.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

 

Astrophiz Podcast 34 is Out

Astrophiz Podcast 34 is out now.
 
Our feature interview is with Dr. Anthony Horton – Instrument Scientist at the AAO who tells us all about life as an Instrument Scientist for AAO and the Huntsman Telescope and the Space-Eye CubeSat telescope project.

I give you the skinny on the great current conditions for observing our Gas Giants.

In the news:
1. Vale Harold Weaver, 99, discoverer of Masers in space.
2. Renegrade Supermassive Black Hole hunted down
3. The smallest (oxymoronic) Supermassive Black Hole
4. The first image of a black hole (almost)

Labels:


 

Geomagnetic warning (26-27 May)

The SWS has issued a geomagnetic warning  for 26-27 May (UT) due to glancing blow from a coronal mass ejection. This is expected to arrive late in the UT day on the 26th (which is the morning of the 27th Australian time). However, the Space Weather Prediction Service has no prediction of storms at this time, so a wait and see approach may be needed (see also here).

If these geomagnetic events occur and result in aurora they could be seen from Tasmania and Southern Victoria, weather permitting. The Moon is just off new, so will not interfere. Be patient, as the activity may rise and fall of the magnetic polarity of the wind may fluctuate significantly.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences".

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

The all sky aurora camera in Northern Tasmania at Cressy is being upgraded and is not yet online.

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 17/27
ISSUED AT 2343UT/23 MAY 2017
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

Partial Halo CME observed using STEREO and LASCO C2 imagery.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL MASS EJECTION
FROM 26-27 MAY 2017
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
26 May:  Minor to Major Storm
27 May:  Minor Storm

Labels:


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 25 to Thursday June 1

The New Moon is Friday May 26, the First Quarter Moon is Thursday June 1. Mars is low in the twilight. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening skies. Saturn is in the evening sky in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus climbs higher in the morning sky, with Mercury below it.  Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson may be visible in binoculars in the northern sky.

The New Moon is Friday May 26, and is at perigee, when it is closest to Earth. The First Quarter Moon is Thursday June 1.

Evening sky on Saturday May 27 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 17:57 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Mars is in the western evening skies in Taurus It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight. You will need a clear, unobscured level horizon to see it though.

Evening sky on Saturday May 27 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 20:47 ACST (when Jupiter is highest in the sky).  Jupiter is above the horizon between the bright star Spica and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising at dusk and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the early evening this week. It is in between the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica.

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, was on April the 8th. Jupiter is rising as the sun sets and is visible all night long. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 7 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Thu 25 May 1:35 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 25 May 17:33 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Thu 25 May 20:44 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Thu 25 May 21:26 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 26 May 17:18 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Fri 26 May 17:20 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          S
Fri 26 May 17:59 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Sat 27 May 23:05 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 28 May 18:56 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 30 May 0:43 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 30 May 2:04 Eur: Transit Begins               T
Tue 30 May 20:35 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Wed 31 May 18:11 Gan: Disappears into Occultation
Wed 31 May 20:37 Gan: Reappears from Occultation
Wed 31 May 20:48 Eur: Disappears into Occultation
Wed 31 May 22:11 Io : Transit Begins               T
Wed 31 May 22:33 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse      T
Wed 31 May 23:14 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Thu  1 Jun 00:22   Io : Transit Ends                 S
Thu  1 Jun 00:50   Gan: Reappears from Eclipse       S
Thu  1 Jun 1:18   Eur: Reappears from Eclipse       S
Thu  1 Jun 01:25   Io : Shadow Transit Ends          
Thu  1 Jun 02:22   GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu  1 Jun 19:23   Io : Disappears into Occultation  
Thu  1 Jun 22:13   GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu  1 Jun 22:39   Io : Reappears from Eclipse 
 
Evening  sky on Saturday May 27 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.  Saturn is reasonably high above the horizon.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

 Saturn is now visible in the evening skies this week. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 10 pm on. It continues to climb into the evening skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula and makes a very nice sight in binoculars.Saturn is not far from the dim star 58 Ophiuchi and will leave it behind over the week.

