Astronomy events schedule

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  • #126
Astronuc
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Pluto now has three named moons. Charon is joined by Nix and Hydra.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060621/ap_on_sc/pluto_s_moons [Broken]
 
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  • #127
Astronuc
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Astronomers Johann Galle and Heinrich D'Arrest discovered Neptune from Berlin Observatory 160 years ago tonight. They were looking in a region of the sky pinpointed by French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier. He had calculated the likely position of a planet based on its gravitational pull on the planet Uranus.

Neptune was in Aquarius when it was discovered -- not far away from its current position. But because it's so far from the Sun -- almost three billion miles -- it's still completing its first full circle against the background of stars since its discovery. It won't complete that loop for another five years. (2011)
http://stardate.org/radio/program.php?f=detail&id=2006-09-23
 
  • #128
Astronuc
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Some highlights for this month - October 2006

No bright planets shine in good view during the evening this month, but lots of bright stars do. Vega, "the summer star," is still the brightest, very high in the west after dark. Altair shines almost as high to Vega's left, in the south to southwest. Deneb is closer to the zenith. Fomalhaut is much lower in the south-southeast to south. And low in the northeast, bright Capella is making its autumn appearance.

Oct 6 - Full Moon. This is the Harvest Moon for 2006, defined as the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox. The Moon also is at perigee.

Oct 9 - By 9 or 10 p.m. the waning gibbous Moon is well up in the east. Use binoculars to spot the Pleiades beside it. For parts of North America, the Moon actually crosses in front of the Pleiades tonight, temporarily occulting (covering) some of the cluster's stars.

Oct 16 - Look eastward after about 3 a.m. for the waning Moon with Saturn below it.

Mercury is at greatest elongation, 25 degrees from the Sun. Shortly after sunset, look for it below brighter Jupiter just above the west-southwest horizon.

Oct 20 - The Orionid meteor shower should be active this morning and tomorrow morning in the hours before dawn. If you have a good, dark sky, you might see a brief, swift meteor every few minutes. The direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest. The meteors' directions of flight, if traced far enough back across the sky, diverge from a spot in Orion's club high in the southeast to south.
http://stardate.org/nightsky/almanac/s200610_alm.html
 
  • #129
George Jones
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Comet McNaught!!!

Currently, there is a bright, but fairly small, comet that is visible low in the west just after sunset. Although this comet is visible with naked eye, it is spectacuar (bright head, nice tail) in binoculars.

I saw it about 40 minutes after sunset.

In order to see it, you will need clear a view of the western horizon. With binoculars, scan to the right of, and down from, Venus. Here is a a http://skytonight.com/" [Broken].
 
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  • #130
Thanks, I'll have a looksy tommorrow to see if I can spot it.
 
  • #131
Umm, I don't think the link works, Mentat.

Why are auroras only visible in Alaska?
We see them here in WA sometimes as well. In fact, the past 2 or 3 years, I have seen them at the Table Mountain Star Party. Not huge, and not like you see on TV or in pix, but there just the same.
 
  • #132
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The solar eclipse (semi) is going to occur at Asia (include Russian, China, Asia East, Việt Nam) ...
 
  • #133
Lunar Eclipse

"A lovely total lunar eclipse will be visible throughout the Bay Area and all of California before dawn Tuesday morning as the Earth's shadow darkens the bright full moon, and wherever skies are clear, it will be a time to look upward wide-eyed."
-- The San Francisco Chronicle


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/27/BAOFRP53L.DTL
 
  • #134
unfortunately

I can't see the lunar eclipse in my country
 
  • #135
Astronuc
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Orionid meteor shower

stardate.org said:
The Orionid meteor shower is at its best the weekend of October 20-22, peaking before dawn on the 21st.

The Name

The shower is named for the constellation Orion, the hunter, which climbs into view in the east-southeast by around midnight. If you traced the paths of the meteors, they would all appear to start in Orion. That doesn't mean you have to look at Orion to see the meteors, though; they can streak across any part of the sky.

The Cause

Meteor showers are fickle, so their best showings can vary by several hours from year to year. That's because a meteor shower occurs when Earth crosses the orbital path of a comet. Such a path is littered with tiny grains of rock and dust from the comet itself. As Earth flies through this trail of dust, the particles slam into our atmosphere and burn up, forming the bright streaks of light known as meteors or shooting stars. The dust isn't distributed evenly, however. It forms clumps of different sizes. Over the years, meteor watchers have plotted many of the clumps, but there's still some uncertainty. So it's tough to be certain about just what hour is the best, and just how many meteors you may see.
Oh, well - it's written for the general public.

http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors/orionids2007.html
 
  • #137
George Jones
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  • #138
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I just showed the comet to my wife. She was amazed that something out past the orbit of mars could appear so bright and big.
 
  • #139
chemisttree
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I just saw it last night. It is a quite bright fuzzy star to the unaided eye. Looks like a glowing pom-pom under even modest magnification (20X), but very bright. It looked just like this.
 
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  • #140
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Comet 17P HOLMES from Hungary

Due to the clear skies in the last few night, a large amount of nice images has been taken by Hungarian astronomers about the comet outburst.

Take a glimpse if you feel interested:

http://hirek.csillagaszat.hu/aktualis_egi_esemenyek/20071026_holmes_kepek.html [Broken]

I think that this page will be refreshed during these days. I hope that after the 2-3 cloudy nights we will have again the possibility to view the re-designed Perseus :wink: !
 
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  • #141
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I just saw it last night. It is a quite bright fuzzy star to the unaided eye. Looks like a glowing pom-pom under even modest magnification (20X), but very bright. It looked just like http://www.meade4m.com/cgi-bin/gal_display.cgi?image=1287" [Broken]
I am pretty sure that I got this comet in my view tonight...but I couldn't get much more than a "greyish fuzzball"....

Out of curiosity, how long does an 8" Newtonian need to cool to ambient temp. it was about 26 degrees F tonight. I wonder if that is why I couldn't see it so great?

Casey
 
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  • #142
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What would cause a sudden steep decrease in a comet's visual magnitude?

Did the comet experience a ice-gas phase 'flash point' with reference to Sol?

If a fraction of a comets surface ice were to suddenly flash into a gas, this would increase the volume and density of its gas envelope and immediately decrease its visual magnitude, would it not?

Or are we examining a type of comet-asteroid collision in space?


Reference:
http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/0017P/2007.html
 
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  • #143
chemisttree
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I am pretty sure that I got this comet in my view tonight...but I couldn't get much more than a "greyish fuzzball"....

Out of curiosity, how long does an 8" Newtonian need to cool to ambient temp. it was about 26 degrees F tonight. I wonder if that is why I couldn't see it so great?

Casey
Aim you telescope at a bright star (like Vega) and put in your shortest focal length eyepiece. Do you see concentric rings around the star just inside or just outside focus? If you do, you have all the resolution you need to view the comet... probably much more.

The comet is dimming out significantly now. The image I see through my telescope is a dim fuzzball, but the nearby stars are still pinpoint and bright.
 
  • #144
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Aim you telescope at a bright star (like Vega) and put in your shortest focal length eyepiece. Do you see concentric rings around the star just inside or just outside focus? If you do, you have all the resolution you need to view the comet... probably much more.

The comet is dimming out significantly now. The image I see through my telescope is a dim fuzzball, but the nearby stars are still pinpoint and bright.
I have no reason to belive that my telescope is out of collimation, so it must be because it is dimming :(

But I will check the collimation again and try again tonight. Roughly, how long do you let your scope cool on a night that's around 30 Fahrenheit before you attempt viewing?

Casey
 
  • #145
chemisttree
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I have a small refractor and a small 4.5" reflector so my experience wouldn't be of much use to you. I would guess that 45 minutes would be more than enough time to cool the telescope down enough for this purpose. Russ or Chronos would have better info for you, I think.

If the telescope hasn't cooled sufficiently, you would see that with the star test. And you probably shouldn't try to recollimate a telescope that isn't at thermal equilibrium.
 
  • #146
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I have a small refractor and a small 4.5" reflector so my experience wouldn't be of much use to you. I would guess that 45 minutes would be more than enough time to cool the telescope down enough for this purpose. Russ or Chronos would have better info for you, I think.

If the telescope hasn't cooled sufficiently, you would see that with the star test. And you probably shouldn't try to recollimate a telescope that isn't at thermal equilibrium.
Point taken. I'll give it a good hour before I try the comet again tonight.

Thanks chemistree,
Casey
 
  • #147
Astronuc
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for these final days of January and the first days of February will be an exceptional time for predawn sky watchers with a beautiful pairing of the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter. They will appear closest together in the dawn sky of Friday, Feb. 1, and a few mornings later, the waning crescent moon will later drop by to join them.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20080125/sc_space/spectacularskyshowvenusjupiterandthemoon [Broken]
 
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  • #148
russ_watters
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I am pretty sure that I got this comet in my view tonight...but I couldn't get much more than a "greyish fuzzball"....

Out of curiosity, how long does an 8" Newtonian need to cool to ambient temp. it was about 26 degrees F tonight. I wonder if that is why I couldn't see it so great?

Casey
Sorry I missed this before (I rarely check this thread). A "greyish fuzzball" is all the comet is. And in a telescope, even at low power, it covered most or all of the field of view. Here's a picture I took of it through my lower power/wider field of view telescope:

http://www.russsscope.net/images/Holmes.jpg

It looked about the same through the eyepiece (not quite as bright or well defined, though).
 
  • #149
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Nice. Thanks russ. Hey, I just noticed nuc's post about venus and jupiter. I would like to check it out, but I have been reluctant to go out since its freezing in Boston area as of late.

I was just wondering, is there any kind of damage that can occur to my scope due to sub-freezing temperatures? I know I would have to leave it outside for some time to cool the mirror. If not, is there anything to look out for? Like when I bring it back inside to the warmth. Do things get dewey or anything like that?
 
  • #150
russ_watters
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Dew is the thing you have to worry about most. Make sure you put the lens caps (don't forger the one on the eyepiece socket) before bringing it inside. It can also be a problem in spring and fall if you leave the scope out all night - it could be dripping wet in the morning.

For actually using it, the cold can make grease more viscous and can play games with the electronics, but neither of these cause permanent damage.
 

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