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Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 is coming.

by on Dec.14, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 is heading northwards. Currently located in the constellation of Puppis, it is heading towards Columba and Lepus.By the 22nd of the month it should just about be visible from the UK. Currently estimated at just under 6th magnitude, it is almost a naked eye comet already, and should get brighter.

Image of Comet Lovejoy taken by Gerald Rhemann from Austria using a remote control telescope in Namibia.

Click on the maps for a full sized view.

Path of Comet Lovejoy during late December.Late_December

As it heads northwards it passes close to the globular cluster M79 in southern Lepus on the 28th of December.

Map of Comet Lovejoy as it passes Globular Cluster M79.Close_to_M76

The comet will head northwards passing to the west of Orion the second week of January, brightening all the time. On the 7th of the month the comet is at its closest to the Earth. The comet should be at its brightest for a week either side of this date.
Path of Comet Lovejoy. 2nd – 16th of January.

By the middle of January the comet will be to the west of Taurus, passing through the Bulls legs.

Path of Comet Lovejoy. 10th- 28th of January.



On the 19th of January the comet will be almost exactly due west of The Pleiades Star Cluster.

Path of Comet Lovejoy. 22nd January -29th March.

By the end of January the comet will be to the east of Triangulum, reaching perihelion on the 30th. It’s intrinsic brightness should increasing as it recedes from Earth.

It will pass very close to Gamma Andromedae (Alamak) on the 3rd of February.
The comet will have faded somewhat by then as the distance from Earth increases.

The pace of the comet slows down as it heads further north its brightness fading all the time.

It will pass close to Delta Cassiopeia on the 16th of March.

It spends the next couple of months heading northwards, passing close to Polaris on the 30th of April and then takes a long time to pass close to Beta UMi (Kocab).

Path of Comet Lovejoy. 9th February – 14th of July.

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Eagles Eye Sky Diary – Google Calendar

by on Dec.01, 2014, under Astronomy Blog, Sky Diary

Eagleseye Sky Diary.

My Eagles Eye Sky Diary showing the events of the night sky and space activities is now available to view on my Web site.

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Sky Diary for December 2014

by on Nov.30, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

My Sky Diary for December 2014 in two pdf file formats (Short & Long version) is now available for free download from my Web site. http://www.eagleseye.me.uk/SkyDiary.html




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My New Rosetta Talk

by on Nov.23, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I have just put in the finishing touches to my new Rosetta talk.

Rosetta & Philae: From Concept to Reality.


My new talk outlines the how the probe got to where it did, the missions accomplishments to date and relives the excitement on the day of the Philae landing.

Of course, the mission is nowhere near finished, and will go on until the end of 2015, so more info will be added as it released by The European Space Agency.

Get your local astronomical society to book me now.


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Talk to Coventry and Warwicks Astro Soc.

by on Nov.15, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

I talked to Coventry and Warwicks Astro Society last night, enthralling them with my attempts to process colour images from the red and blue sensitive plates from the Palomar and Southern Sky Survey’s.


They looked after me well and there was a lot of questions and looking at the plates after my talk.

I had a very enjoyable evening.
It’s evenings like this that remind me why I do these talks.

Many thanks to everyone at the society for making me welcome.



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Philae has landed on the Comet

by on Nov.12, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

Congratulations to all the ESA scientists involved in the Rosetta and Philae mission.

Confirmation has been received that Philae has landed on the Comet successfully.
What a fantastic achievement.

Here are a couple of pictures of Philae taken by Rosetta and Rosetta taken by Philae.
Images from the surface to follow a bit later.








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Philae – Successful Separation from Rosetta.

by on Nov.12, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

The Philae lander has successfully separated from Rosetta.

It will take 7 hours to touch down on the surface of the comet.

See timings and webcast details here: Rosetta Webcast.

Landing confirmation should come just past 16:00h GMT.


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Rosetta – Philae Landing Webcast.

by on Nov.11, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

The excitement is building for The European Space Agency’s (ESA) comet lander Philae.

The Rosetta lander Philae is due to land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday the 12th of November.

Philae has been powered up and the landing program data has been uploaded to it.

All is now set for this exciting landing on the comet’s surface.

It will be released from Rosetta and will take 7 hours to reach the comet’s surface.

Confirmation of a successful landing should come with a signal which should be received just after 16:00h GMT on the 12th.

