Archive for July, 2012
For up to date news and events, keep (BIG) Bang up to date on my Blog:
Eagleseye Astronomy Blog.
The Mars Laboratory Curiosity is due to land on the surface of Mars on the 5th of August.
See their web page for further details, news and a great video of the landing.
Any questions, comments or have I made a mistake?
E Mail me: (Dave@eagleseye.co.uk)
Sky condition prediction for Higham Ferrers.
ALL TIMES Universal Time BST Unless stated.
The Stars (22:00h on the 1st, 21:00h on the 15th and 20:00h on the 31st of the month).
High overhead at this time of night, the bright white star Vega in Lyra shines brightly down. Can you see the components of the double-double star next to it? The Milky Way is now well up stretching from the south, almost overhead in Cygnus and down to the North east in Perseus. Low in the south the top of the Sagittarius tea-pot can be seen with the fainter Capricornus to the east. Aquila with its bright star Altair is a bit higher up and lies in the Milky Way. This area is renowned for its faint planetary nebula which rewards the patient observer when they pop into view. In the western sky the Tail of Leo is just visible as the lion disappears over the horizon. The Bright yellow star Arcturus, the brightest star in the northern hemisphere, is also getting lower as autumn approaches. Ophiuchus is also starting to lose altitude. Towards the east Perseus is now starting to rise along with Triangulum and Aries. Higher up in the east Pegasus, The Flying Horse, gallops into view, bringing some galaxies, so make the most of those darker evenings.
Moon phase calendar above generated using Graphdark By Richard Fleet.
Click here to download.
Full – 2nd.
Last Qtr. – 9th.
New – 17th.
First Qtr. – 24th.
As an aid to identifying the planets and stars, the Moon will be close to:
The Pleiades and Hyades in Taurus on the 11th.
Jupiter on the 12th.
Venus on the 13th & 14th.
Mercury on the 16th.
Mars & Saturn on the 22nd.
Antares on the 24th.
Moves very quickly away from the Sun, appearing very low down in the eastern sky just before dawn.
The crescent Moon helps point the way as it is close by on the morning of the 16th.
Shining like a beacon in the eastern sky before dawn, at magnitude -4.11.
The god of love stays about 26 degrees above the eastern horizon at 5:00am throughout the month.
Also big and bright in the early morning sky at magnitude -2.
It is located in Taurus and in the eastern sky before dawn and getting higher.
Keep a look out for disturbances in its northern cloud belts which have been recently reported.
Not far from Mars, the ringed planet is now getting much more difficult to observe and will be lost in the Sun’s glare by the end of the month. Closest to Mars on the 15th.
At its highest altitude at 04:00 at magnitude +5.8 in Pisces. So theoretically at least it should be visible to the naked eye.
Binoculars will help you to identify it. A scope will show a small blue-green disk.
At its highest at 02:00 in Aquarius at around magnitude 8 it will need binoculars or a small telescope to identify.
The Perseids are at maximum on the 12th. With 80 meteors predicted per hour, and with the Moon well out of the way, we could be in for a good display.
A new solar cycle is now well under way, and the Sun has had a recent flurry of sunspot activity with some nice large spots groups now appearing regularly. There have also been some auroral activity seen as far south as Kent, so keep a look out.
There have also been some large prominences visible from time to time and some quite active flare regions.
So if you have access to a Ha solar scope, take a look.
All graphics for all the events below are in the enlarged PDF file here.
All times UT (GMT) Unless otherwise stated.
Thank you for visiting my site, I hope you have found it of interest.
If you have please Like me.
If you have, or even if you have not liked me, please let me know so I can improve: email@example.com
Eagles Eye On The Sky.
Keep Looking Up!
No. of visitors since February 2012
On Monday the 23rd of July, we finally got some clear skies.
A small rock (Asteroid, or whatever they call them these days) 2002 AM31, about 1,000 feet wide passed by the Earth that weekend at a distance of just over 3,000,000 miles. It was located in Perseus, and making its way towards Cassiopeia.
I failed to get an accurate position on the Sunday night, but managed to get my act together for the Monday. I thought it would be too faint to image by then, but its brightness was still above magnitude 15, so decided to give it a go anyway.
I was well surprised to capture it and made a montage of my CCD images.
After my success with Barnard’s Star (See Below), I decided to have a pop at 61 Cygni.
This is the only naked eye star, (or should I say Stars, as it’s a double) with a large proper motion.
This property was first discovered in 1804 by Giuseppi Piazzi, calling it his “Flying Star”.
The CCD image below was taken with an 8″ Newtonian.
I will back up this image in a year or two to see how much these two stars have shifted.
Download my Barnard’s Star Observing guide, with printable star charts, so you too can keep track of its movement northwards.
Barnard’s Star is the fastest moving star we know.
Located in Ophiuchus, it is easily viewed in an 8 inch reflector, as a nine and half magnitude star.
See my original observation here: Barnard’s Star Observation June 2012.
My image above shows the movement of the star over a number of years.
Download my Barnard’s Star Observing guide, so you too can keep track of its movement northwards.
Let me know how you get on.
Microsoft have issued a notice informing users of a security vulnerability in the Gadgets displayed in the Windows Sidebar.
They are advising that the sidebar is closed so that gadgets which might be utilising this loophole are stopped from running.
Use the Microsoft Fix It Page here to stop it until a patch is available.
Alternatively, give me a shout. www.eagleseye.co.uk
The Wildlife Trust appeal to buy Irthlingborough Lakes for Wildlife and People is almost halfway there.
They have already raised £23,000 of the £50,000 they need to raise by the 17th of August.
Please donate and help them to preserve this peaceful sanctuary and stop it declining even further.
So Hubble now finds a fifth planet orbiting around Pluto.
More details here.
This will no doubt re-start the arguments going that Pluto ought to be re-classified back as a major planet.
I believe, and have done for years, that Pluto really should never have kept its classification as a planet.
If you discover something, and classify it one way, as your knowledge increases, your keep re-classifying things until it makes sense (until a further discovery throws that into doubt). That really is the essence of science.
I don’t believe the current IAU classifications of Minor Planets, Asteroids, or whatever they are called is correct yet.
For example, how would you distinguish between a minor planet and a dead comet?
I’m sure this controversy will carry on for a long time.
What do you think?
The first meeting in July for Northampton Natural History Society Astronomy Section was a talk by Dusko Novakovik on beginning Astrophotography. He took us through some of the basics of what camera to use and what to look out for when trying to take images of the night and daylight sky. A good all round introduction. Let’s hope it encourages a few more people to get out and take images (If we ever get some clear skies).
Next Meeting will be on the 30th of July when members will be taking part in a 10 minute rule evening.
See their Web pages for more details.
A few images of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter and Venus rising behind my neighbours house.
Venus and Jupiter looked stunning in the (VERY) early morning twilight.
Barnard’s Star is known as the second nearest star to Earth and also one with the fastest apparent motion.
It lies at about 6 light years away, moves at about 100 miles per second and is approaching us at 87 miles per second.
Even at a relatively fast movement of 10 arc seconds a year, will still take over 180 years to move the same angle as the apparent diameter of the Moon.
I took this image on 28th June 2012 through an 8″ Newtonian with my Nikon.
It shows the position as plotted in Burnham’s Celestial Handbook in July 1960.
I have also plotted another observation I made in June 1996 from a drawing I made at the telescope.
Boy does it move!