October 2013

Planetary Highlights

Venus continues to linger in the evening twilight very low in the SW sky, though you need to look no more than 40 minutes after sunset.  On the 16th it lies above Antares in Scorpius, whilst on the 8th a crescent moon lies above. [Read more about October 2013]

M1: Crab Nebula

It has been said that there are two kinds of astronomy - the astronomy of the Crab Nebula and the astronomy of everything else (Geoffrey Burbidge, 1977).  But it was probably sheer chance that this fascinating object appears in pole position in Messier's Catalogue.   [Read more about M1: Crab Nebula]

Venus keeps ahead of the sun and actually gains a little in altitude as November progresses. Look for it low above the SW horizon 45 mins after sunset. A crescent moon passes above Venus on the Nov 6th & 7th.          

Conspicuous Jupiter continues to rise earlier and is visible low in the east by 9pm at the start of November. It is situated below the 'twin' stars of Gemini. Jupiter is always well worth a view through any telescope. The moon lies below right on Nov 21st.            [Read more about Planetary Skylights - November 2013]

Comet ISON

Initially dubbed as being the "comet of the century" after its discovery in September of 2012, and then almost being written off as ISON failed to brighten as predicted (no surprise there then) It now appears ISON may be worth watching for after all. [Read more about Comet ISON]

The Leonids are active from Nov 15-20 and will peak this year during the very late evening of Nov 17, which means the early morning of the 18th will be the optimum time to view. Rates are expected to be normal, ie around 15-25 per hour.

Keep an eye out for a few meteors on the night of Nov 4/5th when the South Taurid meteor shower reaches a peak, and then again on the night of Nov 11/12 when the North Taurid meteor shower peaks. Hourly rates for both showers are not more than half a dozen; however Taurids can be bright and produce the occasional spectacular fireball. [Read more about Meteor Activity - November 2013]

  • Asteroid P/2013 P5Asteroid P/2013 P5: an unusual asteroid with six comet-like trails (of dust) was discovered by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii and subsequently photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Confirmation of the most distant galaxy ever found has been made with the Keck I telescope in Hawaii: we see it just 700 million years after the Big Bang.

  [Read more about Weekly Space News Round-up]

Intro Chemical Kitchen

Intro Cosmology Corner

The 21st Century is sure to be full of insights about the origin of the Universe, its eventual fate, and the journey between the two. [Read more about Intro Cosmology Corner]

Intro Messier Room