The clear sky clock
(this one is for Boston) provides a graphical representation of seven factors that affect the clarity of stargazing: cloud cover
, darkness, wind, humidity, and temperature. Once you've figured out where and when to go stargazing (probably somewhere rural
) make a custom map for your location
so you know what you're seeing.
Ceres, Charon, and 2003 UB313 (a.k.a. Xena)
may join the 9 planets we already know (and strive to remember) if a resolution by the International Astronomical Union
is passed next week. So what makes a planet, according to the IAU? Having sufficient mass to achieve hydrostatic equilibrium (i.e. be round enough...welcome former asteroid Ceres
) and being in orbit around a star without being a star itself or a satellite of another planet (apparently Charon
and Pluto are actually a double planet.) Mike Brown
, discoverer of "10th planet" Sedna
and alleged "Pluto-hater", doesn't really like the idea.