Sunday October 25 2020




Village Sky At Night with Brian Watkiss

Rise early to view a trio of planets

Posted on November 02 2015 at 1:06:58 0 comments

Lunar eclipse

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Well, the lunar eclipse turned out to be quite spectacular. I was lucky enough to be able to stay up all night and take a few piccies (above). I must admit, I was surprised by just how dark the Moon went.

For the first shot, showing the very start of the eclipse, the exposure time is one three-thousandth of a second. The second one, showing some nice colour banding, took one second and the lovely red totality picture needed six seconds of exposure.

So, if you were wondering why your smartphone pictures didn’t work, now you know.

November is a little quieter but does have a couple of meteor showers that usually put on a good show. The first is the Taurid shower, which peaks around the 12th.

New Moon is on the 11th so we should have some nice dark skies for this and the Leonid shower which peaks on the 18th.

As ever, don’t be too concerned about where the meteors appear to originate from (which is what gives them their weird names), just look in whichever direction you can see the most sky (which is invariably up, not down).

There are no bright planets visible in the evenings this month, unless you care to get your telescopes out and look for Uranus.

Find the great square of Pegasus and trace a line from the top right corner to the bottom left and continue for a similar distance to find this lovely blue/green planet.

Early mornings are a different matter and it will be well worth the effort of rising at around five to witness a spectacular gathering of planets.

Very obvious in the south east will be Venus and for the first few days of the month, it will be very close to Jupiter, just above.

Mars is even closer to Venus and, although nowhere near as bright, is still easy to identify by its orange hue.

As the days go by, Mars and Venus drift down towards the horizon much more quickly than Jupiter, although on the 7th, the Moon is nearby to add to the effect.

Fortunately, sunrise gets later as the month goes on, so this spectacle can be seen almost all month and comet Catalina might be visible in this same area by the end.

A Progress supply vessel is due to be launched on the 21st, so there may be some good satellite spotting to be done too. And it will soon be Christmas!

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