.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, October 18, 2018

 

Orionid Meteor Shower, Morning 21-23 October 2018

Morning sky as seen from Adelaide facing north-east at 2:00 am ACDST on 22 October, the Orionid radiant is indicated with a starburst. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at an equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.

The Orionids are a worthwhile shower that somewhat favours the Southern Hemisphere,best seen between 2-5 am, the radiant, the point where meteors appear to originate from, being just under Betelgeuse, the bright red star in Orion.

If you draw an imaginary line between Procyon and Aldebaran, then drop another imaginary line from Betelgeuse to the horizon, the radiant is just next to the intersection of those two lines.

The Orionids are the debris from Halley's comet. The Orionids maximum is on October 21 UT (October 22 Australian time).

This year the nearly full Moon interferes with the shower, but is far enough away that you can block its light out for reasonable viewing.

The best viewing is the morning of the 22nd, when between 3-5 am under dark skies you should see about a meteor every 3-4 minutes, although reasonable rates will be seen the mornings before and after (see table below).

You can find out the predicted rates for your location using the NASA meteor flux estimator (use 8 Orionids and make sure you set the dates to 21-22 October 2018).
 
Unfortunately, both Chrome and Firefox have changed their security settings to prevent plugins from running, and the flux estimator only runs under Internet Explorer now.
You can follow the progress of the shower at the IMO Orionids live page.

If you decide to get up, allow at least 5 minutes for your eyes to adjust, and be patient, it may be several minutes before you are rewarded with you first meteor, then a couple will come along in quick succession.

Choose a viewing spot where you can see a large swathe of sky without trees or buildings getting in the way, or with street-lights getting in your eyes. The darker the spot the better (but do be sensible, don't choose a spot in an unsalubrious park for example). Look to the north-east, and the distinctive red star Betelgeuse below the saucepan will be easy to spot. The meteors should originate just below here. However, let your eyes roam a bit to pick up meteors that begin their "burn" a fair distance from the radiant.

A lawn chair or something similar will make your observing comfortable (or a picnic rug spread on the ground and a nice pillow), and having a Thermos of hot coffee, tea or chocolate to swig while watching will increase your comfort. (Here's some hints on dark adaption of your eyes so you can see meteors better).

The following table show the predicted peak rates at around 5 am local time on the mornings of the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of October for a number of cities under dark sky conditions (rates under suburban or city light conditions will be lower). Rates will be similar at the same latitude as these cities, and rates will be intermediate at spots between these cities.

TownMorning October 21Morning October 22Morning October 23
Adelaide10 meteors/hr14 meteors/hr11 meteors/hr
Brisbane12 meteors/hr16 meteors/hr15 meteors/hr
Darwin15 meteors/hr19 meteors/hr19 meteors/hr
Perth11 meteors/hr15 meteors/hr12 meteors/hr
Melbourne10 meteors/hr13 meteors/hr10 meteors/hr

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.   

Labels: , ,


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday October 18 to Thursday October 25

The Full Moon is Thursday, October 25.  This is the last week to see all 5 bright unaided eye planets in the early evening sky. Venus rapidly heads towards the horizon moving away from Mercury and is lost to view by the end of the week. Mercury climbs higher and approaches Jupiter. Saturn and Mars are visible in the evening skies with  Mars and the Moon closest on the 18th. Uranius is at opposition on the 24th.

The Full Moon is Thursday, October 25.

Evening  twilight sky on Saturday October 20 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:00 ACDST (30 minutes after sunset). Venus is low above the horizon with Mercury and  Jupiter above. You will need a level, unobstructed western horizon to see Venus at its best.


The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus, Mercury and Jupiter as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece on Saturday October 20. Venus is a clear crescent in small telescopes.
 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Brilliant Venus is visible in the evening an hour after sunset in the early aprt of the week.  This week Venus continues to move away from Mercury and rapidly to sinks towards the horizon. It is lost to view by the end of the week.


Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday October 20 as seen from Adelaide at 20:00 ACDST (30 minutes after sunset).  Five bright planets are visible in the early evening sky. The Moon is above Mars.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (just after 30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).



Evening sky on Thursday October 18 as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The Moon is near Mars. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).



Evening sky on Wednesday October 24 as seen from Adelaide at 23:00 ACDST. Uranus is at opposition, when it is brigest as seen from Earth.The Moon is near Uranus. The star Omicron Pisscium is indicated as a guide star to find Uranus, within a binocular field omicron Piscium and Uranus are the two brightest objects visible.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).


 Venus  is  visible above the horizon in the early evening early in the week.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and sets 60 minutes after sunset at nautical twilight in the early part of the week, but rapidly moves towards the horizon and is lost to view by the end of the week.  During the week Venus head away Mercury.
 
Mercury climbs higher in the evening skies as it heads towards Jupiter.

Jupiter  is in the early evening sky above the western horizon just above Mercury. It is  a good telescopic object for only a short period in the early evening and is setting around 45 minutes after astronomical twilight.

Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars is now rapidly dimming and shrinking. In a telescope you can see a few features as the huge dust storm has abated, the polar cap is obvious in even small telescopes. Mars is close to the Moon on the 18th.