Saturn is at opposition next month, but watching the rings over the coming weeks should see them brighten ahead of the planet,

The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the north-eastern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn.

Morning sky on Tuesday May 23 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:13 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Venus is dazzling and Mercury is prominent below it. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Venus  climbs higher in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a waxing crescent.

Mercury is easily visible low to the horizon.

Location of  comet C/2015 V2 (indicated by the circle) looking north as seen from Adelaide at 11 pm on the 27th. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia (and most of the southern hemisphere) at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen

Comet C/2015 V2 is in a good position to view at the moment, it is dimmer than predicted at around magnitude 8, while with good binoculars and under dark skies it should be visible as a fuzzy dot. The bright star Arcturus is readily visible and you can star hop from it down to the comet. For more details off how to view the comet see here.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. 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/

Labels:


Sunday, May 21, 2017

 

Seeing Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) from Australia (21-31 May)

Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) as seen from Adelaide at 23:24 ACST, when it is at its highest above the horizon. Similar views will be seen from elsewhere in Australia at the same equivalent local time. (click to embiggen)

Comet C/2015 V2 is a comet predicted to get at least binocular bright in the next few week. Im Australia, it has only just crept high enough in the sky to be decent viewing in Australia.

The comet is currently passing through Bootes, the Herder, in the northern sky. As the week couse onit will climb higher in the sky, making it easier to see. It is best to look around 23:30 local time, when the comet will be at its highest above the horizon murk.

The comet has been reported around magnitude 8, which shloud be just visible with 10x50 binolculars or better under dark skies. I have seen a recent report of it being magnitude 7, wich is comfortable binocular level.

Black and white printable chart for Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) showing the track of the comet for the rest of the month. The orientation is the same as for the map above. The circle is the approximate filed of view of 10x50 binoculars. Use Arcturus, present on both maps, to orient yourself. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia, click to embiggen.

The comet should be relatively easy to find as a tiny fuzzy blob if you star hop down from Arturus towards the horizon via  epsilon (π›œ) Bootes (see map), the next brightest star sweeping down diagonally from Arturus. Contiue on towards the next brightest star, delta (𝝳) Bootes. For this week the comet will be between epsilon and delta Bootes, by the end of the week the comet will be to the right of epsilon (π›œ) Bootes. During this time the comet should be brightening slightly (and be easiler to see being bhigher above the horizon.

The comet should be readily visible in small telescopes.




Labels: , ,


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 18 to Thursday May 25

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday May 19. Mars is low in the twilight. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening skies. Saturn is in the evening sky in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus climbs higher in the morning sky, with Mercury below it. The crescent Moon visits Venus on the 23rd, and Mercury on the 24th. Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson may be visible in binoculars in the northern sky.

The Last Quarter Moon is Friday May 19.

Evening sky on Saturday May 20 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:02 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon, below Aldebaran.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Mars is in the western evening skies in Taurus It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight. You will need a clear, unobscured level horizon to see it though.

Evening sky on Saturday May 20 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 18:46 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Jupiter is above the horizon between the bright star Spica and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at 20:15 ACST on the 24th, Ganymede has just come out of eclipse and Io is transiting the face of Jupiter.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. that is 90 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising at dusk and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the early evening this week. It is in between the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica.

