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Friday, May 04, 2007


A busy celestial weekend

This will be a busy weekend.

Tasmanians will see the Moon will pass in front of the bright star Antares at 5:04 am on Saturday May 5. Antares reappears from behind the dark limb at 5:51 am.

In South Africa the Occulataion is tonight (Friday May 4th). The Moon rises with Antares Occulted, and Antares reappears shortly after Moon rise (7:19pm on May 4th in Capetown). See here for more deatils for South Africa.

Yesterday evening sunspot group 953, which is big enough to see with safe solar projection techniques, blasted out a C9.8 flare. Still don't know if there is a coronal Mass ejection from this one, but if so it could arrive on the morning of the Sunday the 6th of May. Any aurora tocuched off will be weak (Tasmania only), and dimmed greatly by the Moon.

The brightness of the Moon means that the eta Aquariid meteor shower, visible on the morning of Sunday 6, will be almost completely drowned out (charts are here). Similarly, the Asteroid Vesta, which becomes theoretically visible to the unaided eye (under dark skies) on Sunday, will need binoculars to be seen. The morning of Sunday is also the first time comet Encke can be effectively see seen in binoculars (Cahrts for Vesta and Encke are here).

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