Each new moon weekend a group of amateur astronomers from the Sutherland Astronomical Society head to a dark site at Bargo outside Sydney to do some serious observing. Last Saturday (24 June) Les Dalrymple thought that he had discovered an exploding star or supernova.
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This Monday evening will be a great time to view the Moon as it is at first quarter phase, the phase when most detail is visible. The amateur group Sydney City Skywatchers will hold a Moon observing practical night at Sydney Observatory on Monday 3 July at 6:30 pm.
Q. John Tebbutt first made his name when he discovered a comet in 1861. Could you give me the official name for this comet? I know Tebbutt's name was in there, there were some numbers as well. Another comet discovered by him twenty years later, has I think the official name, Comet Tebbutt 1881 (III).
On Monday 3 July a space rock with the designation 2004 XP14 will pass relatively close to the Earth. The rock is between half and one kilometres in width, but there is no need to worry as at its closest it will still be 430,000 km away or just over the distance of the Moon from the Earth.
Q. Do you know of anywhere i can get details of the Solar and Lunar azimuth angles from Sydney? As i would like to make a model Stonehenge for the backyard. But of cause I can't use the original layout, being in a different lat.
Two new moons of Pluto were discovered in 2005 and confirmed by the Hubble Space Telescope earlier this year. Until now they were referred to as S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2, names that do not roll smoothly off the tongue.
Today 21 June is the shortest day of the year and from now on days will become longer. However, that does not mean that the Sun rises earlier from now on. In fact, over the next week it will rise up to a minute later.
Too many badly directed lights are a concern to anyone involved in astronomy. Noone wants a dark city, but lights can be directed downwards and many lights are just badly directed decorative lights which do not add to anyone's feeling of security.