Observations

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Holiday Rocket Fun

January 12, 2007

Making and launching water powered rockets at Sydney Observatory. Who said science isn't fun? We run many different programs each holiday but this has always been one of our favourites! If you would like to make rockets keep on eye on the website for the next school holiday program.

A bright new comet

January 9, 2007

Position of Comet McNaught after sunset on Monday 15 January as seen from Sydney A comet discovered by Australian astronomer Rob McNaught is becoming bright as it approaches the Sun. For people in the southern hemisphere the best chance to see it will be in the early evening very low in the west on Monday 15 January 2007 and on Tuesday 16 January 2007.

A visit to Melbourne Observatory

January 5, 2007

Melbourne Observatory on 1 January 2007, photo Nick Lomb On new year's day a quiet stroll in the Botanical Gardens in the city by the Yarra led to the Melbourne Observatory. This observatory was set up in its present location only a few years after Sydney Observatory and during the second half of the 19th century the two observatories were probably the main scientific establishments in the country.

Possible fireball sighting

December 28, 2006

Grant reports the sighting of something that sounds like a fireball, a bright meteor caused by a small rock from space hitting the atmosphere. He saw it on Tuesday (Boxing Day) evening at about 9:30 pm.

January 2007 Night Sky Guide and podcast

December 21, 2006

Download the full resolution January 2007 sky map below In the audio guide for January 2007 - which is particularly rich in information, with much to see in the night sky - Sydney Observatory curator of astronomy, Dr Nick Lomb tells us that the best time to look at the night sky this month is when there is no Moon or the Moon is not too bright - from 11 January when the Moon is at last quarter to 26 January when the Moon is at first quarter and starting to be bright again.

A southern galaxy

December 19, 2006

The galaxy NGC 1097, image Gerry Aarts The above spectacular image of galaxy NGC 1097 was taken by Gerry Aarts, the president of the Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group (WSAAG). Gerry took the image at Linden Observatory in the Blue Mountains on 18 November 2006.

Good bye to active sunspot

December 18, 2006

Sunspot 930 about to disappear beyond the edge of the Sun, image Monty Leventhal Over the last two weeks a large sunspot has been visible on the face of the Sun. It has just disappeared beyound the Sun's western edge.

Not all our visitors are interested in looking at the stars!

December 17, 2006

Apart from being one of the most picturesque observatories in the world we also have some of the most beautiful visitors. This pair didn’t seem interested in the views, the history or the stars, they just wanted something to eat!

Earth Hour – a great initiative

December 16, 2006

The bright lights of Sydney as seen from the Opera House, image Nick Lomb In a great initiative WWF Australia has obtained the cooperation of the City of Sydney, the NSW State Government and Fairfax, the publishers of the Sydney Morning Herald to support the lights of Sydney being switched off for one hour.

Stop looking at the Sun, please!

December 15, 2006

Due to the tragic bushfires raging across the country and the amount of smoke in the atmosphere people have noticed they can look at the sun directly and see something rather strange on it. DON'T do it please!

The Great Nebula in Orion

December 13, 2006

The Great Nebula in Orion from Linden Observatory on 18 November 2006, courtesy Gerry Aarts Orion the Hunter is a favourite constellation of the Australian summer sky. It contains one of the most spectacular objects to view with a small telescope, the Great Nebula in Orion.

Meteor shower Thursday night/Friday morning

December 12, 2006

The origin of the Geminid meteors at 1 am summer time 15 December 2006, drawing Nick Lomb One of the year's best meteor showers is expected to peak late on the evening of Thursday 14 December and the early morning of Friday 15 December.

Buying a telescope – magnification

December 11, 2006

A small telescope, photo Nick Lomb At this time of the year many people will be buy telescopes as Christmas presents. This is a great idea, but you need to get the right one and, unless you are in a specialty store, do not assume the store or the salesperson knows what they are selling.

Big new spot on the Sun

December 8, 2006

The Sun on 8 December 2006 at 11:30 am, picture Monty Leventhal A large new elongated sunspot has rotated around the edge of the Sun. It is officially designated as region 930. This is shown in the picture above from expert solar observer and member of the Sydney City Skywatchers Monty Leventhal.

Exciting new images from Mars

December 7, 2006

New crater on Mars, courtesy NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems Some of the most exciting images of Mars that have been taken in over 30 years of exploring the red planet have just been released.