Starting tonight there are several excellent opportunitites to see the Chinese space station, Tiangong 1, fly over. This unmanned station appears like other satellites, as a star (sometimes as bright as magnitude 0) travelling across the sky in a straight line and with no blinking lights.
Accompanying it is the Shenzhou 8, an unmanned craft being used to practice docking. The Shenzhou 8 will appear as a fainter light in the same orbital path, but could appear before or after the station. We don't know how long the docking practice will continue, so get out and see this pair while you can.
Here is a link to the Heavens-Above website with sighting predictions for the station. Good luck!
Shenzou 8 successfully returned to earth on November 17. You can still catch the Tiangong 1 space station as it flies overhead.
Janice and I were out at about 2pm today looking at the sun and counted 10 sunspots. We used a bushell 15-45x60 spottig scope with image projection onto a white piece of paper mounted on a clip board. Aim the scope by looking at the scope's shadow on the ground, then focus the image on the paper. You can then increase the image size by moving the paper further from the scope and re-focusing. Checked on spaceweather.com to cofirm the sightings. Remember, never look directly at the sun with eyes or viewing through the scope!!
I have posted a finder chart on the club's Facebook page for the asteroid, 2005 YU55. The finder chart is for observers in Hamilton and was made using Project Pluto star charting software. You can access the chart by clicking on the title of this blog entry.
YU55 is a 400 meter wide asteroid that will be passing between the Earth and our Moon this evening. The asteroid will be about 11th magnitude and moving very quickly. It will not be visible to the naked eye or in binoculars. In a telescope, it will appear like a point of light moving slowly against the background stars. To see the movement, you will need to watch its position change over time - it won't be moving as fast as artificial satellites appear to do.
If the weather co-operates (!!) I hope you all have a chance to watch or record this exciting and rare event.
Matthew was right - Io and its shadow were crossing in front of Jupiter's Great Red Spot tonight. I took some video of the event with a webcam, stacked the best frames using Registax v6 and this image is the result.
Jupiter's moon, Io, and its shadow crossing in front of the Great Red Spot. Photo by Ann Tekatch.
I was out tonight watching Io and its shadow transit of Jupiter. The shadow was very sharp and the moon was an indistinct blob beside it against the southern equatorial band (135x mag). With about 15% of the transit left to go, Io all of a sudden became a sharp tiny disk right beside the shadow. I followed it until Io separated from Jupiter. At the moment Jupiter is showing 3 dark brown spots on the northern eq. band. I've found out that they are called 'barges'. Had a good look at the moon also, concentrating on the regions around Clavius and Copernicus. A few nights ago I was watching Jupiter and saw for the first time many more cloud bands in both of the mid-lattitudes clearly withouot filtering. I also saw Ganymede as a distinct disk for the first time. All in all, it's been great observing Jupiter while its at conjunction. PS... While observing the transit tonight, I felt quite sure that Io was also transiting the Great no-so-red spot. A programme I use to check the grs position didn't seem to agree, however i've been on cloudy nights and some one has announced that this was going to occur. So I watched a transit on top of another transit. Cool!!!
According to my RASC calendar, the "Lunar X" will be visible on the moon tonight around 11:00 pm. Hope the clouds hold off long enough so I can take a picture!!! The "Lunar X" appears for a brief time around first quarter moon when the sun illuminates the edges of some craters, making an "x" shape. This appears along the moon's terminator (the line that separates the illuminated part of the moon from the uniluminated side), about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom edge of the moon. It "may" be visible in binoculars, although I've never tried to see it with them.
Here is a link to some great photos of this lunar feature: http://www.astropix.com/HTML/SHOW_DIG/Lunar_X.HTM
Update: Clouds moved in about 10:00pm, but I managed to catch the beginning of the Lunar X's appearance. You can see it in the cropped photo below. The X is near the bottom of the photo and is just visible against the dark background.
The Lunar X appears near the bottom of this photo, highlighted against the dark background.
A rather late decision (due to uncertainty about the weather) to head out to Binbrook proved to be worthwhile. A notice to all members was quickly sent out (and promptly duplicated) since we were eager to go. The forecast and skies had cleared up and as a result, we had a very respectable November evening observing.
There was nothing special planned. We knew it wasn't going to be a great night for imaging, but any night to get out for a few hours is worth the effort. Jim, Vince, Keith, John, Tony and myself enjoyed some very nice views of the moon, Jupiter, a number of Messier objects and plenty of double stars. There was a wide variety of scopes, giving each of us a wide choice to try. Schmidts, Maks, Schmidt-Newts, DOB's and refractors - everyone had something different. So it was an ideal night to compare similar objects with unique equipment.
Wind was absent which helped to keep the temperatures feeling tolerable, though it did eventually get a bit wet from dew. We packed up around 11:30 and headed off to Tim Horton's to warm up and swap some observing stories - which is always a fun part of the evening.
Sadly we haven't had many good observing nights this fall and when an opportunity comes up, we don't often have a lot of advance notice. But hopefully next time we can give more warning and get more members out. It's a lot of fun, and definitely a case of "more" is better. We'd love to have you join us.
This page is the summary of all blogs in order of most recently entered.To post, send an account request to:
|<< <||Current||> >>|