1 June 2012

Space viewing highlights over Canberra for tonight and the next week

| Gungahlin Al
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People here asked for updates of space events of note, including particularly good opportunities for viewing the only place where humans live other than on Earth – the International Space Station.

So here are a few long ISS passes over the next three days. Friday’s pass is lower in the sky (see the maximum elevation of only 25 degrees – 90 degrees is straight up), so won’t be as bright as the other two days. there are shorter passes later on some days but I’ve culled passes of just 1 or 2 minutes.

Date: Friday, June 01, 2012
Time: 05:36 PM
Duration: 5 minutes
Maximum Elevation: 25°
Approach: 10° above SSW
Departure: 11° above E
Magnitude: -2.1 (pretty bright)

Date: Saturday, June 02, 2012
Time: 06:18 PM
Duration: 6 minutes
Maximum Elevation: 61°
Approach: 10° above SW
Departure: 15° above NE
Magnitude: -2.9 (quite bright)

Date: Sunday, June 03, 2012
Time: 05:24 PM
Duration: 6 minutes
Maximum Elevation: 57°
Approach: 10° above SW
Departure: 10° above ENE
Magnitude: -3.2 (Very bright – see the scale goes backwards? It’s logarithmic too, so a difference of 5 magnitudes means a brightness difference of exactly 100 times.)

And on Monday, there’ll be a partial lunar eclipse. The Earth’s shadow will overlap about 38% of the Moon from 19:59 to 22:06. Maximum eclipse 21:03.
Of course Wednesday will be all about the Transit of Venus. Check this website for an animation based on your location of the track of Venus as it passes in front of the Sun then loops back out again. Times for this are:

External ingress 8:16 – Venus touches edge of Sun
Internal ingress 8:34 – Venus completely within Sun’s disc
Closest to sun centre 11:30
Internal egress 14:26
External egress 14:44 – all done

Here’s hoping for clear skies, or I’ll have to go for a long drive to get photos. I’ve been practicing with the solar filters I made for the telescope and camera – here are early efforts.
If I don’t have to drive away to find clear skies, I’ll be home all Transit Day. Happy for people to drop me a line about dropping around for a look through the telescope.

If you are viewing yourself, please remember it is very dangerous. Any focusing of the sun using a lens without proper filtering will destroy your eye instantly. Here’s how to watch safely.

Now for enthusiasts, here’s a challenge. Iridium satellites are part of a sat-phone network. They have several shiny solar panels and cause very bright but short flares.
There are a few flares this next week but this one at Magnitude -6 will be much brighter than Venus at it brightest (-4.4), and should be right as you are walking out the office door.
Date: 6 Jun At: 17:23:40 Altitude: 70° Azimuth: 127° (SE )
Other flare details at http://heavens-above.com – log in so it knows your location for accurate predictions.

Enjoy folks!

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There is an orange light hovering over Gordon, Tidbinbilla and the Brindabellas at present if anyone is interested in looking through their telescopes or taking a photo…..11.05pm

😀 Thanks Al!

Gungahlin Al4:23 pm 02 Jun 12

It was pretty cool wasn’t it WMC.

OpenYourMind said :

I like the secondary magnitude scale: pretty bright, quite bright, very bright 🙂

I just have a hate of the misuse these days of the word “extremely” so have to find other words on a continuum…

And besides, when it comes to night time and the word extremely – I believe it should be reserved for describing the over-achieving streetlights in our newer suburbs that spill light upwards and so effectively destroy any chance we have of seeing the Milky Way without driving a half hour away from town. Honestly – why can I stand on top of a high hill yet look down and see every damned streetlight in Gungahlin? What useful function is that actually performing?

Wasted electricity, wasted taxpayer money, absurd light pollution, reduced awareness of the wonders of space – oh and contributing to warming. “Vote for Alan Kerlin – he’ll turn down the lights” 😀

OpenYourMind11:00 pm 01 Jun 12

I like the secondary magnitude scale: pretty bright, quite bright, very bright 🙂

Gungahlin Al said :

What do you do? I was thinking maybe (hopefully) there’ll be some timely breaks in the weather…

I will just leave this here….

David Bowie – Rocket Man

Sorry, G-Al… Pissed as a parrot, but I think this thread could do with this music while I enjoy my brew…

Woody Mann-Caruso8:09 pm 01 Jun 12

Sure there is.

/walks outside

Clouds, clouds, clou…


Gungahlin Al7:44 pm 01 Jun 12

Step outside and look up Canberra (19:44). There’s a giant ring around the Moon. 

Gungahlin Al3:04 pm 01 Jun 12

Yeah sorry about that Switch.
What do you do?

I was thinking maybe (hopefully) there’ll be some timely breaks in the weather…

Besides – you’re interested in this stuff, meaning you put science before superstition right? So you *know* the weather wasn’t my fault right? ’twas friggin Murphy – that’s who.

Thanks Al. Now we’re sure to have a wet weekend. It always rains when there’s some interesting astronomical thing to be seen.

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