Asteroid Eros will be making closest approach to Earth on Jan 31. Might get to magnitude 8 or even 7 - visible in backyard telescopes and perhaps even binoculars. It will be closest it's been to our planet in 37 years. Will be passing through Leo, Sextans and Hydra so will be visible after midnight over next few nights (assuming we get some clear skies). Info can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/845yx8z and charts from Sky&Tel found in this PDF file: http://tinyurl.com/79cbdxo . It should be moving fast enough to notice motion over a short period of time making it easier to identify.
Here is the latest news from SpaceWeather.com:
Space Weather News for Jan. 24, 2012
CME IMPACT: As predicted by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, a CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 24 at ~1500 UT (10 am EST). A geomagnetic storm is brewing in the aftermath of the impact, but as this alert is being written it is too soon to say how weak or strong the storm might be. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras after local nightfall; the hours around local midnight are often best for seeing the Northern Lights. Chances for a good display favor observers in northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, Alaska, and possibly northern tier US states such as Maine, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Check http://spaceweather.com for updates.
Space Weather News for Jan. 23, 2012
INCOMING CME: Big sunspot 1402 erupted on Jan. 23rd, producing a strong M9-class solar flare and a fast-moving coronal mass ejection (CME). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the CME should reach Earth on Jan. 24th at 14:18 UT (+/- 7 hr) and Mars a little more than a day later. Strong geomagnetic storms are possible when the cloud reaches Earth. Our magnetic field is still reverberating from a CME impact on Jan. 22nd, so another blow could spark impressive auroras at high latitudes. Sky watchers in northern Europe, Canada, Alaska, and northern-tier US states such as the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin should be alert for Northern Lights.
Sat Jan 14, 3 members of the HAA attended a regional cub camp at Blue Springs Scout Reserve near Acton. The HAA had been asked (via Brenda Frederick - HAA member and cub leader) to do a series of presentations to help over 60 cubs work towards earning their Astronomy badges. Since this is the type of thing our club loves to do, we jumped at the chance to help. My thanks to Joe McArdle and Steve Germann for coming along with me to put together an effective and enjoyable program for the kids (and their leaders too). We talked about types of telescope, showed them meteorite fragments, helped them find the North Star, talked about some constellations and legends surrounding them - and more. A full program where we broke up into 3 teams and rotated the kids through the various sessions.
We actually had clear skies, but their program was so full, we didn't have time to set up any scopes afterwards to show the kids views through them.
A lot of fun as always, but now I have a sore throat from all the talking :)
The Astronomy & Space Exploration Society, based out of U of Toronto, will be holding their Annual Symposium on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at Convocation Hall (UoT) from 7pm to 10pm. There are 3 very interesting speakers lined up and admission is very reasonable if you order in advance. More information can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/79n7yc9
This may be of interest to HAA members and others who frequent our website.
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