Starwatch for September 2018
Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of the United Astronomy Clubs of NJ, and the National Space Society bringing you the September 2018 Starwatch for the WNTI listening area.
Would you ever guess that life exists in hot geysers, cold Antarctic ice, inside rocks, and at the bottom of the ocean in hydrothermal vents? It’s amazing where life can be found on Earth. Microbial life has been found under the most extreme conditions. Temperatures at 300 degrees Fahrenheit and places close to absolute zero. Other locations include extreme ranges of pressure, salinity, and radiation. Because these life forms can survive and thrive under these extreme conditions, they are called extremophiles.
The existence of extremophiles on Earth leads to the increased probability of their existence on other bodies in our solar system and beyond. If water is one of the necessary ingredients for life, then Mars and some of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter would also be likely candidates for microbial life. This might mean that some forms of life may be found throughout the universe.
We can ponder this idea as we look for the visible planets this month. At dusk in the SSE, Mars can be seen in Capricornus. Then look to the SSW to see Saturn in Sagittarius, and Jupiter in Libra. As you move your eyes to the WSW, You’ll see the bright light of Venus in Virgo. Mercury appears at dawn to the east in Leo. So if you look for the planets this month, think of the extremophiles that might be successfully inhabiting some of the unexplored worlds of our solar system.
Until our next Starwatch, – Don’t forget to check out … What’s up in the night sky!