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Sunday, September 24, 2017

 

The Earth did not end on September 23 2017 (But then, you knew that)

The great sign appearing in the sky in September, This once in 7,000 year celestial event shows "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth … She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod", the beginning of tribulations described in Revelations 12...

Oh, I'm sorry, that's the line up in 1827.. (Hmm, the earth has not ended in the intervening century).

Well, September 23, the date, according to numerologist David Meade, of the great sign of Revelation 12, where the spiritual beginnings of the apocalypse will occur, to be followed up by the impact of the imaginary Planet Nibiru on or Earth, has come and gone.

The crescent Moon, Jupiter and Spica on the evening of September 23, 2017 (click to embiggen)

So, what happened, we had the Solstice (spring in the Southern Hemisphere, Autumn in the North), a  very nice day here, warn and blue skied, and  nice evening line-up of Spica, Jupiter and the Moon (which will still be nice tonight), although the Moon will be further away.

And that was it. Nibiru failed to appear.   David Meade has suspended the apocalypse until some unspecified date in the future.

But we all knew this would happen, didn't we. We survived the end of the earth in 2012, the end of the Earth from Comet ISON and the end of the Earth from comet Elenin. Some simple simple astronomical knowledge heled usalong.

Assuming that we can trust the interpretation of the "woman clothed with the sun" as being the astrological constellation of Virgo when the suns is in it, the occurs EVERY September. The Moon will be at Virgo's feet at least once every september too. Jupiter, which is supposed to be the "male child" in the prophecy, is currently in Virgo not far from Spica, and will move out of Virgo over the coming Months (the "giving birth" thing). Jupiter have an orbit of roughly 12 years, so reoughly every 12 years of so we will have a  woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, giving bith to a child. Hardly the 7,000 year unqiue line up.

WHat about the crown of 12 stars, This si particularly arbitray (there are any number of stars above the "Head" of Virgo). There are 13 unaided eye visible stars in Leo, and you can add in the planets as well. Theses line-ups with the added Planets are rarer, EarthSky found at least 4 others in 1827, 1483, 1293, and 1056. I've illustrated the 1827 one above.

Notably, the world did not end after the 1827 Revelation sign, despite months and years passing. The same will happen with this revelation sign.

What about Nibiru. It is a figment of the imagination. In the same peoid that this supposed bigger than Jupiter palent was supposed to come close to us, amateur and professional astronomers tracked a tiny space probe, found a new Dwarf Planet, multiple new asteroids and generally failed to see anything as obvious as a mega Jupiter heading towards us (it would be the brightest object in the sky, other than the Sun and Moon, for many months before it came close to us, even if it was pitch black).

Because it isn't there.

So next time someone tries to scare you with an astronomical doomsday, just say no. You've survived at least four, you are not scared any more.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday September 21 to Thursday September 28

The First Quarter Moon is Thursday, September 28. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the late twilight sky. The thin crescent Moon is close to Jupiter on the 22nd. Earth is at spring equinox on the 23rd. Saturn is visible all evening in the heart of the Milky Way and is close to the Moon on the 26th and 27th. Venus is now low in  the morning sky coming close to the bright star Regulus.

Earth is at spring equinox on the 23rd, day and night will be approximately equal in length. The First Quarter Moon is Thursday, September 28. The Moon is at apogee, when it is furthest from the Earth, on the 27th.

Evening sky on Friday September 22 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 19:07 ACST  (60 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is low above the horizon close to the bright star Spica.The Thin crescent Moon froms a triangle with the pair.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is setting mid evening and is above the western horizon in the early evening at full dark. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. Over the week Jupiter moves away from Spica. The thin crescent Moon is close to Jupiter on the 22nd.

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, was on April the 8th. Jupiter is rising before the sun sets and sets around 8:30 pm local time. Jupiter is now too low to be a good telescopic target, but the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars for a brief time. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Fri 22 Sep 18:33 Eur: Reappears from Eclipse
Mon 25 Sep 18:38 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Mon 25 Sep 18:45 Io : Shadow Transit Begins        ST

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Evening sky on Tuesday September 26 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:35 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Saturn was  at opposition on June the 15th, when it was biggest and brightest in the sky as seen from earth. Saturn is visible all evening long. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 7:30 pm until midnight. It is poised above the dark rifts in the Milky Way and is in a good area for binocular hunting. Although still high in the early evening sky, Saturn begins to sink into the western evening skies as the week progresses.  Saturn's rings are visible even in small telescopes and are always good to view. Saturn is close to the Moon on the 26th and 27th.