Saturn is now high in the north-western evening sky in the early evening, and is a good telescopic object in the mid evening sky. It is still within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae, but is slowly moving towards the globular cluster M22. 

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/

Labels:


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

 

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

The First quarter Moon is Wednesday, October 17.  All 5 bright unaided eye planets can now be seen in the evening sky. Venus is low in the early evening sky just below Jupiter. Venus and the crescent Moon are close on the 11th with Mercury below. Jupiter and the crescent Moon are closest on the 12th. Mercury and Venus are at their closest on the 16th. Saturn and Mars are visible in the evening skies with Saturn and the Moon closest on the 15th.

The First quarter Moon is Wednesday, October 17. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 18th.

Evening  twilight sky on Tuesday October 16 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:27 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Mercury and Venus are at their closest with  Jupiter above. You will need a level, unobstructed western horizon to see Mercury at its best.


The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus and Jupiter as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece on Tuesday October 16. Venus is a clear crescent in small telescopes. Europa is passing in front of Jupiter

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).
 

Evening twilight sky on Thursday October 11 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:22 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is above the horizon, not far from the crescent Moon and below Jupiter.


The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus, Mercury  and Jupiter as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece on Thursday October 11. Venus is a clear crescent in small telescopes.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Brilliant Venus is visible in the evening until full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and sets around 90 minutes after sunset. This week Venus continues to move away from Jupiter and rapidly to sinks towards the horizon and Mercury.


Whole sky view of the evening sky on Friday October 12 as seen from Adelaide at 20:27 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset).  Five bright planets are visible in the early evening sky. The crescent Moon is near Jupiter.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (just after 60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).



Evening sky on Monday October 15 as seen from Adelaide at 20:58 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon in the early evening.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and sets 90 minutes after sunset at full dark.  During the week Venus continues to head away from Jupiter rapidly moving towards Mercury and the horizon. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 11th and at its closest to Mercury on the 16th.
 
Mercury climbs higher in the evening skies as it heads towards Venus. The pair are closest on the 16th.

Jupiter  is in the early evening sky above the western horizon just above Venus. It was at Opposition on the May 9th, and is still visible during the evening. It is  a good telescopic object for only a short period in the early evening and is setting around 45 minutes after astronomical twilight. Jupiter is close to the crescent Moon on the 12th.

Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003.  Mars is now rapidly dimming and shrinking. In a telescope you can see a few features as the huge dust storm has abated, the polar cap is obvious in even small telescopes. 

Saturn is now high in the northern evening sky in the early evening, and is a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on June the 27th. It is still within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae, but is slowly moving towards the globular cluster M22.  Saturn is close to the waxing Moon on the 15th.

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/

Labels:


Saturday, October 06, 2018

 

[Aurora Alert] Geomagnetic warning and Aurora Watch (7-9 October)

The SWS has issued a geomagnetic warning  and aurora watch for 7-9 October (UT) due to ongoing solar wind streams from a coronal hole. This should peak anytime during the 7th to 8th, with activity extending out to the 9th.  The SWS predicts active conditions with the possibility of outbreaks of minor storms on the 8th.  It is not clear if the solar wind will impact during night time hours, abut it would pay to be alert from twilight on the 7th.


The Space Weather Prediction Service predicts G1 -G2 storms will occur between 4 am to sunrise on the 8th. However they may arrive earlier or later.

If these geomagnetic events occur and result in aurora they could be seen from Tasmania, the  coastline of Victoria and the Southwest coast of Western Australia.weather permitting. The Moon is New  and will not significantly interfere with seeing aurora. Be patient, as the activity may rise and fall of the magnetic polarity of the wind may fluctuate significantly.

This event is may possibly be quite good, definitely worth a look as viewing conditions are good (the Full Moon aurora on August 26 was good for those with clear skies despite the Moonlight, as was very active despite initial predictions of not much happening).

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, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences". A double arc,  blobs, and curtains were seen in Septembers aurora  last despite the moonlight.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

A new aurora camera is being installed at Campania, Tasmania. A live feed of the images from this camera is still not available.

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 18/22
ISSUED AT 0417UT/05 OCTOBER 2018
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

Geomagnetic activity is expected to increase to active levels
on UT day 7 Oct and to minor storm levels on 8 Oct. There is
a remote chance that for short periods the geomagnetic activity
may even reach major storm levels during this interval. The disturbance
is due to the expected arrival of CIR and HSS associated with
a large recurrent positive polarity north polar connected coronal
hole. The aurora may be visible on the local nights of the 7
and 8 October from Tasmania, coastline of Victoria and Southwest
coast of Western Australia.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FROM 07-09 OCTOBER 2018
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
07 Oct:  Active
08 Oct:  Minor Storm
09 Oct:  Active
_____________________________________________________________
SUBJ: SWS AURORA OUTLOOK
ISSUED AT 0424 UT ON 05 Oct 2018 by Space Weather Services
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

A large recurrent positive polarity north polar connected coronal hole
is rotating into a geoeffective position that is favourable for
possible auroral activity. The aurora may be visible on the local
nights of the 7 and 8 October from Tasmania, coastline of Victoria and
Southwest coast of Western Australia. Warnings and/or alerts will
follow if significant geomagnetic activity actually occurs.


