Earth has three moons: Confirmed


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This moon is not alone out there (flickr).

Julia Poska| November 9, 2018

They’ll never light up the night sky or pull in the tides, but two additional moons orbit the earth, invisible to the naked eye. A team of Hungarian scientists captured images of them for the first time this year.

The reported the discovery in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society September 1, though the media only picked up the story this week.

According to Universe Today, a moon is defined as “a celestial body that makes an orbit around a planet,” like a “natural satellite.”  The big, round rock commonly known as “the moon” certainly fits this definition, as do the two newly discovered moons, though they look vastly different.

These moons are clouds of tiny dust particles, not solid bodies, according to a recent National Geographic feature. They are each about nine times wider than the Earth’s diameter, and orbit at about the same distance from the planet as our regular moon.

“The Kordylewski clouds are two of the toughest objects to find, and though they are as close to Earth as the moon, are largely overlooked by researchers in astronomy,” Judit Slíz-Balogh, one of the study’s authors, told National Geographic.

The clouds are so faint that astronomers were unable photograph them until now, with special Polarized lenses on their cameras, though they’ve suspected the moons’ existence since the 1950s. Kazimierz Kordylewski, a Polish astronomer whom the moons have been named after, thought he saw one in 1961, but was unable to prove it.

 

Super blue blood moon: What is that?


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A super blood moon shines over France in 2018. (Falcon Photography/flickr)

Jenna Ladd | January 31, 2018

People around the U.S. observed a very rare phenomenon in the Earth’s skies this morning. Well, actually, three phenomenon.

A super blue blood moon was easily seen by people in the Midwest between about 6 am and 8 am. Even if you did wake early enough to see this peculiar lunar event, you may be wondering what all this moon talk means. Let’s start with the word “super.” Super moons are when the moon appears especially large in the night sky, owing to the fact that it is at its closet point to earth. During this time, the moon can appear to be 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger. “Blue moon” is simply another name for the second full moon within a calendar month.

And “blood moon?” This name refers to the reddish color that the moon has when there is a total lunar eclipse, or the moon passes through Earth’s shadow and all of the sun’s light is blocked from illuminating it.

The total lunar eclipse began giving the moon a reddish tint at around 6:51 am and was no longer visible by 8:07 am in Des Moines. Those in the western part of the country were able to enjoy the eclipse for longer, as the moon remained above the horizon for more time. People in the eastern U.S. did not get to see the event, as the moon went below the horizon before it began in that part of the country.

Did you forget to look up this morning? Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until January 31, 2037 to see these three characteristics all in one moon.

Photo Gallery: Annular solar eclipse over Iowa


Photos by Atsushi Ueda, Department of Biology, The University of Iowa.

Iowans on Sunday caught a glimpse of the state’s first annular eclipse in 18 years.

Check out the attached gallery for a series of photos taken from the west steps of the Old Capital, downtown Iowa City.

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