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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 14 to Thursday February 21

The Full Moon is Wednesday, February 20. Perigee ("super") Moon on the 19th/20th. Mars is visible low in the evening skies. Venus is bright in the morning sky with Jupiter above it and Saturn below. Saturn comes closer to Venus over the week and the pair are closest on the 19th. Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) is be bright enough to be easily seen in binoculars early in the week.

The Full Moon is Wednesday, February 20. This is a perigee ("super") Moon on the 19th/20th. This year Perigee on Feb 19 will be 6 hours from Full (which occurs at around 2 am in the morning of the 20th) and the full Moon of Sep 13 will be 15 hours from apogee, giving a somewhat better contrast than the perigee Moon of Jan 21 (14 hours between perigee and full). This year (Feb/Sep) is the best pairing until 2032.

Morning twilight sky on Tuesday, February 19 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:20 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter is high in the morning sky above the pair of Venus and Saturn below it. At this time Venus and Saturn are at their closest. The left upper insert inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. the lower left insert shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at the same scale and the lower right that of Saturn.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).
 
Evening sky on  Saturday, February 16 as seen looking north-west from Adelaide at 21:40 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon.Uranus is visible in binoculars not far away.

The Pleiades and Hyades also grace the north-western sky.

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



Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north from Adelaide at midnight ACDST on Saturday, February 16, when the comet is highest. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

C/2018 Y1 is a "bright" comet that should be readily visible in binoculars at its brightest. Sadly, it is best seen around midnight, but is well placed for Australian viewers. Unfortunately the moon now begins to interfere with the comets visibility.

More details and black and white charts suitable for printing are here.



Chart comparing the binocular/telescopic appearance of the February 20 2019  Full Perigee Moon with the apogee Moon of  September 13 2019 .

This year Perigee on Feb 19 will be 6 hours from Full (which occurs at around 2 am in the morning of the 20th) and the full Moon of Sep 13 will be 15 hours from apogee, giving a somewhat better contrast than the perigee Moon of Jan 21 (14 hours between perigee and full). This year (Feb/Sep) is the best pairing until 2032.

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 see much (but it will be a good opportunity to photograph the full Moon, then again in September and compare the images like I did for the Jan 21 perigee Moon).

 Venus is bright in the morning skies below Jupiter. Venus is close to a number of interesting clusters, Venus is initially within a binocular field of the the beautiful globular cluster M22 but rapidly moves away. Saturn is coming closer to Venus, and the pair are closest on the 19th.

Mercury  is lost in the twilight

Jupiter  climbs higher in the morning sky heading away from Venus.

Mars is in Pisces and is readily seen as the brightest object in the western evening sky. Mars sets just before 11pm. Mars is coming moving away from Uranus but the pair can still be seen in a binocular field early in the week.

Saturn is climbs higher in the morning sky heading towards Venus. The pair are closest on the 19th.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. 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 10, 2019

 

iTelescope ALERT! comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto at its brightest this week

Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto as seen at 1:41 Local time on 11 Feb for Mayhill, NewMexico, when it is at transit. The Comet is near between 53 Leo and Regulus. the larger rectangle is the field of view of T14/20 medium rectangle is T5/T11 (Mayhill)Click to embiggen.Comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto as seen at 3:00 Local time on 11 Feb for SSO, Siding Spring, when it is at transit (astronomical twilight starts at 5:09). The Comet is near 53 Leo . The large square is the field of View of T12 (SSO) the medium T30 (SSO) and the small that of T17 (SSO). Click to embiggen.

Comet C/2018 Y1 ( Iwamoto ) will be at its brightest over the next few days, notionally peaking on the 12th. Australian observers are reporting that the comet is around magnitude 6.5, easily visible in binoculars, and long exposure astro-photographs are revealing a nice little tail. The comet is currently in Leo.

Comet C/2018 Y1 isin Leo and is visible from both Northern and Southern scopes from with transit around 1:30 am-midnight am (Northern scopes) and 3:00-2:30 am (Southern scopes). Currently The Southern scopes have the best view but after a week the Northern scopes have better views, however the moon will begin to interfere. Currently the Moon sets around midnight so imaging at transit will give the best shots.