Visit the SWS Aurora webpage http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Aurora for current
aurora viewing conditions.

Our Aurora forecasting tool, located at
http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Aurora/3/1, may help to estimate regions
from where aurora would be visible.

Labels:


 

Southern Skywatch October 2018 edition is now out!

Evening twilight sky on Thursday October 11 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:22 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is above the horizon, not far from the crescent Moon and below Jupiter.

The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus and Jupiter as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece on Thursday October 11. Venus is a clear crescent in small telescopes.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

The October edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.

This month has  5  bright planets in the evening sky for the first half of the month as Mercury returns to the evening sky. In the latter half birilliant Venus is lost to view in the twilight. Uranus is at opposition on the 24th and is (just) visible to the unaided eye in dark sky locations.  Venus , Jupiter and Mars are prominent in the early evening sky until mid month when Venus is lost to view. Mars is is rapidly dimming.

Mercury  is prominent in the evening sky this month, meeting Venus on the 16th and Jupiter on the 27th -31st.

Venus is rapidly heading towards the horizon and is  lost in the latter half of the month. It closest to Mercury on the 16th.  In even small telescopes it is a dramatic thin cresent (may also be visible as a crescent in good binoculars).

Jupiter is close to the Moon on the 12th and Mercury from the 27th -31st.

 Mars was at opposition on July the 27th. It is still a reasonable telescopic target but rapidly dims and shrinks over the month. More details at my Mars opposition site. October 18, Moon and Mars close.

Saturn is still within a binocular field of the the Trifid Nebula and Lagoon Nebula this month but is moving closer to M22. October 15 Moon close to Saturn.

October 11, crescent Moon near Venus.

October 12; Moon close to Jupiter. October 15 Moon close to Saturn. October 18, Moon and Mars close.

October 6, Moon at Perigee; October 18, Moon at Apogee. 

Labels:


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

 

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

The New Moon is Tuesday, October 9.  5 bright unaided eye planets can now be seen in the evening sky. Venus is high in the early evening sky just below Jupiter. Venus and the crescent Moon are close on the 11th. Saturn and Mars are visible in the evening skies. Mercury can be seen low in the evening twilight below Venus. Daylight savings begins on the Sunday 7th for NSW, VIC, TAS, SA.

The New Moon is Tuesday, October 9.  The Moon is at perigee, when it is closest to the Earth, on the 6th. Daylight savings begins on the Sunday 7th for NSW, VIC, TAS, SA.


Evening early twilight sky on Saturday October 6 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:43 ACST (30 minutes after sunset). Mercury is just above the horizon with Venus and  Jupiter above. You will need a level, unobstructed western horizon to see Mercury at its best.


 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).
 


Evening twilight sky on Thursday October 11 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 20:22 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). Venus is above the horizon, not far from the crescent Moon and below Jupiter.


The insets shows  simulated telescopic views of Venus and Jupiter as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece on Thursday October 11. Venus is a clear crescent in small telescopes.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Brilliant Venus is visible high in the evening until after full dark. Venus is visible to the unaided eye from before sunset, easy to see shortly after sunset and can viewed well until 90 minutes after sunset. This week Venus begins to move away from Jupiter and begins to sink towards the horizon and Mercury.
Whole sky view of the evening sky on Saturday October 6 as seen from Adelaide at 18:43 ACST (30 minutes after sunset).  Five bright planets are visible in the twilight evening sky.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (just after 30 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).



Evening sky on Saturday October 6 as seen from Adelaide at 19:49 ACST (90 minutes after sunset). Saturn and Mars are clearly visible. The insets are simulated telescopic views of Saturn and Mars as seen with a 5mm telescopic eyepiece.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

 Venus  is  readily visible above the horizon in the early evening.  It is bright enough to be visible from just on sunset and to around 90 minutes after sunset at full dark, when it is two hand-spans above the horizon.  During the week Venus heads away from Jupiter towards Mercury and the horizon. Venus is close to the crescent Moon on the 11th.

Mercury climbs higher in the evening skies but you will still need a level, unobstructed western horizon to see Mercury at its best at 30 minutes after sunset.

Jupiter  is in the early evening sky above the western horizon just above Venus. It was at Opposition on the May 9th, and is still visible during the evening. It is  a good telescopic object for only a short period in the early evening and is setting around 45 minutes after astronomical twilight.

Mars is in Capricornius and is readily seen in the evening. Mars was at opposition on July 27th,  when it was biggest and brightest as seen from Earth. This was the best opposition since 2003. However Mars will remain bright and large in even small telescopes for some time. In a telescope you can see a few features as the huge dust storm has abated, the polar cap is obvious in even small telescopes.  A guide to observing Mars at the time is at my Mars Opposition page.

Saturn is now high in the northern evening sky in the early evening, and is a good telescopic object in the mid to late evening sky. It was at opposition, when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, on June the 27th. It is still within binocular range of  the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae, but is slowly moving towards the globular cluster M22. With the Moon gone from the evening sky the nebulae are now at their best.

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/

Labels:


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?