Astronomical start to 2013

Happy New Year and I hope everyone had a safe one! I spent my summer studying, but I am going to save that for another post.

First up, a Christmas/Happy New Year present to get you inspired about observing again in 2013. Shane took these amazing images with his 8″ telescope in his backyard over the summer.

Last night was a good night as the Moon IO transited Jupiter nicely. In the three images you will first see a white dot (IO) on the bottom right, then in the second image its just passing the edge of Jupiter, then in the third its sitting out on its own. In each image you can see the shadow from the moon clearly on Jupiter.

The red spot is just visible on the left in the first image…then fully visible in the other two.

 These pictures were taken with my 8” Meade, using a thorlabs HD camera at 25fps and processed with Registax and Nero. Time was between 9.45pm and, so still not that dark. Quite a bit of turbulence in the air too last night.

Jupiter and Io 1

Jupiter and Io 1

Jupiter and Io 2

Jupiter and Io 2

Jupiter and Io 3

Jupiter and Io 3

The next image was taken with Shane’s new DSLR (Nikon 5100) just as a quick test. Imagine what he will do when he is serious!

Globular Cluster - that is a lot of stars!

Globular Cluster – that is a lot of stars!

All images courtesy of Dr Shane Huntington.

So much to tell you, but want to keep this sub-thesis size, so a quick update on what you can see in the sky at the moment and this year as there is some excitement brewing for this year’s astronomical events;

At the moment, we in Melbourne are getting a spectacular view of Jupiter (brightest object in the sky, other than the moon) to the North and just West of the Orion Constellation. South, as always, we have the Southern Cross (Crux) and at the moment we are able to see the Pleiades and Southern Pleaides Clusters. As the Milky Way creeps further into our sky, we are also able to observe more clusters and nebulae.

We have a few new additions to the sky this year as well.

There is currently an asteroid travelling right by us and during it’s closest path to Earth, you can watch a live feed of the asteroid whizzing by from 10am on Saturday the 16th Feb provided by Clay Centre Observatory.

There will be three bright comets in our skies this year. Two of these are best seen from the Southern Hemisphere.

Comet PANSTARRS is currently visible and will continue to brighten into March, possibly magnitude 2.

Comet Lemmon can also be seen now and will continue to brighten over March, possibly magnitude 3 but visible all night.

Comet ISON is expected in late November but will be best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere.

More information on comets can be found here.

There will also be a partial solar eclipse on the morning of May 10 2013. Thanks to Paul Floyd for this great pinhole camera and planner.

Please let us know if you have seen any of these objects to date!

Next up, an update on some digital finds and online resources I know you will love!

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