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Thursday, February 11, 2016

 

Supernova SN 2016adj in Centaurus A

Supernova SN 2016adj in Centaurus A, taken with iTelescope T9 at the Siding Spring Observatory on 11 February at 3:45 AEDST. 1 x5 minute exposure. The Supernova is indicated by the arrows, it is the tiny star next to the very bright (magnitude 8) star. Click to embiggen.

I will have to take shorter exposures and stack them if I want to do photometery.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 11 to Thursday February 18

The First Quarter Moon is Monday February 15. Jupiter is visible in the late evening sky. The Moon is close to the red star Aldebaran on the 16th. All five bright planets; Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury form a long line in the morning sky.  Venus and Mercury are close low above the horizon. Saturn  is close to the red star Antares.

The First Quarter Moon is Monday February 15. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on Thursday 11 February.

Evening sky on Tuesday February 16 looking North as seen from Adelaide at 21:30 ACDST. The Moon is just a finger-width from the red star Aldebaran. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter enters the evening sky before midnight daylight saving time, it slowly climbs higher above the horizon for most of the week.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull and the beautiful Pleiades cluster nearby) Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star, climbing above the north-eastern horizon.


On the 16th the Moon is close to the bright red star Aldebaran. It is less than a finger-width away in the twilight, but full away as the night wears on.

Early morning sky on  Saturday February 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACDST showing Mars, Saturn with the red star Antares close by, Venus and Mercury.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is lowering in the north-eastern morning skies and is rising before midnight. 

Mars is higher in the morning skies and is readily visible in the pre twilight dark. Mars slowly heads towards the head of the Scorpion..

Venus is easy to see in the morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope. Venus is now within less than a hand-span of Mercury, and the pair remain close for the next couple of weeks.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky.

Mercury is low in the morning twilight. Mercury and Venus  are within less than a hand-span of each other, and the pair remain close for the next couple of weeks.

This week all five of the bright planets are visible in the morning sky.  Saturn and the red star Antares are close. During the week Venus moves from Sagittarius to Capricornius.  Mercury is close to Venus. Between the 13th -the 17th the pair are within binocular range of the  dim globular clouster M75, but this will be difficult to see in the twilight.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. 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 AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
 
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Sunday, February 07, 2016

 

My Images of the Crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury on the Weekend

Morning sky on  Saturday February 6 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:33 ACDST  with the crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury. Imaged with a Canon IXUS 400 ASA  3xZoom 4 second exposure. (click to embiggen).Morning sky on  Sunday February 7 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:31 ACDST  with  Venus, Mercury and  the crescent Moon. Imaged with a Canon IXUS 400 ASA 3xZoom 4 second exposure. (click to embiggen).

For the first time in ages the morning sky was clear of cloud or fog. Getting up at 5:15 am I stumbled down the beach for these magnificent views of the crescent Moon (obvious) Venus (the really bright dot) and Mercury. I was able to see all of the line-up of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury (with Regulus, Spica and Scorpius added to the mix).

Even with the sodium lamps from the street, and the giant glow from the Outer Harbour dock of some ship or other, the heavenly spectacle was magnificent. I tried to make a panorama, but sand is not exactly a stable imaging platform, and my mix of exposures wasn't ideal. I'll see if I can stitch it together later in the week, but I have a bunch of comet pictures to process.

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Friday, February 05, 2016

 

The Crescent Moon Meets Venus and Mercury this Weekend (6-7 February, 2016)

Early morning sky on  Saturday February 6 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACDST showing Mars, Saturn with the red star Antares close by, Venus and Mercury with the crescent Moon nearby.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).Early morning sky on  Sunday February 7 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACDST,  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

If you have been lucky enough to be following the Moon as it has been moving down the line-up of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn Venus and Mercury in the morning (the last time all five bright classical planets were aligned was in January 2005), then the crescendo is reached this weekend, when the Moon visits first Venus, and then Mercury.

It's probably best to look around an hour before local sunrise (balancing being in darker skies with Mercury being higher in the sky, and it its best with a fairly clear, level eastern horizon, but the view will be well worth it. As well, on the 7th not only is the thin crescent Moon close to Mercury, but Mercury will be highest above the horizon.

After the Moon leaves, the line up will be visible for most of the rest of February (and Venus and Mercury are closest on the 13th), so even if you miss out on the weekend, there is still time to see this lovely sight.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 4 to Thursday February 11

The New Moon is Tuesday February 9. Jupiter is visible in the late evening sky. All five bright planets; Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury form a long line in the morning sky.  The Moon is close to Saturn on the 4th, Venus on the 6th and Mercury on the 7th. Saturn  is close to the red star Antares.

The New Moon is Tuesday February 9. The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on Thursday 11 February.

Evening sky on Saturday February 6 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:55 ACDST. Jupiter is above the horizon shortly before midnight. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter enters the evening sky before midnight daylight saving time, it slowly climbs higher above the horizon for most of the week.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull and the beautiful Pleiades cluster nearby) Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star, climbing above the north-eastern horizon.

