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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 17 to Thursday January 24

The Full Moon is Monday, January 21. This is a perigee full Moon. Mars is visible low in the evening skies. Venus is bright in the morning sky and Jupiter below is closing in on it. The pair are closest on the 23rd. Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky.

The Full Moon is Monday, January 21. This is a perigee full Moon, also called a "super Moon" (although perigee is technically the next day, the full Moon of February  19 is closer to perigee). There is also a total Lunar eclipse, but this will not be seen in Australia.


Morning twilight sky on Wednesday, January 23 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:40 ACDST (40 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright and is at its  closest to Jupiter.  Saturn is low to the horizon. The left upper insert inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. the lower insert shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at the same scale.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes before sunrise)

Evening sky on  Saturday, January 19 as seen looking west from Adelaide at 22:12 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon.

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






Chart comparing the binocular/telescopic appearance of the January 21 2019  Full Perigee Moon with the apogee Moon of  September 13 2019 .This year's perigee Moon on January 21will be slightly smaller than the February one. Click to embiggen.

What can you expect to see with the "Super Moon" of  January 21 ?

Not much really, unless you are a regular observer of the Moon, have good visual acuity and a good memory.

The problem is, while the Moon is close this time around, it doesn't actually translate into something you can easily see with your unaided eye. Mondays Full Moon will be around 14% larger and 30% brighter than September's apogee Full Moon.So unless you have a good memory, you won't wee much (but it will be a good opportunity to photograph the full Moon, then again in September and compare the images.

 Venus climbs higher in the morning skies and Jupiter is heading towards it. The pair are closest on the 23rd.

Mercury  is lost in the twilight

Jupiter  climbs higher in the morning sky heading towards Venus. The pair are closest on the 23rd.


Mars is in Pisces and is readily seen as the brightest object in the western evening sky. Mars sets just before midnight.

Saturn is climbs higher in the morning sky although it is still quite  low.

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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Friday, January 11, 2019

 

100 hours of Astronomy - Morning View (12-13 Jaunary)

Morning sky on Saturday, January 12 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:09 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright and is coming close to Jupiter. The left upper insert inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. The lower insert shows the approximate view of Jupiter and its moons at at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus and Jupiter are to the same scale, click to embiggen.>Morning sky on Sunday, January 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:09 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright and near to Jupiter (wath them over the coming week as they get closer). The left upper insert inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. The right insert shows the approximate view of Jupiter and its moons at at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes before sunrise)


I hope you all are enjoying the 100 hours of Astronomy. I've had some clear nights, and done some lunar imaging, but the mornings are nice too, with bright Jupiter and Venus coming closer together, nestled under the body of the Scorpion and the bright red star Antares. So if you are up early, have a look!

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

 

The 100 Hours of Astronomy starts Tonight! (10 January 2019)

The 100 hours of Astronomy is an international astronomical event where amateurs and professionals get to hare their love of and joy in Astronomy in a 100 hour round the world - round the clock celebration from 10 -13 January. This is part of the celebrations for 100 years of the International Astronomical Union.

While there are official events world wide, there seem to be only two official events in Australia. However, if you look up the list of Australian Astronomical Societies at the Quasar Publishing site, you may find a public viewing day near you at this time (eg the South Australian Astronomical society has two, one on the 11th and one on the 12th). Sadly, many others don't as people are away for the holidays.

Even if there are no official events you can enjoy the sky yourself (or with family as friends). If you go out right now the crescent Moon is gracing the evening skies, beautiful in binoculars (and a good telescope target if you have a telescope lying about to dust of), and on the 12th and 13th the waxing but still fairly crescenty Moon is close to Mars.

As well, the southern sky is well worth looking at with either the unaided eye, binoculars or a telescope. The area between the Southern Cross and the False cross is particularly delightful. This is also a good time to view the girls gathering vegetables (Mankamankarranna to the peoples of the Adelaide Plains, or the Pleiades to the Greeks) and Tinniinyarra, the youths hunting kangaroos (Orion to the ancient Greeks).

Evening sky on Thursday, January 10 as seen looking west from Adelaide at 22:13 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon aside from the crescent Moon. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).Evening sky on Saturday, January 12 as seen looking west from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon and is close to the near First Quarter Moon. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).Evening sky on Sunday, January 13 as seen looking west from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon and is close to the near First Quarter Moon. Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).



Evening sky on  Saturday, January 12 as seen looking South-east from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset).

