What’s in the night sky from New Zealand in November 2019
Once you get to know your way around the sky and spend a lot of time under the stars you can start seeing amazing things. These are some of the things that I have seen […]
The Vice President of the US announced that the administration wants the US to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024. For this to happen there needs to be a way of getting them there and the SLS will probably not be ready.
Tonight is the last Supermoon for 2019 so if you get a chance, go outside and have a look. But if you miss it, don’t worry, it’ll be back next year.
50 years ago Apollo 9 launched and carried three crew members around the Earth for ten days testing the spacecraft and systems that would ultimately take people to the Moon.
News from space in January and February 2019
Observing the transit of Venus was no easy task, it required careful observations and measurement. 250 years ago expeditions went out across the world to measure this amazing and rare event in order to help us understand the size of the known universe.
On 3rd of January, China’s rover Chang’e 4 landed on the lunar surface. This was the first time humans have landed anything on the so called dark side of the Moon – it’s not really […]
The question of who owns the Moon has always been an interesting topic. Fortunately we have a treaty system to say that no one can own the Moon – but before this there were some very interesting and somewhat crazy claimants.
In 4 days it’s the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s arrival at the Moon and tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of its launch.
This Christmas it is 50 years since the first humans got an up close and personal look at the Moon. Apollo 8 was launched on 21 December 1968 and entered lunar orbit on 24 December, just in time for the crew to celebrate Christmas further from the Earth than anyone had ever celebrated Christmas, or anything else, ever.
In New Zealand, Space Starts with Sheep; a new season is about to open for exoplanets as scientists discover an efficient method to predict microlensing; Earth’s Moon to be used as a giant radio telescope; “Hello, Andromeda calling”, gravitational waves might be used to carry information; 1500 km long water cloud appears on Mars after the planet-wide storm from last month, while InSider probe has only one month left hurling through space, and will land on Mars in November; scientists narrow down the landing sites for Mars 2020 rover; change of plans, why not land among the clouds of Venus? Hubble and Chandra telescopes have been repaired, mostly by switching them on and off and stay tuned for the position of Uranus in the sky.
This Saturday night is International Observe the Moon Night so hopefully the weather will be great and we can all catch a glimpse of the Moon.
Riding on Elon Musk’s muscle power earthlings are preparing to invade the Moon again. There they will find that some of its craters have been renamed to honour the Apollo 8 mission, the first to orbit our natural satellite 50 years ago. Venus is hailed by the Parker Solar probe that swings by it, Jupiter’s Moon Europa has 15 meters ice spikes on the surface and Saturn’s rings are not just water nor all the lost airline luggage. Mars has to resign to the idea that earthlings have figured out how to grow plants on it. Not even perchlorates can stop them. And last but not least, New Horizons is unstoppable going towards Ultima Thule.
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.
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.
Now that your telescope is all ready, take it outside and start viewing the night sky.
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.
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.