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Minnesota starwatch for August 2014


Fri, Jul 25th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

By Deane Morrison

August is a great month for vacations, and even the planets seem to be at play.

Take Mars, for example. Last month its eastward motion carried it past its longtime companion, the bright star Spica, in Virgo. As August begins, Mars is in the southwest, almost midway between Spica to the west and Saturn to the east. Continuing its eastward trek, the Red Planet glides below Saturn, coming closest on the 25th. On the 31st, the two planets form a triangle with a fat crescent moon.

The moon, too, is at play. It becomes full at 1:09 p.m. on the 10th, less than an hour before reaching perigee, the closest point to Earth in its orbit. This is the closest perigee of the year, so the moon will be big and beautiful; however, it won’t rise over our area of the planet until at least 8 o’clock that night—after waning for seven hours.

On the night of the 12th-13th, the moon will be past full but plenty bright enough to wash out many of the Perseid meteors at the shower’s peak. Perseids are often bright themselves, though, so look to the northeast in the late evening or predawn hours and hope for the best.

A note about full moons past and future. July’s full moon was hailed as a “supermoon” because it fell within a day of perigee. In the Twin Cities, the best time to see that moon full and still above the horizon was around 5:45 a.m. on July 12, some 21.5 hours before perigee. In September, the interval between perigee and the best time to see it close to full will be nearly the same, but this time fullness occurs in early evening, not first thing in the morning.

So if you missed the show in July, September’s should rival it and happen at a more convenient hour for us in the Midwest. (August’s full moon is also super—astronomers use the term perigee moon rather than supermoon—especially on the other side of the Atlantic, where it rises much closer to full.)

In the morning sky, Jupiter climbs steadily above the eastern horizon. Because it’s farther from the sun than Mars, it orbits more slowly; thus, Earth gains on Jupiter faster, making it climb faster in the morning sky. On the 18th, Jupiter sails close by Venus, which is sinking as it begins its next trip behind the sun.

The Milky Way now stretches across a broad swath of the evening sky. Ornamenting it high in the southeast is the Summer Triangle of the bright star .....
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Houston overlook sign program July 26

Fri, Jul 18th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

Visit the HOUSTON overlook sign on Saturday, July 26 at 7 p.m. Meet at the Houston Nature Center. Ever want to go up to see the huge stone “HOUSTON” sign on the hill north of Houston but didn’t know who to call or how to get there? Here’s ..... 
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New EAB discovery near Caledonia prompts renewed call to restrict firewood movement

Thu, Jul 17th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed another emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation – this time on private land near Caledonia, in southeastern Minnesota. MDA Entomologist Mark Abrahamson says the infestat ..... 
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Forestry Field Day July 23 near Chatfield

Fri, Jul 11th, 2014
Posted in Chatfield The Great Outdoors

On July 30, 2014 the Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting a field day to explore past, present, and future restoration practices taking place at the Isinours Forestry Unit just outside of Preston, Minn. The tours will begin ..... 
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Battle of Tupelo, MS. Commemoration and Civil War Soldier Grave Rededication

Mon, Jul 7th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

Saturday July 12, 2014 Silver Creek Cemetery, Houston, Minn. Ceremony commences at 10:30 a.m. Sponsored by: Civil War Commemoration Task Force, Silver Creek Cemetery Association, Houston American Legion Post 423 and the Houston County Historica ..... 
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The ABC's of bees

Mon, Jul 7th, 2014
Posted in Rushford The Great Outdoors

A free beekeeping class, “The ABC’s of Bees,” will be held Wednesday, July 9, from 5-6 p.m., at Creekside Park in Rushford, Minn., in the small pavilion. The class is part of an ongoing educational and community effort by the Rushford Peterson ..... 
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Highway 43 construction begins in Rushford

Fri, Jun 27th, 2014
Posted in Rushford The Great Outdoors

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Motorists will encounter a detour in Rushford when construction begins soon on Highway 43 in a project that will replace the street and improve curb, gutter, sidewalks and utilities along a one-mile stretch in the city, accordin ..... 
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Fillmore SWCD seeking applicants for Reinvest in Minnesota Buffer Easement program

Fri, Jun 6th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is seeking applicants for the 2014 Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Riparian Buffer Easement Program. The program creates vegetated buffers on riparian crop land adjacent to streams and l ..... 
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Root River citizen conversations at five local events

Fri, May 30th, 2014
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

Join Root River watershed neighbors in June at five local events from Grand Meadow to La Crescent for citizen-led conversations about protecting water resources in the watershed. Portions of six counties drain to the Root River: Dodge, Fillmore, Hou ..... 
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