Posts Tagged ‘eclipse’

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Astronomy Events – November 2013

October 31, 2013

by yaska77

November is one of the best months for stargazing in my opinion.  It’s not so freezing your fingers fall off but the air is cold enough for good seeing conditions, it’s dark already when you get home from work so you can get your gear set up nice and early, and there’s usually quite a bit happening in the always familiar but ever changing night sky over our heads.

We had some mixed weather for October (mostly bad but the good nights we had were ruined by inconsiderate neighbours leaving their halogen garden lights on…) but as ever we hold out hope for November.

So with that in mind, for your delectation below we have itemised some astronomical awesomeness for you to ogle.  So get out there and keep watching the skies!

Friday 1st November – Planet Venus is at Greatest Eastern Elongation and will be visible low down to the SSW after sunset

Orbiting closest to the Sun, Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction today and therefore isn’t visible

If you have good binoculars or a small telescope, you should be able to locate the comet if you're up early morning (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If you have good binoculars or a small telescope, you should be able to locate comet ISON if you’re up early morning, shown above at 03:45 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

And comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) will be below and to the left of Mars early this morning, almost forming a direct line to Regulus in the constellation Leo.  If it’s developed a tail you may be able to see it with the naked eye under dark skies

Sunday 3rd November - The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

Today also sees the Annular Solar Eclipse which occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon

The image above shows where the eclipse will be visible - Credit: PD-USGOV-NASA

The image above shows where the eclipse will be visible (click to enlarge) – Credit: PD-USGOV-NASA

Unfortunately it won’t be visible from the UK, but if it’s clear we’ll still break out the solar filters for a look see!

Relative positions of the Sun and Moon as seen from the UK, shown at 12:45 UTC (Click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Relative positions of the Sun and Moon as seen from the UK, shown at 12:45 UTC on Sunday 3rd November (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 6th November - The waxing crescent Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 365,360 km (227,024 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, and appears as a near neighbour to Venus after sunset too

Shown low to the SSW at 17:20 UTC, Venus and the crescent Moon can be seen close to each other (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown low to the SSW at 17:20 UTC, Venus and the crescent Moon can be seen close to each other (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

We imaged a similar close liaison in January 2012, so can give you some idea of how it will look to the naked eye (although this time the sky will be brighter)!

Comparable Moon phase and similar effect, our image of Venus and the waxing crescent Moon from January 2012 came with added Earthshine! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Comparable Moon phase and similar effect, our image of Venus and the waxing crescent Moon from January 2012 came with added Earthshine! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Ringed planet Saturn is also in Conjunction with the Sun today, making it unobservable until much later in the month

Sunday 10th November - This morning the Moon is seen at First Quarter phase

Tuesday 12th November – Tonight is the peak of the Northern Taurid meteor shower, with the radiant being to the south after midnight

The Moon sets soon after 02:00 on the 13th so this could be the best time to spot them!

Sunday 17th November - The Full Moon in the sky this evening is also sometimes known as the Beaver Moon, White Moon or Snow Moon

Monday 18th November – Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation today, and should be visible low down to the east before sunrise

Visible low to the east before sunrise, Mercury is followed soon after by Saturn, shown above at 06:15 UTC (click to elarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Visible low to the east before sunrise, Mercury is followed soon after by Saturn, shown above at 06:15 UTC. And comet ISON is visiting bright star Spica in Virgo (click to elarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) is also very close to Spica in the constellation Virgo, so should be easy to find in the hours before dawn

Friday 22nd November - Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 405,445 km (251,932 miles), the farthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Monday 25th November - The Moon appears at Last Quarter phase this evening

Tuesday 26th November – Early risers can look forward to a glimpse of Saturn and Mercury occupying the same camera frame this morning (if your eastern horizon is flat enough!)

