Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo the Maiden, is high in the west. Astronomers have found that it is made up of a pair of stars whirling around each other every four days. An artist’s impression of the two stars of Spica.
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The constellation of Virgo the Maiden is high in the western sky in the early evening. According to one legend the constellation represents the daughter of the harvest goddess Ceres. Thus Virgo is usually pictured with a palm branch in her right hand and an ear of wheat in her left.
A comparison between sunspot group AR12109 on 10 July 2014 and its returned version as AR12130 on 30 July and 1 August 2014. Sketch and copyright Harry Roberts ©, all rights reserved These reports have often noted the return of sunspot groups from the Sun’s far side, which make a second transit of the visible hemisphere.
On this day in 1877 American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Deimos, the first of the two moons of Mars. Hall worked at the United States Naval Observatory located at Foggy Bottom in Washington DC where he used a large 26-inch (66-cm) lens telescope for his observations.
The Moon is full tomorrow morning and it will appear larger than usual. This is because the instant of full Moon at 4:09 am AEST almost coincides with the instant that the Moon is at its closest to Earth for the month at 3:43 am.
Prominent Australian radio astronomer Wilbur Norman Christiansen was born on this day in 1913 in Elsternwick, Melbourne. As Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Sydney he was responsible for the building of the Fleurs Synthesis Telescope, at the time the highest-resolution radio telescope in the southern hemisphere.
Bernard Yarnton Mills was an early pioneer in radio astronomy. Born on this day in 1920 at the Sydney suburb of Manly, he invented a new cross-shaped form of radio telescope while working with the CSIRO.
The largest optical telescope in Australia is the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring in NSW with an aperture of just under 4-metres. However, it is dwarfed by recent telescopes such as the two Gemini telescopes in Chile and Hawaii that are each double its size.
After a decade long journey the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is expected to reach comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko this evening Australian time. The spacecraft will continue to stay with the comet as it approaches its closest point to the Sun in a year’s time.
The first quarter Moon on the evening of 4 August 2014 slipped in front of the ringed planet Saturn. Photo Nick Lomb On the evening of 4 August 2014 as seen from Australia the first quarter Moon moved in front of the the ringed planet Saturn.
If you are buying a small telescope for yourself, or as a present, remember that the most important size in a telescope is the width of the front lens or main mirror. Generally, the bigger it is the better.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSUX4qXDNoQ The occultation is now over. But you can watch our recorded stream above. If you can't wait to see the exciting moments: Saturn begins to disappear behind the dark limb of the Moon near 41 minutes into the stream and reappears just before 1 hour 23 minutes into the stream.
Tonight the last quarter Moon will cover or occult the ringed planet Saturn as seen from the entire Australian mainland. There was another occultation of Saturn in May but this time the occultation is easier to see and photograph as the disappearance occurs on the dark edge of the Moon.
The red planet Mars can be seen each evening after dusk in the north-west sky. The rover Curiosity has now been on the planet’s surface for over a Martian year of 687 Earth days. After landing in an ancient riverbed, the rover is on its way to Mount Sharp.
August 2014 is an exceptional month for those interested in looking up as there are a variety of spectacular and fascinating events taking place in the sky. Among these are that on the 4th the Moon covers Saturn and a week later there is the rise and set of a supermoon.