Blog Archives

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

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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.

 

My Top 20 Guideposts in the Sky

Number

Common
Name

Constellation

Apparent
Magnitude

Spectral
Type

Luminosity
(Sun = 1)

Distance
(Light Years)

Radial
Velocity
(km / sec)

1 Sirius Canis Major -1.46 A1 26 8.7 -8
2 Canopus Carina -0.72 F0 15,000 310 +21
3 Alpha
Centauri
Centaurus -0.04 G2 1.7 4.3 -22
4 Arcturus Boötis 0.00 K2 115 36 -5
5 Vega Lyra 0.03 A0 52 25 -14
6 Capella Auriga 0.08 G8 F0 90 70 43 +30
7 Rigel Orion 0.12 B8 60,000 910 +21
8 Procyon Canis Minor 0.38 F5 7 11.4 -3
9 Achernar Eridanus 0.46 B5 400 85 +19
10 Betelgeux Orion 0.0 – 0.9 M2 105,000 v 640 +21
11 Agena Centaurus 0.61 B1 10,000 460 -11
12 Altair Aquila 0.77 A7 10 16.6 -26
13 Acrux Crux Australis 0.83 B1 3,200 360 -11
14 Aldebaran Taurus 0.85 K5 120 68 +54
15 Antares Scorpius 0.96 M1 7,500 330 -3
16 Spica Virgo 0.98 B1 2,100 260 +1
17 Pollux Gemini 1.14 K0 60 36 +3
18 Fomalhaut Piscis Australis 1.16 A3 13 22 +7
19 Deneb Cygnus 1.25 A2 70,000 1,800 -5
20 Becrux Crux Australis 1.25 B0 8,200 425 +20

Explanation

Number

This is a list of the 20 brightest stars as seen from the Earth (not including the Sun). The stars are numbered from 1 to 20 in sequence.

Common Name

This is the name by which the star is commonly known. The names are Greek, Latin or Arabic. This web site is based in London: stars not visible from London are in red.

Some examples of the names: Deneb is Latin for tail (because it marks the tail of The Swan – Cygnus); Antares is Greek for rival of Mars (because of its red colour); Aldebaran is Arabic for eye of the bull (because it marks the eye of The Bull – Taurus).

Constellation

A constellation is a star group (as seen from Earth) that the star is a part of. Constellations are human inventions. The stars in them appear in the same part of the sky but are, in fact, at different distances from us and not related to each other. Different cultures use different constellations. For more, read Astronomy and Astrology.

In the West, there are 88 recognised constellations; 48 of these date from Roman times and are known as the Classical Constellations. These include the 12 Zodiac constellations through which the Sun, Moon and planets always pass through. Constellations are always known by their Latin names.

Some examples: Canis Major means The Great Dog; Orion is The Hunter; Crux Australis means The Southern Cross.

Constellations are used by astronomers for convenience. We say that Sirius is in Canis Major rather than give its celestial coordinates.

Apparent Magnitude

Apparent Magnitude tells how bright the star is as seen from the Earth. The magnitude scale was devised by the Ancient Greeks. The brightest stars were called First Magnitude, the next brightest were called Second Magnitude, etc.

In modern times, the scale has been defined mathematically. A star of magnitude 1 is about 2.5 times brighter than a star of magnitude 2 which in turn is 2.5 times brighter than a star of magnitude 3. The brighter a star, the smaller its magnitude. Many stars are brighter than first magnitude. Some stars are so bright they have negative magnitudes. On this scale, Jupiter has a magnitude (at its brightest) of -2.6, Venus is at -4.4 and the Sun -27. The faintest stars visible to the naked eye are sixth magnitude. Pluto has a magnitude of +14, far too faint to be visible without a powerful telescope.

In the table it can be seen that Betelgeux varies its magnitude – some stars are variable in brightness.

The brightness of a star as seen from Earth depends on its intrinsic luminosity and its distance from Earth. A dim star may appear bright because it is close while a luminous star may appear faint because it is far away. This is why we say Apparent Magnitude.

Spectral Type

When starlight is passed through a prism, it splits into its constituent colours, like a rainbow. This is called the star’s Spectrum. Stellar spectra are crossed by dark lines. These lines give astronomers a lot of information about the star: temperature, luminosity, radius, magnetic properties, movement. Read The Electromagnetic Spectrum for more on spectra.

The Morgan-Keenan spectral classification

The Morgan-Keenan spectral classification (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stellar spectra are classified into types. These types are given letters. The spectral type series is a temperature series. Moving from the hottest stars to the coolest, the series of letters runs O, B, A, F, G, K, M.

Each spectral type is subdivided into ten numbers. For example, A0, A1, A2, up to A9. A0 is hotter than A1. The table below gives more information.

