Astro Bob blog: Brix the dog finds his first meteoriteIt's true -- dogs can be trained to find meteorites. Space station flyover photos from Lyle Anderson plus what's to see in tonight's sky.
By: Bob King, Duluth News Tribune
Brix the dog finds his first meteorite
Lyle Anderson of Duluth wasn't going to miss this morning's double flyby of the space shuttle (top) and International Space Station (bottom). He photographed them both -- separated by several minutes -- from his home on Park Point in Duluth.
The Discovery shuttle landed at 8:08 a.m. Central time at Kennedy Space Center this morning so it appears NASA changed landing times once again. I haven't heard reports or seen photos yet of it streaking across the central U.S. but we appreciate that Lyle Anderson was out again with his camera taking great shots of both orbiting spacecraft.
Brix, a German shepherd, sits with understandable pride next to the 198 gram meteorite he found this week from the Wisconsin fireball. Photo by Sonny Clary and courtesy of Michael Johnson
The number of meteorites found in last week's fall over southern Wisconsin continues to rise but one find in particular stands out as exceptional. Brix, a dog owned by Nevada-based meteorite hunter Sonny Clary, found his first meteorite earlier this week. How does a dog find a meteorite? Training of course. Brix is the first trained meteorite hunting dog in the world. Clary worked with Brix in the deserts of Nevada familiarizing him with the "scent" of meteorites and his hard work finally paid off.
If a dog can find a meteorite I figure it's worth my while to throw my hat in the ring. Looks like Astro Bob's going on a road trip to Livingston, Wisc. tomorrow. Wish me luck on my first meteorite-hunting venture. I promise to bring you pictures and updates directly from the field over the next couple days, and I sincerely hope to meet Brix and give him a pat on the head for a job well done.
Auriga lies a little more than one outstretched fist to the right of the moon tonight. The constellation has a very recognizable pentagon shape that reminds me of a child's drawing of a house. Capella is its brightest star. This map shows sky as you look west around 9:30-10 p.m. Created with Stellarium
Tonight the moon hovers on the edge of first quarter or "half-a-pie" phase. It'll be in Gemini scootching up toward Mars. Last night I noticed how easy it was to see the outline of the winter constellation Auriga the Charioteer. He's driving his chariot toward the northwestern horizon, but before he leaves the scene, now's a great time to see the constellation in case you missed it or were too cold to try in winter. Capella is a Roman name for she-goat; just below her are her kids represented by three little stars in a compact triangle. It's unclear just how the goats got paired up with the chariot guy but it's like having two constellations in one. The bottom left star in the Auriga pentagon has officially been assigned to the constellation Taurus but most sky watchers informally include it with Auriga as it completes a pleasing pattern.
Auriga from the atlas Urania's Mirror by William Jamieson. I've added
the constellation outline in black.