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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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