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Northern Skies

The Sky This Month - June 2014

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Sun, 2014/06/01

Libra the scales

Breaking News - M106 now sports a faint supernova. The Type II supernova designated 2014bc was first picked up in April by the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT) as part of the Lick Observatory Supernova Search. The exploded star was estimated to only be 15th magnitude at the time it was first imaged but has brightened a bit to magnitude 13.5.

The Sky This Month - May 2014

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Thu, 2014/05/01

Planning An Observing Session Plus A Surprise Shower !!!

Observing the night sky comes in two flavours. The first is the spur of the moment feeling of grabbing binoculars or a small scope as we fly out the door. Here we spend about 20 minutes looking at our favourite Messier or NGC objects as well as the moon or planets thus satisfying our need to observe photons. The other more involved task is planning a lengthily observing session either in the backyard or an out of town expedition. Lunar and planetary observing and photography do not need dark country skies.

The Sky This Month - April 2014

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Tue, 2014/04/01

Red Planet, Red Moon

The mighty lion makes itself visible as it climbs the sky on these April nights. The outline of the familiar beast is quite recognizable as related to the Big Dipper. The Dipper stars form a pot with a handle and if you were to drill a hole in the celestial pot, water would pour onto the back of Leo. The Lion’s front half is portrayed by a sickle or backwards question mark starting from the bright star Regulus. This star is about five times the size of our sun and about 160 times brighter.

The Sky This Month - March 2014

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Sat, 2014/03/01

Hydra The Water Serpent

To the average person, the night sky is a collection of simple dots, some bright while others dim. In elementary school, the general science class touched on the very basics of astronomy. We had leaned the major constellations like the big Dipper, studied stars in general like our Sun as well as our four earthly seasons. Along to my science teachers and a book called Stars that really started my love for astronomy at the age of eight.

The Sky This Month - March 2014

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Written by Gary Boyle on
Author: 
Gary Boyle
Post Date: 
Sat, 2014/03/01

Hydra The Water Serpent

To the average person, the night sky is a collection of simple dots, some bright while others dim. In elementary school, the general science class touched on the very basics of astronomy. We had leaned the major constellations like the big Dipper, studied stars in general like our Sun as well as our four earthly seasons. Along to my science teachers and a book called Stars that really started my love for astronomy at the age of eight.

The Sky This Month - February 2014

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Gary Boyle
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Sat, 2014/02/01

The Winter Milky Way Part 2

Last month we ended our tour of the Winter Milky Way in Auriga with a trio of open clusters namely M38, M36 and M37. Travelling down from this point, we now cross the border and find ourselves in Gemini. The two prominent stars depicting the twins are Castor and Pollux with distances of 52 and 34 light years respectively. Using simple binoculars, move to the feet of Castor until a magnitude 5.5 open cluster jumps in your field of view.

The Sky This Month - January 2014

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Gary Boyle
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Wed, 2014/01/01

The Winter Milky Way - Part 1

When someone utters the words Milky Way, we immediately associate the grand veil seen overhead during warm, mosquito ridden summer nights. At that time of year it is quite easy to trace out the collective glow of millions of suns stretching from the famous W of Cassiopeia the Queen in the north to Sagittarius the Archer in the south. To experience this marvellous sight under dark country skies is beyond words. Resting above the southern horizon is the nucleus or heart of our home galaxy.

The Sky This Month - December 2013

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Sun, 2013/12/01

Comet ISON’S Last Gasp

The last few days of November saw a combination of excitement and disappointment. It all began with fourteen months of hype and anticipation of how Comet ISON might perform on the November 28 showdown between fire and ice. Its path would take the comet through the upper atmosphere of the Sun – a mere 1.3 million kilometres above the hellish surface. As the hours ticked off on that faithful morning, ISON was in the home stretch of its solar rendezvous and was brightening to a healthy magnitude -1.

The Sky This Month - November 2013 - Featuring Comet ISON

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Thu, 2013/10/31

What has been the buzz in the astronomical community for the past year is now in the home stretch. Discovered on Sept 21, 2012, Comet ISON was first though to be a daytime comet with an estimated magnitude -16, when it rounds the Sun at a very close distance on Nov 28. But recent observations now paint a slightly different picture. All comets are a bit of a mystery and seems to have a mind of their own - ISON is no different.

The Sky This Month - October 2013

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Tue, 2013/10/01

The Sea Goat

With shorter days we see the sun now set before 7 p.m. locally and those pesky mosquitoes are all but gone. When you add these factors, October is a great month to be outdoors and doing what we all love to do. We first start off with the sinking Milky Way in the south.

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