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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

[Aurora Alert] Geomagnetic warning and Aurora Watch (14-15 February)

The SWS has issued a geomagnetic warning and aurora watch for 14-15 February (UT) due to expected arrival of a CME from a recent solar flare. This is expected to arrive early in the UT day on the 15th (which is the early evening  of the 15th Australian time) and may persist unlit shortly after midnight.  The SWS predicts active conditions. The Space Weather Prediction Service and NOAA has Predicted a G1 storm on the evening of 15 February.

If these geomagnetic events occur and result in aurora they could be seen from Tasmania weather permitting. The Moon is new and will not interfere with aurora. Be patient, as the activity may rise and fall of the magnetic polarity of the wind may fluctuate significantly.

This event is unlikely to be as spectacular as those in last year, but still worth a look as viewing conditions are good.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences". A double arc,  blobs, and curtains were seen in Septembers aurora  last despite the moonlight.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

A new aurora camera is being installed at Campania, Tasmania. A live feed of the images from this camera is still not available.

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 18/01
ISSUED AT 0004UT/13 FEBRUARY 2018
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

From late 14 Feb to early 15 Feb magnetic conditions may reach
active to minor storm levels due to expected arrival of the CME
associated with the C1.5 flare peaked at 12/0135 UT.

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL MASS EJECTION
FROM 14-15 FEBRUARY 2018
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
14 Feb:  Unsettled to Active
15 Feb:  Active

_____________________________________________________________
SUBJ: SWS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 0024 UT ON 13 Feb 2018 by Space Weather Services
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

An active solar region has rotated into a geoeffective position and
produced a coronal mass ejections (CME). There is an increased chance
of auroral activity during the period 14-17 Feb. Warnings and/or
alerts will follow if significant geomagnetic activity occurs.

Our Aurora forecasting tool, located at
http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Aurora/3/1, may help to estimate regions
from where aurora would be visible.

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The Sky This Week - Thursday February 15 to Thursday February 22

The New Moon is Friday, February 16. Mars, bright Jupiter and Saturn form a line together with the bright stars Antares and Spica in the morning skies. Saturn is in binocular range of some interesting nebula. The asteroid Ceres is visible in binoculars.

The New Moon is Friday, February 16. There is a partial Solar eclipse on the 15th, seen from Antarctic and parts of south America.

Evening sky on Thursday February 22 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 21:00 ACDST (60 minutes after sunset). The waxing Moon is near the Pleiades.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).


Morning sky on Saturday February 17 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:21 ACDST (90 minutes before sunrise). Mars is close to Antares.  The inset is a simulated binocular view of Saturn.  Saturn is close to the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae and the globular cluster M22.



The International Space Station will pass below Saturn at this time.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise).


Evening sky on Saturday February 17 looking north as seen from Adelaide at 23:55 ACDST the asteroid Ceres is between close to the bottom star of the constellation of Cancer, the crab.



The inset is a simulated binocular view of the area around Ceres.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).


 

Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing (click to embiggen and print).

The large circle represents the field of view of 10x50 binoculars.

The asteroid 1 Ceres is relatively easily visible in binoculars until around the middle of this month, it fades during this time.

Ceres is relatively easy to find. It is above the northern horizon just before midnight , and is near Iota Cancerii (the bottom brightish star of Cancer. You may need to watch night to night as the asteroid moves to be sure of its identity.
 
Venus  is lost in the twilight.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.


Jupiter climbs still  higher in the morning sky and is moving away from Mars.

 Mars is moving down the body of Scorpius the scorpion. Mars moves away from Antares (the rival of Mars) over the week but is still reasonably close to see the contrasts of the two different red objects. Mars comes very close to several dim globular clusters. These are telescope only events and the brightness difference between Mars and the dim clusters will make to them to see, on the 20th Mars is nearly on top of magnitude 9 NGC 6235.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula, including the Lagoon nebula and the bright globular cluster M22.

The bright planets form a line in the morning sky  with the bright stars Antares and Spica, this will look quite attractive.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday February 8 to Thursday February 15

The Last Quarter Moon is Thursday, February 8. Mars, bright Jupiter and Saturn form a line together with the bright stars Antares and Spica in the morning skies. Jupiter and the last quarter Moon close on the 8th. Mars is close to the Moon on the 9th and 10th. Saturn is close to the crescent Moon on the 12th. The pair and the globular cluster M22 are together in binoculars at this time. The asteroid Ceres is visible in binoculars. Mira still bright but fading.

The Last Quarter Moon is  Thursday, February 8.


Morning sky on Thursday February 8 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:33 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Jupiter, Mars and Saturn form a line in the morning sky with the bright stars Antares and Spica (off the chart to the left). The Last Quarter Moon is close to Jupiter.


Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 60 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).



Morning sky on Monday February 12 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:45 ACDST (60 minutes before sunrise). Mars is at its closest to Antares. The thin crescent Moon is close to Saturn. The inset is a simulated binocular view of Saturn as seen through 10x50s.  Over the week Saturn will move slowly closer to M22.



Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time.


