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Long Lunar Eclipse + Opposition of Mars

This morning's total lunar eclipse as observed from Sydney, Australia, was a rare and spectacular event. Like many other keen Sydney City Skywatcher observers I found a suitable location with a clear view to the west. Rain had been predicted but 24 hours prior the forecast had improved. I was anxious because the previous lunar eclipse 31 January 2018 had been almost totally clouded out in Sydney. My fears were unfounded and the weather lasted through to totality. On this page are photographs by Sydney City Skywatcher members Adriano Massatani, Ann Cairns and myself, Toner Stevenson taken from three different Sydney locations. The Earth's shadow was cast onto the Moon from 4:24am, and by 5am

The longest eclipse of the century!

Lunar Eclipses are not rare events but they are spectacular and who can resist the longest eclipse of the century occurring Saturday morning 28 July? An added bonus is that Mars is at opposition and will be located right near the Moon. Set the alarm clock, find a good view to the western horizon and rug up! If you are observing from Sydney the Earth will cast its shadow on the Moon from 4:24am. Totality will begin at 5:30am and the Moon will set at 6:55am - still in partial eclipse*. Will we see a 'Blood Moon' as the Earth casts a shadow due to the red light of the Sun's rays being scattered by our atmosphere? You will have to get up early and observe this yourself. The photograph of the ec

Shallow Solar eclipse

Yesterday, 13 July, ominously a Friday, a very shallow eclipse of the Sun was visible from Melbourne. It was not a rare total eclipse so it was of little scientific interest. Even some amateur astronomers ignore with disdain an eclipse with only such a tiny bite taken out of the Sun's disk. Yet to me it was of great interest as it was to be proof of the astronomical calculations predicting the eclipse. In the 2018 Australasian Sky Guide on the page for the July sky I put in the prediction for a 9.5% eclipse for Hobart, 2.3 % for Melbourne and 0.1% for Adelaide. Was the prediction going to come true? The sky was cloudy but there were gaps. Optimistically I set up the small lens telescope

Solar observations - June 2018

SUMMARY For the month of June 2018 all Sunspot activity once again on the Sun remained extremely low. A total of 16 observations were made for the month with the remaining 14 days being cloud covered and/or rain. A total of only 2 groups were observed. This included 2 groups in the north and nil in the south, comprising of 11 spots in the north and 0 in the south giving a total of 11 Sunspots. The average Relevant Sunspot number for the month was 8 and the average CV was 8.9 and the Q CV 2 No Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) were observed. REPORT Due to bad weather the first observation of the month was made on the 3rd June UT. On that day no Sunspots could be seen. A mound type Prominence wa

Did You know? Nebula (plural Nebulae)

This month we feature…. Nebula (plural Nebulae) Latin for “cloud”. The image above is of the great Orion Nebula - this is an object you can easily see through a telescope this month. Nebulae are enormous. They may stretch over hundreds of light years across. The closest nebula to Earth is the Orion nebula at a distance of 1,300 light years. Planetary Nebulae have nothing to do with planets. In 1764 William Herschel incorrectly called them this when he mistook the star at the centre of the nebula for a planet. He later realised his error but kept the name. The coldest place in the visible universe is the Boomerang Nebula with a temperature of -272°C , just 1 degree above absolute zero.

In this month - July

28 July 1919 The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is formed. This is an international association of professional astronomers active in professional research and education in astronomy. It acts as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies. At the 2006 IAU General Assembly held in Prague it demoted Pluto to dwarf planet status, thereby leaving us with eight planets in the solar system. 20 July 1969 Apollo 11 lands on the Moon. Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to walk on the USA time Moon uttering the famous words “that’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”. About 20 minutes later he was joined by Buzz Aldrin. Michae

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