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What’s in the Sky in July

Image: Looking towards the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy.  Credit: Mark Justice

July

At this time of the Year the spectacular heart of our Milky Way Galaxy is rising in the East.

  • 1st  Saturn is rising at 7.45pm AEST and is at a distance 1358.8 million km, magnitude +0.4.
  • 6th Moon at Apogee, furthest from Earth for the month 00:46hrs AEST, 405, 340.1km.
  • 21st Moon at Perigee, closest to Earth for the month, 20:27hrs, 364,517.9km.
  • 31st Saturn is rising at 5:37pm AEST and is at Opposition on Monday August 2nd at 3:57:12pm AEST, closest approach to Earth, magnitude +0.2, distance 1336.8 million km..

 

  • More coming soon…..

What’s in the Sky in May

Image: Looking East, 6th May 04:00hrs AEST

May

  • 6-7th Eta Aquarid Meteor shower peaks on the afternoon of the 6th at 13:00hrs AEST,  ~50 meteors /hour, travelling at 65.9km/sec.  This meteor shower is active from April 29th – May 28th and is visible as the Earth is passing through the debris left by Comet Halley as it orbits the Sun every 76 years. Start looking on the 6th from 4.00 am and come out again on the 7th same time, either side of the peak. Recent peak ZHRs were ~2008 -85, 2009-70, 2017-75, 2018-60, 2019-50, 2020-55 (preliminary), this might indicate rather a trend to lower ZHRs, but observations are needed to find out whether this is the case, or if the rates change in another way. The radiant (point from which they appear to come from) is just below and to the West of Jupiter. Rug up well with a thermos nearby to keep warm.
  • 12th Moon at Apogee, furthest from Earth for the month, 7:54hrs AEST, 406,509.8km.
  • 26th Moon at Perigee 11:49hrs AEST, 357,311.7 km. The Moon will be the closest for some time and if clear, a magnificent sight in the evening. A Total Eclipse of the Moon – Viewing at the Observatory will begin from 19:00hrs AEST.
  • Ballarat Local Time for Eclipse

    Penumbra entered 26 May 2021 18:47 AEST
    Umbra entered 26 May 2021 19:44 AEST
    Totality begins 26 May 2021 21:06 AEST
    Totality ends 26 May 2021 21:31 AEST
    Umbra left 26 May 2021 22:54 AEST
    Penumbra left 26 May 2021 23:51 AEST

What’s in the Sky in February

February

  • 4th Moon at Perigee 6.07 AEDT, 370119.3 km.
  • 10th The Large Magellanic Cloud  (LMC) reaches highest altitude about 9.30pm AEDT atmgnitude 0.28. The LMC is a spiral galaxy in Dorado at a distance of 160kly and a diameter of 29.7kly in diameter.  The Tarantula Nebula, NGC 2070 is located in this area and is magnitude 5. it is 1,833ly in diameter. The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) located nearby is a spiral Galxy in Tucana and 200kly in distance and 17.5kly in diameter. visual magnitude is 2.29. These two irregular dwarf are members of our local group and are orbiting the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Kourtchin (Boorong) refer to the Magellanic Clouds as the male (LMC) and female (SMC), brolgas. Each cloud resembles the colour and pitted shell of the brolga egg. Brolgas breed from October to April , when the clouds are at their highest, extending into nearby stars the larger one is trumpeting and the smaller one displaying, but dancing as a pair towards each other.

 

 

  • 11th Saturn, Venus  and Jupiter just North of the Crescent Moon before Sunrise.
  • 18th Mercury has joined Saturn, Venus and Jupiter in a quadruple conjunction in the morningg sky.
  • 18th Luna Apogee, furthest distance from Earth for the month 21:22hr AEDT 404,467.4km.
  • 23rd Moon at it’s lowest altitude , just West of Pollux and Castor close to 22:00hrs AEDT.

 

What’s in the Sky in January

January

  • At this time of the year the Great Orion Nebula is rising in the East. The Boorong call this constellation Kulkunbulla, a number of young men dancing. Just East of Orion is the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, Alpha Canis major, which also forms the body of Warepil, the Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australia’s largest bird.
  • 3rd Earth is at Perihelion, closest approach to the Sun at 147.09 million km, peri means close, apo means far, and helios means the Sun. Currently occurring about 2 weeks after the December Solstice, the furthest the Sun travels South, the Tropic of Capricorn. In 1246, the December Solstice was on the same day as the Earth reached its perihelion. Since then, the perihelion and aphelion dates have drifted by a day every 58 years. The dates can vary by up to 2 days each year. Image: Nearby Family Photo, view from Uranus early morning 3rd January.

 

  • 3rd the waning gibbous Moon will be a nuisance for the expected Quadrantid meteor shower (QUA) maximum on January 3rd 14h30m UT – (4th Jan 01:30hrs AEDT), expected ZHR = 120 (can vary ≈ 60–200). The 14h30 UT timing for the peak will be favourable for Eastern Asia, whereas America and Europe should spot the activity increase all along the preceding night. Here in Ballarat the Radiant point doesn’t rise until after 10:30hrs AEDT and so the meteor shower is below the NE-N horizon but it maybe possible to see the end of bright meteors coming from below the horizon (green line).

 

 

  • 7th Latest sunset of the Year 20:53hrs AEDT at the Observatory.
  • 11th Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter and distant Pluto are setting just after the Sun. Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter will be in conjunction on 11th June but very low and difficult to see.
  • 10th Lunar Perigee, closest approach for the month 02:34hr AEDT, Dist. 367,391.5km.
  • 15th Hubble Pinpoints Supernova Blast  

Hubble Captures the Supernova Remnant 1E 0102.2-7219

‘The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has observed the supernova remnant named 1E 0102.2-7219. Researchers are using Hubble’s imagery of the remnant object to wind back the clock on the expanding remains of this exploded star in the hope of understanding the supernova event that caused it 1700 years ago.

The featured star that exploded long ago belongs to the Small Magellanic Cloud, (Ed: now high in the evening sky) a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way located roughly 200 000 light-years away. The doomed star left behind an expanding, gaseous corpse — a supernova remnant — known as 1E 0102.2-7219.

Because the gaseous knots in this supernova remnant are moving at different speeds and directions from the supernova explosion, those moving toward Earth are colored blue in this composition and the ones moving away are shown in red. This new Hubble image shows these ribbons of gas speeding away from the explosion site at an average speed of 3.2 million kilometers per hour. At that speed, you could travel to the Moon and back in 15 minutes.

Researchers have studied the Hubble archive looking for visible-light images of the supernova remnant and they have analysed the data to calculate a more accurate estimate of the age and centre of the supernova blast.

According to their new estimates, light from this blast arrived at Earth 1700 years ago, during the decline of the Roman Empire. This supernova would only have been visible to inhabitants of Earth’s southern hemisphere. Unfortunately, there are no known records of this titanic event. Earlier studies proposed explosion dates of 2000 and 1000 years ago, but this new analysis is believed to be more robust.”

  • 22nd Luna Apogee, furthest distance from Earth for the month 01:13hr AEDT 404,358.0km.
  • 24th Saturn in conjunction with the Sun to become a morning object now.
  • 29th Jupiter in conjunction with the Sun to become a morning object now.