Evening sky on Saturday February 10 looking north as seen from Adelaide at midnight ACDST the asteroid Ceres is between the sickle of Leo and the bottom star of the constellation of Cancer, the crab.

Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).





 
Black and white binocular chart suitable for printing (click to embiggen and print).

The large circle represents the field of view of 10x50 binoculars.

The asteroid 1 Ceres is relatively easily visible in binoculars until around the middle of this month, it fades during this time but interference from Moonlight is reduced by mid-month.

Ceres is relatively easy to find. It is above the northern horizon at midnight , and is just between Kappa Leo, The brightish star the is the tip of the sickle of Leo (see charts, if you centre your binoculars on Kappa Leo Ceres will be just below it) and Iota Cancerii (the bottom brightish star of Cancer. You may need to watch night to night as the asteroid moves to be sure of its identity.
 
Venus  is lost in the twilight.

Jupiter climbs still  higher in the morning sky and is moving away from Mars. On the 8th the Last Quarter Moon is close to Jupiter.

 Mars is in the head of Scorpius the scorpion. Mars moves closer to Antares (the rival of Mars) over the week and is closest on Monday 12th. The waning Moon is close to Mars on the 9th and 10th.

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Saturn climbs higher in the morning sky. It is within binocular range of several attractive clusters and nebula, including the Lagoon nebula and the bright globular cluster M22. On the 12th the thin crescent Moon is close to Saturn. at this time the Moon, Saturn and the globular cluster M22 fit together in the filed of view of 10x50 binoculars.

The bright planets form a line in the morning sky  with the bright stars Antares and Spica, this will look quite attractive.

Evening sky on Saturday February 4 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 21:45 ACDST (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen)

The long period variable star Mira is fading from peak brightness, but is still easily visible to the unaided eye, even in Moonlight.  The circle marks the location of Mira in the rambling constellation of Cetus. The Arrow shaped head of  Taurus the bull points almost directly at Mira. This is a good time to see this iconic variable star

 Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen).

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

 

My Images of the 31 January "super-blue-blood" Lunar eclipse (2018)

Just after start of totality at 23:21 ACDST 31 January, taken with my mobile phone through my 114 mm Newtonian scopetotality at 23:30 ACDST (note how the brightish patch is moving around)
Totality ending 00:46 ACDST (1 Feb)Well past totality 1:00 ACDST (1 Feb)
Nearly halfway over 1:12 ACDST (1 Feb)Totality just ending 00:42 ACDST (1 Feb) Canon IXUS with infinity-infinity focussing on telecope

After much anticipation (and organising of Moon viewing with friends) January 31 dawned cloudy. Skippy Sky, which had previously been optimistic, showed something like 90% cloud cover for the night.

None the less I got the 114 mm Newtonian reflector out, I thought there wasn't much point with the big reflector as there was a chance of rain, I could quickly move the small reflector into cover.

The Moon rose as a vaguely brighter patch in the cloud, hasty conference with friends and it was decided the Moon party was off. Checked occasionally but nothing to see until around 11:00 when my Beloved Life Partner, returning from Choir, pointed out a half eclipsed Moon peeking through the hazy overcast.Didn't see much of the  livestreams as I was popping in and out so much.

Got the cameras out, but the Moon played hide and seek until just after totality started. It was still covered with hazy cloud, but I could get some images with my mobile phone (just held to the 10 mm Plossl lens). Clouds thickened and thinned, but the sight of the ruddy Moon glowing through the haze was beautiful. MiddleOne came home late and I was able to show him the eclipsed Moon, he was impressed.

AS the eclipse came to the end, I had my canon IXUS set up with its special holder to image the end of the eclipse, I only got a couple of shots off before the battery ran out (drained from my attempts to image with uncooperative cloud).

I imaged the rest of the eclipse with my mobile phone again, most of the images are fuzzy because of the hazy cloud, but around halfway though the end of the eclipse a hole in the cloud came over and I was able to get a clear image. Then a huge bank of cloud covered the Moon, and I packed up the equipment and went to bed.

Despite the cloud, it was a beautiful eclipse, and the diminishing crescent playing hide and seek in the haze was a very different  atmosphere to any other eclipse I have seen. Well worth it all.

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Southern Skywatch February 2018 edition is now out!

Evening sky as seen on February 12 at 5:13 ACDST, with the crescent Moon close to Saturn and globular cluster M22. The inset shows the binocular view. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes before sunrise click to embiggen).

The February edition of Southern Skywatch is  now up.

This month  still sees most of the action move in the morning sky. Speedy Mercury  and Venus return to the evening sky, but Venus will be hard to see until next month.

 Mars and  Jupiter climb higher in the morning sky. Mars comes close to several faint globular clusters this month.




Saturn is close to the Triffid and Lagoon nebulas and several clusters this month.

 February 1; Mars very close to star beta1 Scorpii.

February 8; Moon close to Jupiter. February 9-10; Mars and Moon close.


February 11; Moon at Apogee. 

February 12; Saturn and crescent Moon close, with M22 nearby.

Feb 1-13; Asteroid Ceres visible in binoculars.

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