Spectral
Type

Colour

Surface
Temperature
(°C)

O

Blue >30,000

B

Blue-White 20,000

A

White 10,000

F

Yellow-White 7,000

G

Yellow 6,000

K

Orange 4,500

M

Red 3,000

Our Sun is a star of Spectral Type G2 with a surface temperature of around 6,000°C.

Luminosity

This tells us how much more energy and light the star gives off compared with the Sun. This is how bright the star really is once distance has been taken into account. There is a huge variety in the luminosity of the stars. At one extreme, the star Alpha Centauri is 1.7 times more luminous than the Sun. At the other extreme, Canopus is 15,000 times more luminous than our Sun.

Luminosity can be measured indirectly by combining the apparent brightness of a star with its distance. It can also sometimes be measured directly from the spectrum.

Distance

The distance of a star is given in Light Years. This is the distance covered by a light beam in one year. Light travels at 300,000 km per second (186,000 miles per second). In one year a beam of light will travel 9.4 million million km (5.9 million million miles). This enormous distance is a Light Year.

Many stellar distances can be measured directly by trigonometry. As the Earth moves around the Sun, the star appears to shift its position against more distant stars. This effect is called parallax. It is a tiny effect but can be measured. The amount of the parallax depends on the diameter of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun (just under 300 million km or 186 million miles) and the distance to the star. A star with a paralax of 1 second of arc (written 1″) is said to be at a distace of 1 Parsec. 1 Parsec is equal to 3.26 Light Years.

Other stars can have their luminosity measured by their spectra or by other properties. When this is compared to their apparent brightness, a distance can be calculated.

For more on astronomical distances look at The Scale Of The Universe.

Radial Velocity

This the velocity of the star relative to the Sun. Negative velocities denote a star moving towards the Solar System. Positive velocities are for stars moving away from us.

Radial velocity is easily measured by looking at the star’s spectrum. The lines on the spectrum are shifted to the blue end if the star is moving towards us (the so-called blue shift) and to the red end if the star is moving away from us (red shift). The amount of this shift depends on the relative velocity between us and the star.

Credits: http://www.krysstal.com/brightest.html

(heavenswithlamps.wordpress.com)

100 Guide Posts in the Sky

 
The following list contains the 100 brightest stars as seen from the earth at night. The information on magnitudes is taken from data obtained by the Hipparcos Satellite Catalog. Distance measurements are from the Observer’s Handbook 2001, by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Common Name

Astronomical Name

Meaning

Apparent Magnitude

Absolute Magnitude

Distance (light-years)

1

Sirius Alpha Canis Majoris Greek: “scorching”

-1.44

1.45

9

2

Canopus Alpha Carinae Greek: pilot of the ship Argo

-0.62

-5.53

313

3

Arcturus Alpha Bootis Greek: “guardian of the bear”

-0.05

-0.31

37

4

Rigel Kentaurus Alpha Centauri Arabic: “foot of the centaur”

-0.01

4.34

4

5

Vega Alpha Lyrae Arabic: eagle or vulture

0.03

0.58

25

6

Capella Alpha Aurigae Latin: “little she-goat”

0.08

-0.48

42

7

Rigel Beta Orionis Arabic: “foot”

0.18

-6.69

773

8

Procyon Alpha Canis Minoris Greek: “before the dog”

0.40

2.68

11

9

Betelgeuse Alpha Orionis Arabic: “armpit of the great one”

0.45

-5.14

522

10

Achernar Alpha Eridani Arabic: “river’s end”

0.45

-2.77

144

11

Hadar (Agena) Beta Centauri Arabic: “ground” (Latin: “knee”)

0.61

-5.42

526

12

Altair Alpha Aquilae Arabic: “the eagle”

0.76

2.20

17

13

Acrux Alpha Crucis Greek: comb. of alpha crux

0.77

-4.19

321

14

Aldebaran Alpha Tauri Arabic: “the follower”

0.87

-0.63

65

15

Spica Alpha Virginis Latin: ear of wheat

0.98

-3.55

262

16

Antares Alpha Scorpii Greek: rival of Mars

1.06

-5.28

604

17

Pollux Beta Geminorum Greek: immortal Gemini twin brother

1.16

1.09

34

18

Formalhaut Alpha Piscis Austrini Arabic: “the mouth of the fish”

1.17

1.74

25

19

Deneb Alpha Cygni Arabic: “tail”

1.25

-8.73

1467

20

Mimosa Beta Crucis Latin: “actor”

1.25

-3.92

352

21

Regulus Alpha Leonis Greek: “little king”