A target we'd love a look at (living near the coast we can get near to a sea level flat horizon if we travel!), would be nice to have some clear evenings in November (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

A target we’d love a look at (living near the coast we can get near to a sea level flat horizon if we travel!), would be nice to have some clear evenings (and mornings) in November (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

They’ll appear over the horizon shortly before 06:00 UTC (shown above at 06:30) but the sky will be darker the earlier you can catch them.  If you get any photos we’d love you to tweet them to us!  Mercury is one of the planets we’ve yet to get a photo of!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Neptune
Uranus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – October 2013
Astronomy Events – September 2013
Astronomy Events – August 2013

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Astronomy Events – October 2013

September 30, 2013

by yaska77

With the darker evenings now truly upon us it’s a great time to be out observing (before it gets really cold!).  October has historically been our best month for getting our own images too, so we are vowing to get our ‘scopes out again in October and we’ll post some of our results!

But is there anything of interest coming up in October we can look forward to?  As ever we’ve listed below some interesting heavenly happenings over the coming month, so keep watching the skies!

Thursday 3rd October - Planet Uranus is at Opposition in the constellation Pisces this evening, meaning it is in an opposite position in the sky to our Sun

Our guide below should help you locate it should you want to try and find it, as under dark skies you’ll spot it with a good pair of binoculars

Look southeast around 21:20 UTC/ 22:20 BST to find Uranus just below Pisces (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Look southeast around 21:20 UTC/ 22:20 BST tonight to find Uranus just below Pisces (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 5th October - The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

Monday 7th October - The annual Draconid meteor shower peaks this evening, and the thin waxing Moon shouldn’t interfere

Shown high to the northwest at 19:30 UTC/ 20:30 BST on 7th October, the Draconids often put on a really good show! (click to enlage) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown high to the northwest at 19:30 UTC/ 20:30 BST on 7th October, the Draconids often put on a really good show! (click to enlage) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Best viewed after nightfall, look to the northwest and hope the clouds stay away!  You should also get some more after dark on the 8th October too

Wednesday 9th October - Mercury is at Greatest Eastern Elongation today, so this elusive planet should be visible low down in the southwest just after sunset

Thursday 10th October - The Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 369,810 km (229,789 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

Friday 11th October - This evening the Moon is seen at First Quarter phase

A daytime First Quarter Moon we photographed in April 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

A daytime First Quarter Moon we photographed in April 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Tuesday 15th October - Red Planet Mars pays a visit to bright star Regulus in the constellation Leo this morning. And if you imagine a line from Regulus through Mars and out the other side the same distance again, you should come across Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON)

A great opportunity to find it with a telescope, but even with binoculars you should still be able to make it out if your skies are dark enough

Shown to the east at 03:30 UTC/ 04:30 BST, this is a great opportunity to find comet ISON for a look through a telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown to the east at 03:30 UTC/ 04:30 BST, this is a great way to help find comet ISON for a look at it through a telescope! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 18th October - The Full Moon in the sky this evening is also sometimes known as the Blood Moon, Hunter’s Moon or Blackberry Moon

It will also be experiencing a penumbral eclipse which occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s penumbra, which causes a subtle darkening of the Moon’s surface

This guide shows visibility of penumbral eclipse ny location (click to enlarge) - Credit: Fred Espenak (NASA GSFC)

This guide shows visibility of the penumbral eclipse by location (click to enlarge) – Credit: Fred Espenak (NASA GSFC)

It will be visible from the Americas (for the end), Europe, Africa, and most of Asia (the beginning of the eclipse will be visible in east Asia). The western part of the Philippines (including western Luzon and Palawan) can see the penumbral eclipse at moonset

On 25th April 2013 the Full Moon also experienced penumbral eclipse, shown above at 20:22 UTC (21:22 BST) with the Earth’s shadow visible across the northern edge (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

On 25th April 2013 the Full Moon also experienced penumbral eclipse, shown above at 20:22 UTC (21:22 BST) with the Earth’s shadow visible across the northern edge (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

We caught a faint darkening on the Moon’s top edge in some photos during the penumbral eclipse in April, so hopefully this one will make for some nice photos too!

