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Friday, April 17, 2015

 

Aurora Watch (17-18 April)

An Aurora Watch and a geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian IPS for the 17th (yes tonight) to the 18th due to a high speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole. Given long lasting effects for the unexpected aurora on the 15th (which lasted into the morning of the 16th) and the bursts of geomagnetic activity that occurred during daylight hours today this could translate into aurora at any time. Geomagnetic activity is rated at "unsettled to active with isolated Minor Storm levels." Aurora, if they occur, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria if the minor storm eventuates), but in the last unexpected storm they were seen in WA as well.

Aurora can occur at any time after nightfall (although around midnight or just after seems to be common). Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora and a large green "blob" has been seen.

The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful.
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2>

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
17 Apr:  Mostly unsettled to active with minor storm periods possible at high
latitudes

SUBJ: IPS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 0713 UT ON 17 Apr 2015 BY IPS RADIO AND SPACE SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

A coronal hole solar wind stream has resulted in more significant and
sustained geomagnetic activity than anticipated during the past 24-48
hours with auroras observed in far southern Australian regions, eg
Tasmania. Should this activity continue further auroras may be
observed over these and other mid-high latitude regions tonight.
Aurora alerts will follow should favourable space weather activity
eventuate.


Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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My First Image of C/2015 G2 (MASTER) 15 April 2015

New comet C/2015 G2 MASTER, currently around magnitude 9 in the early morning sky. Imaged with iTelescope T9. A median stack of 3x180 second luminance exposures. Click to embiggen.

Nice long thin tail.

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Venus and the Hyades

Venus and the Hyades on 12 April 2015. The Pleiades are hidden by cloud. Stack of 10x15 second exposures 400 ISO with my Canon IXUS. Click to embiggen.Venus and the Hyades on 15 April 2015. The Pleiades are still hidden by cloud. Stack of 10x15 second exposures 400 ISO with my Canon IXUS. Click to embiggen.

Venus and the Pleiades had a close encounter over the weekend, I of course, had cloud. I did get some clear patches, enough that I got some shots though. None with the Pleiades in them though.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

 

Aurora Happening NOW! (11:28 PM 15 April)

Unaided eye aurora are being reported from Tasmania NOW, despite cloud. Kindex is 4, Bz North but impressive glows and beams are being reported. Go out and look NOW!

EDIT: Current reports Park Beach,  Old Beach, Howden (now clouded out), Murdunna  and Esperance WA!

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows.


The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful, beams are being picked up on it at the moment,
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2>

Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 16 to Thursday April 23

This is Global Astronomy Month. The New Moon is Sunday April 19. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky. The crescent Moon, Venus and the red star Aldebaran form a triangle in the evening sky. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and now visible in the evening. Mercury is lost to view.

The New Moon is Sunday April 19.

Evening sky on Tuesday April 21 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:30 (6:30 pm) ACST in South Australia.  Venus is obvious in the early evening sky and forms a triangle with the crescent Moon and the bright star Aldebaran. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see above the western horizon in the twilight. At nautical twilight, an hour after sunset, it is around two hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight.

During the week Venus heads towards the Hyades cluster and Aldebaran. Venus and Aldebaran are closest on the 19th. On the 21st and the 22nd the pair are joined by the crescent Moon, making an attractive triangle on these nights. The 21st is not quite the "Night of the Smiley Fritz" but will still look rather anthropomorphic.

Mars  is lost in the twilight.

Evening sky on Saturday April 18 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at this time. Ganymede is about to come out from behind Jupiter at this time. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (click to embiggen).

 Jupiter  is easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the northern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the north-western sky as the night goes on. It is between the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion) and Pollux in Cancer. It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, and looks very good in binoculars.

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for many weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible for most of the night, setting around 1 am, and is high enough for telescopic observation once twilight is over. Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Evening sky on Saturday April 18 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST.  Saturn is now easily visible above the horizon. The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. (click to embiggen).

Saturn is now easily visible around 10pm near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

While Saturn is  readily visible from around 22:00, it is best for telescope observation from around 23:00 into the morning hours.

Mercury re-enters the western evening sky, but is lost in the twilight.

This is Global Astronomy Month. See the Astronomers Without Borders site for a rundown of what's on. 
 
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter just past opposition and Saturn rising. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

 

Aurora Alert NOW (11 April)

An aurora alert has been issued by the Australian IPS for high latitudes, some reports of green glows from Tasmania, and a report of aurora from Dunedin NZ

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported too.

The waning Moon will interfere quite a bit after it rises around 10:00 pm.

The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful, but has been on the blink lately,
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2>

SUBJ: IPS AURORA ALERT HIGH LATITUDES
ISSUED AT 0920 UT ON 11 Apr 2015 BY IPS RADIO AND SPACE SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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Two Bright Planets, Two Clusters (11 April, 2015)

Evening sky on Saturday April 11 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:00 (7:00 pm) ACST in South Australia.  Venus is obvious in the early evening sky and is close to the Pleiades. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).Evening sky on Saturday April 11 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST showing Jupiter.  The right inset shows Jupiter's Moons at this time.The Left inset shows the Beehive cluster. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (click to embiggen).

This weekend, ifwe are not clouded out, there will be a rather nice conjunction of bright plantes and star clusters.

