Posts Tagged ‘telescope’

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Astronomy Events – April 2015

March 31, 2015

by yaska77

As much as I love the longer dark winter evenings I’ll admit I am now thoroughly bored of the cold. The clocks going forward an hour at the end of March has helped give us the first hints of the lighter summer evenings to come, and it’s a good feeling!

So while dreaming of that summer barbecue with friends leading in to a long evening sky-watching, below I’ve listed some spring astronomical events to encourage you to become reacquainted with the great outdoors. Have fun and stay safe all.

Keep watching the skies…

Wednesday 1st April - Our Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,010 km (252,282 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

Saturday 4th April - Today’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Flower Moon, Seed Moon or Pink Moon

It also sees a Total Lunar Eclipse occur, visible from eastern Asia, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean and western parts of North America, but sadly not to those of us in the UK (our last partially visible eclipse was in April 2013)

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 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

Monday 6th April - The planet Uranus is in Conjunction with the Sun and is currently unobservable

Friday 10th April - Inner planet Mercury is in Superior Conjunction today

Saturday 11th April Venus is still present as a spectacularly bright object in the early evening sky. Tonight it will appear to pass close to the Pleiades or “Seven Sisters” (so it should be a great photographic target!)

Look low to the west soon after sunset and you can't fail to spot Venus near the fainter but equally beautiful Pleiades cluster, shown above at 20:00 UTC / 21:00 BST (click to enlarge) Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Look low to the west soon after sunset and you can’t fail to spot Venus near the fainter but equally beautiful Pleiades cluster, shown above at 20:00 UTC/21:00 BST (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

We managed to get a few shots when Venus made a similar pass by the Seven Sisters in 2012. If you have some binoculars to help get a closer look it will be well worth your time!

The bright planet Venus shines next to the Pleiades cluster, and the setting Jupiter is accompanied by some of her moons (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The bright planet Venus shines next to the Pleiades cluster, and the setting Jupiter is accompanied by some of her moons at bottom right (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Sunday 12th April - This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Thursday 16th April - To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in April

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th April, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th April, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in April (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in April (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 17th April - Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 361,025 km (224,331 miles)

Saturday 18th April - Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so it’s a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae which are usually harder to see when the Moon is shining in the sky

Wednesday 22nd/
Thursday 23rd April 
- The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks this evening, with the radiant (the point all meteors appear to originate from) in the constellation Lyra which you’ll find low to the north east around 22:00 UTC/23:00 BST

This one shows a nice long clear Perseid tail, with more definition to the shap at the end of the streak (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

We’re hoping to capture some Lyrid meteors this year, as they can give you some nice shots like this Perseid meteor we caught streaking away from the smudge of the Andromeda galaxy (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The best time to see the meteors will be after midnight when the Moon has set, so if your skies are clear and you can face the late night it has got to be worth a look hasn’t it? Get outside and crane your necks!

Sunday 26th April - This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase

Wednesday 29th April - The Moon is at Apogee today for the second time this month, at a distance of 405,085 km (251,708 miles)

As usual, if you take any photos throughout April you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Venus

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 – March 2015
Astronomy Events – February 2015
Astronomy Events – January 2015

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Astronomy Events – March 2015

February 28, 2015

by yaska77

We’re now heading into one of my two favourite times of year. Spring and Autumn are perfect for some long evenings out under the stars, you still get the benefit of longer nights without the downside of frostbite!

There’s quite a lot to get excited about in March, plenty of the usual spotting opportunities and a solar eclipse into the bargain. Although it will only be partially visible from the UK, the Moon will still cross enough of the Sun for it to darken the sky. Keep fingers crossed we can all enjoy this rare marvel!

And to coincide with the eclipse the massively popular BBC series Stargazing Live returns, with live coverage of the eclipse in a TV first from the BBC. But I’ll post about that in more detail closer to the time!

With everything else and an eclipse there’s loads to see in March, so get outside and keep watching the skies…

Tuesday 3rd March - Jupiter appears close by the waxing gibbous Moon this evening as they journey across the night sky. They will both shine brightly so you can’t miss them!

Wednesday 4th March - If you have access to a small telescope and fairly dark skies this evening, Venus appears only 6 arc minutes away from the often difficult to spot Uranus

Look towards the west from nightfall to spot Venus with Uranus this evening, but with the two so close it's a great opportunity to spot one of the harder to find planets (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Look towards the west from nightfall to spot Venus with Uranus this evening, but with the two so close it’s a great opportunity to spot one of the harder to find planets (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Uranus appears almost 10,000 times fainter than Venus but being so close it’s a good opportunity to use the brighter planet as a spotting guide!  Look low to the west soon after sunset and you may also spot Mars just below too

Thursday 5th March - The Full Moon today is sometimes known as the Fish Moon, Sleepy Moon or Chaste Moon

It’s also at Apogee at a distance of 406,385 km (252,516 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

Friday 13th March - This evening our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Monday 16th March - To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in March

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th March, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th March, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in March (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in March (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 19th March - Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 357,585 km (222,192 miles)

Friday 20th March - A solar eclipse occurs today, which will be at least partially visible from the UK. Those in the north west of the country will get the best show with the eclipse effect decreasing the further south east you are

A total solar eclipse will occur on Friday March 20, 2015. The only populated places where the totality can be seen, reachable by public travel, are the Faroe Islands and Svalbard, but it will be partially visible to the UK (click to enlarge) - Credit: Fred Espenak, NASA's GSFC

A total solar eclipse will occur on Friday March 20, 2015. The only populated places where the totality can be seen, reachable by public travel, are the Faroe Islands and Svalbard, but it will be partially visible from the UK (click to enlarge) – Credit: Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC

Beginning just after 08:00 UTC and continuing until nearly 11:00 UTC, totality will only be visible from the Faroe Islands or the archipelago of Svalbard (north of mainland Norway) but the BBC show Stargazing Live will be broadcasting live coverage on BBC1 at 09:00 UTC

Please remember though, never look at the Sun directly, you will damage your eyes

Solar eclipse glasses can be bought online (try Amazon or Ebay) and will give you a great but safe view of the Moon crossing the Sun

Today is also Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere

Sunday 22nd March - If you’ve got some binoculars you’ll have a great view of a beautifully bright Venus next to the thin crescent Moon this evening

Shown above at 19:30 UTC, if you have clear skies you'll get a great view of the thin cresent Moon and Venus this evening (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown above at 19:30 UTC, if you have clear skies you’ll get a great view of the thin cresent Moon and Venus this evening (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If skies are clear enough you should be able to see Earthshine lighting the usually dark surface of the Moon!

This time at 4 second exposure, f/3.5 ISO100 - More of the Moon is lit by the Sun as it shines next to Venus (Jupiter is below the cloud) from 26th March 2012 (click to enlarge) Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Taken at 4 second exposure, f/3.5 ISO100 – Earthshine is light reflecting from the Earth to reveal details on the surface of the Moon usually hidden in shadow. Here we imaged a similar conjunction of Venus and the Moon on 26th March 2012 (click to enlarge) Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

We took the image above in March 2012, but it’s not too dissimilar to how they will look this evening!

Friday 27th March - This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase

Sunday 29th March - British Summer Time begins in the UK, and the clocks go forward 1 hour from 01:00 GMT/UTC to 02:00 BST

As usual, if you take any photos throughout March you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Uranus
Venus

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 – February 2015
Astronomy Events – January 2015
Astronomy Events – December 2014

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Astronomy Events – February 2015

January 31, 2015

by yaska77

Another month ticked off then, it really feels like I sit down to compile these guides every other week at the moment, time seems to be passing so quickly. Modern lives can keep us so busy we rarely treat ourselves to a good look at the beauty of the night sky, and even less time to spend finding things to look at… if only you had a guide at your fingertips to help direct your gaze!

Astronomy really can be therapeutic, helping the minor stresses of a day at work drop away as you turn your face upwards in quiet contemplation. Think for a moment about the sheer scale of it all, get lost in the swirls of galaxies, colourful clouds emanating from nebulae, or just lose yourself exploring craters on the Moon.

There’s plenty happening this month as outlined in our list of night sky events below, so get outside and keep watching the skies…

Tuesday 3rd February - The Full Moon today is sometimes known as the Budding Moon, Snow Moon or Trapper’s Moon and appears close to bright evening object Jupiter this evening (shown below at 22:00 UTC)

For most of February Jupiter will dominate the night sky with it's brilliance, but even the gas giant can't compete with a full Moon! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

For most of February Jupiter will dominate the night sky with its brilliance, but even the gas giant can’t compete with a full Moon! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 6th February – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 405,155 km (251,752 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

Giant Jupiter is also at opposition today, meaning it is opposite the Sun in the night sky (so rises with sunset and sets with sunrise). As it is closest to the Earth at this time it will also appear at its biggest and brightest!

Thursday 12th February - This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Sunday 15th February - To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in February

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 18th February - 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

Thursday 19th February - Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 356,990 km (221,823 miles)

Friday 20th February - If you’re lucky enough to have a flat western horizon you might catch a nice little conjunction in the sky after sunset this evening. Look towards the west and you’ll catch the thin crescent Moon paying a near visit to Venus and Mars (shown below at 18:00 UTC)

Planets Mars and Venus are visited by the waxing crescent Moon this evening, look low towards the West soon after sunset (click to enlarge) - Credit:Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Planets Mars and Venus are visited by the waxing crescent Moon this evening, look low towards the West soon after sunset (click to enlarge) – Credit:Sky-Watching/Stellarium

These little heavenly meetings usually provide a good target for photos, when else can you get objects of such immense size into one tiny photograph!?

Tuesday 24th February - Inner planet Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation, meaning it currently rises just before the Sun. If you have a nice flat eastern horizon and low light pollution it might be worth getting up early to see if you can spot it (be quick though, as the brightening sky will soon hide it from view!)

Wednesday 25th February - This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase

Thursday 26th February - Neptune is in Conjunction with the Sun today, and is currently unobservable

As usual, if you take any photos throughout February you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Neptune
Uranus
Venus

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 – January 2015
Astronomy Events – December 2014
Astronomy Events – November 2014

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Astronomy Events – January 2015

December 31, 2014

by yaska77

Another year has been ticked off and a squeaky clean and shiny new one is upon us, all fresh faced and full of promise and optimism. Many start off the new year with plans, aspirations or resolutions, but all too soon most of us will become complacent and slip back into routine, forgetting why we wanted to change something in the first place. But the challenge is to keep at it.

It would therefore be hypocritical of us to sit in the warm with a “do as I say not as I do” attitude (especially given the lack of our own photo posts in 2014) so the next clear night that isn’t cold enough to be affected by frost we will get some new images for you!

And as no one wants to be standing around in the cold aimlessly scouring the skies for something to see, we’ve cherry picked some interesting events to help get you started. So fill a flask with something hot, bundle up in plenty of layers, and get out under the stars. So that only leaves one thing to say…

Happy New Year from all at Sky-Watching!

Saturday 3rd January - The annual Quadrantid meteor shower peaks around 18:00 UTC this evening, however the light from the near full Moon is likely to drown out all but the brightest of meteors. A meteor shower is always worth a look though (in our honest opinion!) so if your skies are clear why not go hunting for shooting stars!?

Sunday 4th January - The Earth is at Perihelion today, the closest it will come to the Sun this orbit (at a distance of 147 million kilometres or 91.4 million miles)

1. Planet at aphelion 2. Planet at perihelion 3. Sun

1. Planet at aphelion 2. Planet at perihelion 3. Sun – Credit: WikiCommons

And on this day in 2004 the rover Spirit landed on Mars

Monday 5th January - The Full Moon today is sometimes known as the Winter Moon, Ice Moon or Wolf Moon

Wednesday 7th January - Jupiter pays a close visit to the Moon this evening. Rising just before 19:00 UTC, it’s shown below to the south east at 23:30 UTC

Gas giant Jupiter follows the Moon across the sky all evening, look south east about 23:00 UTC (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Gas giant Jupiter chases the Moon across the sky all evening, look south east about 23:00 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 9th January – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 405,410 km (251,910 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

Tuesday 13th January - This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Wednesday 14th January - Mercury is at Greatest Eastern Elongation, and may be visible low down to the south west soon after sunset if you’ve got some good binoculars or a telescope

Friday 16th January - To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in January

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th January, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th January, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in January (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in January (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Tuesday 20th January - 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

Winter constellation Orion once again dominates the evening sky, and is instantly recognisable! These Moon free evenings really allow it to stand out

Orion has long been a favourite of stargazers (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Orion has long been a favourite of stargazers (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Hanging off Orion’s Belt you’ll find his sword, which includes the beautiful M42 Orion Nebula (and its close neighbour M43). We’ve imaged this a couple of times but will be trying again. Practice makes perfect after all (and they’re such a beautiful sight!) and you could do far worse on a clear winter evening than give it an ogle if you’ve got some good binoculars or a small telescope!

M42 the Orion Nebula is a great sight through binoculars or a small telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

M42 the Orion Nebula is a great sight through binoculars or a small telescope, and you can also see M43 top left (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Wednesday 21st January - Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 359,640 km (223,470 miles), and if you can see its crescent at sunset you might also spot Mercury just below it to the left

Thursday 22nd January - If you have a nice flat western horizon you might be able to catch a gathering of celestial objects soon after sunset this evening, as the thin crescent Moon is joined by Mars, Venus and Mercury!

