Stargazing LIVE (co-produced by The Open University) returns for a second three-night series on BBC Two set to encourage everyone – from the complete beginner to the enthusiastic amateur – to make the most of the night sky.
On the 16th 17th and 18th of January Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain will broadcast live from the control room of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, interacting live with the audience and calling on a starry collection of the country’s finest astronomical minds to explore the majestic wonders of the skies above Britain.
In their own unique style, the pair will tackle some of the most intriguing questions in astronomy, such as Why Does The Moon Cause The Tides?, How Do We Know Where Black Holes Are When They Are Impossible To See? and What Will We Actually Say If We Ever Make Contact With An Alien Race?
Closer to home, there will also be hints and tips for getting started in Stargazing and advice on navigating your way around the skies.
And there’s more, with scores of Stargazing LIVE activities across the UK – find out where at Things To Do, the BBC’s activity finder website:
23rd to 30th of October 2011
In celebration of its 5th year, the Salisbury Star Party will be hosting AstroParty with 7 days of Astronomy activities for people of all levels of interest and ability. All are welcome and those who attend will enjoy dark skies, a fantastic location, great company and lots and lots of fun. The organisers intend to make the Astro Party one of the biggest and best astronomy events in 2011 and beyond.
The event will be held in a lovely and spacious campsite in the pretty village of Sixpenny Handley in the glorious Wiltshire countryside, (an area of outstanding natural beauty) with dark skies and excellent facilities including a large cafe/ conference area.
The site is located within 300m of the Village High Street. There are a variety of shops, including General Stores/Newsagents, Butchers, Post Office, Gift Shop and also a Public House. The village church backs on to the campsite, which adds a little more of that country atmosphere to the venue.
The historic City of Salisbury and the market towns of Blandford Forum, Wimborne Minster, Shaftesbury and Ringwood are all easily reached within 30 minutes drive.
If you aren’t keen on camping, there are local B&B’s and hotels etc in the surrounding area.
Star Party – Running for all of the 7 nights with around 70 to 100 experienced astronomers at its core, the Star Party is the main part of the event, so bring your kit if you have any, join in and take advantage of observing and imaging with a large group, whatever your level of experience? You don't even need to bring a telescope, just use your eyes.
Imaging World Record – More info coming soon?
Inflatable Planetarium Shows – Big planetariums with big shows all topped off with what’s up guides.
Talks – A daily program of talks by famous and experienced people in the world of astronomy.
Tweetup – A social gathering of social media. Twitter and Facebook users meet and tweet with your online friends here.
Tours of the Sky – live and real tours of the sky by experienced astronomers.
Telescope and Equipment Workshops – Ask for advice or get help with astronomical equipment.
Trade Stands – More info and who is coming soon?
Competitions – A raffle for that nice telescope or piece of imaging kit?
Hospitality – There will be a hog roast on the final Saturday, and there is a cafe which is open through the week. We hope to have additional tents where you can warm up, tweetup, get a coffee, have some soup, or somewhere to chill and drink your beer. There is a licensed bar on site and a pub in the village.
More activities and services will be added to the program before the event starts.
A website will be launched shortly where you can look for additional information and book your tickets for the event.
Please book tickets here
Let’s Make AstroParty, hosted by the Salisbury Star Party one of the biggest and best astronomy events and we hope to see you all there.
With the Quadrantids meteor shower that has just past yielding around 100 meteors per hour in near-perfect New Moon conditions, which showers of the next two years will give us as good a display?
There are a few regular, dependable showers that can be relied on to put on a good show year after year, given a good Moon phases, so let’s concentrate on those:
The Lyrids peak this year on April 21/22, only three days after the Full Moon, making conditions far from ideal. The ZHR is around 20, but under bright Moon conditions this will be much reduced, so that from the UK you might only see a few Lyrids per hour.
The Perseids peak on 12/13 August 2011 coincides exactly with a Full Moon, making this shower pretty much a write-off in 2011.
The Orionids peak occurs on 21/22 October 2011 just after the last quarter Moon, with the Moon rising a little after midnight, just as the meteor shower radiant is gaining height. Again, far from ideal.
The Leonids peak on 17/18 November occurs during a last quarter Moon, which unfortunately is smack bang in the direction of Leo, and so will obscure many of the Leonids in 2011
The Geminids peak on 13/14 December 2011 will likewise be completely obscured by an almost-full Moon in Gemini.
The Quadrantids peak on 3/4 January 2012 will feature a waxing gibbous Moon which won’t set until 0400.
The Lyrids peak on 21/22 April 2012 is the first major shower peak in 15 months where the Moon is absent, meaning that you should get good views of this shower which has a ZHR of only around 20.
The Perseids peak of 12/13 August 2012 will feature a thin waning crescent moon that’s visible in the sky from midnight, obscuring some of the Perseids.
The Orionids peak on 21/22 October 2012 is pretty much Moon-free from around 2330, as the Moon sets.
The Leonids peak on 17/18 November 2012 will also be Moon free from early evening, and so presents an opportunity to see a few Leonids.
Rounding off this two year run of poor Moon conditions for meteor showers, we end with the Geminids on 13/14 December, coinciding wonderfully with a New Moon on 13 December, meaning conditions will be near perfect.
Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain host three days of live stargazing on BBC 2 featuring epic images from astronomers and observatories from around the globe.
There will be hundreds of free events up and down the country and many useful videos and guides on the Stargazing web page.
Stargazing Live is all about people doing astronomy and witnessing some of the most spectacular astronomical events, including the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Uranus, the Quadrantid meteor shower and other wonders of the night sky.
In the spirit of getting everyone to look up and share all of the fantastic things going on as well as the BBC 2 program, meteorwatch.org will be doing a twitter meteorwatch for the quadrantids meteor shower, headed up by meteorwatch (@VirtualAstro on Twitter).
As well as all the useful information for beginners on this site and tweets from many people joining in on twitter, meteorwatch.org will have the Meteormap.
Tweet #bbcstargazing or #meteorwatch – first part of your postcode – Country e.g UK – and how many meteors you just saw, e.g 3 to see your meteor results appear on the map.
Your tweet should look like this #bbcstargazing SE1 UK 2 or #meteorwatch PL4 UK 1
Enjoy BBC Stargazing Live, the many events and Twitter Meteorwatch, but most of all, tell your family, tell your friends and tell everyone to look up and enjoy the majesty and wonders of the night sky!
The BBC is not moderating/ overseeing or is responsible for the content on this post, meteorwatch.org or the Twitter Meteorwatch.