 57.4 million miles (92.4 million km) of Earth on Monday night, an event that follows on the heels of Mars reaching opposition on April 8, when it aligned perfectly with Earth and the sun. You can watch the Slooh webcast of Mars' closest approach here, directly from the Slooh website and via the Slooh iPad app.
Weather permitting, Mars will appear exceptionally bright as a reddish orb in the night sky. Its brilliance should be much better than the Red Planet's last close approach in 2012. From Slooh: "The live image stream will be hosted by Slooh Observatory Director Paul Cox and Slooh astronomer Bob Berman, who will be reporting live from Prescott Observatory in Prescott, Arizona. Viewers can ask questions during the show by using hashtag #Slooh." [Mars Coming Close: Where To Look ]
Mars Opposition Webcast: April 8:
Mars and the sun are directly opposite each other in Earth's sky today, which is why the formation is known as an opposition of Mars. You can watch two live shows about the Mars opposition here on Space.com beginning at 7 p.m. EDT tonight. Full Story: Mars, Earth and Sun Align Tonight: Watch It Live Online
You can watch two live shows about the Mars opposition here on Space.com beginning at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) tonight, courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project and the Slooh. You can also watch the two webcasts directly via the Virtual Telescope Project website and Slooh website. The Slooh Webcast will be found here:
The second webcast will be provided by astrophycist Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano, Italy. You can follow it here:
During opposition, Mars will shine nearly 10 times more brightly than a 1st-magnitude star, and some of the planet's surface features will show up through backyard telescopes, Slooh officials said. [Mars Coming Close: Where To Look ]
The opposition of Mars comes about a week before the Red Planet's closest approach to Earth. On April 14, Mars will be just 57 million miles (92 million kilometers) away — about 60 percent of the distance from Earth to the sun (which is 93 million miles, or 150 million km). (Opposition and closest approach would occur on the same day if the planets' orbits were perfectly circular rather than slightly elliptical.)
Editor's note: If you take an amazing skywatching photo of Mars or any other night sky view, and you'd like to share it for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at email@example.com.
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Asteroid Eclipses Bright Star
Early Thusday (March 20), the giant asteroid 163 Erigone will cross in front of the bright star Regulus, as seen from Earth, blacking the star out in the night sky for up to 14 seconds for some stargazers in certain parts of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. The rare celestial event, called an asteroid occultation, will occure at 2 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT) and you can watch it live on Space.com here courtesy of the Slooh online skywatching website. The Slooh webcast will begin at 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT). Full Story: Giant Asteroid Eclipses Star Tonight in Rare Celestial Event: How to Watch Live
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Slooh will cover the event live on Wednesday, March 19th at 10:45 pm PDT / 1:45 am EDT (3/20) / 05:45 UTC (3/20) with live feeds from New York. Viewers can watch free on Slooh.com or by downloading the Slooh iPad app. The live image streams will be accompanied by discussions led by Slooh host and observatory director Paul Cox, with Slooh's astronomer Bob Berman reporting live from New York. In addition, Ted Blank from the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) will appear as a guest directly from his remote viewing location while also providing a live feed for the broadcast. Viewers may ask questions during the show by using hashtag #Regulus.
The asteroid, (163) Erigone, orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter in the main asteroid belt. The star it will eclipse, Regulus, is the 22nd brightest in the sky with a magnitude of +1.3. Erigone's shadow will race at nearly two miles per second along the ground, resulting in Regulus vanishing for between a fraction of a second to 14 seconds, depending on whether the observer is centrally located beneath the shadow, or near its edge. Observing the timing of this event at various locations will enable astronomers to determine Erigone's size and shape to an unprecedented level of accuracy.
Says Berman, "In the natural world, we generally think of the Sun as sometimes being blocked or eclipsed. But even stars can be momentarily eclipsed or blocked by a zooming planet or asteroid, and then that starlight briefly vanishes. This is called an occultation. But it's rare for a truly bright star to be eclipsed. And even when this happens, the shadow of the asteroid is usually cast over some remote piece of ocean or wilderness. In my entire 40 years as a professional astronomer, I've never witnessed a star as bright as Regulus - Leo's 'alpha' luminary -- being blocked as seen along a populated Earthly path in an easily accessible region."
Editor's Note: If you snap an amazing photo of the night sky that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, send photos, comments and your name and location to managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.