There’s a stack to look at in the sky during the first half of March. First there’s the Comet C/2011 L4, also known as PANSTARRS. This lovely photo was taken by Canberra Astronomical Society member Vello Tabur on 5 March. Look just south of where the sun goes does, immediately after sunset. No scope required, but a pair of binoculars will make your viewing a little more enjoyable. It’s getting closer to the Sun so won’t be visible for much longer.
There are a few really bright Iridium flares, short extremely bright bursts of reflected sunlight off satellite telephone satellites:
|Time||Brightness||Altitude||Azimuth||Satellite||Distance to flare centre||Brightness at flare centre||Sun altitude|
|-8||54°||354° (N)||Iridium 7||3 km (W)||
|-7.5||36°||177° (S)||Iridium 50||0 km (E)||-7.5||-14°|
|-3.5||38°||176° (S)||Iridium 53||12 km (E)||-7.6||-13°|
The International Space Station will be making morning and evening bright passes:
Here’s a challenge, and binoculars might be a help. It’s the top secret X37B spy space shuttle:
It’s such a big secret that the US spy agency running it issues media releases about its launches and landings. I think if you’re telling the media about your secret activities, you’re not doing it right!
Jupiter is still making for good viewing, setting in the late evening, while Saturn is making a welcome return to our evening skies, rising now before midnight.
And ANU is running some daytime Mount Stromlo walking tours:
Take a walking tour of the Mount Stromlo Observatory and learn about the history of one of Canberra’s oldest sites. Mount Stromlo Observatory has been carrying out astronomical observations for over 100 years and, prior to the 2003 firestorm, had grown from a small outpost of pioneering astronomers to one of the great observatories of the world.
Its history includes designing optical munitions during the Second World War, weathering two devastating bushfires and earning one Nobel Prize. Learn about this unique part of Canberra’s history amid the beauty of this heritage location.
Bookings are essential! Please contact Rose Metcalfe to confirm your place (6125 8022).
Saturday, 9 March 2013 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM