Dr Richard Binzel demonstrating one of the new criteria for a planet Yesterday saw the release of the proposed new definition of a planet under which there are at least 12 planets in the solar system.
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and "Xena" (2003 UB313). When is a planet really a planet? Astronomers at the International Astronomical Conference Union in Prague are debating this question at the moment.
Entertainment at the opening ceremony This afternoon was the opening ceremony of the General Assembly. This was a most impressive ceremony with lots of speeches, some very good, as well as some entertainment.
The Prague astronomical clock at 2 pm I arrived in Prague today to attend a major international gathering of astronomers. This is the three yearly General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, the last one one of which was held in Sydney in 2003.
The overall winner of the 2006 David Malin Awards Peter Ward flanked by Bishop Christopher Toohey (CWAS President) and Dr David Malin The "Winning sky photos: the David Malin Awards" exhibition opened last night at Sydney Observatory.
Carolyn reports a fireball in the Bega area: Aug 5th, 2006 at 9:00 pm Hi we have just witnessed what looked like a huge fireball coming across the sky we live in the Bega Area the time is now 8.55pm we took video of the fireball.
As indicated on the previous post, the moon is the easiest celestial body to observe and a wealth of detail can be seen even through a small telescope. Here is another of the exquisite lunar drawings by amateur astronomer and member of the Sydney City Skywatchers Harry Roberts: This is the story Roald Dahl didn’t write!
If you have a small telescope or a friend with one that you can use, it is worth while examining the moon. Huge amount of details are visible and the features change in appearance as the lunar day progresses.
Globular clusters are roughly spherical collections of old stars that circle around the centre of the Galaxy. Some like Omega Centauri are massive objects with hundreds of thousands of stars. Others like the just announced AL 3 are faint and have relatively few stars.
Q. I have heard that sometimes when there is a full moon one can sit at McMahons point and watch it rise under the Harbour Bridge. I was told it is one of the most wonderful Sydney experiences. Is this the case and how often/when does it happen?
There is an email circulating in cyberspace saying that the red planet Mars will be exceptionally close on 27 August (2006). According to one version "It will look like the Earth has two moons"!!! Once again this is a good lesson in not believing everything on the Internet.
Sydney Observatory's annual Festival of the Stars was held this weekend on Friday (21 July) and Saturday (22 July). The weather forecast was gloomy and sure enough there was lots of cloud for the Friday evening.
Q. At 12.00 midday each day (weather permitting) I mark the shadow cast by the top corner of the building. I have been recording this since Sept 23 2005, and the shape has taken a nice elongated figure 8 shape (infinity symbol).
This coming Friday and Saturday evenings (July 21 & 22) Sydney Observatory is holding its second annual Festival of the Stars. The Sydney Harbour Bridge floodlights will be turned off for the events and a number of City and North Sydney buildings will be turning off their exterior signage.
On Monday 7 August from 6:30 pm there will be a double event at Sydney Observatory. First there will be the opening of a spectacular photographic display. This is from the 2006 "David Malin" Awards that was held during the CWAS Astrofest in July.