Early morning sky on  Saturday February 6 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACDST showing Mars, Saturn with the red star Antares close by, Venus and Mercury with the crescent Moon nearby.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is high in the northern morning skies and is rising before midnight. 

Mars is higher in the morning skies and is readily visible in the pre twilight dark. Mars starts the week close to the bright star alpha2 Librae, Zubenelgenubi, and slowly draws away as it heads towards the head of the Scorpion..

Venus is easy to see in the morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope. Venus stars the week (just) within binocular distance of  the bright globular cluster M22. It moves away after this. On the 6th Venus is now within less than a hand-span of Mercury, and the pair remain close for the next couple of weeks. On the 6th the crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury form a broad triangle, with the Moon closest to Venus.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky. It is close to the Moon on February 4.

Mercury is low in the morning twilight. It climbs higher in the twilight sky, brightening and coming closer to Venus. On the 6th Mercury and Venus  are within less than a hand-span of Mercury, and the pair remain close for the next couple of weeks. On the 7th the thin crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury form a triangle, with the Moon closest to Mercury.

This week all five of the bright planets are visible in the morning sky, the first time this has happened for 10 years. Saturn and the red star Antares are close. During the week Venus moves through the "handle" of the teapot of Sagittarius..  Mercury climbs higher and comes closer to Venus. The Moon visits Saturn, Venus and Mercury in turn this week.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. 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 AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
 
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Southern Skywatch February, 2016 edition is now out!

The line-up of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury as seen from Adelaide on the morning of 6 February at 5:30 am. (click to embiggen)

The February edition of Southern Skywatch is  up.  This month features still more nice planetary action. It is in the early morning with Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter forming a line in the morning sky and the crescent Moon joining them. This means that all five bright, classical planets are visible together in the morning for the first time since January 2005.

Jupiter enters the evening sky and has close encounters with the Moon.

Mars is visible in the early morning sky and has close encounters with the crescent Moon.

Saturn has close encounters with the crescent Moon.

Venus is prominent in the morning twilight and is close to the crescent Moon on the 6th 7th. It is close to Mercury from the 6th to 22nd.

Mercury is at its best on the 7th, but remains good for most of the month.

The waning Moon passes in front of the moderately bright Zavijava (Beta Virginis) in the constellation of Virgo on the morning of February 25.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

 

On the Radio Yet Again, on Nightlife

Last night (Wednesday 27 January), I was on ABC Nightlife talking with Rod Quinn about the safety of plastics and bisphenol A in the light of the latest Australian Total Diet Study.

For those of you who missed my radio performance last night, which included forgetting the plastics classification system, forgetting how to pronounce PET, and endlessly explaining that plastic drink bottles don't have BPA in them, you can download the mp3 here
 http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/local/nightlife/plastic_po_m2256365.mp3

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 28 to Thursday February 4

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday February 1. Jupiter is visible in the late evening sky. The Moon is close to Jupiter on the 28th.  All five bright planets; Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury form a long line in the morning sky.  The Moon is close to Mars on the 2nd and Saturn on the 4th. Saturn  is close to the red star Antares. Venus is within binocular distance of the Globular Cluster M22 from January 29 to February 2.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday February 1. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on January 30.

Evening sky on Thursday January 28 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 23:55 ACDST. Jupiter is above the horizon shortly before midnight with the Moon close by. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter enters the evening sky before midnight daylight saving time, it is low on the horizon for most of the week.

The evening is also graced by the summer constellations of Taurus (with the V shaped cluster the Hyades forming the head of Taurus the Bull and the beautiful Pleiades cluster nearby) Orion the Hunter and Canis Major with bright Sirius, the dog star, climbing above the north-eastern horizon.

Early morning sky on Tuesday February 2 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:00 ACDST showing Mars with the Moon nearby, Saturn with the red star Antares close by, Venus and Mercury.  Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is high in the northern morning skies and is rising before midnight. 

Mars is higher in the morning skies and is readily visible in the pre twilight dark. Mars comes closer to the bright star alpha2 Librae, Zubenelgenubi, during the week and is closest on February 1 when the pair are just a finger-width apart.  The Moon is close to Mars on February 2.

Venus is easy to see in the morning twilight. It is a  distinct "gibbous Moon" shape and is nice in a small telescope. Venus traverses the lid of the teapot of Sagittarius and is close  the bright globular cluster M22. It is within binocular distance of the cluster from January 29 to February 2, being closest on January 30.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky. It is close to the Moon on February 4.

Mercury is low in the morning twilight. It climbs higher in the twilight sky, brightening and coming closer to Venus.

This week all five of the bright planets are visible in the morning sky, the first time this has happened for 10 years. Saturn and the red star Antares are close. During the week Venus moves away Saturn and enters the lid of the teapot of Sagittarius coming close to many nebula and clusters. You will need binoculars to see this, and the brightness of Venus will make the clusters hard to see. Mercury climbs higer and comes closer to Venus.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. 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 AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
 
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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