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Starfleet

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  1. Thanks for your kind words, folks. What an occasion that the two brightest members of the asteroid main belt are presented as foreground objects in front of Jupiter - in the same constellation, at the same time.. A high-speed voyage to Jup (had we set ourselves on such a course now) will have had us pass by both on our way there! The two will stay on view right through into spring. On the night of 7th March, Ceres will pass less than half a degree south of El Nath (Beta Tauri)... so that should be quite a photo opportunity. Here’s an even bigger heads up: on the night of the 13th July 2014, we shall see a once in a lifetime conjunction between the two brightest asteroids in the sky. At around midnight on this date, Ceres and Vesta will pass within... wait for it... just a few arc minutes of one another in Virgo!!
  2. Having followed both Ceres and Vesta for the past couple of months with binoculars, last night was my first chance to take a snap of them with the Canon. This is a very dated version of the digital SLR camera, it has to be said. The 300D is one of the earliest digital SLRs that came on the market several years ago. Despite the atrocious light pollution, the two asteroids just made it through in the 8-second frame:
  3. Glad you could see it, Steve. The clouds were horizon to horizon on both nights of conjunction where I am, so no such luck I'm afraid. Still, from your report and also similar reports over on Cloudynights we can safely say Io was less red visually than the star. Which I'm told, incidentally, is a close double star, well worth attempting to split if you have a small scope geared up to a high magnification. Staying on the subject of the ruddy colour of Io, because of its pizza-like surface covered with sulfur, it is quite an orangey/reddish colour in close up photographs. However, it is not the reddest satellite in our solar system. That top spot is occupied by Jupiter's tiny inner moon of Amalthea (14th magnitude, so not for the faint hearted! ) Saturn's moon Titan is apparently a bit redder than Io, with a B-V colour index of +1.28, though it is of course much fainter at mag 8.5-ish...
  4. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it here John, it’s a great forum. Well on Thursday night it was the clouds in our own atmosphere that stole the show and not the ones on Jupiter, unfortunately. Forecasts for tonight aren't much rosier. I did e-mail this to a couple of friends across the Atlantic, so I’m hoping they’ll have better viewings under clearer skies. The Astronomical Almanac of 1988, on page F3, gives a photometric B-V colour index for Jupiter’s moon Io as +1.17. Based on its B and V magnitudes from Simbad, the colour index of HIP20417 comes out at +1.66, so a bit redder. Considering that the brightnesses of both Io and this star are quite similar, it is a pretty outstanding chance alignment of the two for us to make direct colour comparisons between them, whether it be simply by eye or by CCD photometry. I’d love to see some colour pics! Regards, Abdul
  5. Ermm.... sorry, what I meant for this second image was the 4th Jan (this Friday!!!)
  6. Happy New Year Tim, hope you're having a good one. I think Io's colour would be hard to discern just with the binos as you say, but maybe if Io is at its widest away from Jupiter's disk, who knows? You know, I just re-did my simulation and it turns out that it may be more favourable to view this on the evening of 5th Jan (this Saturday), when Io and the red star are both isolated away from the crowd:
  7. In my Sky Diary for 2013, I have for the night of 3rd January (this coming Thursday) a fascinating conjunction of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites with a 6th mag red star in Taurus! This is what I wrote in my self-compiled list of interesting forthcoming conjunctions: “January 3rd 2013 – Jupiter and its four Galilean satellites pass the sixth magnitude red star Hip 20417 later tonight. Compare the colours of Jupiter’s moon Io and this star at midnight tonight, to see if Io looks as red as the star or perhaps even redder?” I have previously noticed the colour of Io, just comparing it to the other Galileans and it always seemed a darker shade of yellow. I won’t have my Tal-1 scope to hand for this rare event (the red star Hip 20417 is genuinely quite red, with a B-V colour index of +1.86 - from Stellarium). Should be fun to watch in my 10x50 binoculars though - weather permitting! Has anyone noticed Io’s colour through binoculars? Must be a challenge...
  8. Strange that, DP. The trouble with cyberspace is things get shuuffled around so much we have to be on our toes all the time. Hopefully I've still got them on a CD somewhere.
  9. Shame we'll be lucky to catch even just a sunrise glimpse of this year's transit, but the joys of imaging Venus through spring is kinda like "history repeating itself". I recall eight years ago and I never looked back on it..until now. Venus Transit of 8th June 2004 - Images and notes by A. Ahad How lucky we were! None of us will be around for the next one
  10. By Jove you are of course brilliantly right, LukeB. It seems all the rain in Spain does fall on the plains after all! Thanks a lot for that link...I shall look down the list for another. If only the error ellipse had been a little bit wider?
  11. I haven't seen one yet, but this coming Saturday, at 22:57 UT, asteroid 329 Svea is predicted to occult the 7th magnitude star HIP 26188. This will be a favourable occultation for us Europeans ...and I'm quite excited!! The star (placed conveniently just above Orion's belt!) will drop by 6.6 magnitudes and fade to mag 13.7 over a period of 9 seconds, so it should make a nice little wink in my 8-inch scope. Has anyone here seen one before and have any tips for me?
