What to look out for in 2019

  1. The year’s remaining major meteor showers are the Orionids (21 October), Leonids (18 November) and Geminids (14 December).  Remember shooting stars can be seen in the days before and after and the dates given are for maximum activity.
  2. Autumn is prime Milky Way season with this river of light directly overhead mid-evening. The darker your location, the better is appears.  But you will struggle to see it from light polluted areas.  Get into the countryside, choose a moonless night, and look up with your naked eye.
  3. Jupiter is the end of its show for this year and visible in the west after sunset. A pair of binoculars will reveal its four largest moons, appearing as bright dots either side of the planet.  This fine object is low at the moment for UK observers and the view will improve over the next decade.
  4. The magnificent ringed planet, Saturn,  is still fabulous.  Looking like a bright yellow star, a small telescope will reveal its lovely rings.  The planet is quite low down, which is not ideal for observing and lies due south at nightfall.
  5. A rare transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun is visible from the UK on 11 November.  The planet will be seen as a black disc moving across the sun. The event starts soon after noon and to observe it you will need a telescope fitted with a special solar filter.  Looking at the sun without such a protective filter will cause permanent eye damage!  This video shows you some of the ways you can stay safe and enjoy the spectacle – https://vimeo.com/161001352
  6.  The North Pennines AONB takes centrestage with its fantastic dark sky festival in 23 October to 3 November.   It features scores of amazing public events.
  7. Want to buy a telescope?   Click on blog thoughts on the tab line.

About Richard Darn

Astronomer and media consultant
This entry was posted in astronomy, outreach, science and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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