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

This weekend is a perfect time to observe our wonderful southern sky. The Moon is a waxing crescent so this is still an excellent time to look at the wonderful clusters and nebula of our southern skies with the unaided eye or binoculars.

The Milky way stretches from the Southern cross (Wilto the Eagle to the people of the Adelaide Plains) in the south to the distinctive constellation of Orion and beyond. The Milky ways' satellite dwarf galaxies, the Magellanic clouds, (between and below the bright stars Canopus and Achernar) are easily seen away from the city lights. This is the last week to get a good look at these wonders before the Moon's light washes them out.

Approximate Binocular view of the area between the Southern Cross and the False cross Saturday, January 12 as seen l at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). The distinctive open cluster, the Southern Pleiades, is seen around theta (θ) Carina (near top center).


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





Evening sky on  Saturday, January 12 as seen looking north from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). The constellation of Orion (Tinniinyarra) dominates the northern sky, closer to the horizon, just to the west of the A shape of the Hyades is the delightful Pleiades cluster (Mankamankarranna).

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

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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

 

iTelescope ALERT! Asteroid (6478) Gault has a tail!

Asteroid (6478) Gault as seen at 3:36 Local time for Mayhill, New Mexico, when it is at transit. The Comet is near nu (ν) Hydrae not far from Crater . Click to embiggen.Asteroid (6478) Gault as seen at 4:37 Local time for SSO, Siding Spring, when it is at transit (astronomical twilight starts at 4:33). The Comet is near nu (ν) Hydrae not far from Crater . Click to embiggen.

Telescope view of Asteroid (6478) Gault. The large square is the field of View of T30 (SSO) and the small that of T17 (SSO) the medium rectangle is T5 (Mayhill). The orientation is upside down from the spotters maps.

Asteroid (6478) Gault has been reported to have a comet like tail, from CBET 4594 “The tail/trail first appears in individual ATLAS exposures on 2018 Dec. 8, as identified by Denneau, with a median combined 120-s exposure showing a tail 30" long in p.a. 290 degrees. There is no evidence of a tail in previous ATLAS imaging in January 2018. An initial analysis using a cometary Finson-Probstein model (cf. website URL http://comet-toolbox.com/FP.html, as perJ.-B. Vincent) shows that both the Dec. 2018 and Jan. 2019 data are consistent with the ejection of material or commencement of activity in early Nov. 2018”. Previous images from ATLAS and PanSTARRS show no cometary-like activity back to 2010.

It has been suggested a collision or impact is responsible for the tail. Ongoing observation of the phenomenon should be undertaken to understand its nature.

Asteroid (6478) Gault is visible from both Northern and southern scopes from with transit around 3:30 am (northernscopes) and 4:30 am (Southern scopes), however, this is just past astronomical twilight at SSO, so imaging should begin before this. The Southern scopes have the best view with the asteroid potentially visible from 12:30 am local time.

Asteroid (6478) Gault is currently magnitude 18.7, and will need long exposures on narrow field scopes with tracking for the best results.


Image of Asteroid (6478) Gault by Ulrich Eberhard Stickel using iTelesope T30, 300sec BIN2. Please do not use without his permission.

iTelescope users Ulrich Eberhard Stickel and Denis Denisenko have achieved images with T30 from SSO. Denis Denisenko's is at this link: http://scan.sai.msu.ru/~denis/Comet/6478-T30-20190108.jpg










The MPC one line ephemeris is:

06478   14.4   0.15 K194R 289.34905   83.26761  183.55769   22.81135  0.1935870  0.28161558   2.3051451  0 MPO435760  1093  19 1988-2018 0.44 M-v 38h MPC        0000   (6478) Gault              20180209


Example plan for following the asteroid, check filter availability.

;
; Single target image example, adjust filter as necessary for chosen scope. 
; 

#trackon
#count 3
#interval 300
#binning 2
#filter Red
06478   14.4   0.15 K194R 289.34905   83.26761  183.55769   22.81135  0.1935870  0.28161558   2.3051451  0 MPO435760  1093  19 1988-2018 0.44 M-v 38h MPC        0000   (6478) Gault              20180209
#shutdown

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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 10 to Thursday January 17

The First Quarter Moon is Monday, January 14. Mars is visible low in the evening skies and is visited by the Moon on the 12th and 13th. Venus is bright in the morning sky and Jupiter below is closing in on it. Saturn returns to the morning sky and is close to Mercury on the 14th. The Milky way  graces the evening sky.

The First Quarter Moon is Monday, January 14.

