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CentaurZ

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Everything posted by CentaurZ

  1. The waning crescent Moon will occult (cover) Mars during the morning of Tuesday 2020 FEB 18 for observers in North America. The upcoming immersion will occur on the lunar bright limb, with emersion on the dark limb. Any observers on the graze path in Mexico can witness an interrupted Mars appearing to pass through lunar hills and valleys. Those north of the only graze path will see a full occultation. Photos and descriptions of the occultation would be welcome additions to this thread. If you would like specific occultation or graze predictions for your location, please reply to this post with your longitude, latitude, elevation and time zone.
  2. The waxing gibbous Moon will occult (cover) the stars Eta Geminorum (Mag +3.3) and Mu Geminorum (Mag +2.9) during the night of 2020 FEB 05-06. The former event will be observable at night from the eastern half of North America and Western Europe. The latter from the northern half of North America. The upcoming immersions will occur on the lunar dark limb and emersions on the bright limb. Any observers on a graze path can witness a star winking on and off as lunar hills and valleys pass by. Those between the two paths will see a full occultation. Photos and descriptions of the occultations would be welcome additions to this thread. If you would like specific occultation or graze predictions for your location, please reply to this post with your longitude, latitude, elevation and time zone.
  3. Below is my chart for Mercury's stellar magnitude this year. Note how its brightness peaks near the times of Superior Conjunctions when it can't actually be observed. Its brightness at such times is due to it being at full phase, enhanced by an effect similar to the Oppositional Flash of a Full Moon and the superior planets. That flash is increased because of the lack of visible shadows.
  4. Sunset is defined as the moment that the upper limb of the Sun contacts the horizon of a level plain as seen by eyes near the ground. The chart is for 30 minutes later when there is still twilight. It is specifically for a location near Chicago's O'Hare Airport. For your location in Britain during this particular apparition, Mercury will appear at similar altitudes as for Chicago. Unlike Venus, Mercury is at its brightest near Superior Conjunction when it is behind the Sun. Throughout an evening apparition, it continually dims. So here in the early portion of the apparition it is nearly its brightest. Today it is at Magnitude -1.0, which is a little less bright than Sirius, but significantly brighter than Arcturus or Vega. Since Mercury is normally observed during twilight, its brightness may not be fully apparent.
  5. Elusive Mercury has commenced its apparition in the western sky after sunset following its superior conjunction behind the Sun on 2020 JAN 10. Photos and descriptions of Mercury during this apparition would be welcome additions to this thread.
  6. It’s nearly time for my monthly New Moon spotting challenge. I use the term New Moon in its classical sense of one’s first sighting of the Moon after its monthly solar conjunction (Dark Moon). Sharp-eyed observers may attempt to spot the one-day-old Moon after sunset on January 25th. Photos and descriptions of the young crescent Moon late this month would be welcome additions to this thread.
  7. Thanks to PeterW and Stu for participating. Here in America the eclipsed Moon was beneath the horizon. Based on your posts, apparently we didn't miss much. At that time I was following the stock market which sank from midday all-time record highs for the averages to losses at the close. Financial astrologers would blame that on the eclipse. The next lunar eclipse on 2020 JUN 05 will again be penumbral and visible in the Old World but not the New World. But a month later on 2020 JUL 04, we in America will be treated to a bright and beautiful Full Moon that goes into penumbral eclipse during our Fourth of July (Independence Day) fireworks celebrations.
  8. Thanks to all who participated, especially those who provided photos. Here in America the eclipsed Moon was beneath the horizon. At that time I was following the stock market which sank from midday all-time record highs for the averages to losses at the close. Financial astrologers would blame that on the eclipse. The next lunar eclipse on 2020 JUN 05 will again be penumbral and visible in the Old World but not the New World. But a month later on 2020 JUL 04, we in America will be treated to a bright and beautiful Full Moon that goes into penumbral eclipse during our Fourth of July (Independence Day) fireworks celebrations.
  9. It started about 24 minutes ago, but won't reach maximum until 19:10 UT. This is a fairly deep Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, so at maximum some darkening should be noticed. Unfortunately, those of us in North America are shutout, due to this being daytime with the Full Moon beneath the horizon. Again, photos and descriptions would be welcome additions to this thread.
  10. It started about 20 minutes ago, but won't reach maximum until 19:10 UT. This is a fairly deep Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, so at maximum some darkening should be noticed. On either side of the eclipse, this Full Moon will be the brightest Moon this year. Unfortunately, those of us in North America are shutout, due to this being daytime with the Full Moon beneath the horizon. Again, photos and descriptions would be welcome in my similar thread at the forum here for Observing-Lunar.
  11. Interestingly, just after the Moon leaves the penumbra, it will be the brightest Moon of 2020. Although it will not be the Full Moon with the largest angular diameter of 2020. That honor will go to the April Full Moon. Again many authors in the popular media will undoubtedly refer to the April Full Moon as a SuperMoon that's both the largest and brightest Full Moon of 2020. What they'll overlook is that the Moon's brightness is determined by not only its nearness to Earth, but also its nearness to the Sun and nearness to the Anti-Solar point in the sky. The latter factor is the reason that a Full Moon just before or after an eclipse is often an especially bright Moon. And this month nearness to the Sun (perihelion) adds another boost to the Moon's brightness. Those of us in North America will not be able to watch this month's lunar eclipse, but afterward as the Moon rises we will be able to observe its great brilliance.
  12. The Lunar X may be seen by telescopic observers in lands on either side of the Atlantic Ocean during the afternoon and evening of 2020 JAN 02 for an approximately four-hour period centered on 22:12 UT (16:12 CST). The X should appear as the Sun rises on the clustered rims of the craters Blanchinus, La Caille and Purbach, while a waxing Half Moon graces the sky. This is something to check-off from your astronomical “to-do” list. Photos and descriptions of the Lunar X would be welcome additions to my similar thread in the forum for Observing-Lunar.
  13. The Lunar X may be seen by telescopic observers in lands on either side of the Atlantic Ocean during the afternoon and evening of 2020 JAN 02 for an approximately four-hour period centered on 22:12 UT (16:12 CST). The X should appear as the Sun rises on the clustered rims of the craters Blanchinus, La Caille and Purbach, while a waxing Half Moon graces the sky. This is something to check-off from your astronomical “to-do” list. Photos and descriptions of the Lunar X would be welcome additions to this thread.
  14. Asteroid 192 Nausikaa will appear within Gemini in opposition to the Sun on 2020 JAN 09 at magnitude +10.0. That’s well beyond naked eye visibility, but it should be seen with modest telescopes. Nausikaa will pass 0.2˚ south of the bright star Castor on 2020 JAN 02 at 18:50 UT. Nausikaa is a stony asteroid and was discovered by Austrian astronomer Johann Palisa in 1879. It has a mean diameter of 98 km. Nausikaa is named after a princess in Homer’s Odyssey. Photos and descriptions of Nausikaa would be welcome additions to the similar thread within the forum for Observing-Planetary.
  15. Asteroid 192 Nausikaa will appear within Gemini in opposition to the Sun on 2020 JAN 09 at magnitude +10.0. That’s well beyond naked eye visibility, but it should be seen with modest telescopes. Nausikaa will pass 0.2˚ south of the bright star Castor on 2020 JAN 02 at 18:50 UT. Nausikaa is a stony asteroid and was discovered by Austrian astronomer Johann Palisa in 1879. It has a mean diameter of 98 km. Nausikaa is named after a princess in Homer’s Odyssey. Photos and descriptions of Nausikaa would be welcome additions to this thread.
  16. The annual Quadrantid Meteor Shower may already be underway, and is expected to peak during the night of 2020 JAN 03-04. Its radiant is in the no longer official constellation Quadrans Muralis, which is now part of Boötes. That is the direction toward which the meteor tails point, but the meteors are equally likely to appear anywhere in your sky. It is conjectured that the Quadrantids are debris from the asteroid 2003 EH1, which in turn may have been a castoff from comet C/1490 Y1. The peak rate of the Quadrantids can be as great as the normally most prolific annual showers at possibly a hundred per hour for sharp eyed observers in dark skies. However, the peak period of less than half a day is unusually short, thus implying a narrow stream of particles. Also, the meteors are normally not very bright. The show begins after Boötes rises, which is around local midnight for mid-latitude northern hemisphere observers, but later in the southern hemisphere. It will continue through morning twilight. Moderate interference might be expected during the peak from the waxing gibbous Moon until it sets. Descriptions of the shower or perhaps even lucky photos would be welcome additions to this thread.
