Archive for July, 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 in PDF Format.
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!