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.
Every School Holidays we hold numerous family events. Yesterday we ran our “Lost in Space Family Fun Day”. Aimed at children, all the activities were included in the ticket price of just $10 per child.
Sunspots on the Sun indicate regions of strong activity and magnetic fields. The number of spots tends to vary with a cycle of 11-years called, not surprisingly, the sunspot cycle. In 2006 the Sun is at a minumum in the cycle and there are generally few spots visible.
July's clear nights provide an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the night sky. One of the best ways to do so is to download a monthly sky description from the Sydney Observatory website, go outside with the drink of your choice and an mp3 player and then settle down comfortably to watch the sky and listen to the description.
With these beautiful clear winter days we get plenty of calls about golden "comets" in the early morning or late afternoon. Sadly these celestial delights are nothing more that plane condensation trails reflecting the unscattered longer wavelength light from the sun.
Are these the same object? Q. "Hi im from bateau bay n.s.w.tonight 6.20pm i saw a meteor going from west to east fizzing out over the sea could this be a fragment of yesterdays report of a near miss of a much larger object , my sighting showed a brilliant long tale slow moving" A.
It can be difficult to explain the large scale of our solar system. Diagrams in books invariably are not to scale as the innermost planets like Venus and Earth are so much closer to the Sun than the outer planets like Jupiter and Saturn.