Comet C/2018 Y1 is quite bright and moving fats, and will need short exposures with stacking on scopes with tracking for the best results.

iTelescope users have been getting nice shots of the comet.

The MPC one line ephemeris is:

    CK18Y010  2019 02 07.0247  1.286916  0.989575  358.0526  147.4829  160.4008  20190427  11.5  4.0      C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)


Ephemeris of comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto from SSO
Date                Rise         Ast Twi E   Altitude    Transit      Set           Ast Twi B 
10 Feb 2019 20:59:53 21:25:40 +33° 00' 07" 03:00:46 08:41:42 05:09:28 
11 Feb 2019 20:42:49 21:24:33 +34° 45' 20" 02:35:53 08:07:30 05:10:37 
12 Feb 2019 20:24:27 21:23:24 +35° 53' 27" 02:09:07 07:30:59 05:11:46 
13 Feb 2019 20:04:55 21:22:14 +36° 13' 23" 01:40:46 06:52:45 05:12:54 
14 Feb 2019 19:44:23 21:21:04 +35° 40' 13" 01:11:17 06:13:37 05:14:02 
15 Feb 2019 19:23:10 21:19:53 +34° 17' 23" 00:41:18 05:34:35 05:15:09 
16 Feb 2019 19:01:38 21:18:40 +32° 15' 22" 23:42:36 04:56:43 05:16:15 
17 Feb 2019 18:40:10 21:17:27 +29° 47' 36" 23:15:00 04:20:54 05:17:21 
18 Feb 2019 18:19:10 21:16:14 +27° 06' 44" 22:49:09 03:47:44 05:18:26 
19 Feb 2019 17:58:56 21:14:59 +24° 22' 28" 22:25:16 03:17:34 05:19:30 


Ephemeris of comet C/2018 Y1 Iwamoto from  Mayhill
Date                Rise         Ast Twi E   Altitude    Transit      Set           Ast Twi B 
10 Feb 2019 18:51:22 19:06:17 +55° 24' 59" 01:41:43 08:01:37 05:26:45 
11 Feb 2019 18:13:43 19:07:05 +62° 27' 12" 01:15:30 07:45:00 05:25:58 
12 Feb 2019 17:34:26 19:07:53 +69° 28' 43" 00:47:35 07:27:10 05:25:10 
13 Feb 2019 16:54:25 19:08:40 +75° 45' 56" 00:18:24 07:08:15 05:24:20 
14 Feb 2019 16:14:43 19:09:28 +79° 30' 29" 23:18:26 06:48:24 05:23:28 
15 Feb 2019 15:36:24 19:10:16 +78° 20' 11" 22:49:11 06:27:56 05:22:36 
16 Feb 2019 15:00:20 19:11:03 +73° 48' 45" 22:21:10 06:07:09 05:21:42 
17 Feb 2019 14:27:06 19:11:50 +68° 27' 04" 21:54:49 05:46:26 05:20:47 
18 Feb 2019 13:57:02 19:12:37 +63° 10' 45" 21:30:22 05:26:07 05:19:50 
19 Feb 2019 13:30:07 19:13:24 +58° 16' 09" 21:07:54 05:06:30 05:18:52

Example plan for following the comet, check filter availability.

; ; Single target image example, adjust filter as necessary for chosen scope (scopes 12,14 and 20 can’t track, the comet is moving so fast that untacted 60s exposures will trail).
;
#trackon
#count 15
#interval 60
#binning 2
#filter Red
CK18Y010 2019 02 07.0247 1.286916 0.989575 358.0526 147.4829 160.4008 20190427 11.5 4.0 C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)
#shutdown

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Seeing comet C/2018 Y1 ( Iwamoto ) at its brightest from Australia (February 2019)

Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north from Adelaide at 2:30 ACDST on Monday the 11th of February, when the comet is (almost) highest. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north from Adelaide at 2:30 ACDST on Tuesday the 12th of February, when the comet is brightest and (almost) highest. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north from Adelaide at 2:30 ACDST on Wednesday the 13th of February, when the comet is(almost) highest. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Just a reminder that comet C/2018 Y1 ( Iwamoto ) will be at its brightest over the next few days, notionally peaking on the 12th. Australian observers are reporting that the comet is around magnitude 6.5, easily visible in binoculars, and long exposure astro-photographs are revealing a nice little tail. The comet is currently in Leo. It is rising about 9 pm (ACDST and AEST), is about 25 degrees above the horizon at 23:00, which is good for beginning observation and is highest around 2:30 (ACDST) to 3:00 (AEDST). The moon sets around midnight, so will be out of the way for early morning observations (23:48, 00:00, 00:22, 11th 12th an 13th respectively).

