What to look out for in 2018

  1. Saturn is low, but good for viewing in the south west when it gets dark. It appears as a yellow star.  A small telescope will reveal its rings.  Much brighter and to its left is the brilliant Mars – shining with a distinct red tint.  The planet is on its closest approach to Earth for many years – 36 million miles away at its nearest!
  2. A total eclipse of the moon on 27 July coincided with storms for many in UK.  But fear not – there’s another chance on 21 January 2019 and this time the entire eclipse will visible and the moon is much higher in the sky. The gotcha is that it starts about 3am and goes on until after 6am will maximum totality at just after 5am.  But it’s well worth getting up for.  The next decent lunar eclipse visible from the UK is not until 18 October 2032 – so make the best of it!
  3. This year has been a vintage one for noctilucent clouds on the northern horizon. They are the highest clouds on earth and shine after dusk and before dawn. UK one of best locations in world to see them.  They glow in the dark hence their name.  Look out for them next year from May to August (see below taken with my mobile!).NLC new 2.jpg
  4. Major meteor showers this year are the Orionids (22 October), Leonids (17 November) and Geminids (13 December).
  5. The Milky Way is riding high in the sky and Autumn is the best time of year to view it.  Get somewhere dark and look directly up after nightfall.  Looks like a river of light.  Lovely picture below by Rob Ince.
  6. Want to buy a telescope?   Click on blog thoughts on the tab line.Dalby Milky Way Rob Ince 2016.jpg
Posted in astronomy, outreach, science | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment