Posts Tagged ‘comet’

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Astronomy Events – May 2016

April 30, 2016

by Adam Welbourn

Summer is just around the corner, you can almost feel it in the tingles of warmth you get from the Sun, for those few moments when the wind drops…

After an unusually cold April the forecasts finally show some sign of improvement, and it’s about this time of year that stargazing becomes even more enjoyable!

Yes night might arrive slightly later as each evening passes, but it’s still dark enough early enough to keep kids entertained and help them discover the joys and wonders of the night sky.

So to help you get started (as you knew we would) below we’ve provided some happenings of interest over the coming month, so now you’ve no excuse not to get out under the stars!

Keep watching those skies…

Thursday 5th May – Tonight sees the peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, where the streaks are caused by burning particles shed by Halley’s Comet burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere

With the New Moon tomorrow it could be a good show, so get out and look up!

Meteor showers are fascinating to watch! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Meteor showers are fascinating to watch! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Friday 6th May – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae, or get a clearer look at objects usually blurred and faint in light polluted skies

The Moon is also at Perigee at a distance of 357,825 km (222,342 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on its current orbit

Monday 9th May – This afternoon innermost planet Mercury transits the Sun! It starts its journey across the face of our star about 11:10 UTC (12:10 BST) appearing as a well defined dark dot on the left side of the Sun

Then over the course of the afternoon it slowly travels in an arc towards the middle, before dropping to the bottom of the Sun’s disc and moving out of view around 18:45 UTC (1945 BST)

Shown above at 15:00 UTC (16:00 BST) Mercury will spend all afternoon ambling across the face of the Sun! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown above at 15:00 UTC (16:00 BST) Mercury will spend all afternoon ambling across the face of the Sun! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If you have certified solar viewing equipment it’ll be well worth a look. The next transit of Mercury will be in November 2019

Remember – Never look directly at the Sun, it will damage your eyes!

Friday 13th May – This evening the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

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

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th May, 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 May, 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 May (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 May (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 18th May – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 405,935 km (252,236 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Saturday 21st May – Today’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Milk Moon, Dragon Moon or Bright Moon, and appears in the sky above Mars

Full Moon taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Full Moon taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Sunday 22nd May Mars is at opposition this evening (meaning it is opposite the Sun in the sky) rising at sunset and setting at sunrise

Wednesday 25th May – Now is about the time of year to start looking for noctilucent clouds, which sometimes appear low down in the northwest (after sunset) and northeast (just before sunrise)

Noctilucent clouds as captured over Sweden (click to enlarge) – Credit: P-M Hedén

Noctilucent clouds as captured over Sweden (click to enlarge) – Credit: P-M Hedén

These clouds are in the upper atmosphere and are usually too faint to see, becoming visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth’s shadow

Sunday 29th May – This afternoon the Moon is at Last Quarter phase

Monday 30th May Mars is the closest it has been to the Earth since 2005 this evening. Get out and give it a look, rising to the south east about 19:30 UTC (20:30 BST)

As usual, if you take any photos throughout May 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:

Saturn
Mars
Jupiter
Mercury
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 – April 2016
Astronomy Events – March 2016
Astronomy Events – February 2016

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Astronomy Events – April 2016

March 31, 2016

by Adam Welbourn

Ah… finally there’s a hint of a little warmth to that sunlight! I know I must have been warm outdoors at some point in the past, but I’m struggling to remember an example of when…

The clocks have gone forwards, evenings are lighter for longer, but with so much to see in the night sky throughout April there’s no excuse to let the later starts put you off a little stargazing. At least it’s not as cold.

You know the drill by now, below you’ll find some events of astronomical interest over the coming month, so peruse at your leisure and get out under the stars!

Keep watching those skies…

Thursday 7th April – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae, or get a clearer look at objects usually blurred and faint in light polluted skies

The Moon is also at Perigee at a distance of 357,165 km (221,932 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on its current orbit

Friday 8th April – Early this evening the thinnest crescent Moon appears with a faint Mercury to its right. If you’ve got a flat enough western horizon give it a look, shown below at 19:00 UTC (20:00 BST)

If you can spot the crescent Moon you'll have a good chance of finding Mercury too, especially if you have a pair of binoculars (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If you can spot the crescent Moon you’ll have a good chance of finding Mercury too, especially if you have a pair of binoculars! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 9th April – Planet Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun, and is currently unobservable

Thursday 14th April – This morning the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

Saturday 16th April – To help you 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

Sunday 17th April – Gas giant Jupiter travels across the evening sky with the Moon this evening. Look to the south around 21:00 UTC (22:00 BST) and you can’t miss them, an even better sight through binoculars or a small telescope

Monday 18th April – Inner planet Mercury is at Greatest Eastern Elongation today, and may be visible after sunset to the north west (keep a look out for it from 8th April onwards!)

Thursday 21st April – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,350 km (252,494 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Friday 22nd April – Today’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Flower Moon, Growing Moon or Awakening Moon

Taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Full Moon taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Sadly it is also the peak of the Lyrid Meteor shower this evening, but the light of the Full Moon will wash out all but the brightest of meteors

Monday 25th April – In the early hours of this morning the waning Moon will be joined by Saturn and Mars, forming a triangle in the sky. A great opportunity for some imaging!

Shown above at 00:30 UTC (01:30 BST) towards the South, the Moon forms a triangle with Saturn and Mars (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown above at 00:30 UTC (01:30 BST) towards the South, the Moon forms a triangle with Saturn and Mars (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 30th April – This morning the Moon is at Last Quarter phase

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:

Saturn
Mars
Jupiter
Mercury
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 2016
Astronomy Events – February 2016
Astronomy Events – January 2016

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Astronomy Events – March 2016

February 29, 2016

by Adam Welbourn

If Spring is on the way it seems to have neglected to let the temperature know! The wind has been bitter recently, meaning the few crystal clear evenings we were afforded in February were too frosty for any serious viewing.

But with British Summer Time virtually upon us, nothing heralds the onset of more favourable outdoor conditions than longer days.

So in order to keep your curiosities piqued we’ve once again selected some astronomical happenings of note for the month, now get out into the dark and enjoy the infinite view!

Keep watching those skies…

Tuesday 1st March  – This evening our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Monday 7th March – In the early dawn light you may be able to spot the thinnest sliver of crescent Moon just above Venus. A great chance for some photography if your seeing conditions are favourable

If your eastern horizon is flat enough the sliver of Moon over Venus will be a great sight if your seeing conditions are good (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If your eastern horizon is flat enough the sliver of Moon over Venus will be a great sight, if you can spot them in the early dawn light! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 8th March – Gas giant Jupiter is at opposition in the constellation Cancer this evening, meaning it rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. A good opportunity for observing or imaging this beauty!

Look to the south east about 22:00 UTC and you’ll find it as the brightest object in the night sky

With binoculars or a small telescope you can see Jupiter's moons - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

With binoculars or a small telescope you can see Jupiter’s moons – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Wednesday 9th March – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae, or get a clearer look at objects usually blurred and faint in light polluted skies

Thursday 10th March – Today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 359,510 km (223,389 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on it’s current orbit

Tuesday 15th March – This afternoon the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

Wednesday 16th March – To help you 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

Sunday 20th March – Today is Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere

Wednesday 23rd March – This evening’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Sleepy Moon, Fish Moon or Chaste Moon

A Full Moon can look bright and beautiful, but many details are lost in the glare (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

A Full Moon can look bright and beautiful, but many details are lost in the glare (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Inner planet Mercury is also in Superior Conjunction today and is unobservable until the end of the month

Friday 25th March – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,125 km (252,354 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Sunday 27th March – British Summer Time begins in the UK early this morning, as clocks go forward one hour at 01:00 UTC (to 02:00 BST)

Thursday 31st March – This afternoon the Moon is at Last Quarter phase, the second time this month

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:

Venus
Saturn
Mars
Uranus
Jupiter
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 – February 2016
Astronomy Events – January 2016
Astronomy Events – December 2015

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Astronomy Events – February 2016

January 31, 2016

by Adam Welbourn

As much as dark skies are what stargazers crave, and the longer the darkness the more gazing that can be done, it’s nice that afternoons are now noticeably lighter for longer!

Apart from a week or so of cold snowy weather affecting most of the northern UK it has been one of the mildest winters on record, so with the luck of some drier weather (let’s face it, we’re due) February could be a great time to get outside under the stars.

To help we’ve picked out some heavenly happenings for the upcoming month below, so peruse at your leisure and get out and enjoy the night!

Keep watching those skies…

Monday 1st February  – This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

If you have some binoculars you may be able to catch Comet Catalina close to Polaris the Pole Star over the first few evenings of February. It will drift away (towards the west) and decrease in magnitude as the month passes, so catch it while you can!

Saturday 6th February – Early risers with a flat enough horizon (and the luck of clear skies of course!) will be in for a treat just before dawn this morning. The sliver of crescent Moon sits over a bright Venus, with a faint Mercury just below and to the left

A beautiful celestial triangle appears just before sunrise this morning, look to the south east at 06:30 (UTC) to see the thin crescent Moon over Venus and Mercury - (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

A beautiful celestial triangle appears just before sunrise this morning, look to the south east at 06:30 (UTC) to see the thin crescent Moon over Venus and Mercury – (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 7th February Mercury is at greatest western elongation today, and may be visible just before sunrise to the left of much brighter Venus, appearing to be a faint star in comparison

Monday 8th February – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae, or get a clearer look at objects usually blurred and faint in light polluted skies

A nice object to try and locate at this time of year is the Rosette Nebula, which contains open cluster NGC 2244. If your skies aren’t too light polluted you should be able to locate it to the left of Orion, look to the south at 21:00 UTC

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

Thursday 11th February – Today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 364,355 km (226,400 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on it’s current orbit

Monday 15th February – This morning the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

And to help you 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

Monday 22nd February – This evening’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Budding Moon, Storm Moon or Snow Moon

Tuesday 23rd February – Gas giant Jupiter joins our Moon in the sky tonight, can you catch it in an image despite the brightness of its companion? They will travel together for the whole evening, appearing closest in the early hours of the 24th

Shown above at 19:30 UTC, the Moon and Jupiter cross the sky as close companions all evening (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown above at 19:30 UTC, the Moon and Jupiter cross the sky as close companions all evening (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 27th February – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 405,380 km (251,376 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Monday 28th February – Often elusive Neptune is in conjunction with the Sun today, and is actually unobservable throughout the month

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:

Venus
Saturn
Mars
Uranus
Jupiter
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 – January 2016
Astronomy Events – December 2015
Astronomy Events – November 2015

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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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