On the 10th (morning 11th) the comet is in the same binocular (spotter scope) field as Sigma Leonis. On the 11th (morning 12th)it is between sigma and rho Leonis.

At its brightest it is just below Regulus, just outside of a binocular field, forming a triangle with rho Leonis and Regulus, so will be relatively easy to find. On the 13th it is almost on top of eta Leonis, so should again be very easy to spot. On the 14th it forms a triangle with Lambda and epsilon Leonis, and again should be easy to find.


Printable black and white spotters map for Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north-east from Adelaide at midnight ACDST (click to embiggen and print)Printable black and white binocular map for Comet C/2018 Y1 from the 10th to 15th February. To be used in conjunction with the spotters map. (click to embiggen and print)

As well as the charts above, there are PDF charts available A black and white PDF spotters chart suitable for printing is here . A black and white PDF chart suitable for binoculars is available here , the large circle is the approximate field of view of 10x50 binoculars.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 7 to Thursday February 14

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday, February 13. Mars is visible low in the evening skies and is visited by the Moon on the 10th-11th. Mars and Uranus are close on the 12th-13th. Venus is bright in the morning sky with Jupiter above it and Saturn below. Saturn comes closer to Venus over the week. Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) should be bright enough to be easily seen in binoculars.

The First Quarter Moon is Wednesday, February 13.

Morning twilight sky on Saturday, February 9 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:11 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright with Jupiter above Venus and Saturn below it. During the week Saturn draws closer to Veuns The left upper insert inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time. the lower left insert shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at the same scale and the lower right that of Saturn.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).





Evening sky on  Sunday, February 10 as seen looking north-west from Adelaide at 21:48 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). Mars is the brightest object above the western horizon.Uranus is visible in binoculars not far away. The inset is the approximate view in 10x50 binoculars of Mars and Uranus on the 12 when they are at their closest.


The Pleiades and Hyades also grace the north-western sky.

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


Evening sky on  Saturday, February 9 as seen looking South-east from Adelaide at 21:48 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 week is is still a good time to observe our wonderful southern sky before the Moon gets too bright. The Moon is a waxing crescent that does get too bright until the end of the week so this is a good 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. The braketed are shows the area of sky where the distinctive Eta Carina nebula is,The inset shows the approximate 10x50 binocular view of the are around the  Eta Carina nebula.

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

Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north-east from Adelaide at midnight ACDST on Tuesday the 12th of February, when the comet is brightest. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

C/2018 Y1 is a "bright" comet that should be readily visible in binoculars at its brightest.Sadly, it is best seen after midnight, but is well placed for Australian viewers, and the Moon will have set when the comet is at its brightest, making it easier to see.

More details and black and white charts suitable for printing are here.

 Venus is bright in the morning skies below Jupiter. Venus is close to a number of interesting clusters, Venus is initially within a binocular field of the Trifid and Lagoon Nebula and is in binocular distance of the beautiful open clusters M24 and M25 by the end of the week, although Venuses brightness may make them difficult to see.Saturn is coming closer to Venus, and will be closest next week.

Mercury  is lost in the twilight

Jupiter  climbs higher in the morning sky heading away from Venus.

Mars is in Pisces and is readily seen as the brightest object in the western evening sky. Mars sets just before 11pm. Mars is close to the waxing Moon on the  10-11th. Mars is coming closer to Uranus and the pair will be at their closest on the 12th and 13th.