Monday 21st October - The annual Orionid Meteor Shower peaks in the early hours this morning, but the bright light from the waning gibbous Moon will wash out most of the faint ones.  The best times to view are from midnight until dawn on 20th, 21st and 22nd October, see below for a radiant guide (the direction the meteors will appear to emanate from)

Shown to the southeast at 02:00 UTC/ 03:00 BST, this is where Orionid meteors will appear to originate from (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown to the southeast at 02:00 UTC/ 03:00 BST on 21st October 2013, this is where Orionid meteors will appear to originate from (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 25th October - Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 404,560 km (251,382 miles), the farthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Saturday 26th October - The Moon appears at Last Quarter phase this evening, and will be very close to Jupiter which is visible in the Gemini constellation

Shown to the east at 00:30 UTC/01:30 BST, the last quarter Moon appears near Jupiter (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown to the east at 00:30 UTC/ 01:30 BST, the last quarter Moon appears near Jupiter (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 27th October - British Summer Time ends in the UK, and the clocks go back 1 hour to GMT/UTC at 02:00 BST

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Neptune
Uranus
Mars
Mercury

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – September 2013
Astronomy Events – August 2013
Astronomy Events – July 2013

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Astronomy Events – May 2013

April 30, 2013

by yaska77

Hot on the heels of an unexpected break in the weather (allowing us to see April’s partial eclipse of the Moon) we’re eager to get stuck in to another new month of astronomical events!

Now spring has finally arrived in the UK we’re hoping to be able to get some new images to show you, and if you get any snaps yourself please feel free to tweet them to us.  Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to?

Thursday 2nd May – The Moon is at Last Quarter phase today

Monday 6th May – The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks early this morning (01:30 UTC/02:30 BST) with an expected ZHR of 10 meteors per hour as viewed from the UK (observers from more southern latitudes could see up to 55 per hour).  Appearing to originate from the constellation Aquarius (hence the name), Aquarids are known for bright tails left by fast moving meteors

Aquarid Meteor Radiant 06052013 02.30 UTC Sky-Watching.co.uk

Shown above at 02:30 UTC/03:30 BST on 6th May, the Aquarid meteor shower will be active from the end of April until the end of May (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 9th – Friday 10th May – An annular solar eclipse occurs today when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than that of the Sun (blocking most of its light) which causes it to look like a ring (or annulus)

This type of eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide, and will be visible from northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean, with the maximum of just over 6 minutes visible from the Pacific Ocean east of French Polynesia

The eclipse begins at 21:25:10 UTC

Friday 10th May – Today sees a New Moon so now is a good time for observing deep sky objects usually affected by moonlight

Saturday 11th May – Bright planets Venus and Jupiter flank the Moon just after sunset.  Shown below at 19:45 UTC/ 20:45 BST, if your NW horizon is flat enough this could be a great target for some photos!

Jupiter, Moon and Venus 11052013 19.45 UTC Sky-Watching.co.uk

Jupiter, the Moon and Venus all pay Taurus a visit soon after sunset this evening, look WNW and see if you can spot them! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The planet Mercury is also in Superior conjunction today, so is unobservable until later in the month

Monday 13th May – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 405,825 km (252,168 miles), the farthest point in its orbit from the Earth

Saturday 18th May – This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase

Saturday 25th May – Today’s Full Moon will experience another penumbral eclipse (where it skims the edge of the Earth’s shadow), this time however it will be virtually imperceptible unlike the partial eclipse witnessed on 25th April

Penumbral Eclipse 25042013 21.22 BST Sky-Watching.co.uk

In April the Full Moon also experienced penumbral eclipse, shown above at 20:22 UTC (21:22 BST) with the Earth’s shadow visible across the northern edge (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

May’s Full Moon is also sometimes known as the Milk Moon, Dragon Moon or Hare Moon

Sunday 26th May – Soon after twilight this evening the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Venus should be visible forming an equilateral triangle to the WNW (West North-West)

