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ISSN 2042-2687

P ractical A stronomy

Beginner’s Guide To DSLR Astrophotography - Part 1

December 2009 DSLR Astrophotography Binocular Observing Challenge Holiday Gift Ideas Astronomy Recipe Of The Month Astro Imaging Start - Up Story

Practical Astronomy

In this month’s issue

3

BINOCULAR CHALLENGE - 12 OBJECTS IN 12 DAYS?

A collection of target objects, for the holiday period

5

RADIO, OPTICAL AND INFRARED OBSERVATORY The multi-wavelength project of a reader in Sweden

7

DSLR ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY - PART 1

Practical guide to this powerful imaging technique

9

READERS IMAGE GALLERY

Your astronomy images (have you sent one yet?)

11

HOLIDAY SEASON: ASTRONOMY GIFT IDEAS Some gift ideas for the astronomers in your life!

12

ASTRONOMY RECIPE OF THE MONTH Sirius Pisces Oriental - a feisty fishy thing

13

INTERVIEW: SKYLIVE ROBOTIC TELESCOPE Interview with a reader, who’s a member of this project

14

ASTRO IMAGING: A START-UP STORY Entertaining account of Hugh’s first steps into imaging

16

SKY VIEW - DECEMBER

Maps of the Night Sky - Looking East, South, West, North

20

OBSERVERS’ DELIGHTS Special observing sights not to miss this month

December 2009

First Light

Welcome to the December issue of Practical Astronomy. Yet again, more features and more pages this month Please welcome especially our new contributors, who have written magazine articles and sent great images for the gallery. I put out a call for help to the subscribed members and YOU answered. Thank you very much (and keep it up!) This issue also sees the start of a new guide to digital SLR astrophotography. Presented in parts, it will build over coming months into a very Practical Astronomy how-to guide to this new and powerful imaging technique. There’s also the holiday season binocular challenge, a very tasty fishy recipe and many other features, So, I do hope you enjoy this December issue. Please leave a little feedback at PracticalAstronomy.com.

Kevin Brow n

So, I do hope you enjoy this December issue. Please leave a little feedback at PracticalAstronomy.com

Sponsored By CADSAS. com

Practical Astronomy December 2009 Editor: Kevin Brown editor@practicalastronomy.com Advertising:
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Editor: Kevin Brown
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Binocular Challenge: 12 Targets In 12 Days?

Can YOU observe these selected objects over the Christmas period? Depending on your local sky conditions, modes t binoculars should be good enough. Do let us know if it works for you on th e Feedback page. ( password is BINS )

Here are twelve December targets for binoculars All should be observable with modest binoculars (say 10x50), given reasonably dark, clear skies. But note that some will be Northern hemisphere only.

Please tell everyone how you are doing with this binocular challenge - leave a comment on this (password protected) blog post

Just click to view the Challenge comments so far (and get more observing tips). Use the password BINS (with CAPS) to be let in.

1. The Pleiades (M45)

The showpiece open star cluster in Taurus.

Pleiades (M45) The showpiece open star cluster in Taurus. 2. Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) The furthest

2. Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31)

The furthest naked-eye object.

Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) The furthest naked-eye object. 3. Star Cluster Melotte 20 in Perseus Close

3. Star Cluster Melotte 20 in Perseus

Close to star Mirphak (alpha Persei), you should find this large scattered S-shaped cluster.

you should find this large scattered S-shaped cluster. 4. The famous Double Cluster A related pair

4. The famous Double Cluster

A related pair of star clusters (NGC 884/869), in Perseus, but close to Casseopeia.

clusters (NGC 884/869), in Perseus, but close to Casseopeia. 5. Auriga’s Star Cluster Trio Small star

5. Auriga’s Star Cluster Trio

Small star clusters M37, M36 and M38, in a rough East to West line in Auriga.

Trio Small star clusters M37, M36 and M38, in a rough East to West line in

Binocular Challenge: 12 Targets In 12 Days? (cont.)

