Starwatch for February 2019
Written by John Del Re on February 21, 2019
Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ, and the National Space Society bringing you the February Starwatch for the WNTI listening area.
If you were ever searching for pixies, elves, and sprites, you might be able to find them in our atmosphere. They are an amazing upper atmosphere phenomena, spotted as brief flashes of light above thunderstorms. They are quick discharges of lightning in the upper atmosphere. They’re considered to be electrically induced forms of luminous plasma, sometimes called positive lightning.
Other members of this strange family of electrical phenomena include gnomes, trolls, and blue jets. Not only do they display different colors, but may also take on various shapes. This may range from jellyfish, to carrots, to donuts. Overall, they are referred to as transient luminous events, or TLC’s. In all likelihood, this electrical display probably occurs in the atmospheres of some of the other planets of our solar system – and maybe even beyond.
Although you won’t be able to see such things as pixies, elves, or sprites among the stars, you will be able to see some of our planets this month. Both Mercury in Pisces and Mars in Aries rise at dusk. In the meantime at dawn looking southeast, Venus and to its lower left, Saturn are both in Sagittarius. Jupiter is seen to the upper right of Venus in Ophiuchus. So instead of looking for jellyfish, and carrots in the sky, check out our easily visible planets.
Until our next Starwatch … Don’t forget to check out – What’s up in the night sky!