The nights are getting chillier and the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. There’s no doubt that fall is here.
The good news is that these nights are a perfect time to not only stargaze but also planet-gaze, thanks to less moisture in the air that can typically cause atmospheric disturbances when out enjoying the night sky.
Right now, there are three planets visible in the sky after sunset: Saturn and Jupiter in the southwest (though they set around 10:00 p.m. local time), and Mars to the east.
But Mars is the star of the show.
The red planet reached its closest point to Earth on Oct. 6, at a mere 62 million kilometres, relatively close when you think that the planet can be as far away as 400 million kilometres.
The last time Mars was closer was in 2018 when it was 57.6 million kilometres away. However, that year the planet was in the midst of a massive dust storm that caused it to be slightly fainter than it would normally have been.
However, on Wednesday, the planet reaches opposition, a point where Earth lies directly between it and the sun, which means it will be at its brightest. This occurs roughly once every two years. In fact, it’s already brighter than Jupiter, which is typically the second-brightest planet in the sky, after only Venus.
Mars will shine at a magnitude of –2.62 over the next few nights, whereas Jupiter shines at –2.27. Astronomers measure the brightness of celestial objects using a magnitude scale with brighter objects having negative values.
(As an aside, you can find Venus, which is at a magnitude of –4.04, in the east before sunrise.)
Mars reaches opposition around 7:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday. And because of this, it rises just as the sun sets.
How to enjoy it
You can find Mars rising in the east just after sunset. It’s best to view, however, higher in the sky as there’s less atmospheric disturbance. As it rises, it reaches its highest point in the southern sky around midnight, but you don’t have to stay up that late to appreciate just how bright and beautiful it is standing out in the night sky.
The only thing you need to enjoy it is clear skies. If you want a close-up view, binoculars are good, but not necessary. However, with a clear sky and a telescope, viewers will be able to see some amazing surface details and polar ice caps.
Mars imaged from London on the night of the 6th October – the day of its closest approach to Earth for the next 15 years (~62 million km).<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Celestron?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Celestron</a> Edge HD11, <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Televue?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Televue</a> 2.5x Powermate & <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ZWO?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ZWO</a> ASI174MM camera.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/mars?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#mars</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/london?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#london</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/planets?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#planets</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/space?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#space</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/astronomy?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#astronomy</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/astrophotography?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#astrophotography</a> <a href=”https://t.co/MB3vFwSjIo”>pic.twitter.com/MB3vFwSjIo</a>
There are a few ways you can enjoy the show for free if you don’t have a telescope of your own.
York University’s Allan I. Carswell Astronomical Observatory in Toronto is hosting a Mars opposition online event from Sunday to Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m ET.
The Virtual Telescope Project is also hosting a live online viewing event on Wednesday.
After Wednesday, Mars starts to get fainter, though it will still remain visible in the night sky. By the end of the month, it will once again be fainter than Jupiter, though still shining brightly.
Now, if you missed the close-approach of Mars, don’t sweat it: the next one occurs on Dec. 8, 2022 when it will be roughly the same distance from Earth.
Surrey vet offers tips as Canada reports first COVID-19 case in dog in Ontario – News 1130
SURREY (NEWS 1130) – As Canada’s first case of COVID-19 among dogs is reported in Ontario, a Surrey-based vet is providing some advice to pet owners who may have concerns.
Dr. Sajjid Ijaz with Lifetime Veterinary Clinic says research on COVID-19 in pets is still evolving, but at this point, there’s little evidence to suggest dogs can transmit the virus to humans.
He notes many owners have flagged their COVID-19 concerns with him and his staff over the past few months.
“Obviously, at this point because we do not have any data to give any concrete answers to them, so, we have just been telling them to be careful about going out of their own bubble, as far as their own personal self, as well as the pets themselves. So what we’ve been telling them is to try and limit the pet access to dog parks and all that stuff, and be careful about it,” he explains.
Ontario dog tests positive for COVID-19
A dog in Ontario’s Niagara area has been identified as the first canine to test positive for COVID-19 in Canada. Experts have said this isn’t cause for panic.
The dog apparently belongs to a household where four people tested positive for COVID-19.
Experts told the Toronto Star the dog “had no symptoms and a low viral load, suggesting that dogs remain at relatively low risk of becoming gravely ill or passing on COVID to others.”
Ijaz says while they’re not pushing that message too hard, he and his staff want pet owners to continue to be smart.
Pets and your social bubble
Because of the uncertainty around how the coronavirus is transmitted among pets, Ijaz says it’s wise to apply the same advice to pets when it comes to humans and their social bubbles.
“So, yes, I’ve been telling my clients to limit access, not just totally isolate them, but just to be smart about it,” he explains.
Ijaz understands that pets are often a big part of any family, which is why he believes it’s best to be safe rather than sorry.
“As much as we can limit the bubble, that will help,” he says, adding your social bubble shouldn’t exclude these animals.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, there’s been no report of pets spreading COVID-19 to people. There have been reports of possible transmission from mink at a farm in the Netherlands to humans, however, the federal government says this is still being studied.
-With files from 680 NEWS
Hockey Twitter demands a Lunar Classic after NASA reveals moon has a lot more ice than previously believed – Russian Machine Never Breaks
NASA made a special announcement on Monday that had the hockey world buzzing.
“Several studies have showed that water on the moon surface is in its permanently shadowed craters,” Paul Hertz, director of astrophysics at NASA Headquarters, said according to CBS News. “Today, we are announcing that for the first time, water has been confirmed to be present on a sunlit surface of the moon.
It is believed that there are at least 15,000 square miles of the moon’s surface that have deposits of water ice, meaning future astronauts could live off the land.
And Hockey Twitter is hoping those future astronauts are NHL players.
The ridiculousness began early in the day when the NHL on NBC Twitter photoshopped the Blackhawks and Bruins facing off on the moon. “MOON. HOCKEY. 🌕,” they wrote. “We’re ready, @NASA!”
MOON. HOCKEY. 🌕🏒
— #ThankYouDoc (@NHLonNBCSports) October 26, 2020
“Call it the Lunar Classic,” the Ducks demanded.
Call it the Lunar Classic https://t.co/kN7B7xj6hj
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 26, 2020
“The Lunar Classic is going to be out of this world!” the Blackhawks added with an excellent pun.
The Lunar Classic is going to be out of this world! https://t.co/WoJFzKE6Hk
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 26, 2020
The Hurricanes were excited about some “space hockey.”
Two words: space hockey
See you soon, @NASAMoon
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) October 26, 2020
So were the Devils.
Heard they found some drip on the moon. 🌕💧 pic.twitter.com/sYOyI0Icvg
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) October 26, 2020
Later, on their Instagram page, NHL on NBC photoshopped Alex Ovechkin, Roman Josi, and David Pastrnak as astronauts.
Hockey Twitter imagined hockey scenarios on the moon, while another fan, Matthew Henderson, created an elaborate media kit promoting a fake moon hockey event.
NHL announces 2025 Winter Classic will be played on the Moon https://t.co/pRL4sUgctG
— Ailish Forfar (@ailishforfar) October 26, 2020
@elonmusk will be dropping the puck
— Jonathan Levitt (@JWLevitt) October 26, 2020
I’ve always wanted to send the Blackhawks to the moon, but not like this
— Kyle (@ewenwhatarmy) October 26, 2020
Travel issues will limit attendance
— klp (@klpickens) October 26, 2020
Gravity free shootouts could be cool
— Eric Cohen (@ebcinpa) October 26, 2020
— AVERY RULES (@AVERYRULES27) October 26, 2020
I want this to happen so badly now.
Headline photo: Pixabay images
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