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In this month - January 2018

11 January 1787 Oberon and Titania, moons of Uranus, discovered by Sir William Herschel. The image above was taken by NASA, Voyager 2, in 1999 when the 18th Moon was identified. 1 January 1801 Dwarf planet Ceres discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi. 2 January 1959 Russian spacecraft Luna 1 launched. First spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit. BORN 8 January 1868 Frank Dyson. 9th Astronomer Royal 1910-1933 20 January 1930 Buzz Aldrin. Apollo 11. Second moon to walk on the Moon 8 January 1942 Stephen Hawking. English physicist and cosmologist

Looking forward to an astronomical 2018

What a year 2017 has been with a total solar eclipse viewed by millions across North America, and a partial Lunar Eclipse seen from Australia. We saw Jupiter and Saturn at opposition, a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, the Geminids put on a meteor shower and we had an excellent telescope viewing night and program of speakers at our monthly meeting at Sydney Observatory. You can view our past speakers by clicking on this link. There were many discoveries which shaped our view of our Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. 2017 discoveries included the discovery of more Earth-like planets around other Suns; gravitational waves were proven and the researchers responsible won a Nobel Pri

Did you know? - The Sun

This is the first post in a monthly series of astronomy facts and definitions which I find interesting and helpful to know. THE SUN Because of the speed the Sun moves at, solar eclipses can last at most 7 minutes and 58 seconds. From Earth only 59% of the Moon is visible. The Sun takes 225 million years to revolve around the centre of the Milky Way. This is known as a Cosmic Year. Left: Photograph of solar eclipse partial phase 2017, copyright Toner Stevenson

In this Month - December 2017

This is the first post in a monthly series of astronomical, space exploration and related historical anniversaries. I hope you enjoy the history of astronomy and space science. 23 December 1672 Rhea, Saturn’s second largest moon, is discovered by Giovanni Cassini (above Rhea imaged by Cassini spacecraft courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute) 26 December 1758 Comet Halley is sighted by Johann Palitzsch confirming the predicted return by Edmond Halley in 1705 15 December 1970 Soviet probe Venera 7 enters the atmosphere of Venus (official badge below). BORN 14 December 1546 Tycho Brahe. Danish astronomer. Did comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations 27 December 1571 Johannes Ke

Solar Observations for November 2017

I'm Monty Leventhal and every morning, in fine weather, I observe the Sun, our closest star, and record my observations. For the month of November 2017 all Sunspot activity once again on the Sun remained extremely low. From 1st to 12th November no Sunspots could be seen on the solar disc. It was not until the 14th that I observed a small Cri (6) groups of 2 spots, one with a Penumbra and one without in Active region 12687 (see the diagram below). This group became a Cai (9) group on the 16th with three small spots all within a Penumbra. By the 18th all that could be seen was a single Axx (1) spot. No further observations were made until the 22nd due to cloud cover by which time the solar dis

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