6. The Appennine Mountains on the Moon

An easy one

Best around 1st or 3rd quarter.

on the Moon An easy one Best around 1st or 3rd quarter. 7. Star Cluster M35

7. Star Cluster M35 in Gemini

around 1st or 3rd quarter. 7. Star Cluster M35 in Gemini 8. Star Cluster M41 in

8. Star Cluster M41 in Canis Major

Cluster M35 in Gemini 8. Star Cluster M41 in Canis Major 9. Star Mu Cephei (another

9. Star Mu Cephei (another red sight)

Called the ‘Garnet star’ by Herschel, this distant and highly luminous star appears very red.

this distant and highly luminous star appears very red. 10. The Great Nebula M42 in Orion

10. The Great Nebula M42 in Orion

star appears very red. 10. The Great Nebula M42 in Orion 11. Star Cluster M34 Find

11. Star Cluster M34

Find this large cluster to the West of Algol (beta Persei) in Perseus.

large cluster to the West of Algol (beta Persei) in Perseus. 12. Mars Only a point

12. Mars

Only a point of light through binoculars, but the planet’s red tinge should still be visible.

but the planet’s red tinge should still be visible. Don’t forget to let us know how

Don’t forget to let us know how you’re doing (and also get some useful observing tips)

The password is BINS

Reader’s Project: Radio, Optical And Infrared Space Observatory

By Arpad Cserkuti, Sweden

In pictures

project to build a radio, optical and infrared space observatory in Sweden.

Arpad Cserkuti’s very interesting

observatory in Sweden. Arpad Cserkuti’s very interesting Infrared line scanners These infrared scanners were

Infrared line scanners

These infrared scanners were originally produced for the cement industry, to inspect the inside of ovens. They do not produce the usual display - only a line.

ovens. They do not produce the usual display - only a line. The IR sign of

The IR sign of the Moon

the usual display - only a line. The IR sign of the Moon Observing the IR

Observing the IR radiation of the Moon

IR sign of the Moon Observing the IR radiation of the Moon 12 GHz dish for

12 GHz dish for observing the noise radiation of the Sun

Reader’s Project: Radio-Optical And Infrared Space Observatory (cont.)

Radio-Optical And Infrared Space Observatory (cont.) Antenna for 12 GHz and 400-600 MHz Homebuilt dish for

Antenna for 12 GHz and 400-600 MHz

Space Observatory (cont.) Antenna for 12 GHz and 400-600 MHz Homebuilt dish for 400-800 MHz (not

Homebuilt dish for 400-800 MHz (not in use)

and 400-600 MHz Homebuilt dish for 400-800 MHz (not in use) Disassembled optical telescope (will be

Disassembled optical telescope (will be mounted with the radio and infrared telescopes)

If you find this project interesting, please leave a comment or question at the feedback page. One click and you’re there http://PracticalAstronomy.com/feedback

Next Month

Readers projects from around the World

DSLR Astrophotography - Part 2

Image Gallery

Astronomy Recipe Of The Month

Plus much more

January Issue Out 17 December

DSLR Astrophotography (Part 1): Joining Camera

And Telescope At Prime Focus

Words/Pics by Kevin Brown

Welcome to Part 1 of our guide to using a digital single lens reflex ( DSLR ) camera for astrophotography. The intention here is to provide a very “Practical Astronomy” how- to guide, which helps you get started with this new imaging method. I hope you wi ' also achieve, the very enjoyable results I’ve had recently.

achieve, the very enjoyable results I’ve had recently. The first step To take part in this

The first step

To take part in this astrophotography revolution,

you will of course need a DSLR camera

are not cheap. However, the cost has come down to a few hundred pounds or dollars - affordable for many people and well below the cost of the dedicated CCD astro imaging devices, we have become (sort of) used to.

They

Plus of course, a DSLR can also do totally excellent, planet Earth photography (unless you have it specially modified for astronomy use). Personally speaking, my Canon 1000D is unmodified and I have been bowled-over by its astronomical AND terrestrial performance.