On Saturday 11 April, Venus is at its closest to the beautiful Pleiades cluster. Venus has been edging closer to this iconic open cluster for some days now, and will be close for a few more after Saturday, but Saturday is when it is at its best. Even under suburban skies the cluster is easily visible to the unaided eye, and will look neat with Venus nearby in binoculars.

Venus is visible from around Sunset, but the Pleiades and Venus will be best around an hour after Sunset. This is a balance between the darkness of the sky and the height above the horizon (the Pleaides will be around a hand-span above the western-horizon at this time.

Over to the north-west is Jupiter, the brightest object in the sky after Venus, it is close to another iconic open cluster, the Beehive. The Beehive is fainter and less obvious than the Pleiades, and may be difficut to see with the unaided eye in suburban settings, but Jupiter and the Beehive will look good in binocuars together.

Unlike Venus and the Pleiades, Jupiter stays within binocular range of the Beehive for a couple of weeks.

So this weekend is a great time to see a rather unusual and beautiful sights, tow bright planets near two iconic (mostly) unaided eye visible open clusters.


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Friday, April 10, 2015

 

Geomagnetic storm happening NOW (10 April)

Hobart
 K-Index plot diagramThe coronal mass ejection hit in daylight, but a class 2 geomagnetic is still going on. At the moment the Kp is 4 Australia wide and 5 in Hobart. However the Bz is North, so this may not produce significant aurora.

Camera only colour has been reported in Tasmania.

However, the best thing is to keep on looking, while there is camera only colour, something stronger may occur, and if the polarity switches south then serious aurora should happen, possibly as far north as Victoria. Cloud is hampering reports from Tasmania, but it is well worthwhile popping out a regular intervals to check.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported too.

The waning Moon will interfere quite a bit after it rises around 9:30 pm.

The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful, but has been on the blink lately,
<http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2>http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

 

Aurora Watch (9-10 April)

An Aurora Watch and a geomagnetic alert has been issued by the Australian IPS for the 9th (yes tonight) to the 10th due to an anticipated Coronal Mass Ejection impact combined with a high speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole. Late on the 9th seems the most likely time (although that might be in the early morning of the 10th). Geomagnetic activity is rated at "unsettled to active with isolated Minor Storm levels." Aurora, if they occur, are likely to be seen only in Tasmania (possibly Victoria if the minor storm eventuates).

Aurora can occur at any time after nightfall (although around midnight or just after seems to be common). Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported too.

The waning Moon will interfere quite a bit after it rises around 9 pm.

The all sky aurora camera in Southern Tasmania at Cressy may be helpful),
http://www.ips.gov.au/Geophysical/4/2
SUBJ: IPS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 2357 UT ON 08 Apr 2015 BY IPS RADIO AND SPACE SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

A Coronal Mass Ejection is expected to impact the Earth within the
next 24 hours, possibly resulting in significant space weather
activity and visible auroras during local nighttime hours. Aurora
alerts will follow should favourable space weather activity
eventuate.

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
09 Apr:  Quiet to Active with a chance of isolated Minor Storm levels.
10 Apr:  Quiet to Active.

Further monitoring at
http://www.ips.gov.au

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday April 9 to Thursday April 16

This is Global Astronomy Month. The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday April 12. Venus is prominent in the twilight evening sky and comes close to the Pleiades cluster. Mars is lost in the twilight. Jupiter is the brightest object in the evening sky once Venus has set. Saturn is in the head of the Scorpion and now visible in the evening. Mercury is lost to view.

The Last Quarter Moon is Sunday April 12, the Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 17th.

Evening sky on Saturday April 11 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:00 (7:00 pm) ACST in South Australia.  Venus is obvious in the early evening sky and is close to the Pleiades. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Venus is easy to see above the western horizon in the twilight. At nautical twilight, an hour after sunset, it is around two hand-spans above the horizon, and still visible at astronomical twilight.

During the week Venus heads towards the beautiful Pleiades cluster, it will be at its closest on the 11th.

Mars  is low in the western twilight sky and is effectively lost to view.

Evening sky on Saturday April 11 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST showing Jupiter.  The inset shows Jupiter's Moons at this time. Jupiter is the brightest object above the north-western horizon once Venus has set. (click to embiggen).

 Jupiter  is now easily seen  in the evening sky. It is the brightest object above the north-eastern horizon when twilight ends, and continues into the northern sky as the night goes on. It is between the bright star Regulus in the sickle of Leo (this forms the head of the constellation of the  Lion) and Pollux in Cancer. It is also not far from the rather nice Beehive cluster in Cancer, and looks very good in binoculars.

Jupiter was  at opposition, when it is biggest and brightest in our sky, on 7 February, but it will be an excellent object for many weeks to come.  Jupiter is visible for most of the night and is high enough for decent telescopic observation once twilight is over . Jupiter's Moons will be putting on a good display in both binoculars and small telescopes.

Evening sky on Saturday April 4 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST.  Saturn is now easily visible above the horizon. (click to embiggen).

Saturn is now easily visible around 10pm near the head of the constellation of the Scorpion not far from the bright red star Antares. The sight of the distinctive constellation of the Scorpion curled above the horizon, with bright Saturn in its head, is very nice indeed.

While Saturn is  readily visible from around 22:00, it is best for telescope observation from midnight into the morning hours.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

This is Global Astronomy Month. See the Astronomers Without Borders site for a rundown of what's on. 
 
There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Jupiter just past opposition and Saturn rising. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky

Labels:


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