The Recent Lunar Eclipse, a Possible Meteor Shower, and Other Odds and Ends

by Dr. Danny R. Faulkner on May 23, 2014

April’s Lunar Eclipse

I haven’t blogged since the beginning of April, so I have some catching up to do on a few things. My last post was about the April 15 total lunar eclipse and I announced that we would have public viewing of the eclipse here at the Creation Museum that night.

Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy that evening (it even snowed a bit here about the time of the eclipse), so we canceled that event. A museum staff member the day before asked me if we ought to cancel the eclipse, but I told her that I didn’t think that we were powerful enough to do that. I think that she actually meant canceling our planned program—at least I hope so.

Fortunately, Paul DeCesare, a good friend of Answers in Genesis, lives in Arizona where the skies were clear that night, and he took some very nice photos of the eclipse. I used some of those photos in a web article where I discussed further some of the problems with things lately being said about lunar eclipses. You can see those photos and read the article.

Tonight’s Meteor Shower

Tonight there may be an intense but brief meteor shower between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM. At least that is the possible outcome of a recent prediction. During that time tonight, the earth likely will pass through the debris stream of Comet 209P/LINEAR.

Though any meteors from this shower can be visible anywhere in the sky, if you trace their paths backward, they will appear to radiate from a spot in the constellation Camelopardalis. This is an obscure constellation, but it is not far from the North Star.

You’ll need a clear, dark sky free of obstructions so that you can see the entire sky. It’s best to lie on the ground to see them. I can’t emphasize enough that the sky must be dark: if you are near a large city, you will not see many of the meteors. And this is just a prediction: the shower will either be great, or it won’t happen at all. I plan to watch and report on what I see in my next blog post.

Astronomy Programs at the Creation Museum and Beyond

With warmer weather and increasing attendance at the museum, we’ve restarted some of our astronomy outreach programs. These include Astronomy Live, Stargazer’s Night, and Sun Spotting. And this year we’ve added a new one—The Heavens Declare Tour.

For the really adventurous, there still is room on the seven-day Grand Canyon raft trip June 29–July 5. This will be the second “geology by day, astronomy by night” trip in which I’ll bring along the powerful Questar telescope. With no city lights, the stars can be very impressive in the dark skies of Grand Canyon, provided the rocks aren’t in the way.

Viewing the Planets

In some recent evening programs at the observatory, we’ve been treated to fine views of Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. Last month, Mars was the closest to the earth than it’s been in several years. Mars is small, and it generally isn’t that close to us, so it never appears very large in our telescopes. But every 26 months or so it gets much closer than usual in an event we call opposition. Mars came to opposition on April 8. For a few months near opposition, Mars is at its best. Each time we looked at it in the past couple of months, we could see fuzzy dark patches on the Martian surface, as well as a white tinge on one side—a polar icecap. Mars is shrinking as the distance between us increases, but it will be a fine view for another month or more.

My Recent Publications

It’s been six months since I called attention to recent articles that I’ve published in our online Answers Research Journal, so it’s time that I updated that. In order of publication, my recent articles have been:

Creation Research Society

Finally, the Creation Research Society will hold its 2014 meeting here at the Creation Museum. I hope that I’ll see many of you here at this exciting meeting.

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