Prime focus Armed with a DSLR camera, there are many ways you can use it for astrophotography. In this article, I’m going to look at using the camera at your telescope’s prime focus. This is likely to deliver the most startling results, at the lowest cost.

Prime focus means using your telescope as the camera lens. So you remove the camera’s own lens (this is the big capability of SLR’s) and attach it to the telescope in the correct position.

You are going to need an adaptor

T-thread camera adaptors Most cameras have a lens mounting mechanism

which is proprietary to the brand. So you will need to buy a camera specific adaptor.

Thankfully, these are not expensive

Canon EOS camera was £12 ($18) recently. Termed a “T ring” or “T adaptor”, it has the camera’s lens mounting on one side to join with

one for my

the camera and a standard “T” thread on the other side (this is the 42mm diameter thread which is widely used on many photographic accessories).

which is widely used on many photographic accessories). Canon EOS “T adaptor” Telescope nosepieces Nosepieces
which is widely used on many photographic accessories). Canon EOS “T adaptor” Telescope nosepieces Nosepieces

Canon EOS “T adaptor”

Telescope nosepieces

accessories). Canon EOS “T adaptor” Telescope nosepieces Nosepieces with T adaptors attached 1.25 inch, le (
accessories). Canon EOS “T adaptor” Telescope nosepieces Nosepieces with T adaptors attached 1.25 inch, le (

Nosepieces with T adaptors attached 1.25 inch, le ( and 2 inch, righ t

The next step, is to attach the T thread on the adaptor to your telescope. Some telescopes have eyepiece tubes with external T threads on the end, ready and waiting. If yours is like this, congratulations, you can screw the camera T adaptor directly to the telescope.

can screw the camera T adaptor directly to the telescope. Nosepiece and T ring o n

Nosepiece and T ring o n

If yours is not like this, you will need a nosepiece having an external T thread on one side (to take the T adaptor) and a short extension on the other side, to slide inside an eyepiece tube. You can

get these for both 1.25 and 2 inch eyepiece

tubes.

The T adaptor plus nosepiece, goes into

DSLR Astrophotography (Part 1): Joining Camera And Telescope At Prime Focus (cont.)

the lens fitting of the camera.

Then, you slot the nosepiece into the eyepiece tube (2 inch diameter, shown right).

into the eyepiece tube (2 inch diameter, shown right). Inserted into draw tub e But what

Inserted into draw tub e

But what about the balance? Having joined camera and telescope, the next step is to make sure its balanced on the mount.

For most astrophotography (that is, anything other than imaging the Moon or star trails), you will need a driven, preferably equatorial mount. With telescope and camera on the mount, you need to make sure it's balanced about both axes. If it's not balanced, undue stress will be placed on the driving motors leading to damage (especially risky with plastic gear components in today’s lightweight mounts).

Balancing is fairly straightforward with an equatorial mount. For balance about the declination axis, you loosen the mounting rings and slide the optical tube up and down. You can also slide the dovetail bar in the mount's head if

can also slide the dovetail bar in the mount's head if Balance by sliding telescope rings

Balance by sliding telescope rings and dovetail bar

necessary. For the polar axis, there are movable counterweights which slide up and down.

But it's not so easy for telescopes having optical tubes integrated solidly with the mount. This is often the situation with modern telescopes on computerized go-to mounts.

Balancing one of these, once you have attached

a large camera, can be tricky and will probably involve adding extra counterweights to the optical tube. Take advice for your particular instrument.

Focusing The final part of basic set-up is to make sure you can achieve focus with the DSLR camera. Some telescope focusers have insufficient in-travel to allow the camera to reach focus, because they have been designed for eyepiece use.

It's easiest to check this in daylight. Point the telescope at a distant object, such as a high building or tree and make sure you can get a good terrestrial focus in the camera.

