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In this month: October

NASA becomes operational (1958) ; Luna 3 photographs the far side of the Moon (1959) : the Parker solar probe approaches the Sun (2018)

DEEP SKY SOUTH : Octans - The Octant

"...small telescope users can have fun testing out their optics on a range of double stars." This article describes some of the Deep Sky objects in the constellation of the South Celestial Pole, Octans. All the objects mentioned I’ve observed personally. I’ve been a Deep Sky observer for about 30 years and have kept notes – sometimes very cursory and other times more detailed. The image at right is of the author with the telescope with which most of the objects in the article were observed. l also like to refer to others’ observations, especially those of Australian amateur observer Ernst Hartung, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne who, in his retirement, observed and co

Did You know? Intentional crash landings

This Month . . . Intentional crashed landings. Things that go bump in the night! Sometimes it helps astronomers and space engineers to deliberately crash a spacecraft or probe into an astronomical body. Here are some of the deliberate crash landings that WERE MEANT to happen and what astronomers learnt from the resulting BANG ! NASA's Magellan spacecraft made a dramatic conclusion to its highly successful mission to Venus when it was commanded to plunge into the planet's atmosphere on the 11th October 1994. During its four year orbit around Venus the spacecraft radar-mapped 98 percent of the surface and collected high-resolution gravity data of the planet. The purpose of the crash landing

Solar observations: August 2020

For the month of August 2020 Sunspot activity was quite low during my observations with only five spot groups observed, most were single spots. No Sunspots were observed on the 14th 15th & 16th 20th to the 31st August. A total of only 25 observations were made with the remaining 6 days either cloud covered or rain. Most Prominences observed once again were extremely faint & small. No Flares, Surges were seen, though Plage was seen on the 4th and a Filament was observed on the 30th . The total average classification value was 2.7 and the relevant total Sunspot number was 5. The diagram right (Courtesy NASA) describes some of the common phenomenon occurring on our closest star. Detailed repor

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