ISS UK Pass details for June 2013.
The International Space Station (ISS) is back over UK skies with bright passes during June 2013.
The ISS is the largest Space Station/ laboratory ever built orbiting the Earth, it can be spotted with the naked eye at certain times as it orbits the planet at 17500mph at an altitude of roughly 200 miles.
Space Oddity – The First Music Video From Space
With thanks to Emm Gryner, Joe Corcoran, Andrew Tidby and Evan Hadfield for all their hard work.
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How to find the Planet Saturn tonight
On April 28 2013 the ringed planet Saturn will be at opposition, meaning Saturn is opposite the Sun from Earth. The Sun Earth and Saturn form a straight line or alignment.
What this means is, Saturn will be visible all night in our skies.
Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system to Jupiter (which can be seen low in the West) and is probably one of the most spectacular or beautiful objects visible to people on Earth. Even those beginning in astronomy or with a passing interest can see Saturn with the naked eye, through binoculars, or see its rings through a small telescope – It’s a breathtaking sight.
How to Find Saturn Read the rest of this entry »
The Best Beginners Telescopes
When people first get interested or even talk about looking at the night sky and astronomy, the first thing that jumps to mind is stargazing using a telescope. It’s like a fisherman has a rod or a boat and a painter has a brush, to many it’s a rite of passage and something they must have to feel like a proper astronomer.
There is so much a beginner can see without a Telescope and even more to see with binoculars (a pair should be owned by every beginner and budding astronomer), but there comes a time when a beginner feels they must have a telescope. This is when you can venture into a very technical and confusing world for the first time. Read the rest of this entry »
Beginners Guide To Aurora
Here is a very quick beginners guide to explaining aurora
Aurora = The Northern (or Southern) lights/ Aurora Borealis/ Australis
Usually seen near the poles of the Earth, but can be seen further South in the UK or USA.
So how and where does it come from?
“Coronal Mass Ejection” = A load of solar material hurled out of the Sun. A big one can contain billions of tons of “plasma”.
Plasma hits Earth’s “magnetosphere” causing “geomagnetic storms” = Aurora, also known as the Northern or Southern lights.
Geomagnetic storms are measured using a scale called the “Planetary Kp index” ranging from 1 to 9. 1 being low and 9 being a very heavy storm.
The higher the Kp index the higher the likelihood of Aurora and the further South it can be seen. 5 = Scotland 8+ Southern England.
Geomagnetic storms and aurora are very unpredictable and forecasts can be very vague, we don’t know the intensity or where the aurora can be seen from until it hits.
Here is a link to NOAA Space Weather Scales
Soon you may see an eerie spectacle on clear summer nights if you are located at latitudes between 50° and 70° north and south of the equator: Noctilucent Clouds.
These ghostly apparitions are a delight to see and are quite rare. It is incredibly difficult to predict exactly when they will appear, but we do know they should begin to appear soon.
The season for Noctilucent Clouds (Noctilucent = Latin for “Night Shining”) starts early June and continues into late July. They are seen just after dusk, or before dawn and an apparition can last around an hour.
These mysterious clouds, with their bizarre tenuous wispy shapes reminiscent of ripples in sand or the changing surface of a pool of water, spread like a glowing web across the northern sky. Colours can range from brilliant whites, with tinges of blue, pink and orange.
They are normally too faint to be seen, and are visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon, while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth’s shadow. Noctilucent clouds are not fully understood and are a recently discovered meteorological phenomenon, only being recorded for about 120 years.
Noctilucent clouds can only form under very restrictive conditions, and their occurrence can be used as a guide to changes in the upper atmosphere. Since their relatively recent classification, the occurrence of noctilucent clouds appears to be increasing in frequency, brightness and extent.
There is evidence that the relatively recent appearance of noctilucent clouds and their gradual increase, may be linked to climate change. Another recent theory is that some of these bright displays come from particulates and water vapour in the atmosphere left over from Space Shuttle launches.
How can you see Noctilucent Clouds?
Over the next couple of months look north during dusk and dawn and try and spot this mysterious and elusive phenomenon. They are best seen when the sun is between 6 and 16 degrees below the horizon, and seem to occur more frequently in the Northern hemisphere than the Southern.
Happy Birthday Hubble! Top Five Spring Telescope Targets
The iconic Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched 23 years ago on 24 April 1990, and ever since has been returning breathtaking images of the cosmos as well as world-changing science. It is, without a doubt, one of the most successful scientific instruments ever built.
To celebrate its 23rd birthday here is a list of five stunning celestial objects visible over the next couple of months that you can find for yourself using a small earth-based telescope. Most of these objects will look like nothing more than diffuse grey smudges in the field of view of your eyepiece, but I’ve illustrated this post with some Hubble Space Telescope images of the same objects, to show you what they really look like. Despite the fact that your telescope can’t ever show anything as stunning as an HST image, there’s something even more wonderful about seeing these objects in real-time, for yourself, not mediated via a computer screen. Read the rest of this entry »
Eclipse Of The Moon April 2013
On the April 25th 2013 there will be a partial eclipse of the Moon, the first of three lunar eclipses in 2013. It will be seen from The UK and Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia and will look similar to the above image taken by @Jochta of @ReadingAS. The darkening will be at the top of the Moon not the bottom as seen in the image. Read the rest of this entry »
ISS UK Pass details for April 2013.
The International Space Station (ISS) is back over UK skies with bright passes during April 2013.
The ISS is a large Space Station/ laboratory orbiting the Earth, it can be spotted with the naked eye at certain times as it orbits the planet at 17500mph at an altitude of roughly 200 miles.