Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of Beyond The Forecast!
We’re coming off an active week of weather in our corner of the Commonwealth, so this meteorologist is happy to see a quieter week ahead.
We’ll take advantage of the quiet skies and tell you about what’s going on in space over the next seven days!
First, we have The Seven Sisters, also known as Pleiades. It’s a cluster of seven stars that will set up to the left of the Moon on Tuesday night.
Pleaides is known by many different names in many different cultures! For example, the Greeks referred to this cluster as the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas. The story goes that Zeus cast the daughters into the sky because Atlas was forced to hold up the sky and could not protect them from Orion.
The Danish believed Pleiades to be six brothers and the kidnapped princess they rescued, while the Ukrainians thought it was seven maids dancing through the sky.
Next up, we have a couple of spacecraft launches to tell you about. I haven’t seen any word on whether we’ll be able to see these in Virginia, but livestreams of these kind of events are always readily available.
On Wednesday, Virgin Orbit will launch “Above The Clouds” from Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 5 p.m. EST. The rocket will carry the company’s customers’ satellites and will actually launch from a customized 747 in low Earth orbit.
Then on Thursday, SpaceX gets into the action with their Transporter-3 mission. It’s a rideshare program that provides small satellite operators with regularly scheduled and dedicated Rocket 9 missions.
Finally, there will be a few International Space Station (ISS) passages this week, but most of them will be too low on the horizon for us to see.
If you want a glimpse of the ISS, get outdoors next Monday evening around 7:10 p.m. The station will start in the west-southwest sky and end in the north-northwest.
Switching gears to your forecast, the winds of winter are back to start the new work week! Make sure you dress warmly on this second Monday of January. Chris Michaels has a look at when we could see some warmer air, along with the next chance for wintry weather in our daily forecast article.
You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Southside, the Highlands or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!
In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:
-- Justin McKee