If you can't get focus, some telescopes use

removable eyepiece extension tubes - you may be able to swap yours, for another of different length. If you can't do this, then seek advice for your specific telescope - it may help to use a barlow lens or focal reducer, inserted into the optical path between telescope and camera.

Conclusion Once the DSLR camera is properly joined with the telescope at prime focus and balanced on a motorised mount, you are ready to do some exciting astrophotography work! We will look at this, in the next part of this guide.

See our YouTube channel for DSLR astrophotography video tutorials

Readers Image Gallery

We welcome your images for publication. Beginner, advanced or expert, just send to: editor@practicalastronomy.co m

Bubble Nebula by Chris Longhorn Date: 11th/12th October 2009 Time: 22:40 BST (start of the last exposure on the 2nd night) Camera: Modified Canon EOS 300D plus Astronomik CLS clip filter. Telescope: William Optics Megrez 80II FD Exposure: 10 at 240 secs, total = 40 mins for colour. 10 at 240 secs, total = 40 mins for H alpha. Total = 80 mins

Guiding: None ISO: 800 Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop CS2, Noel Carboni's actions. Chris comments: “This was taken over two nights; the first night was the colour data and the second night I took luminance data through a H alpha filter. The luminance data was layered over the colour data in Photoshop. This is a crop of the whole frame to highlight the Bubble Nebula.”

a crop of the whole frame to highlight the Bubble Nebula.” The Bubble Nebula ( NGC7635

The Bubble Nebula ( NGC7635 ) by Chris Longhor n

Rosette Nebula by Mitch Fry

Object: NGC2244, the Rosette Nebula. Exposure: 50 min combined (added) image (30 sec exposures), unguided, H-alpha filter Telescope: Williams Optics 80mm

F4.8

Camera: SBIG 2000XM

A full FITS file is available upon request. Email editor@practicalastronomy.com and your request will be forwarded to Mitch.

and your request will be forwarded to Mitch. The Rosette Nebula ( NGC2244 ) by Mitch

The Rosette Nebula ( NGC2244 ) by Mitch Fry

Readers Image Gallery

We welcome your images for publication. Beginner, advanced or expert, just send to: editor@practicalastronomy.co m

Iridium Flare by John Scouros

Misty Iridium Flare - shot with a Canon 450D and Canon EF 50mm lens, on a home-made mount.

Misty Iridium Flare - shot with a Canon 450D and Canon EF 50mm lens, on a

Iridium flare by John Scouros

Jupiter by Ade Swash Jupiter by Ade Swash Object: Jupiter, with a transit of moon

Jupiter by Ade Swash

Jupiter by Ade Swash Object: Jupiter, with a transit of moon Ganymede visible. Date: early October 2009, Telescope: Celestron 9.25” SCT Other equipment: 1.5x Barlow lens

Sharpless SH-115 Nebula by Steve Richards

Camera: SXVF-M25C Equipment: 8" Skywatcher Reflector with Baader MPCC, EQ6 SkyScan Mount. Exposure: 42 subframes of 300 secs. each, guided with SXV slave autoguider and Skywatcher ST 80mm guide 'scope. Processing: Captured and stacked in Maxim DL using SDMask, processed in PS7. Conditions: Average seeing, average transparency

SDMask, processed in PS7. Conditions: Average seeing, average transparency Sharpless SH - 115 Nebula by Steve

Sharpless SH - 115 Nebula by Steve Richards

Astronomy Recipe: Sirius Pisces Oriental

By Kevin Brown

From a co ' ection of recipes, specia ' y created to inspire you for observing sessions this month!

Here’s a very full-flavored, Asian-inspired, spicy vegetable and prawn recipe (serve hot or warm as a salad)

Ingredients (to serve 2) 8-10 large prawns half a red pepper a few mange tout peas half a red onion

3-4 small sweetcorn (optional) medium noodles

1 clove garlic

small slice of fresh ginger small green chili (to taste)

2 tbs sesame seed oil, 4 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar

Method (15 mins)

Chop the red onion, chili, garlic and ginger.