The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the north-western horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look to the left of  that, the next bright object is Saturn.

Morning sky on Thursday September 21 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACST (45 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright just above the horizon and is close to the bright star Regulus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Venus  is lowering in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a "Gibbous Moon". This week Venus comes close to the bright star Regulus. It is becoming hard to see Venus in the early twilight, but it is still brilliant enough to be obvious shortly before sunrise.On the 21st Venus is very close to the star Regulus.

 Mars is just emerging from the twilight, but will be difficult to see for some weeks.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

 

Morning line-up of Venus and the Crescent Moon (18 September)

Morning sky on Monday September 18 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACST (45 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright just above the horizon and is close to the Moon and the bright star Regulus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

On the morning of the 18th Venus is close to the Crescent Moon and Regulus, There is also a daylight occultation of Venus on the 18th, but this event is for experienced observers only.

Friday, September 15, 2017

 

Aurora and Geomagnetic storm Happening NOW - G1 - Minor (15 September)

The SWS has issued a geomagnetic disturbance alert as the Kp has reached 5 and a minor solar storm is in progress. Camera only aurora are reported in the Huon in Tasmanian. There is also an updated Geomagnetic warning for 15-16 September (UT) due to persistence of a high speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole.  There is currently a G1 (minor storm in progress).  The conditions for aurora are marginal, Velocity: 680 km/sec Bz: -1.0 nT Density = 5.0 p/cc  but with dark skies it will be well worth keeping a lookout. The SWS predicts active conditions will continue for the next day or so.. The Space Weather Prediction Service has predicted a G1 storm on  the early morning of September 16th.

If the Bz becomes more negative the aurora may be seen more generally and possibly unaided eye in Tasmania, weather permitting. The Moon is waning, and will not significantly interfere with aurora. especially now Be patient, as the activity may rise and fall of the magnetic polarity of the wind may fluctuate significantly.

Last weeks nearly full Moon aurora on Friday the 8th was readily seen (despite lots of cloud) with some spectacular images of Moonlight aurora (and Moonbows).  Some reports have come from the mainland as well. If this even causes aurora, they wil not be anywhere near as dramatic as that event, but still worth a look.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.
As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences". A double arc,  blobs, and curtains were seen in last weeks aurora despite the moonlight.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

A new aurora camera is being installed at Campania, Tasmania. A live feed of the images from this camera is  sill not available.

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE ALERT
ISSUED AT 0825 UT ON 15 SEP 2017 BY SPACE WEATHER SERVICES
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

MINOR (G1 - MINOR) GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE IN PROGRESS (K OF 5 REACHED)
PRELIMINARY AUSTRALIAN REGION K INDICES FOR 15 09 17: 335- ----
_____________________________________________________________

FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OF THIS EVENT ON THE SWS SPACE WEATHER STATUS PANEL,
HTTP://WWW.SWS.BOM.GOV.AU > SPACE WEATHER

SUBJ: SWS GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCE WARNING 17/46
ISSUED AT 0005UT/15 SEPTEMBER 2017
BY THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE.

The previous geomagnetic warning is extended for two more days.
The high speed streams associated with the coronal hole is expected
to persist for a few days. If the Bz component of the IMF turned
strongly southward for prolonged periods, earth could experience
minor storm conditions. Otherwise, expect mostly unsettled to
active condition for the next two days (15 and 16 Sep).

INCREASED GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY EXPECTED
DUE TO CORONAL HOLE HIGH SPEED WIND STREAM
FROM 15-16 SEPTEMBER 2017
_____________________________________________________________

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
15 Sep:  Active
16 Sep:  Active



Our Aurora forecasting tool, located at
http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Aurora/3/1, may help to estimate regions
from where aurora would be visible.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

 

Follow Cassini's last moments (15 September)

Final track of the Cassini spacecraft before it impacts Saturns atmosphere (Source ESA)

As I write, the Cassini spacecraft, which for 13 years has been sending back astounding images of Saturn, it's rings and Moons, is 1 hours and 22 minutes from its final fiery plunge into Saturn's atmosphere.