  17. The comet approached closest to Earth (perigee) yesterday, but will be its brightest shortly after perihelion in May.
  18. On Saturday the Comet C/2017 T2 PANSTARRS will make its closest approach to Earth (perigee), however it won't appear at its brightest until shortly after it passes perihelion in May.
  19. On Saturday the comet will make its closest approach to Earth (perigee), however it won't appear at its brightest until shortly after it passes perihelion in May.
  20. It’s nearly time for my monthly New Moon spotting challenge. I use the term New Moon in its classical sense of one’s first sighting of the Moon after its monthly solar conjunction (Dark Moon). Sharp-eyed observers may attempt to spot the less than one-day-old Moon after sunset on December 26th, with bright Venus much higher and to the left. Photos and descriptions of the young crescent Moon late this month would be welcome additions to this thread.
  21. A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse will be seen by many observers with clear skies in Eurasia, Africa and Australia during the night of 2020 JAN 10-11. The Earth’s penumbra is its relatively bright fringe shadow surrounding its much darker inner shadow called the umbra. At maximum eclipse, 89% of the Moon’s diameter will be covered by the penumbra. The Moon’s nearest limb to the umbra will miss it by 12% of the Moon’s diameter. Often a penumbral lunar eclipse is hardly noticeable, but this time the Moon will be deep enough in the penumbra that some shadowing should be detected. 2020 will be an unusual year in which there will be four lunar eclipses, and all of them penumbral. The next umbral eclipse will be total and occur on 2021 MAY 26. Below is a graphic I created for the upcoming penumbral eclipse as seen against an imaginary blue wall to make the shadow fully apparent. The predicted event timings are in Universal Time (UT), but will occur at essentially the same real time for all observers experiencing nighttime. The depicted orientation and Moon altitudes are for an observer in London. Photos and descriptions of the eclipse would be welcome additions to my similar thread in the forum for Observing-Lunar.
  22. A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse will be seen by many observers with clear skies in Eurasia, Africa and Australia during the night of 2020 JAN 10-11. The Earth’s penumbra is its relatively bright fringe shadow surrounding its much darker inner shadow called the umbra. At maximum eclipse, 89% of the Moon’s diameter will be covered by the penumbra. The Moon’s nearest limb to the umbra will miss it by 12% of the Moon’s diameter. Often a penumbral lunar eclipse is hardly noticeable, but this time the Moon will be deep enough in the penumbra that some shadowing should be detected. 2020 will be an unusual year in which there will be four lunar eclipses, and all of them penumbral. The next umbral eclipse will be total and occur on 2021 MAY 26. Below is a graphic I created for the upcoming penumbral eclipse as seen against an imaginary blue wall to make the shadow fully apparent. The predicted event timings are in Universal Time (UT), but will occur at essentially the same real time for all observers experiencing nighttime. The depicted orientation and Moon altitudes are for an observer in London. Photos and descriptions of the eclipse would be welcome additions to this thread.
  23. The Moon just past full will occult (cover) the stars Eta Geminorum (Mag +3.3) and Mu Geminorum (Mag +2.9) during the night of 2019 DEC 12-13. Both events will be observable from most of North America, but only the former event for much of Europe. The upcoming immersions will occur on the lunar dark limb and emersions on the bright limb. Any observers on a graze path can witness a star winking on and off as lunar hills and valleys pass by. Those between the two paths will see a full occultation. I’ve created graze maps that can be seen below. Photos and descriptions of the occultations would be welcome additions to this thread. If you would like specific occultation or graze predictions for your location, please reply to this post with your longitude, latitude, elevation and time zone.
  24. The annual Geminid Meteor Shower may already be underway. It is expected to peak during the night of 2019 DEC 13-14. Its radiant is in the constellation Gemini. That is the direction toward which the meteor tails point, but the meteors are equally likely to appear anywhere in your sky. The Geminids are debris from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The Geminids have been presenting an increasingly intense shower in recent years. At the peak between 120 and 160 meteors per hour may be seen by some sharp-eyed folks. The show begins after Gemini rises in the early evening and intensifies until morning twilight. Although observers south of the tropics will have to wait until midnight. The waning gibbous Moon during the shower’s peak this year may present some interference. Descriptions of the shower or perhaps even lucky photos would be welcome additions to this thread.
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