Posts Tagged ‘stargazing’

Naked-Eye Nova In Delphinus

August 21, 2013 1 comment

Last Wednesday a white-dwarf star erupted in the constellation Delphinus, producing the brightest nova since 2007. Currently shining at magnitude 4.9, the nova is visible to the naked eye from dark locations far from city lights, and might remain so for weeks to come.

“The nova is easy to locate north of the lovely star pattern of Delphinus. And the constellation Sagitta, the Arrow, points right toward it,” says Tony Flanders, associate editor of Sky & Telescope and host of S&T’s PBS TV show SkyWeek.

“A second advantage is the nova’s location. It’s easily visible in the eastern sky in the early evening, so it can be followed for many hours. This means that amateur skygazers and professional scientists alike can continue monitoring it for months to come,” adds Arne Henden, director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). “The nova can be seen with binoculars even from light-polluted metropolitan areas. Hundreds of observers, many for the first time, have submitted brightness estimates of the nova to the AAVSO.”

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International Dark Sky Week 14 – 20 April, 2012

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Celebrate the stars! Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, IDSW has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. The goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.

Light pollution is a growing problem. Not only does it have detrimental effects on our views of the night sky, but it also disrupts the natural environment, wastes energy, and has the potential to cause health problems.

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AuroraWatch Issues Red Alert for Observers in the United Kingdom

March 15, 2012 Leave a comment

A red alert means that aurora will likely be visible from the entire United Kingdom – don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

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Venus and Jupiter Dance at Dusk

For the past month the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, have been an eye-catching duo in the western sky after sunset. Week by week they’ve been gradually sliding closer together, and their celestial performance is about to culminate.

By March 9th these dazzling evening “stars” are less than 5° apart, about the width of three fingers at arm’s length. Then, from March 12th to 14th, the gap between them closes to just 3° as they pass one another in the evening sky. The pairing of these bright lights will be dramatic, though not especially rare.

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Notable Celestial Events in 2012

February 23, 2012 2 comments

This is from Journey to the Stars astronomy blog – check it out, it’s got a lot of great info 🙂

Notable Celestial Events in 2012.

Dark Sky Discovery Is Ready For BBC Stargazing Live – Are You?

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

The pioneering Dark Sky Discovery initiative is all set to help the UK go stargazing crazy when BBC Two’s ‘Stargazing LIVE’ returns to our screens at 8.30pm, Monday 16 January 2012. Led by STFC, and funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Natural England’s Access to Nature scheme,  Dark Sky Discovery partners will be running many of the events coinciding with ‘Stargazing LIVE’ to create a nationwide celebration of the wonders of astronomy.

Last January, up to 40,000 people took part in events and activities linked with the first series of ‘Stargazing LIVE’ – a figure that should be exceeded this year as an even bigger programme of events gives yet more people the chance to get a taste of ‘hands on’ astronomy.

Dark Sky Discovery is working closely with the BBC to inspire thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life to look to and learn about the night sky at venues such as Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower, Oxford Island in Lough Neath and Deri village in South Wales (Tuesday 17 January) and Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens (Wednesday 18 January). The initiative is a partnership of astronomy and environmental organisations that has identified urban and rural locations where people can take part in stimulating stargazing sessions under expert guidance.

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Tips on What to See with Your New Telescope

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Sky & Telescope: Craig Michael Utter

Sky & Telescope: Craig Michael Utter

As the gift-giving season comes to an end, maybe now you’ve got a shiny new telescope to call your own. Congratulations — you’re on your way to discovering many amazing things in the night sky. Be it a long, sleek tube or a compact marvel of computerized wizardry, every new telescope surely has an owner itching to try it out.

“Here are two important tips,” advises Robert Naeye, editor in chief of Sky & Telescope magazine. “First, set up your scope indoors and make sure you understand how everything works before you take it out into the night.” Trying to figure out unfamiliar knobs and settings in the dark and cold is no fun.

“Second,” he adds, “be patient. Spend time with each sky object you’re able to find, and really get to know it.” Too many first-time telescope users expect Hubble-like brightness and color in the eyepiece — when in fact most astronomical objects are very dim to the human eye. And our night vision sees almost everything as shades of gray. Much of what the universe has to offer is subtle, and of course extremely distant.

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Pinpointing Stargazing Sites for More Eyes

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Communities across England will have a twinkle in their eye and get a big environmental and educational boost thanks to Dark Sky Discovery– a pioneering new national and regional partnership of astronomy and environmental organisations led by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

A £176.8k grant, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and awarded through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, will support a 2-year programme to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to come together in their local area and enjoy the night sky in a radically new way.

Working with astronomy, environmental and community organisations in every English region, the aim is to involve people in identifying safe, accessible ‘Dark Sky Discovery Sites’ – places in urban and rural areas where they can take part in stimulating stargazing sessions. A series of Dark Sky Discovery Sites has been unveiled in England – and also in Wales and Scotland – illustrating the range of great local spots that people can use for stargazing.

Project Leader Dan Hillier, based at the STFC’s Royal Observatory Edinburgh site, says: “In every community there is somewhere that is the best place to see the stars.  Even in towns and cities, there are places such as local parks where people can enjoy the wonders of the night sky, from planets to meteor showers. This project will find ways of helping people from a whole range of different backgrounds – such as schools, community and special needs groups, to discover the universe that is just beyond their doorstep.”

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