Monday, August 19, 2013

Bright Moon, Bright Star

With a bright moon at night, the stars are a fading memory…..this week we will have several clear nights to focus on any bright star and a full moon. There is a Bright nova in Delphinus. The nova discovered in Delphinus last Wednesday brightened to magnitude 4.4 in the next 48 hours. Delphinus is conveniently high in the evening sky. The nova is easy to see in binoculars, and it's visible to the naked eye if you have a dark sky. See Bright Nova in Delphinus, with a finder chart and a link to a continuously updated light curve. Several have captured this bright star since it lit up the sky!

In the early morning hours before sunrise we can still spot the planets Mars and Jupiter.

Tuesday is our Full Moon (exact at 9:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). The Moon rises around sunset and shines in dim Aquarius after dark.

News from the Net:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fire in the Sky

I did go out several times this past weekend, but did not stay out long. The sky was not the clearest from my backyard. However several others in my area did go out and reported good seeing and the count was 20 meteors per hour. A lot of short fireballs among them. The clouds keep trying to close in the sky, but we did have several good clear nights.

This was from Spaceweather.com on Wednesday:  The Perseid meteor shower, which peaked on August 12-13 with as many as 120 meteors per hour, is slowly subsiding as Earth exits the debris stream of parent comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. Sky watchers should nevertheless remain alert for meteors tonight between midnight and sunrise. It will take several days for the Perseid rate to drop to zero. [photo gallery]

Wednesday is our first quarter moon. The night sky will begin to get brighter with moonlight!

News about our nearest star: Something big is about to happen on the sun.  According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun's vast magnetic field is about to flip!

If it is clear in your backyard focus on the constellation Delphinus. A bright new Nova can be seen!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Planets and Fire in the Sky

In this second week of August, if your sky is clear, look for Venus and Saturn in the evening sky. Saturn (magnitude +0.7, in Virgo) glows in the southwest as twilight fades, with Spica 12° to its lower right. Venus (magnitude –3.9) shines brightly very low in the west in evening twilight. In a telescope Venus is still small (13 arcseconds) and gibbous (81% sunlit).

Jupiter, Mars and Mercury make up the three planets in the pre-dawn sky. Start watching for those Perseid meteors by late week, also in the pre-dawn sky! Hope for Clear Skies!

Sunday, The asteroid 3 Juno is brightest at opposition this week, glimmering at magnitude 9.0 at the Aquarius-Aquila border. Pick it up with your scope using the finder chart in the AugustSky & Telescope, page 51.

Tuesday, A binocular challenge: Spot Venus in twilight low in the west and then, using binoculars, see if you can detect the 4.0-magnitude star that it's closely passing. The star is Sigma Leonis, Leo's hind foot, just 0.6° above Venus depending on your time and location.

Our New Moon is at 4:51 p.m. Tuesday, Central Daylight Time.

Thursday, The Perseid meteor shower is ramping up! It should peak late this Sunday and Monday nights. See the Sky and Telescope article Get Ready for the 2013 Perseids.