Last week was Mars Week at Oxford Area School in the South Island. It was a great week running Mars Missions and learning all about Mars.
The night sky is full of stars and some of the very brightest we see have some very interesting characteristics. Next time you’re looking at Sirius or Canopus you’ll be able to appreciate just how big they are compared to our very own star – the Sun.
It’s the Winter of the Planets and in the early evening this week you can see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Then there is the Lunar Eclipse on Saturday morning as well.
Next year is the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s voyage to the Pacific Ocean. One the things he did was contribute to a more accurate calculation of the distance between the Earth and the Sun by observing the transit of Venus.
The night sky this week is still all about the planets but if you’re quick, you can still spot some deep sky objects before the Moon gets too bright.
A great week for deep sky observing, why not try and see if you can Barnard’s Galaxy or the Saturn Nebula.
Some interesting news about space in the last week.
Vesta reached opposition on the 20 June but is still quite easy to see and well worth a look if you get the chance.
When observing the planets in astronomy it can be quite surprising to see the different sizes that appear in the eyepiece and how this can change over time.
The game changer for access to space will be humanity moving away from the use of chemical rockets to get into orbit. The disrupters to the space industry will be the ones that perfect the alternative technologies.
The Winter of planets continues with Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all at fantastic high positions over the week. Venus is also getting a bit higher out of the distorted atmosphere near the horizon.
A really quick round up of the week in space including a black hole swallowing a star, the Mars dust storm and Hayabusa’s journey to Ryugu.
We had a great time showing heaps of students Jupiter and Saturn during a talk about Matariki at Government House.
Hayabusa2 is about to have a close up and personal experience with the asteroid Ryugu. In this mission the spacecraft will collect a bit of the asteroid and return to Earth.
Now that your telescope is all ready, take it outside and start viewing the night sky.
Using a telescope for the first time can be quite daunting. So it’s worth taking the time to get familiar with the telescope and the mount and all of the accessories, so that you can make the most of your time outside and don’t hurt yourself or your new expensive equipment.
New Horizons will make its next encounter on 1 January next year as it approaches the Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule, formerly known as 2014 MU69.
The Pleiades are a fascinating star cluster that is easily spotted not far from the Hyades cluster in Taurus and is visible in the Southern Hemisphere summer, Northern Hemisphere winter.
The night sky this week is a great opportunity to get your binoculars and telescopes out to see the fantastic nebulae that sit between Scorpius and Sagittarius.
A summary of the week in space in a minute. This week it was the return of Expedition 55 from the International Space Station, a meteorite puts on a display over Botswana and SOFIA arrives in New Zealand.
The night sky this week has a few treats including the asteroid Vesta, Mars and the Moon getting close, Jupiter’s moons crossing the planet and the fantastic nebulae in Sagittarius showing off.