On the morning of the 8th February 2018 the Moon occults Gamma Librae at 04:12GMT. The picture shows the star just before it disappears:
If you fancy some daylight astronomy then the Moon will be occulting the bright star Aldebaran at 16:37GMT 23rd February 2018. The bright star should be visible in small telescopes just before it disappears behind the dark limb of the Moon. It reappears at 17:44GMT.
The picture shows Aldebaran just before ingress at 16:35GMT:
And then just after it’s reappearance at 17:45GMT:
On the Morning of the 13th February 2018, 6am GMT, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot will begin its transit across the Earth facing disk of the planet. At the same time you will be able to see the jet black shadow the moon Europa on the disk as shown in the picture below:
On the 24th February, also at 6am GMT, Ganymede’s shadow will cross the top of Jupiter’s disk.
On the morning of 9th February 2018 the Moon, Mars and Jupiter form a nice right angled triangle in the morning twilight sky. The picture shows the positions of the planets at 6:30am GMT on the 9th February 2018:
In the opposite direction, Saturn forms another right angle triangle with the Moon and Mars.
The society will have a stand at this event tomorrow (27/1), do come and see us. If the weather is clear you’ll be able to look through telescopes at our nearest star and other objects. It takes place at the Denys Wilkinson Building, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH between 1pm and 9pm. See here for more details.
There is NO observing tonight (23/1)
There is NO observing tonight (22/1).
A second conjunction takes place this month on the morning of the 13th January 2018. Saturn and Mercury are only 39 arc minutes apart just before sunrise, so very low on the eastern horizon. The picture below shows the view from Abingdon at 07:15UT that morning.
In the early hours of January 7th 2018, Mar and Jupiter will appear to be very close in the sky in the constellation of Libra. At 05:00UT they will be 13 arcseconds apart, but only 11 degrees above the horizon. Should make for an interesting view through binoculars or a small telescope. Astronomical dark ends at 06:09UT (Sunrise is 08:11UT) that morning so you could wait till a bit later when they will be bit higher in the sky. See the picture below for where to look.
This year the Quadrantids meteor show peaks at 02:00UT on the 4th January 2018. Unfortunately a full moon will drown out all but the brightest meteors. See the picture below of where to find the radiant and then look to the west of it (i.e. towards the North) to minimise the impact of the full moon.
This shows the position of the radiant for the 4th January 2018, 02:00UT from Abingdon.