Morning twilight sky on Monday, January 14 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:40 ACDST (40 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright and is coming close to Jupiter. Mercury and Saturn are close low to the horizon. The left upper insert inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. the lower insert shows the approximate view of Mercury and Saturn at this time.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes before sunrise)

Evening sky on  Saturday, January 12 as seen looking west from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon and is close to the near First Quarter Moon.

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



Evening sky on  Saturday, January 12 as seen looking South-east from Adelaide at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset).



During the holidays many people will be away from the city lights. This is a perfect time to observe our wonderful southern sky. The Moon is a waxing crescent so this is still an excellent time to look at the wonderful clusters and nebula of our southern skies with the unaided eye or binoculars.

The Milky way stretches from the Southern cross in the south to the distinctive constellation of Orion and beyond. The Milky ways' satellite dwarf galaxies, the Magellanic clouds, (between and below the bright stars Canopus and Achernar) are easily seen away from the city lights. This is the last week to get a good look at these wonders before the Moons light washes them out.


Approximate Binocular view of the area between the Southern Cross and the False cross Saturday, January 12 as seen l at 22:15 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). The distinctive open cluster, the Southern Pleiades, is seen around theta (θ) Carina (near top center).

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.


 Venus climbs higher in the morning skies and Jupiter is heading towards it.

Mercury  is low in the morning twilight and is near Saturn on the 14th. You will need a level unobstructed horizon to see them and may need binouclars to pick them u in the twilight glow. This is the least week Mercury is visible before disappearing in the twilight

Jupiter  climbs higher in the morning sky heading towards Venus.

Mars is in Pisces and is readily seen as the brightest object in the western evening sky. Mars sets after midnight and is close to the waxing Moon on the 12th and 13th.

Saturn is returns to the morning sky low to the twilight and is close to Mercury on the 14th.

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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Monday, January 07, 2019

 

The ISS pass of Sunday 6 January 2019

International Space Station pass near Taurus and ALdebaran, Sunday 6 January at 20:01 ACDST. 10 images from my CANON IXUS, ASA 800 2 seconds exposure, stacked in DeepSky Stacker (only 8 of the 10 images made it into the final stack for some reason). click to embiggenAnimation of all 10 frames in stacked in ImageJ. Click to embiggen.

January started slowly astronomy wise. Cloud, followed by cloud, followed by more cloud. But last night was finally clear, and I was able to see the ISS gliding across the Sky, past Phoenix then going between the Hyades (the head of of Taurus the bull) and the Pleiades. A magnificent sight.

Naturally it was cloudy tonight for the next bright ass of the series.

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A New Years Series of Bright International Space Sation Passes (7-13 January 2018)

The ISS passes close to Mars, as seen from Sydney on the evening of Monday 7 January at 21:42 AEDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes beside Orion's belt, as seen from Adelaide on the  evening of Monday 7 January at 21:09 ACDST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), click to embiggen.The ISS passes close to procyon and then Sirius, as seen from Perth on the  evening of Monday 7 January at 20:12 AWST. Simulated in Stellarium (the ISS will actually be a bright dot), the inset shows the binocular view of the close pass.click to embiggen.
All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Monday 7 January for Sydney.All sky chart showing local  times from Heavens Above for Monday 7 January for Adelaide.All sky chart showing local times from Heavens Above for Monday 7 January for Perth.

Over the next few days there are a series of very bright ISS passes in the evening where the ISS passes close to Orion (Adelaide 7th, Brisbane 8th, Darwin 13th), Mars (Adelaide 9th, Sydney 7th, Perth 8th, Darwin 12 (includes Moon)) and some other iconic stars and constellations (Taurus, Sydney 8th). There is a particularly close pass to the bright star Canopus as seen from Perth on the 7th.

The following tables are from data provided from Heavens Above.

Passes from Adelaide (ACDST)


Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
07 Jan-3.721:05:2110°SW21:08:4167°SE21:11:5710°NEvisible
08 Jan-1.621:50:3910°W21:53:0619°NW21:54:5913°Nvisible
09 Jan-2.720:58:1410°WSW21:01:2339°NW21:04:2910°NNEvisible

Passes from Brisbane (AEST)
07 Jan-3.120:39:0810°SW20:41:5749°W20:41:5749°Wvisible
08 Jan-3.619:47:1810°SW19:50:3658°SE19:52:1825°ENEvisible
09 Jan-1.520:32:4710°W20:34:5917°NW20:35:2416°NWvisible
10 Jan-2.719:40:0910°WSW19:43:1638°NW19:45:5313°NNEvisible
12 Jan-1.019:34:2110°W19:35:4412°NW19:37:0610°NNWvisible