  12. Hi TeaDwarf, Those sites are something of a treasure trove I have to say, so thanks a lot for sharing. I had a bit of time to do basic querying and here's what I found: The first pair ("Binary A") is located 30 arc-seconds from the 10.8 mag star TYC 2446-1961-1. I'd state its location for J2000.0 as: RA : 07 09 03.6 Dec: +34 01 13 The two stars in this binary are sketched as *one* single object (unresolved) of mag between 12 and 14 in the USNO . They're too faint to be listed in the astrometric catalogue server, so my rough guess is the pair are of mags ~13 and ~14 (primary and secondary) respectively. The second pair ("Binary B") is located ~135 arc-seconds from the 6.5 mag star HIP34497. I would give its location for J2000.0 as: RA : 07 08 45.6 Dec: +33 57 48 This is showing as two separate stars in the USNO, but again they're too faint to be identified with any TYC numbers in the astrometric catalogue server. I'd place them as roughly of mags ~13 and ~16. As for proper motions, distances and spectral classifications, well these are not available. I believe Binary A is a pair of red dwarfs from the colour plate in SIMBAD:
  13. Hello folks, This is a rather difficult discovery to verify, because I'm not sure if these stars are going to be in amateur telescope imaging range. Just the other night I was doing a spot of casual photography before I came upon two faint double stars in Gemini (near the star HIP34497): In search of new binaries of the northern sky - by A. Ahad What can i do to find out the magnitudes of these pairs? Thanks for any pointers at all .
  14. Hi Jove, This is just what I was hoping for, thanks a lot. Brian, I had a look at the estimates for this star going back to JD 2416180 ( around 1910) and it is quite like you say, usually sitting around mag 6.7 with a range of 6.0 to 7.5 (extremes). Interesting... and reasonably well behaved!
  15. While photographing Mars passing close to the Paesepe cluster the other night, I was delighted to spot the carbon red variable star X Cnc in the same 10-second exposure image with my Canon 300D (circled): Can someone pls tell me where I can find past observation logs for this star? I was keen to understand its light curve variability period and amplitude, as it has now got me somewhat hooked!
  16. Thanks for this link! There's a really good visibility predicted for here in Luton on next Wednesday early morning (60 degrees max, at 0528 AM). Shouldn't it now appear even brighter than normal since the Space Shuttle is also docked to the ISS?
  17. On reflection.... yes 10" is a bit too wide for a true binary at that distance... I did some looking around and came up with UV Ceti: Luyten 726-8 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Here the issue is the variability due to "flareing" will be non-periodic...and of course the stars are rather faint. Oh well..
  18. I did think about those. They're either too faint or they're non-intrinsic. Even Mira is a really close pair, at less than 3/4 of one arc-second apart in separation.. I calculated there are some 25,000 stars across the sky brighter than magnitude 8. Now imagine two pulsating, cepheid type variables, each fluctuating by one whole magnitude and both of 6th and 7th magnitudes (primary and secondary) orbiting each other with an angular separation of 10 arc-seconds. That would be a delightful pair of binary variable stars that I'd watch night after night without miss. Out of 25,000 stars in the sky brighter than magnitude 8, with at least 60% of them in multiple systems, I find it quite astonishing that we don't have even ONE PAIR that could be as celebrated as this example! LOL..
  19. I wish there were a celebrated example of a system where both stars were variable! I can only imagine how spectacular that must be for us to observe from Earth... and how even more spectacular it must be for dwellers of such an exotic two-sun system (if they exist )..
  20. This site uses your IP address to set your location, then gives you the current altitude (elevation) and azimuth when you click "Track it": Geostationary satellites Now I'll just have to wait out these torrential April showers before giving it a go...
  21. Cheers for these pointers, I'll definitely check them out. Just struck me these are the only objects in the known universe which can be viewed without a clock drive on the scope or so much as having to move the telescope by one milli-arcsecond
  22. I expect they would be really faint, at 35,000 odd kilometers above the Earth, but has anyone seen one? Do they remain quite static in the sky (as their name would obviously imply). I'd really like to see one if it is within the range of my 8-inch Newt
  23. This reminded me to go over my notebook where I kept a log of all my stargazing going back to the year 1985. I had seen Venus on two occasions in complete daylight with my 8x30s. On 10th Feb 1985 at around 1315 UT, having swept around for several mins, I picked up Venus as a tiny white speck of light set against a perfect blue sky. At the time I was quite thrilled...as I had never seen anything apart from the moon in the daytime before. I took great care though to sweep the binos in a part of the sky well away from the sun, as Venus was on a decent elongation at the time. Then on 16th Feb 1985 (at around 10am) I found Venus again in broad daylight about 15 degrees above ESE. with the binoculars mounted on the window frame, I even managed to resolve its tiny disc into a thick crescent phase. With no glare or dazzle, I found it much easer to see the disc and phase of the planet in these daytime observations compared to evening time when the sky had gotten much darker. Ah, those were the good old days..
  24. I too love nature very much. I wouldn't ride in that thing if it weren't for it's very 'idyllic' environment. Consider that we'd have the spectacle of colourful wildflowers swaying in the gentle summer breeze in the Centauri Princess' meadows, and the scent of water hyacinths stirred up from the waters of the Eridanus River: Eridanus River - First Ark to Alpha Centauri Wiki There is also a vast range of wildlife roaming across 437 square km's of picturesque pine forests: Black Forest - First Ark to Alpha Centauri Wiki I believe the best way to colonise any space environment (on the moon, on mars or inside an ark like this in middle of nowhere) is to take all our creature comforts with us when we go...
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