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Venus, Plunging Towards Transit

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David Arditti
Time of observation
13/05/2012 - 08:15
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As Venus races along the last part of it's orbit which is bringing it both closer to Earth and to it's much anticipated solar transit, David Arditti captured this image of the dwindling crescent. Full details are o.n the image, which was taken under poor seeing conditions.

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Mars by Marc Delcroix

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Marc Delcroix
Time of observation
04/05/2012 - 09:30
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Marc Delcroix is a regular contributor of excellent planetary images. This one is of Mars as it recedes from us for this apparition, showing bluish clouds along the equator. Full details are on the image.

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C/2011 FI Linear

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23/04/2012 - 10:43
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ccd image and observation Attached is Comet C/2011 F1 (Linear) full LRGB Image Equipment Details are Primary Instrument: 0.5 meter f/6.8 Corrected Dall-Kirkham Field of View: 37 37 arc-minutes Camera Resolution: 3,056 3,056 pixels (binned 11) Filter Set: Luminance, Red, Green, Blue, H?, O-III, S-II, Photometric UBVRI Location ; 28 17' 59" W 16 30' 30" Alt: 2,359m | 7,739ft Nick
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A Sparkling M13 - by Simon Edwins

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Simon Edwins
Time of observation
22/04/2012 - 17:15
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Simon Edwins took this beautiful image of the "Great Northern Globular Cluster" (Messier 13) from his home in Bedfordshire. The image was taken using a Canon 350D SLR and an 8 inch Orion Optics CT8 reflector. The image is a stack of 10 x 3 minute exposures using "Nebulosity" and with post processing in Photoshop.

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Lyrid Meteor Shower Nears Peak

The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks this weekend on the night of April 21-22 when Earth passes through a stream of debris from Comet C/1861G1 Thatcher. The incoming Lyrid meteoroids have atmospheric entry velocities of 49 km/s, and Lyrid meteors appear swift. A fair proportion are bright, and some leave persistent ionisation trains.

The April Lyrid shower, while relatively modest, brings a welcome upturn in rates for a few nights, particularly around the maximum – this year expected just before dawn on Sunday, April 22 – normally producing observed rates of perhaps 6-8 meteors/hr under the clearest and darkest conditions when the radiant is well up in the sky, corresponding to a corrected Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) around 10. Activity is about this level for 12 hours or so centred on the maximum. At other times, observed Lyrid rates may be only 2-3 meteors/hr.

The best observed Lyrid rates will typically be found after midnight, when the radiant (RA 18h 08m Dec +32°) located some 10 degrees south-west of Vega, near the Lyra/Hercules border, climbs higher in the sky. The radiant elevation approaches a very respectable 66 degrees by 0300 hrs local time.

This year’s peak coincides with a new Moon, so there will be absolutely no interference by moonlight.  The promise of a good Lyrid display has prompted NASA to plan an unusual 3D meteor photography experiment combining observations from the ground, a research balloon, and the International Space Station.  More details are available on:
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/18apr_lyrids/

Although Lyrid activity is generally rather modest, unmapped filaments of dust laid down by the comet occasionally trigger outbursts in rates – most recently in 1982 when, for a couple of hours, a ZHR around 200 was attained. While there is no expectation of enhanced activity in 2012, the Lyrids have sprung surprises on us in the past, and remain a shower very much worth observing.

John W. Mason, Director, BAA Meteor Section

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C/2011 F1 Linear

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Time of observation
20/04/2012 - 19:59
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ccd image and observation
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C/2009P1 Garradd

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Time of observation
20/04/2012 - 19:56
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49P/Arend -Rigaux

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Time of observation
20/04/2012 - 19:54
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Saturn at Opposition

Saturn is at opposition on 15 April 2012 in the constellation of Virgo. With a magnitude of 0.2, it lies north east of Virgo’s brightest star, Spica (magnitude 0.98).

The north pole of the planet (and hence the north face of the rings) is iinclined by ~13.8 degrees towards the Earth. Small telescopes should be able to detect Cassini’s division in each ansae.

Small telescopes should also be able to detect what appears to be a single broad dark band in the planet’s northern hemisphere. This spans the latitudes of the classical North Equatorial and North Temperate belts.

Higher resolution observations reveal a lighter zone within this band at the approximate latitude of last year’s great northern hemisphere storm. Higher resolution observations have also detected some residual storm activity at this latitude.

A brighter bluish coloured zone is visible further north.

Recently on 12 April an image taken by Anthony Wesley showed a bright spot at an approximate latitude of 55 degrees N and an approximate System 3 longitude of 312 degrees. Further observations are required of this feature.

Mike Foulkes. Saturn Section director.

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M101 and SN 2011fe by David Arditti

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David Arditti
Time of observation
15/04/2012 - 16:15
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BAA member David Arditti captured this image of Messier 101 and the recent supernova. Details are on the image, and David comments that the exposure required a total of five hours through "the fuggy skies of March".

Copyright of all images and other observations submitted to the BAA remains with the owner of the work. Reproduction of the work by third-parties is expressly forbidden without the consent of the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the webmaster.

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