The ESA have organised a Philae Landing Webcast which will be available here:.
www.esa.int/rosetta or http://new.livestream.com/ESA/cometlanding

So take your ringside seat and watch as this unique event unfolds.

The key moments on Wednesday will be:

06:00 – Rosetta delivery manoeuvre.
07:35 – Final Go/No go.
09:03 – Philae separates from Rosetta.
09:43 – Loss of Rosetta signal during post-delivery manoeuvre.
10:53 – Regain signal from Rosetta.
11:59 – First descent data.
16:02 – Predicted landing time.
17:35 – Expected receipt of first 360 deg panorama.

All times are UTC (GMT), Earth received time.
(Events at the spacecraft happen 28 minutes earlier).


Below are details of the event as released by ESA.

Please find below details of the live Philae Landing webcast from ESA mission control, when Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft dispatches the Philae lander to make the first-ever touchdown on a comet. Official hashtag: #CometLanding.
7 November 2014 Rosetta / Philae Live coverage November 10 -15 (sat / web)
ESA TV proposes extensive coverage of Rosetta / Philae landing on Comet Churyumov/Gerasimenko-67P

10 November

14:00 GMT/ 15:00 CET Media Update Live from ESOC Press Centre

11 November

10:00 GMT / 11:00 CET Media Update Live from ESOC Press Centre

19:00 GMT / 20:00 CET Go-No Go #1 TV Programme starts Live from ESOC Mission Control Room / Cologne Lander Control Centre / Toulouse Science Operations and Navigation Centre

ESA will then stay live all the way until 19:00 GMT / 20:00 CET on 12 November with a permanent view of ESOC Mission Control Room in between the listed sequences.

12 November

Live From ESOC Mission Control Room: Go / No Go #2/3

00:00 GMT/ 01:00 CET: Flight Dynamics Command for separation ready on ground
01:30 GMT/ 02:30 CET: Confirmation of Lander Readiness for Separation
Live from ESOC MCR, Cologne LCC , Toulouse SONC:

06:00-07:00 GMT / 07:00-08:00 CET: Final preparation manoeuvre and Go/No-Go #4 for lander separation

08:30-09:15 GMT / 09:30-10:15 CET: Lander separation scheduled at 09:03 GMT/10:03 CET

11:00-12:15 GMT / 12:00-13:15 CET: Science update and first pictures (NavCam) expected around 12:00 GMT / 13:00 CET

14:00-15:30 GMT/ 15:00-16:30 CET: Rosetta science / Last preparations and then await landing

15:45-16:15 GMT /16:45-17:15 CET: Landing expected at 16:00 GMT / 17:00 CET (+/- 15 mn)

17:00 GMT /18:00 CET earliest: Presentation of first panoramic (CIVA) image from comet

All points (ESOC MCR cams + prog / LCC/SONC) will be made available for broadcasters as isolated clean feed sources via a multiplexer at ESOC.

ESA TV will edit highlights after each step and put them in a dedicated folder and we will also post actual images files on ESA TV FTP news site:

ftp://tvdownload.esa.int/ Login: esa / Pasword: ftp4esa

An index of background footage/stockshot covering the overall Mission operations from launch until now is available on Server: tvdownloads.esa.int Directory : ROSETTA Stockshots Index Nov 2014

SATELLITE Parameters: Eutelsat 7B@7degE Txp F6 Slot A 9MHz

Downlink freq: 12676.83MHz Polarisation: Y/vertical

SR: 7200 FEC: 5/6 Mod: DVBS2/8PSK

Signal: 1080i/50 MPEG4 4:2:0 H264 Audio 1: prog mono / Audio 2: ambience

Web: www.esa.int/rosetta or http://new.livestream.com/ESA/cometlanding

Some timings are subject to change. We will post updates on satellite and web.

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Kelling Star Party – A Few Quick Images.

by on Oct.01, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

After another very successful long weekend at Kelling Star Party in North Norfolk, (I’m still tired from staying up far too late into the early hours), here are a few of the quick images I took while I was there.




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Exmoor Dark Skies. My images in a new book.

by on Oct.01, 2014, under Astronomy Blog

Quite a number of my astronomical images are published in a newly published book.

Exmoor Dark Skies, written by Seb Jay and handsomely published is now available to order.


Get your copy now, if only for the lovely images.


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