Category Archives: Hot News

Eyes on the Sky: June 11 thru June 17

How to find EVERY planet in the solar system this week! Find Mercury, Mars and Saturn in the evening sky, and Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter and Venus in the morning sky.

Neptune& Uranus Finder Chart: CLICK HERE (5.4 MB)

There is also a wide-field and narrow-field chart available from “Sky and Telescope” magazine, here.

Pluto finder chart: CLICK HERE (6.8 MB)

More detailed chart to magnitude 14.5: Click here (opens new window to different website – the top two “TYC” stars identified are the same two “HIP” stars identified in my chart, above, and in Stellarium)

 

Related articles
Advertisements

Eyes on the Sky: June 4 thru Jun 10

Two Sun/Earth alignments, and plumbing the depths for Pluto

This week’s “Eyes on the Sky” details who is best situated to see the lunar eclipse of June 4, how nearly everyone worldwide can watch the Venus Transit of June 5 (or 6th, depending on your location in the world – also see links below last week’s video), as well as a really difficult challenge: PLUTO!  This 14th magnitude icy body revolves around our Sun at nearly 3 billion miles distance; can you spot this tiny, dim speck in Sagittarius?  This week’s video shows you how to learn the area it’s in, some fantastic clusters you can see easily even with binoculars from light polluted areas, and when to look to try and find the 9th plan…. errr – previously-the-9th-planet.  (See link to PDF finder chart, below).  Check it out, and “see what’s up” in the sky this week.

Pluto finder chart: CLICK HERE (6.8 MB)

Eyes on the Sky: May 28 thru Jun 3

Venus Transit: Transit lunar craters, transit history, and more

The Transit of Venus across the face of the Sun only occurs twice every 100+ years.  On June 5/6 (depending on where you are in the world; it will be on the 5th in the United States), the last chance humans will have to see the disk of Venus transit across the face of the Sun will occur.  Accurately calculating the times the transit occurred in the past helped astronomers hundreds of years ago to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun, also known as the Astronomical Unit (AU).  Because these transit viewings and calculations were so important to understanding the size of our own solar system, quite a few craters on the Moon have been named after astronomers of the past involved in these efforts.  This week’s video takes a look at some of these craters, astronomers, and prepares you for this last-in-our-lifetime transit.  Check it out, and “see what’s up” in the sky this week.

Lots of links about the Venus Transit

For times and dates of when you can see the transit, click here.

Eyes on the Sky’s solar safety video can be seen here, along with ways to make safe solar viewing equipment.

Charts for finding/viewing the Horrocks/Halley craters on the Moon: COMING SOON

Thread by Paulie about Venus Transit lunar craters at Chicago Astronomer site.

For a lot of wonderful information about the transit, see transitofvenus.org

Here’s how to safely photograph the transit.

 

Eyes on the Sky: May 21 thru May 27

Two crescents on the 22nd; Hunting in the Dragon

With the Venus Transit just a couple weeks away, the brilliant point of light in the western sky is sinking towards the horizon.  And given the recent solar eclipse seen by much of the Pacific area of the world on the 20th, the Moon is just past new, and pays a visit to the planet.  Check out how these two crescents can be seen easily from most any location.

Looking to the north, we find the constellation of Draco the dragon.  Though dimmer overall than many of the more prominent constellations, it’s location near the Big Dipper and the bright star Vega means that we can go hunting for some interesting objects with binoculars and telescopes.  For a star charts of the Draco region, click here and download Star Charts #1 and #6.  And don’t miss Saturn near a couple of brighter stars in Virgo, neatly framed in a wide-field telescopic view.  Check it out, and “see what’s up” in the sky this week.

Related articles

Eyes on the Sky: May 14 thru May 20

Binocular binaries in Bootes; May 20 solar eclipse

Last week’s video showed a number of double stars that can be spotted in the “ice cream cone” shaped constellation of Bootes, the Herdsman.  This week there are more double stars to see there – all of them easy, and all can be seen naked eye or with binoculars.  Check out these great color-contrast objects this week.  And on May 20th, an annular solar eclipse will occur, and many in the western United States will have a chance to view parts or all of it.  Be sure to see the week’s “Eyes on the Sky” for when to view it, and how to view it safely (DO NOT look at the Sun directly during the eclipse!).  Wishing you clear and dark skies (well, except for the eclipse)!

You can find more information about the May 20 solar eclipse on NASA’s website.

View the solar eclipse safely by making a simple pinhole solar viewer.

Related articles

Eyes on the Sky: May 7 thru May 13

Eyes on the Sky: May 7 thru May 13

Mars and more Messiers; Bootes doubles up

Mars makes moves heading out of Leo starting this week, but not before it gives us one last pointer to the Leo Triplet of M95, M96 and M105.  Faint galaxies all, but worth attempting if they have been difficult to find previously for you.  If that challenge is a bit too much for your skies, take a whirl back over to Bootes, and see “double” with some double stars lurking in the Herdsman.  Wishing you clear and dark skies!

Naza ScienceCasts: The Super Moon of May 2012 (Tonight, Saturday May 5, 2012)

Reblogggled from : http://talesfromthelou.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/naza-sciencecasts-the-super-moon-of-may-2012-tonight-saturday-may-5-2012/

ScienceCasts: The Super Moon of May 2012 – YouTube.

Related articles

Are you ready for the Super Moon tonight?

