Mutual Phenomena of Jupiter

Jupiter on 2014 December 24 by Ian Sibley
Jupiter on 2014 December 24 by Ian Sibley

During 2015, the Jupiter system will be edge-on to the Earth and Sun, which allows observers to see fascinating phenomena of the Galilean moons. First, this alignment allows the moons and the shadows to transit across the Equatorial Zone so that observers have the greatest chance of seeing one or more of them on the disk. Second, it allows the moons to eclipse and occult one another in so-called ‘mutual phenomena’. These events can be followed even with modest telescopes, especially mutual eclipses where one can see the rapid dimming of the eclipsed moon even if it cannot be resolved. Larger telescopes do allow the moons to be resolved, and should allow some impressive images and even videos to be obtained.
John Rogers, BAA

Tony Ireland has prepared a listing of mutual events to look out for.
You can download the PDF here.

Jupiter rotating by Les Dickens

Prompted by the request from Peter for pictures to submit to the BBC One Show’s “Jupiter spot”, Les took a sequence of web cam images of Jupiter and its moons.

Les took video images every 20 mins or so from about 7:30 until midnight, and after processing composed this excellent animation.

Jupiter 2014.03.04 (1)Click on this picture for a bigger better view.

Note the movement of the Red Spot, and the satellites.


Supernova in M82

SN 2014J in M82 - Rik McRae
SN 2014J in M82 – Rik McRae

Society member Rik McRae managed to capture the new supernova (now designated as 2014J) recently discovered in M82, through gaps in the cloud last night.

The supernova is quite bright, around magnitude 11.7 at discovery and may be brightening, before it will inevitably dim from view.
But it should be easy to see for at least the next couple of weeks – though a small telescope will probably be needed (6″ or more).

To find M82, you can use this useful finder chart from Astronomy Now, and read more about it here.

Messier 82 forms a great observing sight with M81, lying to the upper right (north-west) of the familiar ‘Plough’ or ‘Big Dipper’ asterism, formed from the seven brightest stars in Ursa Major, the Great Bear. – Astronomy Now

Comets ISON and Lovejoy

Comet 2012 S1 ISON – image by Alan Mason
Comet 2013 R1 Lovejoy – image by Alan Mason

Cotswold AS member Alan Mason managed to capture both Comet 2012 S1 ISON and 2013 R2 Lovejoy this month.

Lovejoy has been a relatively accessible object, being fairly high in the morning sky.

Comet ISON has been a bit trickier, being fairly low. If there are any clear mornings this week, it may be worth trying to observe for ISON in the early morning, 30 minutes before dawn. It will be at perihelion on November 28 (and un-observable for the couple of days around this), and will probably become visible in the morning again from December 1. What will we see then ? Well we just don;t know – it could be spectacular – it could be a damp squib.The only way to be sure will be to get up early and have a look!

Splendid Noctilucent Cloud Display Seen From Gloucestershire

Last night (or this morning to be precise) a splendid display of noctilucent clouds was observed from Gloucestershire.

Cotswold AS member James Weightman captured this image from Cirencester. The bright star visible is Capella.

Noctilucent clouds on 2013 June 3 (pre-dawn)
Noctilucent clouds on 2013 June 3 (pre-dawn)

Lat 51.7N Long 1.9W
Time: 2013/06/03 2:00UT
Az 14 Alt 9 (by ref to Capella at this time)
Photo Canon EOS 7D + 85mm lens @ f/1.2; 0.3secs ISO 640; 2 adjacent photos merged using Photoshop.

Comet C2011L4 PanSTARRS

Mixed reports have been coming in from members who were trying to see comet C2011 L4 PanSTARRS on Wednesday March 13th.

Much of the county had fairly clear evening skies, though some low cloud and haze on the western horizon made things difficult.

Update: Picture from Ian Sibley taken at the SGL 8 astro-camp on 13th March.

2 sec exposure, zoom lens at 200mm, f/6.7, iso 800. Canon 7D. By Ian Sibley
2 sec exposure, zoom lens at 200mm, f/6.7, iso 800. Canon 7D. By Ian Sibley

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