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The Sky This Month - October 2008

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Fri, 2008/10/03

Moving up the ecliptic.

Alas, short, warm, humid, buggy summer nights are now behind us, only to be replaced with longer, cooler, drier, autumn observing sessions without the hum of mosquitoes. This is the perfect time of year to enjoy the Milky Way high overhead when the sky darkens as well as many summer objects. As the last few months of 2008 tick on by, we will eventually lose sight of the galactic arms. This will also be the final curtain all to view Scorpius and Sagittarius in the south. The heart of our Milky Way Galaxy lies between these two southern icons.

The Sky This Month - October 2007

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Wed, 2007/10/03

Milky Way (North)

We have all enjoyed the long months of summer, especially the awe inspiring views of the Milky Way Galaxy. This mystical glow of millions of distant suns now stands directly overhead as the sky darkens and sets before the break of dawn. This is also your last chance to catch Scorpius, the planet Jupiter and Sagittarius in that order, located in south-west skies.

The Sky This Month - October 2009

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Thu, 2009/10/01

A Real Time Lunar Impact

On the morning of October 9th, the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will crash land into the moon. Is this space craft out of control you might ask? On the contrary. This deliberate impact is a planned end to a mission that had a bit of a hiccup last month.

The Sky This Month - November 2008

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Sun, 2008/11/02

Cetus – A Whale Of A Constellation

This month’s constellation plays a role in the famous mythological story called the “Royal Family of Constellations”. As the fable went, King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia sacrificed their daughter Andromeda to the Sea Monster, Cetus. Our hero Perseus happened by with his slain prize - the Medusa’s head, stowed in a potato sack.

The Sky This Month - November 2007

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Sun, 2007/11/04

What a Comet !!!

The biggest story of the month is the unexpected outburst of 17P/Comet Holmes. This outburst occurred over a short 24 hour period starting October 23rd. By the 24th, the comet had increase its brightness from magnitude 17.5 to magnitude 2.5, that is an order of one million times. At the time of writing this article the comet halo is still growing but the inner portion is fading a bit. It is still a very impressive object.

The Sky This Month - November 2009

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Sun, 2009/11/01

The Legend Continues

Throughout time, the winged horse Pegasus has appeared in many different mythological stories and legends. One of the most famous tales is the “Royal Family of Constellations” where Perseus the hero rescues Andromeda the maiden from the sea monster Cetus. Upon slaying the monster, Perseus and Andromeda ride the winged horse into the sunset.

The Sky This Month - May 2009

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Fri, 2009/05/01

The Leo/Virgo/Coma Galaxy Fest

If you took part in the Messier Marathon this past March, you no doubt had to negotiate the swarm of galaxies in Virgo, Leo and Coma Berenices. Many of these objects do not reside near reference stars, thus making the hunt even more challenging.

But now that the rush is over and the dust has settled, we have time to search for these and other remote objects. This is also a perfect time of year weather wise. As winter’s snows are now a thing of the past, spring nights are quite enjoyable before the hum of mosquitoes drive us indoors..

The Sky This Month - May 2008

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Thu, 2008/05/01

The High Riding Bear

About an hour after sunset local – look up, way up. What greets you is the most recognized constellation in the sky, Ursa Major – aka the Big Dipper or Big Bear. Taking up 1,280 square degrees of sky, it ranks third behind first place Hydra and second place Libra. With the great beast prancing overhead, you will have a great opportunity to examine its many galaxies through the least amount of atmosphere turbulence and distortion.

The Sky This Month - March 2009

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Sun, 2009/03/01

Thanks Charles

The name Charles Messier is familiar with amateur and professional astronomers alike. Charles was bitten by the astronomy bug in his younger years, similar to the same way we got hooked on the wonders of the night sky. He had an early passion for the stars and such but two spectacular events swayed him to his future. First was the jaw dropping Great Comet of 1744. It was discovered independently in December of 1743 by Dirk Klinkenberg and then four days later by Jean-Philippe de Chéseaux.

The Sky This Month - March 2008

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Sun, 2008/03/02

A Faint Constellation

The Winter Triangle consists of three bold, bright suns named Betelgeuse, Sirius and Procyon which are the alpha stars belonging to Orion, Canis Major and Canis Minor respectively. These guideposts are amongst the eighteen brightest stars that make up the winter sky - Taurus, Auriga, Gemini and the three previous mentioned constellations. However, embedded in this triangle is a dim constellation called Monoceros. In fact its alpha star only registers magnitude 4.1, but somehow the asterism depicts a Unicorn.

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