Source: XKCD

Cassini's death dive is to ensure any earth bacteria which may have survived on the spacecraft do not contaminate Saturn's Moons.

You can follow Cassin's path in virtual reality at Where is Cassini Now? The final plunge will occur sometime around 11:54 UT (which is 21:54 AEST).  There will be ;live coverage form NASA https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive and the ESA.

Live coverage starts  at around 21:00 AEST (11:00 UT) on the 15th.

Other Cassini end of mission information is here.
https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/grand-finale/overview/
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cassini-Huygens/How_to_follow_Cassini_s_end_of_mission

Any Australian astronomer who has access to a one meter or greater telescope with planetary imaging capability should try and capture the fireball. As per IceinSpaces call.

=============================================================
*** A CALL OUT TO AUSSIES WITH ACCESS TO A ONE METRE TELESCOPE WITH PLANETARY IMAGING ***
On 15th September 2017, we will sadly bid farewell to the Cassini Mission ending with the spacecraft being hurled into Saturn's atmosphere. Australia has front row seating for this event. The attached simulation shows the view of Earth from Saturn at the time of Cassini's entry. There's a chance that telescopes of one metre aperture may catch the fireball. Exmouth in W.A. has excellent opportunity as Saturn will be 53 degrees above the horizon.
Time of event due: 10pm AEST / 12 UT.
Extensive info in this link:
https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1708/1708.05036.pdf

It'll be quite special to catch and image this event. If anyone is able to do this, would you please kindly respond, and send images to share via messages (you'll be credited)? Thanks, Suzy.
=================================================================



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The Sky This Week - Thursday September 14 to Thursday September 21

The New Moon is Wednesday, September 20. Jupiter and the bright star Spica are nearby in the early evening sky. Saturn is visible all evening in the heart of the Milky Way. Venus is now low in  the morning sky coming close to the bright star Regulus. The thin crescent Moon is close to Venus on the 18th.

The New Moon is Wednesday, September 20.

Evening sky on Saturday September 16 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 19:02 ACST  (60 minutes after sunset). Jupiter is above the horizon close to the bright star Spica.  The inset shows the telescopic view of Jupiter at this time.

Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset). (click to embiggen).

Jupiter is setting mid evening and is above the western horizon in the early evening at full dark. It is close to the bright star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. Over the week Jupiter moves away from Spica

Opposition, when Jupiter is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth, was on April the 8th. Jupiter is rising before the sun sets and sets around 8:30 pm local time. Jupiter is now too low to be a good telescopic target, but the dance of its Moons is visible even in binoculars. The following Jupiter events are in AEST.


Fri 15 Sep 20:17 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian
Sun 17 Sep 19:04 Io : Disappears into Occultation
Mon 18 Sep 18:24 Io : Transit Ends                 S
Mon 18 Sep 19:01 Io : Shadow Transit Ends
Wed 20 Sep 19:27 GRS: Crosses Central Meridian

Mercury is lost in the twilight.

Evening sky on Saturday September 16 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 19:32 ACST, 90 minutes after sunset.

The inset shows the telescopic view of Saturn at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (90 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen).

Saturn was  at opposition on the 15th, when it was biggest and brightest in the sky as seen from earth. Saturn is visible all evening long. Saturn is a good telescopic target from 7:30 pm until midnight. It is poised above the dark rifts in the Milky Way and is in a good area for binocular hunting. Although still high in the early evening sky, Saturn begins to sink into the western evening skies as the week progresses.  Saturn's rings are visible even in small telescopes and are always good to view.

The constellation of Scorpio is a good guide to locating Saturn. The distinctive curl of Scorpio is easy to see above the north-western horizon, locate the bright red star, Antares, and the look to the left of  that, the next bright object is Saturn.

Morning sky on Monday September 18 looking east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 ACST (45 minutes before sunrise). Venus is bright just above the horizon and is close to the Moon and the bright star Regulus.

 Similar views will be seen throughout Australia at the equivalent local time (that is 45 minutes before sunrise, click to embiggen).

