Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June 2011: three eclipses - 2 partial solar, 1 total lunar - in one month!

This triple eclipse headline is literally true for the Eastern Pacific, where June begins and ends with partial solar eclipse (for the remainder of the planet and UTC the 2nd solar eclipse falls on July 1st already and hardly anyone will see it in any case). These - and a few other - highlights of this month:Meanwhile the morning planets show is coming to an end: some nice vistas of May 31 from Turkey, of May 30 from Germany (it's tough ...), of May 29 from the U.S. (more), of May 26 from Australia, of May 23 from S. Africa, of May 22 from Malaysia, of May 20 from Iran and Australia, of May 19 from New Zealand (more), of May 18 from Greece and Australia, of May 17 from high over Australia (at 39,000 ft!), of May 16 from the U.S. and Tahiti and of May 15 from Cyprus. • Also a Mars close-up from May 26 (taken in Germany - in daytime) that shows quite some detail despite just 4" diameter and May views of Saturn's storm which was also studied in the IR.

In other news unusual views of the Moon: in polarized light, used as a diffracting edge, in extreme libration and with impacts by 3 Eta Aquarids and one Quadrantid (some background on this kind of observation here and here). • Images of poor comet Elenin of May 24 and May 16 and what the future may bring (and what not). There are also a new comet C/2011 J3 (LINEAR) (more) - and pre-discovery observations (and non-observations) of C/2010 A2 (LINEAR). • Some bizarre (non-)impact stories: another megacryometeor mystery and weird circumstances of the Dryas (more) and Chiemgau non-impacts.

• From the Sun May prominences (from every day from May 19 ... 26), the May 25 full Sun in H-Alpha and a May 9/10 CME movie, aurora over Tasmania on May 28, plus preventing space storm damage on Earth - and a weird scene from an art exhibition (headline - not connected to the pic - NSFW) ... • A star's proper motion in 110 years documented. • The first NLC sightings of the year are in; see also here. • Some post-processing of ESO movies showing Paranal rotating in a fixed Universe. • A rare timelapse movie of geostationary (or rather not so stationary!) satellites. • An Endeavour water dump (more). • And the ISS & Endeavour in front of the Sun with veeery high and not quite so high resolution (one more) - this low-res movie shows how fleeting these 'transits' are.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Planet show continued: the Venus/Jupiter/Mercury trio

As they say: "The cosmic ballet goes on," with the morning planets moving into new shapes every day. Further impressions - now with a Venus/Jupiter/Mercury triangle - of May 15 from Australia (scroll down), of May 14 from South Africa, Malaysia and the Philippines, of May 13 from South Africa and Australia (more, more [details], more), of May 12 from the U.S. (more, more), Canada, Poland (at 50° North!), Israel, Iran and Australia (more, cloudy) and of May 11 from Uruguay, Canada, the U.S., the Canary Islands, Spain, Italy, Austria, Poland, Israel, Indonesia and Australia. • Plus a rare drawing of Saturn from May 12.

In other news new faint comets C/2011 J2 and C/2011 H1, plus the demise of the latest SOHO comet (also an animation [bottom]; more, more). • Dubious stories about a meteor bang w/o a meteor and a meteorite crater w/o a meteorite (more). • A paper on the high solar activity in Nov. 2003 and a new warning system from Germany. • Pictures of SN 2011by of May 12 (another close-up), May 7 and May 4 - while T Pyx is near its peak now. • The ISS on the Sun. • More coverage of the new big sky mosaic (final graf) here, here, here and here - and all three mosaics in direct comparision. • And how amateur astronomy has benefited from the unrelenting advance of technology.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Great morning planets show seen around the clock around the world

The line-ups & conjunctions of four naked-eye planets just west of the Sun - see also here, here, here, here, here, here and here plus an animation; a close Venus/Jupiter conjunction on May 11 & 12 is the next highlight - have been a great show in Southern and extremely tough to see in mid-Northern latitudes. Here are impressions of May 9 from Argentina, California and Australia, of May 8 from Austria, Jordan, Turkey and Australia (again), of May 7 from Chile, Italy, Austria (daytime close-ups!) and Tasmania, of May 6 from the U.S. and Austria, of May 5 from Argentina and Australia, of May 4 from Australia, of May 3 from Australia, of May 2 from Chile, of May 1 from Chile (cropped), the U.K., Australia (again and again) and the Philippines, of April 30 from Florida and Venezuela and of April 29 from New Zealand.

In small bodies news a big paper on how to get asteroid shapes from lightcurves and stellar occultations, the funny lightcurve of 2010 TU5, another 2005 YU55 press release (picked up here and here) and a long German story on NEO defense. • In Poland a meteorite hit a house (more, more and more) and a new mineral - named krotite - has been found in a meteorite. • There is a 3rd mag. Kreutz comet in this May 10 SOHO image at 7 o'clock (earlier today), comet Elenin on May 4, May 3 (more) and more dates, with absurdly high, optimistic and pessimistic predictions around, and new comet websites with hot visual estimates and Argentinian pictures.

In other news The H-Alpha Sun on May 3 and a geostorm on April 30. • T Pyxidis might be fading after brightening (another report). • SN 2011by has risen to 12.3 mag. as many confirm. • Eps Aurigae is now in egress with the eclipse soon over - and a lot of science results left behind. • Two more fine sky timelapse movies from the Canary Islands and Greece. • Close-ups of NanoSail D here and here, a Brasilian reentry video, explained here and here (more and more on the satellite), a Russian sky show after a launch, explained here and hier - and a close-up of USA 129, a U.S. spysat.