Jupiter, Mercury and Venus 26052013 20.15 UTC Sky-Watching.co.uk

Forming an equilateral triangle in the twilight sky, Jupiter, Mercury and Venus appear close to each other just after sunset on 26th May, as shown at 20:15 UTC/21:15 BST (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

These planets will be near neighbours from 23rd to 31st of this month, but appear closest together this evening

And today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 358,375 km (222,684 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

Friday 31st May – Tonight sees the Moon at Last Quarter phase; and twilight planets Jupiter, Mercury and Venus appear aligned soon after sunset

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Saturn
Venus
Mercury

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – April 2013
Astronomy Events – March 2013
Astronomy Events – February 2013

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Astronomy is contagious!

April 29, 2013

by yaska77

The great thing about astronomy is that anyone with a sky over their heads can get involved. You don’t need a truckload of expensive gear, just an interest and a modicum of patience will get you a long way!

Soon after I got my camera and started posting images on this blog, Mick Judd (a talented photographer who I happen to work with) also began skywatching, and he has captured some great shots with limited “astro-specific” equipment.

After we recently discussed the upcoming penumbral eclipse on 25th April (see our images here) Mick went home and over the course of a few evenings has produced the following short video, which we hope you enjoy.

We think it’s great, and just the sort of thing we hope will help others catch the astronomy bug! But how did he do it?  I’ll let him explain that himself!

“To capture the images I used two different eyepieces on a D=60mm F=700mm telescope; an H20 to fit the whole of the moon in the frame and an HF6 for the close-ups of the lunar surface and for Saturn. To attach the camera (a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S mobile phone) I drilled a hole in the middle of a plastic lid from a can of hair mousse, and glued it around the lens hole on the phone’s protective case.

Slotting the plastic lid over the eyepiece housing on the telescope and pushing it into place, it’s then a bit of hit and miss with lining up what I can see in the finder scope with what I can see on the phone’s display. The Xperia Arc S has a lot of camera settings so it’s just a matter of adjusting EV levels and using a bit of digital zoom to fill the frame to avoid seeing the round edge of the eyepiece.

To try and make sure that I capture something that is sharp I slightly tweak the scope’s focus every now and then between shots. The Sunspots were viewed through an additionally fitted Solar filter.  All the footage in the video was captured between 15th and 27th April 2013.”

Top work Judd bloke, and an ingenious set up!

You can see more of Mick’s photos on his Flickr page here

Now everyone get outdoors and enjoy the night sky! :)

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Penumbral eclipse, full moon, no clouds!?

April 25, 2013

by yaska77

It’s been a very slow couple of months of late. The British weather is infamous the world over, and not only have we just experienced the first real warmth of spring, but an abundance of evening clouds have kept many a garden astro indoors.

The signs were good this evening however, there was a penumbral eclipse on the April Full Moon (as noted in our April Astro Guide), and not a cloud in the sky! What madness was this!?

Penumbral Eclipse 25042013 21.07 BST Sky-Watching.co.uk

Taken with a Canon Eos 550D and a 250mm lens mounted to a fixed tripod, the penumbral eclipse is visible over the top left edge of the full Moon (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Some time ago the spotter scope on my telescope was knocked out of alignment, so combined with the clouds it’s been a shamefully long time since I used it.

Looking on this evening as a chance to at least re-align the spotter scope (even if the Moon would not rise high enough to see any of the partial eclipse), I set up and found my fence was just low enough for the scope to catch it before the shadow passed!

Penumbral Eclipse 25042013 21.22 BST Sky-Watching.co.uk

Now mounted to my Sky-Watcher 200P Telescope, the partial eclipse is still a visible shadow over the northern edge of the Full Moon (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

So finally we’ve had an astronomical event that the clouds missed. But not by much I can tell you, an hour after these photos were taken the Moon was enveloped behind a blanket of cloud.

So we do get a break once in a while after all :)

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