Passes from Darwin (ACST)
09 Jan-0.421:37:4710°SW21:38:0612°SW21:38:0612°SWvisible
10 Jan-2.720:46:0610°SSW20:48:3535°SSE20:48:3535°SSEvisible
11 Jan-1.819:55:0910°S19:57:1916°SE19:59:0911°Evisible
11 Jan-0.521:31:2710°W21:31:5112°W21:31:5112°Wvisible
12 Jan-3.020:38:4210°SW20:41:5143°NW20:42:3037°NNWvisible
13 Jan-3.719:46:4410°SSW19:50:0061°SE19:53:1310°NEvisible
14 Jan-1.020:33:0610°WNW20:34:2012°NW20:35:3410°NWvisible
15 Jan-2.019:39:3610°WSW19:42:3029°NW19:45:2410°Nvisible


Passes from Melbourne (AEDST)
07 Jan-2.821:36:0010°WSW21:39:0838°NW21:41:5712°NNEvisible
09 Jan-1.221:29:4310°W21:31:4015°NW21:33:3710°NNWvisible


Passes from Perth (AWST)
07 Jan-3.220:08:4310°SW20:11:5848°SE20:14:3814°ENEvisible
07 Jan-0.821:47:1310°WNW21:47:2010°WNW21:47:2010°WNWvisible
08 Jan-1.920:53:4410°WSW20:56:2623°NW20:57:4118°NNWvisible
09 Jan-3.220:01:2710°SW20:04:4252°NW20:07:5510°NNEvisible
11 Jan-1.319:54:5810°W19:57:1317°NW19:59:2810°Nvisible


Passes from Sydney (AEDST)
07 Jan-2.521:37:5010°WSW21:40:5031°NW21:41:5725°Nvisible
08 Jan-3.620:45:4510°SW20:49:0472°NW20:52:1810°NEvisible
09 Jan-1.121:32:1510°WNW21:33:2111°NW21:34:2510°NWvisible
10 Jan-1.820:38:5710°WSW20:41:4023°NW20:44:2210°Nvisible


Passes from Hobart (AEDST)
07 Jan-1.521:36:1310°W21:38:2917°NW21:40:4410°Nvisible


When and what you will see is VERY location dependent, so you need to use either Heavens Above or CalSky to get site specific predictions for your location, a small difference in location can mean the difference between the ISS passing over a star or missing it completely. As always, start looking several minutes before the pass is going to start to get yourself oriented and your eyes dark adapted. Be patient, there may be slight differences in the time of the ISS appearing due to orbit changes not picked up by the predictions. Use the most recent prediction for your site.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday January 3 to Thursday January 10

The New Moon is Sunday, January 6. Mars is visible low in the evening skies. The Earth is at Perihelion on the 3rd.  Venus is bright in the morning sky with Mercury and Jupiter below. The crescent Moon is is close to Jupiter on the 3rd, between Jupiter and Mercury on the 4th. The Milky way  graces the evening sky.

The Earth is at Perihelion on January 3, where it is closest to the Sun. The New Moon is Sunday, January 6.  The Moon is at Apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 9th.

Morning twilight sky on Thursday, January 3 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:22 ACDST (45 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright with Mercury and Jupiter below it and Mercury low to the horizon. The crescent Moon is close to Venus. The left inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (45 minutes before sunrise)



Evening sky on  Saturday, January 5 as seen looking west from Adelaide at 22:18 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon.

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



Evening sky on  Saturday, January 5 as seen looking South-east from Adelaide at 22:18 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset).



During the holidays many people will be away from the city lights. This is a perfect time to observe our wonderful southern sky. This week the Moon is New so this is an excellent time to look at the wonderful clusters and nebula of our southern skies with the unaided eye or binoculars.

The Milky way stretches from the Southern cross in the south to the distinctive constellation of Orion and beyond. The Mily ways satellite dwarf galaxies, the Magellanic clouds, (between and below the bright stars Canopus and Achernar) are easily seen away from the city lights.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen.


 Venus climbs higher in the morning skies and Jupiter is heading towards it.

Mercury  is low in the morning twilight and is near the Moon on the 4th.

Jupiter  climbs higher in the morning sky heading towards Venus. On the 3rd the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter, on the 4th the crescent Moon is between Jupiter and Mercury.

Mars is in Pisces and is readily seen as the brightest object in the western evening sky. Mars sets after midnight.

Saturn is lost in the twilight.

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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