Get your observing on! Here comes October and what are we going to look at? New Zealand switched to summer time, that is we put our clocks forward one hour. We are seriously starting to think now about solar astronomy. As the fishhook of Maui sinks towards the western horizon, and with it the galactic centre, there are still many wonderful objects to see in the night sky. The Magellanic Clouds are still there and especially the Small Magellanic Cloud is good to observe after sunset. Grus, the Crane – famous constellation with double doubles is getting close to the Zenith this month, the Sun is in Virgo until November the 1st and Pisces lay on the horizon at sunset. Mercury, Venus and the Moon all get up close and personal just after sunset on 30 October. Mercury and Venus will be just under three degrees apart and the waxing crescent Moon will be just 8 degrees away from the pair of planets. Through a telescope you’ll see the three different phases of the different celestial bodies, with the Moon being just a slither, Mercury being 35% illuminated and Venus, nearly full at 94%. To achieve this configuration Venus is on the other side of the Sun to Earth’s position, with Mercury almost half way between. Observable comets are also in the Southern Sky, 289P/Blanpain and C/2018 W2 Africano at the Aquarius end of Pisces.
How many telescopes can you fit on Mt John? Mount John, New Zealand, is the home of University of Canterbury’s research observatory and Dark Sky Project’s stargazing tours. So, there are a lot of telescopes […]
Celestia is a very cool piece of software, which you can use to build asteroids. Here is how.
More reads from Holly
I have been reading more books this year at a rapid pace. These are the astronomy books that I have been reading. If you would like to follow what I am reading (not just astronomy […]
The Brashear Telescope is a masterpiece of the Victorian age technology. It stands 9 m tall with a refracting lens of 18 inches (45.72 cm) across. And it is getting a new home in Tekapo, […]
Party Time – Astronomy Style!
So you want to invite some friends over and you need a theme for your party. Why not make it as big as the universe, and take your guests on a view of the cosmos? It’s fun, it’s easy, and you don’t need a degree in the finer points of astrophysics (although that could be a hoot as well). The goal is for everyone to have a good time and not necessarily to earn three college credits in astronomy when the night is done. So let’s get started.
Last month, the New Zealand Government – The New Zealand Space Agency together with the US Embassy have announced four scholarships at NASA Ames, the same place I have been in 2014. There were media outlets in New Zealand that publicised this as an astronaut training opportunity, but this internship is no astronaut training school although it might lead to becoming one. This, and the knowledge that you don’t need to be an astronaut to work in the space industry, prompted me to want to share from my experience at NASA and give an overview of what to realistically expect from these internships.
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.
Ian Cooper is a giant in New Zealand astrophotography. He has been capturing the night sky since the 1970s and in this article he takes us through some of the highlights and give us some tips.
Helping drive space innovation in New Zealand is Space Base and their New Zealand Space Challenge.
Getting started with astronomical sketching can be daunting at first but before long you’ll be producing great looking sketches of your favourite night sky objects.
We visited the Mars Yard at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney a few weeks ago and had a great time at this fantastic facility that is doing very important work.
Here’s some hints on how to survive a Stardate without harming yourself or other astronomers.
In this article in the Beginner Series we look at the size of the universe and our place in it to give some context to the amazing sights available to the budding astronomer.
Kiwinauts to space is how we are going to try and inspire New Zealand to become a space faring nation and get a New Zealander into space – the first kiwinaut.
and what can we do about it?
Six questions that drive us nuts because we are asked these constantly. So here’s our different takes on the possible answers.
Pondering about the origins of Christmas and meanings that people give to events, while waiting for the New Year.
"That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. Carl Sagan
Being on “Mars” was a life-changing experience and put things in perspective for me. It made me question everything I knew about my life so far.