 

Tonight’s Full Moon could be hard to miss. Remarkably, its exact full phase (May 6 03:36 UT) will occur less than two minutes after it reaches perigee, the closest point to Earth in the Moon’s orbit, making it the largest Full Moon of 2012. The Full Perigee Moon will appear to be some 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a Full Moon near apogee, the most distant point in the elliptical lunar orbit. In comparison, though, it will appear less than 1 percent larger and almost as bright as April’s Full Moon.  Of course, if you miss May’s Full Perigee Moon, make a note on your calendar. Your next chance to see a Full Moon close to perigee, will be next year on June 23.

What is Perigee?

What is Apogee?

Effect on tides

The combined effect of the Sun and Moon on the Earth’s oceans, the tide, is greatest when the Moon is either new or full. At lunar perigee the tidal force is even stronger, resulting in larger high and low tides on average, but even at its most powerful this force is still weak.

 

Alors, avez vous pigee? or otherwise watch out for the next coming lecture titled Free Lecture 04: Moon Phases and Eclipses

Eyes on the Sky: April 30 thru May 6

Eyes on the Sky: April 30 thru May 6

Venus at brightest; a celestial time trip(let)

Venus will be taking center stage in about a month when it transits across the face of the Sun for the last time in 105 years.  But it manages to steal the spotlight by outshining everything else in the sky except the Sun and the Moon.  Learn how to spot its phases with a a telescope, or catch the brilliant planet’s dazzling glow near a fairly bright star in Taurus, which will look quite dim in comparison.

Later in the week, the nearly Full Moon glides by Saturn and Spica.  These three objects are vastly different distances from each other, and contemplating the time differences of light from each is a pretty cool exercise to consider.  Use a telescope to spot Saturn’s rings.  Wishing you clear and dark skies!

Global Star Party

28 April 2012


Be sure to reserve Saturday, April 28th, for GAM’s ultimate observing event: the Global Star Party.  Of course, it’s B.Y.O.T. – Bring Your Own Telescope – but encourage even those who don’t have one to come anyway. All are invited, all will be excited.  It is amazing that when we turn our gaze upward all religious, national, cultural and political barriers fade into the darkness.  April 28th is the time to come out under the stars, bridge gaps across the seas, and join your brother and sister skywatchers in proving that the world is, in fact, “One People, One Sky.”

 

Start Early and Follow Up
Not just the 28th, of course, but the whole month of April is dedicated to the science, art, and culture of astronomy, so plan to take your hobby to the streets as often as you can.  Club members need to “divide and conquer” their community on every corner. Get events scheduled and supported by your community’s science centers, planetariums, and science museums.  Spearhead new ways of outreach to convalescent hospitals, rest homes, military bases, busy sections of town, and libraries.  Be ready to accommodate handicapped visitors to your scopes, including those in wheel chairs.  Be on top of your game with lectures, presentations, exhibits, telescope demonstrations, handouts, and star charts—and be ready to dazzle them with fun facts (not boring ones) about the objects you have captured in your eyepiece.


Begin with the Sun
You can build momentum by scheduling events not just in the evening but during the day as well.  Spark interest in our number one star, the Sun, by planning an Astronomy Day at the park with picnic.  And, of course, invite all your daytime guests to your Global Star Party in the evening.  Contact your local observatory—they may be happy to work with you to have a big, all-day astronomy event on their grounds.


Publicize Your Events

But the public won’t know about your Global Star Party unless you get the word out.  Local weekly newspapers are very receptive to running news items about events like this, and if you can give them a well-written story that has a catchy news angle in it, you may get not just a small announcement but a feature article.  Also, if your city or town has a public radio station, they will likely be happy to announce your event—perhaps including an interview with you.


Use Your Creativity
Other than the set date—Saturday, April 28th local time—there is no formal agenda.  Amateur astronomers have proven to be incredibly creative when organizing events, so we encourage you to show us what you can do!  We do, however, encourage everyone to expand the time beyond the regular evening events—starting early with solar activities and continuing until late evening.
Everyone should choose the activities that fit their community and personal preference.  We are encouraging everyone to think in new directions and try new methods of outreach, but want everyone to be comfortable in their choice of events.
Be sure to register you event with AWB online and to come back afterwards and fill out your event reports and post your photos.  We all want to see what our friends around the world are doing!

Some Program Idea

  • Visit a military base, retirement hotel, or children’s hospital and give those able a chance to see the Universe up close.
  • Have a club member dress up as a famous astronomer from history.
  • Find ways to attract attention – your own version of 100HA’s Camel Cart!
  • Use our resources page to get the materials to accommodate the seeing impaired.
  • Host “How Telescopes Work” demonstrations and put your ATM guys to work with mirror grinding demos and use some of that extra glass to let the public try.
  • Hold events outside of art galleries or musical events.
  • Surround a shopping mall or city park with telescopes at every corner or entrance.
  • Hold astropoetry events, such as a public poetry reading at a library.
  • Get a local scout or school group to assist at your star party—have the youngsters ask questions, provide information, and even help run the scope.
  • Have an “artists table” set up so that younger observers can make and take their own souvenirs of the event.
  • Work with a local library to have book displays set up near the telescope so that people can learn more.
  • Work with another club in a different country and set up an internet connection so that those attending your event can connect with others doing the same thing at the same time in a different part of the world.
  • Live-stream your event on Ustream.

 

Share your Star Party experience with us:

Share your Global Star Party images with us via GAM2012 Facebook or Flickr group or Tweet using #GAM2012 hashtag (@gam_awb). Don’t forget to register your events here.

 

%d bloggers like this: