Space Weather

Space Weather News for Jan. 4, 2006

VENUSIAN RAINBOWS: Venus is hanging low in the southwestern sky at sunset. Amateur astronomers who’ve looked at it lately have noticed something extraordinary: Venus looks like a tiny crescent-shaped rainbow. Using binoculars or a backyard telescope, you can see this phenomenon yourself. But don’t wait, because Venus will soon disappear into the glare of the Sun, not to return to the evening sky until Dec. 2006. Check for a sky map, photos and an explanation.

EARTH AT PERIHELION: Don’t look, but the Sun is bigger than usual this week. That’s because Earth is at perihelion, the closest point in our planet’s orbit to the Sun. In the dead cold of northern winter, we’re almost 2% closer to the Sun than the annual average. Strange but true.

ISS FLYBYS: The International Space Station (ISS) will be flying over the United States this month during evening hours when it is easy to see. Would you like a phone call to alert you when the ISS is about to fly over your home town? Sign up for SpaceWeather PHONE: