Archive for March, 2012

Moon, Jupiter, Venus Conjunction & Pleiades !

March 26, 2012 2 comments

If anything I reckon the planetary conjunction of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter in the west looks even better tonight with Venus close to the Moon. I couldn’t resist another photo, but this time in full darkness. Although I didn’t realise it at the time I managed to catch the Pleiades star cluster right at the top of the image, which really enhances the overall alignment.

Image taken 26/3/12 at 9.48pm Canon 350D, F5, ISO 400, 10 seconds @ 42mm

Categories: Planets

Supernova SN 2012aw in M95 (NGC 3351)

March 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Supernova SN 2012aw is a Type IIP and clearly visible in galaxy M95 in the constellation Leo at magnitude 12.7. It was discovered by The Italian Supernovae Search Project on 16/3/2012 and has rapidly brightened from its discovery magnitude of 15. The original star is thought to have been a red supergiant about 8 times more massive than the sun. This star used up all of its nuclear fuel then collapsed in on itself under intense gravitational forces and at speeds approaching 45,00 miles per second. When the outer layers smashed into the core they crushed it and this sent a massive shock wave back out towards the surface, tearing the star apart in the process and creating the bright supernova that we see. The supernova appears to have reached its maximum brightness now and will probably fade over the coming weeks. It can easily be seen in telescopes of 4″ and greater diameters from good observing locations.  Image taken 25/3/12 8.55 local time via T07 in Nerpio, Spain. Planewave 17″ CDK, SBIG STL-11000M, 3 x 300 sec Bin 1. RA: 10h 43m 59.9s DEC: 11° 42′ 00″ (J2000)

Categories: Supernovae

The Planets Align – Moon Jupiter and Venus

March 25, 2012 4 comments

There are some great views in the west right now (yes now, get out there !) of a close planetary alignment between the Moon, Jupiter to the left and Venus above the Moon. The Moon is in a thin crescent phase too so you get the added benefit of that slightly blue-grey ghostly disk on the dark side of the Moon resulting from the earthshine effect ie. the reflection of sunlight from the Earth’s surface to the Moon. The alignment is particularly good tonight and tomorrow so do have a look. Image taken 25/3/12  8:30pm. Canon 350D, ISO 400, 18mm, 0.6 sec exposure.

Categories: Planets

The Sun – Active Region 1429 – Beware of X-Class Flares !

March 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Huge active region AR1429 is looking rather benign now as it nears the western limb of the sun’s disk, but just five days ago it produced the largest solar flare of the current solar cycle, an X5 class eruption at 00:28 UT on the 7th March. On the 9th and 10th March it continued to flare at M class levels and large Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s) were hurled our way on each occasion which will soon be providing plenty of aurora activity in the northern polar regions. Fortunately the cloud parted this afternoon to give me a clear view of this impressively active sunspot group so I took the opportunity to capture it in the CaK and Ha light wavelengths. The hydrogen alpha views show a huge curving filament snaking across the eastern limb. Images taken 12.32- 13.09 UT using Coronado Ha PST/Lunt CaK wedge at 100mm/DMK 41 camera

CAK views of AR 1429:

Hydrogen Alpha Views:

Categories: Solar