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International Space Station – UK ISS Passes April 2014

UK ISS Pass details for April 2014

ISS

ISS Long Exposure photo of a visible ISS pass Credit: Mark Humpage

The International Space Station (ISS) is back over UK skies with some great passes during April 2014.

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.

Spotting the station is very easy and you don’t need any special equipment, only your eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Telescopes for Beginners, Easy Guide and Review

The Best Beginners Telescopes

Telescope

Choose wisely when buying a Telescope Credit: meteorwatch

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

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

To watch the aurora, you only need your eyes, just like watching meteors or the International Space Station. Look North and low down on the horizon, it may be faint at first.

Solar Flare

Night Sky Guide – April 2014

Night Sky Guide – April 2014

Tonight’s Sky: April 2014

Your guide to constellations, deep-sky objects, planets and events, Tonight’s Sky, Highlights of the April Night Sky Read the rest of this entry »

Night Sky Guide – March 2014

Night Sky Guide – March 2014

Tonight’s Sky: March 2014

Your guide to constellations, deep-sky objects, planets and events, Tonight’s Sky, Highlights of the March Sky Read the rest of this entry »

Night Sky Guide February 2014

Night Sky Guide February 2014

Tonight’s Sky: February 2014

Your guide to constellations, deep-sky objects, planets and events, Tonight’s Sky, Highlights of the February Night Sky Read the rest of this entry »

International Space Station – UK ISS Passes February 2014

UK ISS Pass details for February 2014

Long Exposure photo of a visible ISS pass Credit: Mark Humpage

Long Exposure photo of a visible ISS pass Credit: Mark Humpage

 

The International Space Station (ISS) is back over UK skies with some great passes during February 2014.  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.

Spotting the station is very easy and you don’t need any special equipment, only your eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

Night Sky Guide January 2014

Night Sky Guide January 2014

Tonight’s Sky: January 2014

Your guide to constellations, deep-sky objects, planets and events, Tonight’s Sky, Highlights of the January Sky Read the rest of this entry »

Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2014

Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2014

Quadrantid Meteor Shower

Quadrantid Meteor Shower Credit: NASA

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower ushers in 2014 with its peak on the 3rd of January.

The Quadrantids can be an impressive meteor shower with rates of up to 120 meteors per hour at peak (under perfect conditions) and have been known to produce up to 200 meteors per hour.  The peak is quite narrow lasting only a few hours, however there will be plenty of meteors to look out for either side of maximum. Read the rest of this entry »

International Space Station – UK ISS Passes December 2013

UK ISS Pass details for December 2013

ISS image taken December 22nd Credit: Mark Humpage

ISS image taken December 22nd Credit: Mark Humpage

 

The International Space Station (ISS) is back over UK skies with some great passes during December 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.

Spotting the station is very easy and you don’t need any special equipment, only your eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

Geminid Meteor Shower 2013

Geminid Meteor Shower 2013

The Geminid meteor shower 2013 is the grand finale of astronomical events this year and is the most reliable and prolific of the annual meteor showers.
This year there will be a bright Moon when the Geminids are at their peak on the evening of the 13th/ 14th of December, but most of the brighter meteors should be bright enough to be seen. Read the rest of this entry »

December 2013 Night Sky Guide

December 2013 Night Sky Guide

Your guide to constellations, deep-sky objects, planets and events, Tonight’s Sky, Highlights of the December Sky

Evening Planets

Lovely Venus hangs low in the southwestern sky after sunset. Use a telescope to make out its slender crescent profile.
By nightfall, Jupiter hovers above the eastern horizon. As the night progresses, Jupiter climbs higher into the night sky. Read the rest of this entry »