Saturn is climbs higher in the morning sky heading towards Venus.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEDST, Western sky at 10 pm AEDST. 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 03, 2019

 

Moon Images from the 100 Hours of Astronomy

Moon image at 10:12 pm ACDST 10 Jan using a 10mm eyepiece with an unguided 114mm Newtonian and a Sony Xperia mobile phone. 1/250 second exposure ASA 800. Click to embiggenMoon image at 10:21 pm ACDST 11 Jan using a 10mm eyepiece with an unguided 114mm Newtonian and a Sony Xperia mobile phone. 1/1000 second exposure ASA 3200.Click to embiggenMoon image at 10:21 pm ACDST 11 Jan using a 10mm eyepiece with an unguided 114mm Newtonian and a Sony Xperia mobile phone. 1/1000 second exposure ASA 1600. Click to embiggen

On the 100 days of astronomy, I had a chance to play around with my mobile phone and its telescope adapter. I too a variety of images with different exposure conditions and different eyepieces. I had a mostly good run with the Moon. the images I took on the 10th were badly affected by turbulence, and it set shortly after, so I had no chance to do 25 mm eyepiece images. On the 12th I started after the Moon had set, so no images then. But I still now have a better idea of how to balance high iso (allowing for short exposures but less crispness in the images) and fast shutter speed.

Moon image at 10:15 pm ACDST 11 Jan using a 25mm eyepiece with a 114mm Newtonian and a Sony Xperia mobile phone. 1/1000 second exposure ASA 800. Click to embiggenMoon image at 8:54 pm ACDST 13 Jan using a 25mm eyepiece with a 114mm Newtonian and a Sony Xperia mobile phone. 1/2000 second exposure ASA 800.Click to embiggen

Atmospheric turbulence is a beggar, especially on unguided mounts, even with really shot exposure times. So I have to time my imaging when the moon is much higher (not always practical with family). I will also have to try my hand using the guided 8" Newtonian. But that takes a lot more set-up so I can't be as spontaneous.

Moon on 11-01-19 overlay of 2ximages using 10 mm eyepiece. Click to embiggen (compare to the 25mm shot above)Moon on 13-01-19 . overlay of 2ximages using 10 mm eyepiece.Click to embiggen. (compare to the 25mm shot above)

I was able to do some mosaics with the 10mm images, but field rotation makes overly a pain in the bottom. I will have to be more caerful in timing to get better overlap of the images.

But overall, not bad for my first serious imaging attempt with the mobile phone. Images of Nebula and clusters to come.

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Friday, February 01, 2019

 

Seeing C/2018 Y1 ( Iwamoto ) from Australia (February 2019)

Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north-east from Adelaide at midnight ACDST on Friday the 1st of February, The comet is around magnitude 8.2. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north-east from Adelaide at midnight ACDST on Tuesday the 12th of February, when the comet is brightest. Similar views will be seen in elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

C/2018 Y1 is a "bright" comet that should be readily visible in binoculars at its brightest. It is reasonably well placed for Australian viwers, but you may have to wait until afyerAs a fuzzy dot admittedly, but visible none the less. C/2018 Y1 currently in the constellation Virgo but will move rapidly into Leo. It is brightening and should be visible in binoculars by early February. It is currently magnitude 8 and may peak at magnitude 6.5 when it is 0.3 AU from Earth on the 12th. Its fuzzy, diffuse nature means it will be difficult to spot under suburban conditions. The comet passes a number of relatively bright stars that will make it easier to find.

The comet is at its best around 2:30 am, but is reasonably okay around midnight in the second week of February. On the 1st it is just above Spica, the brightest star in Virgo, on the subsequent nights it is within one or one and  and a half binocular widths of each of the brighter stars in Virgo (see spotters chart). On the 7th in is in the same binocular (spotter scope) field as beta Virginis, on the 10th in the same binocular (spotter scope) field as Sigma Leonis. On the 11th it is between sigma and rho Leonis.

At its brightest it is just below Regulus, just outside of a binocular field, forming a triangle with rho Leonis and Regulus, so will be relatively easy to find. On the 13th it is almost on top of eta Leonis, so should again be very easy to spot. On the 14th it forms a triangle with Lambda and epsion Leoonis, and again should be easy to find.

Printable black and white spotters map for Comet C/2018 Y1 as seen looking north-east from Adelaide at midnight ACDST (click to embiggen and print)Printable black and white binocular map for Comet C/2018 Y1 from the 10th to 15th February. To be used in conjunction with the spotters map. (click to embiggen and print)

As well as the charts above, there are PDF charts available A black and white PDF spotters chart suitable for printing is here . A black and white PDF chart suitable for binoculars is available here , the large circle is the approximate field of view of 10x50 binoculars.

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