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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Drawing of Comet 17P/Holmes by John Perring (Lyra treasurer)

Major comet outburst by Comet P/Holmes

Comet 17P/Holmes....  

What a sight up there in Perseus-magnificent, does this Comet have a reactive core that when it gets close to the Sun the chemical composition inside it flares up and throws out or vents more gases-the same thing happened in 1892 which led to its discovery, if it is 1.62 au from the Earth (245 million km/further away than the Sun) the whole Comet from the core as well as venting gases must be almost as big as the Moon to reports that have put it at 3 quaters of a million miles across to the outer nebulous regions, there are reports that the total brightness is unsure but at its flare up on the 24/10 estimates put it at Magnitude 10 although this has now stabilised to around Magnitude 2.3 to 2.5 and how bright it will get now is also unsure, Observing it through my 20X100 binoculars the central Coma looks like it is under some drastic changes venting out gases to cause the almost circular nebulous outer region-it looks to me vaguely a yellowish colour with a slight hint of orange but this could have been the streetlighting interferrence in my area causing this, an amazing sight even with small Binoculars and much worth going out to have a look at.
The Comet is visible in the North East after dark about halfway up in the sky-much better to locate with Binoculars-it looks like a small white spot in the sky but unmissable- 


Wednesday, 24 October 2007

[BAA 00313] Superoutburst of Comet P/Holmes (17P)

BAA electronic bulletin No. 00313   

In the past 24 hours, a spectacular event has taken place involving the
periodic comet P/Holmes (17P).  Its predicted brightness is about magnitude
17 however last night it was discovered by the Spanish amateur, Juan Antonio
HenrĂ­quez Santana to have undergone a tremendous outburst having attained
magnitude 10 at that time (Oct 24 0h UT).  It was a similar outburst in 1892
that led to its discovery.

Latest reports (Seiichi Yoshida, Oct 24 13h UT) indicate that it is stellar
in appearance and 3RD MAGNITUDE in brightness: so bright in fact that it is
readily visible to the unaided eye.  That's almost one million times
brighter than normal !

Fortunately for UK-based observers the comet is well placed for observation
and is visible throughout the entire night.  Its position at 0h UT tonight
(Oct 24/25) will be:

R.A . 03h 53.0m,   Dec.  +50 08'

Its appearance will probably be that of a fairly bright naked-eye star
moving at an apparent rate of close to 10 arcmin per day at PA 298 deg.  It
is currently 1.63 AU (245 million km) from the Earth.

Observations are strongly encouraged and should be reported to Jonathan
Shanklin, Director of the Comet Section.

Clear Skies
Richard Miles

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


Try this site for all the updates to this weekend of the change from Summer back to Winter:
Yes the clocks go back one hour from 02.00 hours Sunday morning and the cold grey sky days will be back with us once again-basically I get all my radio clocks that I've got in the house and put them together to see this happen, a little "s" in one corner of the LCD for BST and a Sun shape in another that dissappears when the time signal arrives to herald the start of winter-oh well it'll soon be Christmas lol-

Saturday, 13 October 2007


There are around 11 Comets visible for Professional Astronomers at the
moment with Magnitude ranges 6 to 14 with Comet Loneos (2007) F1 being the best one to observe for now although a bit close to the Sun for amatures like ourselves to see, it is around Magnitude 6 and should be visible for half an hour after sunset and around 50 minutes before Sunrise so I will spend the next few days looking for this one as its the best one to look out for at the moment, 29P/Schwassmann Wachmann is around Magnitude 12 and is a little out of reach for us Amature Astronomers-if I do see Comet Loneos I will send out Emails of where to look for it and any other Comets that may suddenly appear.

21st October sees the peak of the Orion Meteors with a possible ZHR (Zenith hourly rate of 50 to 60 either side of That Sunday and over that weekend although a Gibbous Moon may interfere slightly with observing until the early hours, a week later the clocks will go back 1 hour at 02.00 Sunday October 28th and I think by then the Summer will be well and truly over, A day before that happens though on the 27th October there will be an Occultation of the Pleiades starting around 23.00 hours U.T or around midnight in Laymans terms when 5 of the bright stars in the cluster will re-appear or emmerse from the dark limb of the Moon-for timings see
In November this year the Leonid Meteors should peak on Sunday 18th of November around 03.00 hours U.T and this year should be favourable although another one day past first quarter Gibbous Moon will be in the way until the early hours interfering with observations.
Into December and on Friday 14th December the Geminid Meteors should peak with a possible ZHR of 120 around 16.45 hours U.T worth looking out for over that weekend and the Ursids will peak around 21st to 22nd December with a ZHR of 10 and on very rare occassions reaching up to 50, Friday 21st December sees another Occultation of the Pleiades this time starting earlier in the evening at 21.22 hours U.T and ending at 21.51 hours U.T, The following morning on Saturday 22nd December sees in the winter Solstice at 06.08 hours U.T and on Christmas eve Monday 24th December sees a graze of Mars (at Opposition) along the full Moon and will have the Red planet almost touching its Limb-well worth looking at with small binoculars if you have them-on to Christmas and the new year and I wish you a peaceful and quiet one.
Mercury-will be Difficult to view during October and will be very difficult to locate low on the Horizon at Sunset with Inferior Conjunction occurring on the 23rd October, it will only start to re-appear again in the early morning November skies around the 8th shining at Magnitude 0.5 close to the star Spica in the Constellation of Virgo, Mercury should reach 15 degrees before sunrise around this time and will swiftly move back to the Sun reaching Superior Conjunction on the 17th December returning to the Evening skies but once again going back to an unfavourable apparition.
Venus-Now shines in the early morning dawn skies at Magnitude -4.5 and is a glittering white Diamond for early risers at the moment looking at the Eastern sky, on the 28th October Venus will be at 46 Degrees West of the Sun and shining at Magnitude - 4.4 when it will also be close to Saturn and Regulus in the Constellation of Leo making a small triangle, at the end of 2007 Venus will rise more than 3 hours before the Sun,
Mars-is now well placed in the early morning skies And as the winter approaches will be an unmissable site for observers
Jupiter-now only visible in the early evening South Western twilight and will gradually be consumed by it during November and into December, Conjunction with the Sun will occur on 23rd December
Saturn-Now emerging out of the morning twilight and will have a better showing in 2008.
Uranus and Neptune-are now observable this Quarter-Uranus is at
magnitude 5.9 still in Eastern Aquarius and Neptune is still in Eastern Capricornus
at Magnitude 7.9-worth looking at if you have finder charts.
First quarter Moon will be on the 19th October, it will be full on the 26th, last quarter will be on 1st November and new Moon will be on the 9th of November, first quarter will be on the 17th and full Moon will occur on the 24th November as well as the 24th December.
Lighting up times:
20th October 18.27 hours U.T, and Astronomical Twilight ending at 19.00 hours U.T
1st November 17.04 hours U.T and Astronomical twilight ending at 18.25 hours U.T
1st December 16.25 hours U.T and Astronomical Twilight ending at 18.00 hours U.T



Comet Loneos 2007 F1