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Good opportunity to see Mercury

October 12, 2006

Mercury, Jupiter and the moon at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 24 October 2006 from Australia Andrew asks: "I noticed Mercury in the night sky last night for the first time in 9 years, and it had been about 11 years prior since I saw it previously.

Tycho: beacon of the south

October 9, 2006

Crater Tycho Here is another drawing and observation of the Moon from Harry Roberts, Moon observer extraordinaire and member of the Sydney City Skywatchers: Tycho is a very young formation, only 110 million years old; much younger than the Sydney sandstone we walk around on.

Chinese Moon Festival

October 7, 2006

To celebrate the Harvest Moon which throughout China marks the Mid Autumn Moon Festival, Sydney Observatory threw a party! Nearly 100 people came along to enjoy music, Chinese mythology, Moon cakes and of course telescope viewing.

Hercules: “the well known astronomer” (?)

October 6, 2006

Crater Hercules Sydney amateur astronomer, expert Moon observer and member of the Sydney City Skywatchers, Harry Roberts reports: High in the lunar NE we find a striking pair of fresh large craters, improbably named Atlas and Hercules: neither well known as men of science.

Oh dear where has the Southern Cross gone?

September 27, 2006

Many of us have trouble finding the Southern Cross over the summer months. As a result many tourists get shown the "false cross", the "diamond cross" or one of many other asterisms out there that seem to resemble a cross.

Last chance to see a really high moon

September 26, 2006

The first quarter Moon This coming Saturday (30 September 2006) provides a final opportunity until 2025 to see the moon at its highest in the sky. From Sydney at 5:44 pm, just as the Sun is setting in the west, the moon will be due north and just five and a half degrees from the zenith, the point directly overhead.

Looking for something different?

September 20, 2006

If you and several friends would like a slightly different activity to enjoy one weekend read on! This photo was taken with a simple Canon Ixus camera, not an SLR or DSLR. Simply by holding the camera up to the eyepiece of our Solar Telescope I was able to take several images.

Heavens-above!

September 20, 2006

If you visit the website www.heavens-above.com and select your location, you can see predictions of when to look to the sky and see satellites, the International Space Station and Irridium flares like this one shown below.

Sighting of International Space Station

September 18, 2006

This evening (Monday 18 August 2006) from 6:19 pm to 6:25 pm The International Space Station could be very clearly seen in the northern and north-eastern sky moving east. What made this a spectacular and memorable sight was a fainter accompanying point of light behind the ISS and keeping a constant distance from it.

A prominence on the Sun

September 18, 2006

Solar prominence on Friday 15 September 2006. Photo by Monty Leventhal Sydney amateur astronomer and expert solar observer Monty Leventhal has sent the above picture of a recent solar prominence. A prominence consists of gas thrown up from the visible surface of the Sun moving under the influence of magnetic fields on the Sun.

Fireball over Bondi?

September 18, 2006

Mark Norris reports: I have just seen a fireball as described by Sharon kelly at approximately 2120hrs passing overhead at Bondi / Tamaramma travelling in South by South Easterly direction at an altitude of around 500 - 1000 feet.

Discord and lawlessness among the planets.

September 15, 2006

2003 UB313 has finally been named, somewhat appropriately I think, after the Roman God of discord. Eris or more correctly 136199 Eris, is the largest of the three known dwarf planets in the solar system.

September 8 2006 Partial Lunar Eclipse

September 8, 2006

Despite the "Cloud Curse of Sydney Observatory" as mentioned in the media, 18 intrepid souls joined us for a 4am breakfast to enjoy today's partial Lunar eclipse. Yes there was a lot of cloud but we all managed to see the largest full Moon of the year minus the 19% hidden in the Earth's shadow.

Pluto – how Sydney Observatory voted

September 6, 2006

Voting on Pluto (the astronomers in the foreground have already voted) The International Astronomical Union at its recent General Assembly in Prague debated the definition of a planet. After a number of false starts the astronomers approved a definition stating that a planet a) must circle the Sun b) must be sufficiently massive for its gravity to have pulled it into a near sperical shape c) must have cleared out its zone, that is it is the only large object circling the Sun in its region of the solar system.