Space Science and Astronomy 2020



BigPeter

Midfield
If it moves further south, it increases our chances of seeing aurora. I have only seen it once, very faint from York. I live in the south now, so have very little chance, though this picture was taken from near where I live (not by me):
That is beautiful I've seen them down whitley a couple times but nothing like that.
 

safcforever

Striker
A little further north than me. It is somewhere I fancy some time. Might even be able to persude the wife to go there. I have suggested Svalbard and she looks at me like I'm an idiot!
The Rockies in Alberta/BC is the best place on the planet imo. Shame I live deep in the prairies and about 12 hours from them
 

DaveH

Striker
I forgot to add to my opening post, a penumbral lunar eclipse this Friday. As this is only the fuzzy outer shadow of the earth, you will only really see a dimming sweep across the moon. Scroll down on the below link for details:
 
I'm not sure sorry. I use the SkyMaps app on my phone but you need a compass for that.
My old phone didn't have a compass, but it was possible to use the sky map app, just not in the way it's intended. As long as you have a rough idea of which direction you're looking in, you can manually orientate it that way. If in doubt, use the moon or easy to spot constellations to help. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.
 

0verlord44

Full Back

DaveH

Striker
what's the best/easiest way to know where venus etc are. My phone is to cheap for apps show me ie its missing a compass thing
Another way is to install Stellarium on pretty much any device. You can’t point it to the sky and say ‘what is that’, if you don’t have the compass or gyroscopes required. If you know roughly what direction you are facing and how high an object is, then you can look it up. It will help to recognise particular parts of constellation and guide you to other things. For example, above venus at the moment is the great square of pegasus, which once you know it, is recognisable. If you can learn that and get a hold of som binoculars then you should be able to find the Andromeda galaxy and see it as a fuzzy blob.

It does take a bit more work, but really draws you in to learning the night sky and your way around it. Times when I have not really had the time for an astronomy session, I have headed out for 10 minutes with the intention of just finding one new constellation, often one next to one I know already. Do that for a few nights over the course of a couple of weeks and you will recognise a good proportion of the sky.

Orion (winter months only) and the great bear are both great starting points. Try learning the shape of the great bear, then from that, learn where Cassiopeia is (a big W). Next follow the ‘saucepan handle’ of the great bear round, continuing the curve in your mind. You get to one of the ten brightest stars in the sky, Arcturus (not until about 2am, but can be seen high in the sky in summer evenings). This is the brightest star in the kite shape of Bootes.

More suitable for this time of year is Orion, and the line of three stars that make it’s belt. Follow down to the left in a straight line to see the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, part of Canis Major (big dog). The other stars in this constellation are hard to see as this is generally low down in thick atmospheric haze and light pollution. But, if you follow Orion’s belt in the other direction for about the same distance, you see a bright V of stars. This is Taurus, with the brightest of the 5 being Alderbaran. Follow the imaginary line up again for about the same distance and you hit the Pleiades cluster, or the seven sisters. If you look at this for a while, you gradually see more stars. Gemini is a good next target after these three.

If you do use stellarium, clicking on any star will give information about it including it’s magnitude. The lower the number it is, the brighter the star is. This is useful for seeing if what you clicked really was the bright star you were looking at. Stars in the great bear range from around 1-4 in brightness, where as I mentioned Arcturus which is 0.37 - very bright. Venus has to go into negative numbers at -3.7, while the moon is really bright at -11. If it is higher than 6 then it is probably not what you saw with the naked eye. There are a couple of comets about, but I think they are magnitude 9 to 11 at the moment - way out of the range of the naked eye and some small telescopes. It is a bit of an odd scale with negative numbers for really bright and higher positive numbers for dim, but that is what astronomers settled on.
 

spitfire

Striker
Sometimes sentences really hit home to the point where you go ‘woah’

“If it were to explode today, you would actually be watching something that happened 600 years ago”

Woah
It's definitely dimmer and looks a bit more reddish to me at the moment.
 

Ascent Module

Reserve Squad
what's the best/easiest way to know where venus etc are. My phone is to cheap for apps show me ie its missing a compass thing
You could do it the old fashioned way: buy a magazine or subscribe online. Astronomy Now for the UK or Sky & Telescope (US) contain monthly sky charts. They're published one month ahead so you can plan your observing schedule in advance. Print off the star chart and you can take it outside. For viewing the chart outside buy a small torch and cover the end with red plastic, or paint it with red nail varnish. Red light preserves your night vision. The constellations are clearly marked, as is the 'ecliptic': the path in the sky that the sun, moon and planets follow. I've never used a phone app. as I've been doing astronomy for over 40 years: but I imagine the phone may display the map pretty brightly and will lesson your night vision. You don't need a compass. Stand with the North Sea to your right, look up and find the pole star (Polaris. or Alpha Ursae Minoris) in the constellation Ursa Minor. All stars in the northern hemisphere appear to 'rotate' around it. There's still plenty of beginners books to be bought out there and on cloudy nights you can read up on the basics. Once you've learnt a few of the constellations (I'd start with Cassiopeia and Ursa Major as certain stars in the two constellations always point to the pole star), you can figure out where some of the 'deep sky' beauties are such as globular & open star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Comets are also indicated on the charts (when they turn up). And of course, there's always Sunderland Astronomical Society. Hope this helps.
 

Curlyteeth

Central Defender
You could do it the old fashioned way: buy a magazine or subscribe online. Astronomy Now for the UK or Sky & Telescope (US) contain monthly sky charts. They're published one month ahead so you can plan your observing schedule in advance. Print off the star chart and you can take it outside. For viewing the chart outside buy a small torch and cover the end with red plastic, or paint it with red nail varnish. Red light preserves your night vision. The constellations are clearly marked, as is the 'ecliptic': the path in the sky that the sun, moon and planets follow. I've never used a phone app. as I've been doing astronomy for over 40 years: but I imagine the phone may display the map pretty brightly and will lesson your night vision. You don't need a compass. Stand with the North Sea to your right, look up and find the pole star (Polaris. or Alpha Ursae Minoris) in the constellation Ursa Minor. All stars in the northern hemisphere appear to 'rotate' around it. There's still plenty of beginners books to be bought out there and on cloudy nights you can read up on the basics. Once you've learnt a few of the constellations (I'd start with Cassiopeia and Ursa Major as certain stars in the two constellations always point to the pole star), you can figure out where some of the 'deep sky' beauties are such as globular & open star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Comets are also indicated on the charts (when they turn up). And of course, there's always Sunderland Astronomical Society. Hope this helps.
Ta, I'll try some of this
 

anth

Winger
SpaceX testing out their crew dragon capsule today. The rocket will take off, then when it's at its maximum aerodynamic pressure they will kill the engines to simulate a failure of the booster. The capsule will then automatically recognise this has happened and fire it's own engines taking the capsule safely away. This is the last step on the verification NASA requires for the falcon9 and dragon capsule to be human-rated, allowing flights to the ISS from American soil again.

stream is at

small footnote, this will be the 4th launch of this falcon9 and obviously won't be recovered.
clouds making viewing difficult, but that looked like a 100% success.
 
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