#75 – September 2018 Part 1


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The Discussion: Jeni returns after getting the flu, Paul’s science shows were a wash out at Camp Bestival and Ralph gets a great email about a telescope library service.

The News: In the new revamped show format we have 3 minutes to round up the astronomy news stories you might have missed:

Jeni:

  • New Gaia data shows us the distance and shape of familiar objects like never before
  • India’s Chandrayaan-1 finds water ice in the moon’s north and south pole craters
  • The Andromeda Galaxy’s dwarf companion was canibalised by a galactic collision

Ralph:

  • An ultra-hot 4,000ºC exoplanet
  • An ultra compact dwarf galaxy with a huge supermassive black hole
  • Astronomy favourite Albireo isn’t a binary star after all

The big news story:

  • New Horizons spacecraft confirms Voyager data on the Heliosphere

The Skyguide:

  • Jeni runs through some top facts about the planet Neptune
  • Paul tells you where to find it and what you can expect to see
  • Ralph runs through the autumn equinox, the constellations Cygnus & Lyra and visiting comet 21P Giacobini Zinner
  • Paul finished with this month’s moon phases

Q&A: Listeners’ questions via email, Facebook & Twitter take us on a journey into the astronomy issues that have always plagued our understanding or stretched our credulity. This month we take a look at astronomical time travel:

I’m still trying to get my head around if bigger telescopes looking at the same thing as my 6 inch reflector are seeing it at a different time or in just more detail. Take the Whirlpool Galaxy for example, can it be seen at different stages in its existence? From Peter Coates in the UK.

Episode 75 Part 2 on space exploration comes out in the middle of the month.

Sky Guide August 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in August.

With no Jeni this month, Ralph & Paul pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • Mars just past opposition as impressive as last month
  • A round up of the other planets on view
  • The Perseid Meteor Shower peaking on 12/13th August

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year:

  • Open clusters Messier 11 & Messier 26 in Scutum
  • Globular cluster NGC6712 & planetary nebula IC1295 in Scutum
  • Peculiar galaxy NGC7727 in Aquarius

And we finish this sky guide with August’s moon phases.

Sky Guide July 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in July.

With no Jen this month (she’s off sciencing), it’s just Paul & Ralph’s highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • Mars at its most favourable opposition since 2003
  • Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto
  • A super-long lunar eclipse

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year.

  • Ralph – Messier 16, The Eagle Nebula
  • Paul – NGC 6822, Barnard’s Irregular

And we finish this sky guide with July’s moon phases.

Sky Guide June 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in June.

Ralph, Paul & Jen pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • Asteroid Vesta at opposition
  • Saturn
  • An overview of Venus, Jupiter and Mars
  • Comet 21P – Giacobini–Zinner in Cygnus

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year.

  • Ralph – The Double Double, Epsilon Lyrae, in Lyra
  • Paul – Globular Clusters available to view in Ophiuchus
  • Jen – Colourful binary star Albireo in Cygnus

And we finish this sky guide with June’s moon phases.

Sky Guide May 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in May.

Ralph, Paul & Jen pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • The ever-brightening Mars
  • Jupiter at opposition on 9th May
  • Venus in the evening sky
  • The Lyrid meteor shower

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year.

  • Ralph – The plethora of summer objects in Sagittarius
  • Paul – Globular Cluster, Messier 5, in Serpens
  • Jen – M57, The Ring Nebula, in Lyra

And we finish this sky guide with May’s moon phases.

Sky Guide April 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in December.

Ralph, Paul & Jen pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • The features visible on Mars
  • Jupiter visible in the morning sky
  • Venus in the evening sky
  • The Lyrid meteor shower

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year.

  • Ralph – The Beehive and King Cobra open clusters in Cancer
  • Jen – M82, The Cigar Galaxy, and M81, a starburst galaxy in Ursa Major
  • Paul – A tour of the Virgo cluster of galaxies and Markarian’s Chain

And we finish this sky guide with April’s moon phases.

Sky Guide March 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in March.

Ralph, Paul & Jen pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • Prepare for this year’s Mars opposition as it increases in brightness
  • Jupiter at 21 degrees in the pre-dawn sky
  • Bright Venus, Mercury and the moon in conjunction on 18th March
  • Comet 2016 R2 PANSTARRS in Perseus
  • A lunar conjunction with the Hyades Cluster and occultation of Aldebaran.

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year:

  • Ralph – Messier 81 & 82, Bode’s Galaxy & The Cigar Galaxy in Ursa Major
  • Jen – Messier 3, globular cluster in Canes Venatici
  • Paul – The Leo 1 group of Galaxies in the constellation Leo

And we finish this sky guide with March’s moon phases.

Sky Guide February 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in February.

Ralph, Paul & Jen pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • Track Mars’ passage through Scorpius & Ophiuchus
  • Jupiter in Libra gives us a shadow transit and a look at its Great Red spot
  • Dwarf Planet Ceres at opposition on 1st February & Comet Heinze in Pegasus

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year:

  • Ralph – Open clusters Messier 67 and the Beehive Cluster in Cancer
  • Jen – Messier 101, the Pinwheel Galaxy, in Ursa Major
  • Paul – NCG 40, the Bow Tie nebula, in Cepheus

And we finish this sky guide with February’s moon phases.

Sky Guide January 2018




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What to look out, and up, for in January!

Ralph, Paul & Jen pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • The Red Planet Mars, makes a welcome return to our skies
  • The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks on the night of 3rd/4th January
  • Dwarf planet Ceres is at opposition on 31st January in Cancer
  • Mercury is at greatest wester elongation on 2nd January
  • And comet C/2017 T1 Heinze reaches mag 7-9 on 6th January

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year:

  • Ralph – Messier 42, the Great Nebula in Orion
  • Jen – NGC 2244 and the Rosette Nebula in Monoceros.
  • Paul – NCG 2903, Barred Spiral Galaxy in Leo

And we finish this sky guide with January’s moon phases.

Sky Guide December 2017




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What to look out, and up, for in December.

Ralph, Paul & Jen pick their highlights for this month’s skies; starting with the solar system objects on offer to observers and imagers:

  • The Geminid meteor showers peaking on 13/14th December
  • Uranus sitting in the constellation Pisces
  • Mars & Jupiter lunar conjunctions

Next up, we take a deep sky pick from our list of favourites for this time of year:

  • Ralph – A binary star, a planetary nebula and 4 open clusters in Gemini
  • Jen – The Pleiades open cluster in Taurus
  • Paul – The Crab Nebula supernova remnant also in Taurus

And we finish this sky guide with December’s moon phases.