Thursday, April 10, 2008

Naked-eye star occulted by asteroid tomorrow: N. Europe, Asia

With luck observers in the U.K., Denmark, Sweden and a long track eastwards can see a 4.8 mag. star blink out for 1.7 seconds at most when asteroid (1886) Lowell occults HIP 63355 on the evening of April 11th - a rather rare event that's being advertised in the U.K. And if it doesn't work out there is always Yuri's Night on April 12 that will be celebrated heavily around the world.

In other news there is a new comet with perihelion next year, but it will stay dim. • The afterglow of GRB 080319B is fading slowly (but very faint anyway). • Some fun - and not so fun - thoughts about laser pointers and the sky: Especially the extremely bright green ones so popular among (some) astronomy educators are a real hazard to aviation and can get you in deep trouble with the law.

• And finally two astronomical "news stories" making some headlines right now aren't news at all - they are based on papers from January and February: The "smallest exoplanet" story (from this press release and wire stories) comes from this paper which had been discussed in this blog in February, and the "coldest Brown Dwarf" (from this press release) is based on this paper (so the embargo of the PR doesn't make sense).

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