Venus  is lowering in the morning sky and is visible in telescopes as a "Gibbous Moon". This week Venus comes closer to the bright star Regulus. It is becoming hard to see Venus in the early twilight, but it is still brilliant enough to be obvious shortly before sunrise. On the 18th Venus is close to the Crescent Moon and Regulus, There is also a daylight occultation of Venus on the 18th, but this event is for experienced observers only.

 Mars is just emerging from the twilight, but will be difficult to see fro some weeks.

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.

Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds (day and night) http://satview.bom.gov.au/

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Monday, September 11, 2017

 

Daytime Occultation of Venus by the Moon (18 September, 2017)

The Moon at 09:48 am ACST in Adelaide on Monday 18 September just before the Moon covers Venus. The inset shows the Moon an Venus at this time. (click to embiggen).

WARNING! This daytime occultation occurs close to the Sun and should be attempted by experienced observers only. The Moon will be just 28 degrees (under 5 hand-spans)from the Sun. Exposure to the Sun through a telescope eye-piece can result in instant blindness. Any observation should be carried out with the sun blocked from view by a building or similar large, obscuring object with no possibility of the sun being accidentally observed.

On the morning of Monday 18 September Venus is occulted by the thin crescent Moon as seen from the most of Australia, Indonesia, Papua new Guinea  and New Zealand. The Moon is a signpost for where to look (it may be hard to see the thin moon in daylight) and Venus should be sufficiently bright to be seen near the Moon even in daylight.

Start watching about half an hour before hand to get set up and familiar with the sky. This is a daytime occultation requiring a small telescope or binoculars and extreme caution and attention to Sun safety.

Venus will appear to "wink out" as it goes behind the bright limb of the Moon, reappearance will be harder to see as you have to be looking just at the right moment.

The occultation occurs in the early morning with the Moon reasonably high above the northern horizon. The Moon is three days before new and you may need binoculars to find it, hence the need for extreme care with the sun. The Moon is also a ready signpost to Venus (although you may see Venus before the Moon). It is advisable to set up and practise on the Moon in the morning twilight before the event, so you are familiar with your telescope set-up. Set up at least half an hour ahead of time so that you can be sure everything is working well and you can watch the entire event comfortably (trying to focus your telescope moments before the occultation will cause a lot of unnecessary stress). Venus will be clearly visible in a telescope or binoculars near the Moon. Again, the Sun will be close by, so only experienced observers who can block out the Sun should attempt this.

PlaceDisappears Bright Limb Reappears Dark Limb
Adelaide ACST09:58 11:15
Brisbane AEST10:4712:20
Canberra AEST10:4712:12
Darwin ACST08:5810:41
Hobart AEST10:57 11:58
Melbourne AEST10:44 12:00
Perth AWST07:4108:33
Sydney AEST10:49 12:17

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Friday, September 08, 2017

 

Aurora visible NOW! (10:16 PM ACST)


Solar Wind Speed diagram

Aurora and beams visible to the unaided eye have been reported in  Tasmania (Tunbridge, Barrington, Sandpiper beach and more), despite cloud and strong Moonlight.

After the massive solar storm that entranced northern hemisphere viewers, the storm faded. After not much of anything,  the magnetic filed has turned south again, and unaided eye aurora are being reported, the G3 storms predicted for later.

Current parameters Velocity: 751 km/sec Bz: -15.0 nT Density = 3.0 p/cc Hobart Kindex is now 6. This may change as the night wears on. It is possible aurora may fade then come back as conditions evolve.

Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything, and always allow around 5 minutes for your eyes to become dark adapted.

As always look to the south for shifting red/green glows, beams have been reported consistently over the last few aurora, as well as bright proton arcs and "picket fences". A double arc, curtains and picket fences were seen in last weeks aurora despite the moonlight.

Here is the near-real time satellite view of the clouds http://satview.bom.gov.au/
Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.  

A new aurora camera is being installed at Campania, Tasmania. A live feed of the images from this camera is  sill not available.

SUBJ: SWS AURORA WATCH
ISSUED AT 1202 UT ON 08 Sep 2017 by Space Weather Services
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE FORECAST CENTRE

The effects of the recent CME have been waning however the CME
magnetic field turned moderately southward around 11:12UT (9:12 pm
AEST) which is likely to result in improved conditions for aurora
viewing over the coming hours in southern Australian region,
particularly Tasmania.

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