1.36

-0.52

77

22

Adhara Epsilon Canis Majoris Arabic: “the virgins”

1.50

-4.10

431

23

Castor Alpha Geminorum Greek: mortal Gemini twin brother

1.58

0.59

52

24

Gacrux Gamma Crucis Greek: comb. of gamma and crux

1.59

-0.56

88

25

Shaula Lambda Scorpii Arabic: “stinger”

1.62

-5.05

359

26

Bellatrix Gamma Orionis Greek: an Amazon warrior

1.64

-2.72

243

27

Alnath Beta Tauri Arabic: “the butting one”

1.65

-1.37

131

28

Miaplacidus Beta Carinae Arabic/Latin: “peaceful waters”

1.67

-0.99

111

29

Alnilam Epsilon Orionis Arabic: “string of pearls”

1.69

-6.38

1342

30

Alnair Alpha Gruis Arabic: “the bright one”

1.73

-0.73

101

31

Alnitak Zeta Orionis Arabic: “the girdle”

1.74

-5.26

817

32

Regor Gamma Velorum unknown

1.75

-5.31

840

33

Alioth Epsilon Ursae Majoris Arabic: “the bull”

1.76

-0.21

81

34

Kaus Australis Epsilon Sagittarii Arabic/Latin: “southern part of the bow”

1.79

-1.44

145

35

Mirphak Alpha Persei Arabic: “elbow”

1.79

-4.50

592

36

Dubhe Alpha Ursae Majoris Arabic: “bear”

1.81

-1.08

124

37

Wezen Delta Canis Majoris Arabic: “weight”

1.83

-6.87

1791

38

Alkaid Eta Ursae Majoris Arabic: chief of the mourners

1.85

-0.60

101

39

Sargas Theta Scorpii Sumerian: “scorpion”

1.86

-2.75

272

40

Avior Epsilon Carinae unknown

1.86

-4.58

632

41

Menkalinan Beta Aurigae Arabic: “shoulder of the rein-holder”

1.90

-0.10

82

42

Atria Alpha Trianguli Australis Greek/English: combination of alpha and triangle

1.91

-3.62

415

43

Delta Velorum Delta Velorum Bayer designation*

1.93

-0.01

80

44

Alhena Gamma Geminorum Arabic: “the mark” on the right side of a camel’s neck

1.93

-0.60

105

45

Peacock Alpha Pavonis English: Peacock

1.94

-1.81

183

46

Polaris Alpha Ursae Minoris Latin: pole star

1.97

-3.64

431

47

Mirzam Beta Canis Majoris Arabic: “herald”

1.98

-3.95

499

48

Alphard Alpha Hydrae Arabic: “the solitary one”

1.99

-1.69

177

49

Algieba Gamma Leonis Arabic: “the forehead”

2.01

-0.92

126

50

Hamal Alpha Arietis Arabic: “lamb”

2.01

0.48

66

51

Deneb Kaitos Beta Ceti Arabic/Greek: “tail of the sea monster”

2.04

-0.30

96

52

Nunki Sigma Sagittarii ancient Babylonian name

2.05

-2.14

224

53

Merkent Theta Centauri Arabic: “in the shoulder of the centaur”

2.06

0.70

61

54

Saiph Kappa Orionis Arabic: “sword”

2.07

-4.65

815

55

Alpheratz Alpha Andromedae Arabic: “horse’s shoulder”

2.07

-0.30

97

56

Beta Gruis Beta Gruis Bayer designation*

2.07

-1.52

170

57

Mirach Beta Andromedae Arabic: “girdle”

2.07

-1.86

199

58

Kochab Beta Ursae Minoris Arabic: unknown meaning

2.07

-0.87

126

59

Rasalhague Alpha Ophiuchi Arabic: “head of the serpent-charmer”

2.08

1.30

47

60

Algol Beta Persei Arabic: “the demon’s head”

2.09

-0.18

93

61

Almaak Gamma Andromedae Arabic: type of small, predatory animal in Arabia

2.10

-3.08

355

62

Denebola Beta Leonis Arabic: “lion’s tail”

2.14

1.92

36

63

Cih Gamma Cassiopeiae Chinese: “whip”

2.15

-4.22

613

64

Muliphain Gamma Centauri Arabic: “oath”

2.20

-0.81

130

65

Naos Zeta Puppis Greek: “ship”

2.21

-5.95

1399

66

Tureis Iota Carinae Arabic: an ornament on a ship’s stern

2.21

-4.42

694

67

Alphecca (Gemma) Alpha Coronae Borealis Arabic: “bright one of the dish” (Latin: gem)

2.22

0.42

75

68

Suhail Lambda Velorum Arabic: an honorific title of respect

2.23

-3.99

573

69

Sadir Gamma Cygni Arabic: a birds breast

2.23

-6.12

522

70

Mizar Zeta Ursae Majoris Arabic: “groin”

2.23

0.33

78

71

Schedar Alpha Cassiopeiae Arabic: “beast”

2.24

-1.99

228

72

Eltanin Gamma Draconis Arabic: “the dragon’s head”

2.24

-1.04

148

73

Mintaka Delta Orionis Arabic: “belt”

2.25

-4.99

916

74

Caph Beta Cassiopeiae Arabic: “hand”

2.28

1.17

54

75

Dschubba Delta Scorpii Arabic: “forehead”

2.29

-3.16

522

76

Hao Epsilon Scorpii Chinese: “queen”

2.29

0.78

65

77

Epsilon Centauri Epsilon Centauri Bayer designation*

2.29

-3.02

376

78

Alpha Lupi Alpha Lupi Bayer designation*

2.30

-3.83

548

79

Eta Centauri Eta Centauri Bayer designation*

2.33

-2.55

308

80

Merak Beta Ursae Majoris Arabic: “flank”

2.34

0.41

79

81

Izar Epsilon Bootis Arabic: “girdle”

2.35

-1.69

210

82

Enif Epsilon Pegasi Arabic: “nose”

2.38

-4.19

672

83

Kappa Scorpii Kappa Scorpii Bayer designation*

2.39

-3.38

464

84

Ankaa Alpha Phoenicis Arabic: name of a legendary bird

2.40

0.52

77

85

Phecda Gamma Ursae Majoris Arabic: “thigh”

2.41

0.36

84

86

Sabik Eta Ophiuchi Arabic: unknown meaning

2.43

0.37

84

87

Scheat Beta Pegasi Arabic: “shin”

2.44

-1.49

199

88

Alderamin Alpha Cephei Arabic: “the right arm”

2.45

1.58

49

89

Aludra Eta Canis Majoris Arabic: “virginity”

2.45

-7.51

3196

90

Kappa Velorum Kappa Velorum Bayer designation*

2.47

-3.62

539

91

Gienah Epsilon Cygni Arabic: “wing”

2.48

0.76

72

92

Markab Alpha Pegasi Arabic: saddle

2.49

-0.67

140

93

Han Zeta Ophiuchi Chinese: an ancient feudal state in China

2.54

-3.20

458

94

Menkar Alpha Ceti Arabic: “nose”

2.54

-1.61

220

95

Alnair Zeta Centauri Arabic: “the bright one”

2.55

-2.81

384

96

Graffias Beta Scorpii Arabic(?): claws

2.56

-3.50

530

97

Zosma Delta Leonis Greek: “girdle”

2.56

1.32

58

98

Ma Wei Delta Centauri Chinese: “the horse’s tail”

2.58

-2.84

395

99

Arneb Alpha Leporis Arabic: “hare”

2.58

-5.40

1283

100

Gienah Ghurab Gamma Corvi Arabic: “right wing of the raven”

2.58

-0.94

165

* Bayer designation: names given to stars by astronomer Johanne Bayer in his 1603 star atlas Uranometria. The designations consist of a Greek letter followed by the genitive (possessive) form of the constellation name that the star is found in. They were generally named starting with the brightest star and continuing to the dimmest of any given constellation.

Take the Moore Marathon! April 1 thru April 24

To celebrate 55 years of The Sky at Night in April, take on the Moore Marathon stargazing challenge – 55 night sky objects for you to observe. You can find the detailed and quick versions of the Marathon, listing all the objects in the challenge, here.

Sir Patrick Moore has picked his 55 favourite night sky objects and, over the month of April, would like you to see as many as you can. The Moore Marathon will help celebrate 55 years of The Sky at Night, which was first broadcast on 24th April 1957. This show has been part of the fabric of astronomy interest in England for decades, and it has been often observed how Patrick Moore is to British astronomy on TV what Carl Sagan was for viewers in the United States.

Patrick Moore as he appeared on the first ever episode
of The Sky at Night in 1957

From the Moon to the star Albireo, the Moore Marathon has something for everyone.You can spot some with your eyes, others need binoculars or a telescope, and you can take part on your own or as a group.

To celebrate the anniversary, the BBC is holding several special events this year. BBC 1 will air a special episode of the show April 1 titled “Warp factor 55,” which will take viewers on a journey at the speed of light throughout the cosmos, exploring stars, nebulae, and galaxies along the way (this is today). On 6 May on BBC One, and 10 May on BBC Four, The Sky at Night will feature a selection of your observations, from the simple to the most interesting.

You can take part by downloading a Moore Marathon observing form. There are two types,

QUICK OBSERVING FORM

 The Quick Observing Form  skyatnight55_quickform

Download this Excel file, save it on your computer, fill it in and email it back to skyatnight@bbc.co.uk.

To be included in the programme, this must be emailed by 24 April 2012.

Or, if you want to include more detail in your observation reports…

DETAILED OBSERVING FORM

The Detailed Observing Form. skyatnight55_detailedform

Download this PDF, print it out and fill it in by hand. Then post it back to: The Sky at Night, BBC Birmingham, The Mailbox, Birmingham, B1 1RF.

To be included in the programme, forms must be received by 24 April 2012.

You can also download a detailed observing guide to Patrick Moore’s 55 objects, assembled and written by British observer Pete Lawrence.

Credit: BBC

A message from Sir Patrick

“I hope you enjoy the objects I have picked out for you to observe in April and I look forward to finding out how you get on. Good luck and thank you for taking part.”

Info borrowed from: here & here.

Global Astronomy Month 2012 : Programme Schedule

AWB is planning a rich schedule of programs and events for Global Astronomy Month 2012 (GAM2012), all designed to inform and inspire the public throughout the world. Below is a sampling of some major events listed by date but there is much more to come soon. For more information on each program, click on the highlighted links.

Date / Time Program
23 March to 27 April IASC Asteroid Search Campaign
1 April SunDay
1 April Online Messier Marathon (remote observing event)
1 to 7 April Lunar Week
1 to 22 April International Earth and Sky Photo Contest
7 to 8 April In the Interstices of Life (astroart video presentation)
8 April Bats & Radio Astronomy (live presentation)
11 to 20 April Globe at Night
12 April Yuri’s Night
14 to 15 April Spiral Galaxy (video presentation)
14 to 20 April International Dark Skies Week
15 April Saturn Watch (Beauty without Borders)
15 April Around the Ringed Planet (remote observing event)
19 April Cosmic Depths (remote observing event)
20 April World Night in Defence of the Starlight
21 April (deadline) Celebrate Starlight
21 to 22 April Lyrids Watch (Meteors without Borders)
21 to 22 April Neurostar (astroart video presentation)
27 April Walking on the Moon (remote observing event)
28 April Global Star Party
28 April Stars for All (remote observing event)
28 April Opticks (live moonbounce event)
29 April Cosmic Concert (live musical concert)
30 April Write Your Name in The Sky (remote observing event)
Throughout April One Star at a Time – Fight Light Pollution
Throughout April Astropoetry Contest for GAM2012
Throughout April Programs for Planetariums
Throughout April Programs for People with Disabilities
Throughout April 30 Nights of Star Peace
Throughout April MicroObservatory Astrophotography Contest
Throughout April Olympicosmopoetriada for GAM2012
Throughout April The Sky in Your Hands

Constellations: Official List

The Constellations Table :A complete table with information about all the 88 Constellations as defined by the I.A.U. ( International Astronomical Union ). Abbreviations, Genitive and Latin Names, English Names and more.FIELD LIST

ABBREV : IAU abbreviation
CONSTELLATION : latin name
GENITIVE : latin genitive ( possessive )
ENGLISH NAME : english translation
AREA : constellation size or area, in square degrees
HEM : position in the celestial sphere :
NH – northern celestial hemisphere – declination between 0° and +90°
SH – southern celestial hemisphere – declination between 0° and – 90°
ALPHA STAR : proper name of the alpha star.

ALPHABETICAL ORDER

Cosmobrain’s Constellation Table

No. Abbrev. Constellation Genitive English Name

Area

Hem.

Alpha Star

1

And

Andromeda Andromedae Andromeda

722

NH

Alpheratz

2

Ant

Antlia Antliae Air Pump

239

SH

3

Aps

Apus Apodis Bird of Paradise

206

SH

4

Aqr

Aquarius Aquarii Water Carrier

980

SH

Sadalmelik

5

Aql

Aquila Aquilae Eagle

652

NH-SH

Altair

6

Ara

Ara Arae Altar

237

SH

7

Ari

Aries Arietis Ram

441

NH

Hamal

8

Aur

Auriga Aurigae Charioteer

657

NH

Capella

9

Boo

Bootes Bootis Herdsman

907

NH

Arcturus

10

Cae

Caelum Caeli Chisel

125

SH

11

Cam

Camelopardalis Camelopardalis Giraffe

757

NH

12

Cnc

Cancer Cancri Crab

506

NH

Acubens

13

CVn

Canes Venatici Canun Venaticorum Hunting Dogs

465

NH

Cor Caroli

14

CMa

Canis Major Canis Majoris Big Dog

380

SH

Sirius

15

CMi

Canis Minor Canis Minoris Little Dog

183

NH

Procyon

16

Cap

Capricornus Capricorni Goat ( Capricorn )