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, was on April the 8th. Jupiter is rising as the sun sets and is visible all night long. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 8 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Thu 18 May 0:48 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 18 May 18:49 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Thu 18 May 20:40 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 20 May 2:27 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 20 May 22:18 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 21 May 0:43 Gan: Transit Begins               T
Sun 21 May 3:04 Gan: Transit Ends
Sun 21 May 18:10 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 22 May 23:39 Eur: Transit Begins               T
Mon 22 May 23:57 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 23 May 1:35 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Tue 23 May 1:55 Io : Transit Begins               STT
Tue 23 May 2:07 Eur: Transit Ends                 ST
Tue 23 May 2:51 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        SST
Tue 23 May 19:48 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 23 May 23:06 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Wed 24 May 2:16 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Wed 24 May 18:25 Eur: Disappears into Occultation
Wed 24 May 18:33 Gan: Disappears into Eclipse
Wed 24 May 20:22 Io : Transit Begins               T
Wed 24 May 20:51 Gan: Reappears from Eclipse       T
Wed 24 May 21:19 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Wed 24 May 22:33 Io : Transit Ends                 S
Wed 24 May 22:44 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse       S
Wed 24 May 23:30 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Thu 25 May 1:35 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 25 May 17:33 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Thu 25 May 20:44 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Thu 25 May 21:26 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian

Evening  sky on Saturday May 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACST.  Saturn is reasonably high above the horizon.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

 Saturn is now visible in the evening skies this week. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 10 pm on. It continues to climb into the evening skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula and makes a very nice sight in binoculars.Saturn is also very close by the dim star 58 Ophiuchi and will glide by it over the week.

Saturn is at opposition next month, but watching the rings over the coming weeks should see them brighten ahead of the planet,

The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the north-eastern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn.

Morning sky on Tuesday May 23 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:36 ACST (90 minutes before sunrise). Mercury is prominent below it. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Venus  climbs higher in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a waxing crescent.

Mercury is easily visible low to the horizon, it is within binocular distance of Uranus, and will make an interesting pairing.


The Moon will form a line with Venus and Mercury on the 22nd, the thin crescent Moon will be just below Venus on the 23rd and just above Mercury on the 24th.


Location of  comet C/2015 V2 (indicated by the circle) looking north as seen from Adelaide at midnight on the 20th. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia (and most of the southern hemisphere) at the equivalent local time. Click to embiggen

Comet C/2015 V2 is in a good position to view at the moment, it is dimmer than predicted at around magnitude 8, while with good binoculars and under dark skies it should be visible as a fuzzy dot. The bright star Arcturus is readily visible and you can star hop from it down to the comet.

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. 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/

Labels:


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday May 11 to Thursday May 18

The Full Moon is Thursday May 11. Mars is low in the twilight. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the evening skies. Saturn is low in the evening sky and is visited by the Moon on the 13th. Venus climbs higher in the morning sky, with Mercury below it.

The Full Moon is Thursday May 11. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 13th.

Evening sky on Saturday May 13 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 18:04 ACST (45 minutes after sunset). Mars is low above the horizon, below Aldebaran.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Mars is in the western evening skies in Taurus It is is low in the dusk sky, but is the brightest object above the western horizon low in the late twilight to the right of Aldebaran. You will need a clear, unobscured level horizon to see this though.

Evening sky on Saturday May 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 18:50 ACST (90 minutes after sunset).  Jupiter is above the horizon between the bright star Spica and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica. The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at 21:15 ACST Ganymede is transiting the face of Jupiter.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. that is 90 minutes after local sunset, click to embiggen).

Jupiter is rising at dusk and is now reasonably high above the horizon in the early evening this week. It is in between the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo, and the relatively bright star Porrima. Jupiter is now closer to Porrima than Spica.

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, was on April the 8th. Jupiter is rising as the sun sets and is visible all night long. Jupiter is a good telescopic target from around 8 pm on, and the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Thu 11 May 0:02 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 11 May 19:54 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 13 May 1:41 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 13 May 21:15 Gan: Transit Begins               T
Sat 13 May 21:32 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sat 13 May 23:33 Gan: Transit Ends
Sun 14 May 0:25 Gan: Shadow Transit Begins        S
Sun 14 May 2:44 Gan: Shadow Transit Ends
Sun 14 May 2:55 Eur: Disappears into Occultation
Sun 14 May 17:23 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 15 May 2:51 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Mon 15 May 3:19 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 15 May 21:17 Eur: Transit Begins               T
Mon 15 May 22:58 Eur: Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Mon 15 May 23:10 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 15 May 23:43 Eur: Transit Ends                 S
Tue 16 May 0:07 Io : Transit Begins               ST
Tue 16 May 0:56 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        SST
Tue 16 May 1:24 Eur: Shadow Transit Ends          ST
Tue 16 May 2:18 Io : Transit Ends                 S
Tue 16 May 3:07 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Tue 16 May 19:01 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Tue 16 May 21:18 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Wed 17 May 0:21 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Wed 17 May 18:34 Io : Transit Begins               T
Wed 17 May 19:25 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST
Wed 17 May 20:10 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse       ST
Wed 17 May 20:45 Io : Transit Ends                 S
Wed 17 May 21:36 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Thu 18 May 0:48 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Thu 18 May 18:49 Io : Reappears from Eclipse
Thu 18 May 20:40 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian

