Astronomy

Here’s a preview of June Skies. At different times during the month, features of Sky and Space will be posted.

Astronomy

It’s that time again folks. One of the best sky shows commences on 5 May.

Spaceweather. com

METEORS FROM HALLEY’S COMET: Earth is approaching a stream of debris from Halley’s Comet, source of the annual eta Aquariid meteor shower. If forecasters are correct, the shower will peak on May 5th with as many as 40 meteors per hour. The best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise on Sunday. Eta Aquariids are fast, moving at 66 km/s (148,000 mph), and often trace long bright paths across the sky. Set your alarm and enjoy the show.

If you have a camera with the B setting (open shutter) one can get some spectacular images.
Professional photographers carry a small beanbag in their camera bag. This makes a wonderful immediate “tripod”. Set in down and nestle the camera into it. Use a cable shutter release to aboid camera movement.

Astronomy, May

Here’s a preview of May Skies. At different times during the month, features of Sky and Space will be posted.

Astronomy

Here’s a preview of April Skies. At different times during the month, features of Sky and Space will be posted.

Astronomy March

Here’s a preview of March Skies. At different times during the month, features of Sky and Space will be posted.

Astronomy

At Space Weather.com

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strong>A VISITOR FROM BEYOND THE KUIPER BELT: Comet Iwamoto (C/2018 Y1) is coming. On Feb. 12th and 13th, the dirty snowball will make a rare visit to the inner solar system, passing by our planet only 0.3 AU (45 million km) away. Here it is, approaching Earth on Feb. 7th from the constellation Virgo:

[snip] Discovered in Dec. 2018 by Japanese amateur astronomer Masayuki Iwamoto, this comet is a visitor from beyond the Kuiper Belt. It comes from the realm of Extreme Trans-Neptunian Objects (ETNOs) more than 5 times as far from the sun as Pluto. This means it could be a relative of other ETNOS such as Sedna, 2012 VP113 (“Biden”), and 2015 TG387 (“Goblin”).

Comet Iwamoto doesn’t visit us very often. Following a highly elliptical 1371-year orbit, its last passage through the inner solar system was around 648 AD (unrecorded), and its next won’t happen until 3390 AD. Therefore, if you want to see the comet, now is the time to look.

Shining with an astronomical magnitude of +6.5, the comet is invisible to the unaided eye. Nevertheless, it will be an easy target for backyard telescopes in the nights ahead as it glides through the constellation Leo the Lion high in the midnight sky. If you have a GOTO telescope, use this ephemeris to point your optics–and submit your images here.

Astronomy

Here’s a preview of February Skies. At different times during the month, features of Sky and Space will be posted.