414

SH

Algedi

17

Car

Carina Carinae Keel

494

SH

Canopus

18

Cas

Cassiopeia Cassiopeiae Cassiopeia

598

NH

Schedar

19

Cen

Centaurus Centauri Centaur

1060

SH

Rigil Kentaurus

20

Cep

Cepheus Cephei Cepheus

588

SH

Alderamin

21

Cet

Cetus Ceti Whale

1231

SH

Menkar

22

Cha

Chamaleon Chamaleontis Chameleon

132

SH

23

Cir

Circinus Circini Compasses

93

SH

24

Col

Columba Columbae Dove

270

SH

Phact

25

Com

Coma Berenices Comae Berenices Berenice’s Hair

386

NH

Diadem

26

CrA

Corona Australis Coronae Australis Southern Crown

128

SH

27

CrB

Corona Borealis Coronae Borealis Northern Crown

179

NH

Alphecca

28

Crv

Corvus Corvi Crow

184

SH

Alchiba

29

Crt

Crater Crateris Cup

282

SH

Alkes

30

Cru

Crux Crucis Southern Cross

68

SH

Acrux

31

Cyg

Cygnus Cygni Swan

804

NH

Deneb

32

Del

Delphinus Delphini Dolphin

189

NH

Sualocin

33

Dor

Dorado Doradus Goldfish

179

SH

34

Dra

Draco Draconis Dragon

1083

NH

Thuban

35

Equ

Equuleus Equulei Little Horse

72

NH

Kitalpha

36

Eri

Eridanus Eridani River

1138

SH

Achernar

37

For

Fornax Fornacis Furnace

398

SH

38

Gem

Gemini Geminorum Twins

514

NH

Castor

39

Gru

Grus Gruis Crane

366

SH

Al Na’ir

40

Her

Hercules Herculis Hercules

1225

NH

Rasalgethi

41

Hor

Horologium Horologii Clock

249

SH

42

Hya

Hydra Hydrae Hydra ( Sea Serpent )

1303

SH

Alphard

43

Hyi

Hydrus Hydri Water Serpen ( male )

243

SH

44

Ind

Indus Indi Indian

294

SH

45

Lac

Lacerta Lacertae Lizard

201

NH

46

Leo

Leo Leonis Lion

947

NH

Regulus

47

LMi

Leo Minor Leonis Minoris Smaller Lion

232

NH

48

Lep

Lepus Leporis Hare

290

SH

Arneb

49

Lib

Libra Librae Balance

538

SH

Zubenelgenubi

50

Lup

Lupus Lupi Wolf

334

SH

Men

51

Lyn

Lynx Lyncis Lynx

545

NH

52

Lyr

Lyra Lyrae Lyre

286

NH

Vega

53

Men

Mensa Mensae Table

153

SH

54

Mic

Microscopium Microscopii Microscope

210

SH

55

Mon

Monoceros Monocerotis Unicorn

482

SH

56

Mus

Musca Muscae Fly

138

SH

57

Nor

Norma Normae Square

165

SH

58

Oct

Octans Octantis Octant

291

SH

59

Oph

Ophiucus Ophiuchi Serpent Holder

948

NH-SH

Rasalhague

60

Ori

Orion Orionis Orion

594

NH-SH

Betelgeuse

61

Pav

Pavo Pavonis Peacock

378

SH

Peacock

62

Peg

Pegasus Pegasi Winged Horse

1121

NH

Markab

63

Per

Perseus Persei Perseus

615

NH

Mirfak

64

Phe

Phoenix Phoenicis Phoenix

469

SH

Ankaa

65

Pic

Pictor Pictoris Easel

247

SH

66

Psc

Pisces Piscium Fishes

889

NH

Alrischa

67

PsA

Pisces Austrinus Pisces Austrini Southern Fish

245

SH

Fomalhaut

68

Pup

Puppis Puppis Stern

673

SH

69

Pyx

Pyxis Pyxidis Compass

221

SH

70

Ret

Reticulum Reticuli Reticle

114

SH

71

Sge

Sagitta Sagittae Arrow

80

NH

72

Sgr

Sagittarius Sagittarii Archer

867

SH

Rukbat

73

Sco

Scorpius Scorpii Scorpion

497

SH

Antares

74

Scl

Sculptor Sculptoris Sculptor

475

SH

75

Sct

Scutum Scuti Shield

109

SH

76

Ser

Serpens Serpentis Serpent

637

NH-SH

Unuck al Hai

77

Sex

Sextans Sextantis Sextant

314

SH

78

Tau

Taurus Tauri Bull

797

NH

Aldebaran

79

Tel

Telescopium Telescopii Telescope

252

SH

80

Tri

Triangulum Trianguli Triangle

132

NH

Ras al Mothallah

81

TrA

Triangulum Australe Trianguli Australis Southern Triangle

110

SH

Atria

82

Tuc

Tucana Tucanae Toucan

295

SH

83

UMa

Ursa Major Ursae Majoris Great Bear

1280

NH

Dubhe

84

UMi

Ursa Minor Ursae Minoris Little Bear

256

NH

Polaris

85

Vel

Vela Velorum Sails

500

SH

86

Vir

Virgo Virginis Virgin

1294

NH-SH

Spica

87

Vol

Volans Volantis Flying Fish

141

SH

88

Vul

Vulpecula Vulpeculae Fox

268

NH

BY EDUARDO SOARES

©Cosmobrain.com 2001 – All Rights Reserved.

Credits : http://www.cosmobrain.com/cosmobrain/res/constellations.html

The 2012 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest on Dark Skies Importance

The 2012 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest on Dark Skies Importance

The Global Astronomy Month in April 2012 brings the 3rd International Earth and Sky Photo Contest. Coordinated by TWAN the contest is open to anyone of any age, anywhere around the world.

From now through Earth Day, April 22, an on-line “Earth and Sky” photo contest is open for submission by any photography enthusiasts of any age from around the world. International projects The World at Night and Global Astronomy Month along with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory are the organizers of the Earth and Sky Photo Contest. The contest was founded by TWAN and Dark Skies Awareness project in 2008 as a regional program. It was expanded to an international effort in 2009 during the International Year of Astronomy. In 2011 participants from over 30 countries submitted a wonderful collection of nightscape images. The contest news was broadcasted by major science news media world-wide and the winning images were widely promoted this way. With the growing efforts of Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), the organization behind the Global Astronomy Month, the Earth and Sky Photo Contest will have an even larger feedback this year.

Submitted photographs must be created in the “TWAN style” — showing both the Earth and the sky — by combining elements of the night sky (e.g., stars, planets, the Moon or celestial events) set against the backdrop of a beautiful, historic, or notable location or landmark. This style of photography is called “landscape astrophotography”. This is similar to general “Nightscape Photography” but with more attention to the sky, astronomical perspectives, and celestial phenomena.

The contest theme, “Dark Skies Importance,” has two categories: “Beauty of the Night Sky” and “Against the Lights.” Photos submitted to the contest should aim to address either category: either to impress people on how important and amazing the starry sky is or to impress people on how bad the problem of light pollution has become. Both categories illustrate how light pollution affects our lives. Photographers can submit images to one or both categories. The contest organizers encourage participants to view examples of such photos by the winners in the previous years: the 2011 winners, the 2010 winners, and other notable photos of 2010.
Winners this year will be announced by the end of April, to celebrate the end of GAM 2012.

Prizes
A wide range of prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in both categories will be awarded. The prizes could include (as last years) telescope and camera mounts, telescopes, binoculars, astrophotography accessories, filters and gift certificates. The contest organizers wish to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Oceanside Photo & Telescope (OPT), Canadian Telescopes, Vixen Optics, and Sky&Telescope magazine in obtaining some of the prizes. More information about the prizes and supporting companies will appear on this page soon.

Guidelines
Each entry must comply with the following requirements.

1- Size and format:
– Only photographs in digital format may be submitted. Photographs taken using film must be digitized for submission. Scanned prints may also be submitted.
– All entries must be accompanied by a short caption.
– Photographs must be submitted as high-quality JPEG files (level 10–12). The preferred color spaces are Adobe RGB (1998) and sRGB IEC61966-2.1. Contestants are strongly encouraged to use color management and to use one of these color spaces for their submitted images.
– Submitted photographs should be no larger than 1600 pixels across in their wide dimension and not smaller than 1200 pixels long. File size should be no larger than 2 Megabytes. Judges might request high-resolution files from finalists for final evaluation.

2- Number of submissions:
– No more than 5 photographs may be submitted per person. If the contestant submits more images, only 5 of them will be randomly selected. So extra submissions might result in removing your better images.
– Each contestant will be registered through the submission page and can edit profile and content, and add or remove their submitted images until the contest deadline.

3- Date of Photographs and Submissions:
– The contest highlights the recent efforts of landscape astrophotogtraphy. Images must be taken since January 1, 2011. Photographs taken before January 1, 2011 are ineligible.
– Photographs must be submitted from April 1 to the Earth Day, April 22, 2012. Winners will be announced by April 30, 2012.