Evening  sky on Saturday May 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST.  Saturn is reasonably high above the horizon. The Moon is close to Saturn.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

 Saturn is now visible in the evening skies this week. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 11 pm on. It continues to climb into the evening skies as the week progresses. It is within binocular distance of the Triffid and Lagoon nebula and makes a very nice sight in binoculars. However, this week the bright Moon drowns out the faint cluster. The Moon is close to Saturn on the 13th, and a bit further away on the 14th.

The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the north-eastern horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look below that towards the horizon, the next bright object is Saturn.

Morning sky on Saturday May 13 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 6:04 ACST (60 minutes before sunrise). Mercury is becoming more prominent below it. The inset shows the telescopic view of Venus at this time.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Venus  climbs higher in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a waxing crescent.

Mercury is easily visible low to the horizon, it is within binocular distance of Uranus, and will make an interesting pairing.

 There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. 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/

Labels:


Sunday, May 07, 2017

 

James Stone's Amazing Shot of the ISS and Orion's Belt

Remember the ISS shooting through Orion's Belt last weekend? I was clouded out, but James Stone wasn't and send me this amazing image of the ISS passing close to the Orion Nebula (click to embiggen, you won't regret it).

Now remeber, the image is copyright to James Stone, so play nice and ask him if you want to use it. Otherwise kick back and enjoy.

https://www.facebook.com/JamesStoneChasingLight/
@james_stone_photography
https://james-stone.com

Labels: , ,


 

Astrophiz Podcast 33 is Out

Astrophiz Podcast 33 is out now.

Our feature interview is with Dr Elodie Thilliez. Elodie is a Data Scientist at the Deakin University Software and Technology Innovation Laboratory in Melbourne Australia. 
 
She completed her PhD at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University. 
 
Elodie tells us about her research into debris disks and the role of big data in modern astronomy. Follow Elodie on Twitter as @ET_Astro

I tell you when and where to find our planets, how to catch the Eta Aquariid meteor shower this weekend (a bit late I know), exoplanets and rings around asteroids.

In the news:
With the Cassini mission all over the internet, we instead give you the background on Cassini the scientist.

Labels:


Saturday, May 06, 2017

 

Southern Skywatch May, 2017 edition is now out!

Morning sky as seen on May 23 and hour before sunrise. The crescent Moon is close to crescent Venus. with Uranus and Mercury below. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).

The May edition of Southern Skywatch is  up (still late again, sorry, but getting better).

This month  Mars is low to the horizon.

 Jupiter is in an ideal position to watch the banded world in a telescope. Jupiter is a a bit over a hand-span from the bright star Spica for most of this month. On the 8th the Moon, Jupiter and Spica from a triangle.

Saturn climbs higher in the evening sky this month. Saturn is close to the Triffid and Lagoon Nebulae. On the 13th Saturn is close to the waning Moon.

Mercury climbs higher in the morning sky this month, and is in an excellent position for viewing. On the 24th Mercury and the crescent Moon are close.

Venus climbs higher in the  morning sky this month. The crescent Moon is close to crescent Venus on the 23rd.

The eta Aqauriid meteor shower is visible in the morning on the 7th -9th. 

Labels:


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?