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The Sky This Month - September 2007

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Sun, 2007/09/02

The Winged Horse

Looking like a giant celestial baseball diamond, the Great Square of Pegasus stands proudly in eastern skies. Mythology has it that Perseus the hunter, along with Andromeda who he recently saved from the sea monster Cetus, rode off on this winged beast. As early falls nights slowly announce themselves with earlier sunsets and cooler temperature keeping mosquitoes at bay, telescopes should be working overtime, as Pegasus is peppered with faint galaxies.

The Sky This Month - September 2009

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Thu, 2009/09/03

The Teapot’s Starry Steam

September nights are ideal for cruising the Milky Way. As the nights get progressively longer and cooler (less mosquitoes), we can now spend more quality time with the sky above. On moonless nights – the mighty planet Jupiter is the first to greet us in the south east within moments of sunset. Once you spot Jupiter, train your telescope on it. The contrasting blue sky allows viewing of subtle detail without eyestrain. Once darkness sets in and the planet brightens to magnitude -2.8, filters are required to soften the overpowering bright image.

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
Post Date: 
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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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
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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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
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
Author: 
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
Post Date: 
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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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
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.

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