Time to geek out again!
There has been a lot of talk in the media as of late about the possibility of a Comet of the Century making a grand appearance this month, yet, as it happens it seems like this particular celestial visitor for many was an incredible dud as it didn’t transpire to be the X factor Comet many had hoped for. However, all is not lost as since the confirmation of Comet ISON‘s demise after it passed perilously close to the Sun there is another Comet to take a look at if you are keen enough!
Move over ISON – Comet Lovejoy is in town!
Comet ISON was clearly the star attraction over the last few weeks, and in all the excitement and attention that was being paid to ISON many astronomers were also paying attention to Comet Lovejoy which is currently gracing our skies in the early hours of the morning very close to The Big Dipper (or otherwise known as The Plough).
For any visitors who come here from the Southern Hemisphere the name Lovejoy may seem to be quite familiar – this is because the Australian and amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy has been pretty good at spotting new Comets over the last few years…notably this one back in 2011 which wowed people in the South with an amazing display before its own ultimate demise – C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy).
Video and pictures of the 2011 Comet Lovejoy.
This has no connection to the current Comet that has a similar name, the current Lovejoy Comet and its official Scientific name is C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) and as we have mentioned before, if you have a keen eye and know your constellations you will find the Comet to be very close to the ‘handle’ of The Big Dipper which is one of the most recognisable constellations to spot.
Please look at the links below to see the final passage of Comet ISON and current pictures and information for Comet Lovejoy.
The last hurrah of Comet ISON: http://www.space.com/23803-comet-ison-fate-visibility-uncertain.html
Take a look at Planet JUPITER and the Planet VENUS which are both now shining at maximum Magnitude and at its most striking!
Our Sister planet and the Second Rock to the Sun is now performing a truly stunning display before it slowly starts to move its way pass the Sun and start to fade.
Jupiter which is the ‘daddy’ of all our planets and is now rising higher in the overnight sky, and, as the seasons move by it will be the most dominant feature second only to the Moon. If you are looking at Jupiter on the right day and you have sharp vision, there is a slight chance you will be able to make out some of the Planets largest ‘Moons’ a pair of binoculars will greatly increase your chances of seeing this.
Venus has been gracing our Skies for most of this year and if you look South to South West not too long after Sunset you will see the planet at its most dazzling. Venus is about to start to move towards the Sun as it Orbit brings about the transition from Venus being the ‘Evening Star’‘ where it will wander during the early part of next year to become the veery bright ‘Morning Star’.
As the nights have been unbelievably clear around Vancouver, we do suggest that you wrap up and take a look above you, with the New Moon at its current phase – this means for anyone who loves astronomy will get to see the stars brightly without the Moon stealing the show.
If you are looking at Venus from the open country that is away from any kind of Light pollution, the planets light and glare is so bright that it can actually cast shadows, its over the next few weeks that you may be lucky enough to witness this incredible phenomenon.
The Mighty ORION Constellation and the PLEIADES Star cluster
Now that the darkest days of Winter are well and truly upon us, we do get to witness some of the most stunning and most recognisable structures of the night sky – the most obvious of them are the Constellation of ORION THE HUNTER and the PLEIADES Star Cluster also known to many as the SEVEN SISTERS
Orion is very famous due to the 3 stars that form a straight line and are imagined to be Orions Belt. This is a great constellation to view especially if you are just getting interested in Astronomy. It is also a great chance for you to spot a Nebula with the naked eye. A Nebula is the remnants of a Star that previously died in an explosive fashion, what you are left with is the Gasses and other Elements that the former star stripped away before succumbing – with the Nebula that is located just below the belt of Orion and is the middle fuzzy Star that forms Orions Dagger, f you take a closer look at this object with a decent pair of binoculars you will see that it is in fact not a living Star but a a ball of Red Gas and new baby stars that are have been created from the original material of its expired parent Star. Once you have spotted this, it is easily noticeable with the naked eye alone….pretty cool.
If this is a subject that you like and would like to visit some tourist destinations with a flare for Science then you really will enjoy visiting SCIENCE WORLD and the H.R MACMILLAN SPACE CENTRE…click on the links below for further information on Exhibits and events…
SCIENCE WORLD: http://www.scienceworld.ca/
SPACE MUSEUM: http://www.spacecentre.ca/
We will finish this blog with some of the latest stunning footage from the International Space Station: