Happy New Year everyone. As I wrote a few months ago, 2013 will be the year of brilliant comets including C/2012 S1. If the predictions hold, the comet will be a binocular object in August and moving up to naked eye status by November when it peaks at month’s end. Astronomers estimate C/2012 S1 will outshine the full moon thus becoming the brightest comet in history and be seen during the day. Only time will tell and is still many months away.
Here we are – the last month of 2012. If you do not have a blanket of snow on the ground where you live, it is only a matter of time till it arrives. But before that happens, let’s do some late autumn observing. Cetus the Whale is the fourth largest constellation in night sky. Within its 1,231 square degrees lie more than 50 NGC objects down to magnitude 12.0 with that number tripling when you go down to 13th magnitude.
As you prepare to brave the cold, clear nights of fall and winter observing, why not consider measuring yourself against an artful and subtle observing quarry, Sirius B?
The RASC Sirius B Project Team is pleased to announce the launch of the Sirius B Observing Challenge website, which contains everything you need to pit yourself against this tough celestial entity. Venture where all too few observers have gone before!
In astronomical and mythological terms, the Queen of the night belongs to Cassiopeia. Locating the Queen is as simple as looking up on these cool November nights and finding the five suns that form the distinctive letter ‘W’. These stars range in brightness from magnitude 2.5 to 3.4 and are circumpolar, meaning the constellation can be found all year round from our location as it circles some thirty degrees from the North Star – Polaris. Cassiopeia is ranked twenty-fifth in area.