4- Style and subject of the photos:
– Entries must combine elements of both Earth and Night Sky—i.e., landscape astrophotography.
– Entries must follow the contest theme of dark skies importance with displaying the beauties of starry skies or the problem of increasing light pollution.
– A pair or a series of comparing images to display the difference between dark and light polluted sky can be submitted as one entry. The comparing images can make strong public impression on importance of dark skies. See a TWAN example of such images here.
– Photographs may be taken through a telescope, but must combine Earth and Sky composed in the same photograph. Photographs taken through a telescope that show only the sky are ineligible.

5- Originality, image processing, and composite images:
– Minor burning, dodging, color and exposure correction is acceptable. Cropping is acceptable. Fish-eye lenses are acceptable. High dynamic range images and stitched panoramas are acceptable only if the combined parts are taken at approximately the same time and with the same setting. Digital composition of a series of photographs taken successively at the same location with the same lens pointed in the same direction, for example to create a digital star trail image, is acceptable. Any other changes to the original photograph not mentioned here are not acceptable, and will render the submitted photo ineligible for a prize.
– Composite images made by combining images taken at different locations, different times, or using different lenses are ineligible.

6- Copyright and legal notes:
– The submitted photo must be the original work of the contest entrant. The entrant must be the copyright holder of the submitted photo.
– The Photographer retains complete copyright, but agrees to have his/her photograph published on TWAN website and on other online media together with the report about the contest results.
– Model releases will be required for all winning photographs that contain a person in the image.
– Submitted photographs must not contain provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable content. Entries may only be submitted on-line. Submitted photographs will be judged by a panel of TWAN photographers based on creativity, relevance to the topic, and aesthetic beauty. Contest prizes will be announced later this month. You can contact us for any further inquiry related to the contest.

 Submission Opens on April 1, 2012

Courtesy: http://www.twanight.org/newTWAN/news.asp?newsID=6069

Let’s capture immemorable moments….Give me a shout if you’re participating.

Eyes on the Sky: March 26 thru April 1

The Moon joins Venus in the sky, then Venus joins the Pleiades, and the whole sky looks fantastic by the 28th. Then turn northeast/overhead to the Big Bear, Ursa Major, where 3 sets of stars make tracks in the sky – and not from bearprints, either! The lovely colors of Tania Borealis and Tania Australis are the highlight this week – easily visible in binoculars everywhere, and naked eye from most areas. Also, Mars continues retrograding in Leo towards Regulus and Saturn sidles up to Spica.

Eyes on the Sky: February 2012

Eyes on the Sky: Jan 30 thru Feb 5

Wandering the Winter Circle

Find the 6, easy to spot, naked eye stars of the Winter Circle (or Winter Hexagon), as well as Collinder 70 and Messier 41 within that area.  A tour of several bright stars in the area includes close-ups of each star to get a sense of their relative size, and later the ecliptic is examined thanks to the alignment of Venus, Jupiter and the Moon.

Eyes on the Sky: Feb 6 thru Feb 12

Find Uranus via Venus

Uranus is a 5.9 magnitude object in the sky; barely visible naked eye from very dark locations, and visible with binoculars from most light polluted areas. So how to find it among the other 5th, 6th and 7th magnitude objects in the area?  Use a brighter object to guide the way!  On our journey around the Sun, the other planets’ positions change relative to our own, and this week, we see Venus “passing by” Uranus in the night sky.  As many amateurs have never even seen Uranus through optical instruments, this is a great week to try and spot our solar system’s 7th planet.  Download the PDF chart here (4.1 MB) to help you spot Uranus this week.

Also in the sky: Mars and the Moon make a magnificent pair in the sky this week, and as Mars is close to opposition, now is a good time to view not only the Red Planet, but some Messier galaxies that are nearby as well – thought it is better to spot them in a week or so, after the Moon has revolved further east in the sky.

Chart 10 : LEO, CANCER, SEXTANS, HYDRA

 

Eyes on the Sky: Feb 13 thru Feb 19

Measuring light pollution

The Globe at Night initiative enlists the help of amateur astronomers everywhere across the globe to submit what the sky looks like in their area with respect to how light pollution affects their visible sky. This week’s video focuses on that effort, and explains how to easily find the constellations used by Globe at Night as well as how to submit observations quickly and easily.

To learn more about this effort and to submit your observations, visit www.globeatnight.org.

Chart 10 : LEO, CANCER, SEXTANS, HYDRA

 

Eyes on the Sky: Feb 20 thru Feb 26

Moon in motion

See the Moon pass Mercury, Uranus, Venus and Jupiter all throughout this week; the brightest stars of Gemini and M35 are spotlighted as well. Also discussed: Where and when to see Mars and Saturn in the night sky this week.

 

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