Director of Observations
Dundee Astronomical Society
Sky Map for 15th January @ 22:00 UT
Illustration Courtesy of www.heavensabove.com
Full Moon 2nd January(Supermoon)
Third Quarter 8th January
New Moon 17th January
First Quarter 24th January
Full Moon 31st January (Another Supermoon as well as a Blue Moon)
Did You Know?
2nd January 1959 Luna 1 was the first man made satellite to orbit the Sun.
28th January 1986 Voyager 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly past Uranus and its moons.
7th January 1998 Lunar Prospector launched to survey the surface of the Moon.
19th January 2006 New Horizons launched on a 9-year journey to Pluto.
For this challenge, let’s look at something we see but really don’t pay a great deal of attention to, The Milky Way, no it’s not a delicious chocolate bar, but nice to eat when
out observing. You can look for the Milky Way starting at Deneb, follow through to Cassiopeia, right through to Monoceros. If you don’t have a dark site next to you
don’t worry just look through a set of binoculars and the wonders will show up. Remember to let your eyes dark adapt for 20 - 30 minutes beforehand. Hopefully you will
find many more stars than you think as well as star clusters and deepsky objects - all visible through your binoculars.
Asteroid Watching. This month we can view Asteroid Flora in Gemini. At a mag of +8.5 at the start of the month, fading to a mag of +9.2 by the end of January. To
view look to the foot of the twins, and the asteroid should be visible in binoculars.
Jim's Focus of the Month
Canis Major is one of the Hunter’s (Orion’s) hunting dogs whose main star is Sirius, also known as the dog star. To find Sirius, look for Orion’s belt and follow the line south until you reach the bright star Sirius (the brightest star), that is you at the head of Canis Major. Within Canis Major there is only one messier object M41, an open cluster, containing many contrasting stars of distinct colours. With a visual magnitude of +4.5 it should be easy to spot in a small telescope or binoculars. Just to the east of Sirius and slightly above is NGC 2345 another open cluster worthy of a look. With a magnitude of +7.7 it should just about be on the border of being able to be seen with the naked eye.
Here we are at the start of another year. Let’s hope the skies are clearer than in 2017 with less cloudy nights and greater opportunities for getting out and doing some observing, including taking a more active part in Pam’s variable star charting project. I for one will becoming active in that.
Well all the old favourites are now well established in the night sky, Orion, Taurus, Gemini and Leo, to name a few, plenty to look for and image. Let’s try and get more images for inclusion on our website, it seems to have dried up last year because of the lack of clear skies. Don’t forget to look to the North as well, Ursa Major and Minor are always there and worth a look at, also M81 and 82 always favourites of mine.
Interestingly there are a couple of events associated with Jupiter that might be of interest. 5th of the month from about 0430 UT, Europa and Ganymede at 0552 UT can be seen transiting Jupiter’s disc. 12th of the month Europa’s shadow will be seen on Jupiter’s disc at 0508 UT and Ganymede’s shadow at 0540. If you are an early bird and the skies are clear these must be worth looking at and imaging if you have the equipment.
Quadrantids Meteor Shower peaks this year on the 3rd and 4th of the month. An above average shower with a ZHR of up to 40 meteors.
Oct 2017 Sky Notes
Mercury A morning planet still, best seen at the beginning of the month.
Venus Very close to the Sun so very difficult to view, take all Sun precautions if you try.
Mars Still a morning object and appears close to Jupiter at the start of the month.
Jupiter Again a morning planet, close to Mars on the 6th - 7th.
Saturn Boring but another morning planet, close to Mercury on the 12th - 15th.
Uranus In the V of Pisces in the evening at the start of January, but losing altitude.
Neptune Best seen at the start of the month, an evening planet but you will need a medium scope.
Nov. 2017 Sky Notes
Dec. 2017 Sky Notes
Jan 2017 Sky Notes