If you look low down to the west soon about 17:15 UTC, you might catch a glimpse of the thin crescent Moon joined by Mars, Venus and Mercury (click to enlarge) Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If you look low down to the west soon about 17:15 UTC this evening, you might catch a glimpse of the thin crescent Moon joined by Mars, Venus and Mercury, all in conjunction (click to enlarge) Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 24th January - If you can face the early cold this morning and have a telescope to point at Jupiter, you can catch a transit of the three Jovian moons of Io, Callisto and Europa

Shown above at 06:34 UTC, the moons will clearly be visible crossing the disc of the planet if you have a view through a telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown above at 06:34 UTC, the moons will clearly be visible crossing the disc of the planet if you have a view through a telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Beginning at 06:28 UTC and ending at 06:53 UTC, the moons will cast shadows across the planet which can be an awesome sight to observe! Wrap up and get out and see it!

Sunday 25th January - NASA rover Opportunity landed on Mars on this day in 2004, three weeks after Spirit

Tuesday 27th January - This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase

Friday 30th January - Inner planet Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction today

As usual, if you take any photos throughout January you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Neptune
Uranus
Venus

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 – December 2014
Astronomy Events – November 2014
Astronomy Events – October 2014

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Astronomy Events – December 2014

November 30, 2014

by yaska77

Have you noticed it yet? That particular familiar smell in the air that tells you it’s going to be a frosty evening. Festive lights are starting to appear on houses and trees, and the queues of cars trying to get in and out of shopping centres gets longer day by day.

It can only mean the countdown to the holiday season is upon us, but in your rush to buy presents and make merry with family and friends, don’t forget that the coolest nights can provide you with the best seeing conditions for a little tour of the stars.

To help fire the enthusiasm we’ve taken it upon ourselves to list a few events of astronomical interest for the month of December, so wrap yourselves up extra warm, grab a flask of something hot and get out under the stars.

Happy Holidays from all at Sky-Watching!

Tuesday 2nd December - On this day in 1993 space shuttle Endeavour launched to provide the first in-orbit service of the Hubble Space Telescope

Saturday 6th December - The Full Moon today is sometimes known as the Christmas Moon, Snow Moon or Cold Moon, and can be found tonight in the Hyades cluster, part of the constellation Taurus

Look to the south about 22:30 UTC

Shot with a Canon EOS 550D mounted on a Sky-Watcher Explorer 200P Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Shot with a Canon EOS 550D mounted on a Sky-Watcher Explorer 200P Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Monday 8th December - Mercury is in Superior Conjunction today, so is currently too close to the Sun for observation

Friday 12th December – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 404,585 km (251,398 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

Saturday 13th December - The annual Geminid meteor shower heads towards peak this evening (and into the morning of 14th December). With the Moon not rising until gone 23:00 UTC it might be an opportunity to get youngsters out meteor hunting!

Shown to the east at 22:00 UTC on 13th December, the Geminid Meteor Radiant is the part of the sky all the meteors appear to come from (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown to the east at 22:00 UTC on 13th December, the Geminid Meteor Radiant is the part of the sky all the meteors appear to emanate from (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The guide shows you the area of the night sky the meteors will appear to be streaking away from, but they could appear all over the sky, so just get comfy looking up

Meteor intensity should increase towards dawn, with the peak actually occurring around midday on Sunday

Sunday 14th December - This afternoon our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Tuesday 16th December - To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in December (shown as seen at 00:00 UTC on 16th December)

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th December, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th December, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in December (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in December (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 21st December - Today is Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere

And Apollo 8 launched on this day in 1968

Monday 22nd December - 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

The Rosette Nebula can be found due south 00:20 UTC this morning. Look midway between Bellatrix (the top right star of Orion) and Procyon in Canis Minor (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The Rosette Nebula can be found due south 00:20 UTC this morning. Look midway between Bellatrix (the top right star of Orion) and Procyon in Canis Minor (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The Rosette Nebula appears as a dusty cloud which you should be able to see with good binoculars or a small telescope (if your skies are dark enough!) and has star cluster NGC 2244 at its centre

The stars of the open cluster shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The stars of the open cluster shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Wednesday 24th December - Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 364,790 km (226,670 miles)

And in 1968 Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to orbit the Moon

Saturday 27th December - The “father of modern astronomy” Johannes Kepler was born on this day in 1571

Sunday 28th December - This evening the Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase

As usual, if you take any photos throughout December you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Neptune
Uranus
Venus

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 – November 2014
Astronomy Events – October 2014
Astronomy Events – September 2014

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