Coarsely chop the red pepper, sweetcorn and mange tout.

To make the noodle dressing: Gently fry the garlic, ginger, red onion and chilli for 5 mins in the sesame oil and 2 tbs olive oil. Add 1 tbs rice vinegar and season with salt.

tbs olive oil. Add 1 tbs rice vinegar and season with salt. At the same time,
tbs olive oil. Add 1 tbs rice vinegar and season with salt. At the same time,
tbs olive oil. Add 1 tbs rice vinegar and season with salt. At the same time,

At the same time, fry the red pepper, peas and prawns for 5 mins in 2 tbs olive oil. If the prawns are pre- cooked, add for last 2 mins only. Add salt and black pepper.

Cook the noodles as per instructions (if dried, probably 3 mins in boiling water). Then stir in the dressing.

3 mins in boiling water). Then stir in the dressing. Serve with the prawns and vegetables
3 mins in boiling water). Then stir in the dressing. Serve with the prawns and vegetables

Serve with the prawns and vegetables on top of the dressed noodles.

the prawns and vegetables on top of the dressed noodles. Sirius Pisces Oriental finished and plated

Sirius Pisces Oriental finished and plated

Inteview: Skylive Robotic Telescope

An interview with Alastair Leith

Here’s a short Q+A interview ( by email ) with reader Alastair Leith, about the SKYLIVE project he’s involved in.

Q. What is the Skylive robotic telescope

project? AL. It is a network of robotic telescopes based in Sicily and Australia. They are accessible remotely from your computer desktop.

Q. What's your personal involvement with it?

AL. International coordinator and project trainer.

Q. Please tell us about the equipment

available? AL. [There are 6 telescopes.] It’s a combination of SCT LX200 and a Takahashi refractor. Apertures range from 90mm to 16". Each is complemented with CCD cameras.

Q. How does someone actually use the

telescopes remotely? AL. They pay their subscription, then download the control panel, login in and control the telescope.

Q. I believe there's a free and paid service

what's the difference and how much does it cost? AL. Free is where one can connect in and watch, and take a snap shot. Paid, you can run image sequences and control the instruments.

Q. Once you've paid, how easy is to control a

telescope yourself? What options do you have, for example over target objects and image capture settings?

AL. Its a Go-To

galaxies. You can run sequences in all the main filters - some people even do astrometry

especially ace for nebulae and

Q. Do you have to wait a long time, before

your "time slot" comes around? Or is it easy to get time on the telescopes?

AL. lol, you log on and wait your turn, usually an hour or less to use it :-)

Q. What can you do with the images

captured? Are they "yours" to do with as you please?

AL. Of course they are!

Q. How does Skylive compare to other

robotic telescopes available on the internet?

AL. We are easier and more spontaneous. With Skylive, you take control of the telescope yourself and take the images. Some others

seem to offer little more than a Celestial DJ

service

for you” type of thing. Takes the realness out of the experience, I think. Plus, no telling how long you have to wait for the images to be taken and sent to you :-)

“tell me what you want and I'll image it

Q. Any final points you would like to make?

AL. We are aiming for 24/7 astronomy in total. Looking to expand further into Australia. Also keen for more people to help, especially programmers of Python.

The other great thing with Skylive is its community. Though Italian based, it has a fantastic chat facility with devoted staff who are always happy to help.

The observatory also hosts free online meetings where presentations can be beamed direct to your desktop. True it’s in Italian; I am looking to do one in English.

For more details, visit www.skylive.it To comment or ask Alastair more questions, please use the Feedback Page

Astro Imaging: A Start-Up Story

A reader’s entertaining and informative account of setting - out * om imaging ‘base- camp’

By Hugh Collings

A beginners guide to imaging

Now, I know what you’re all thinking

Here he goes with one of those guides, that is far too technical to understand past the 3rd sentence, but not so!

Read on and I will explain …

I’ve had about 8 years of visual astronomy behind me and still find that I’m learning new things and seeing new sights, so I was quite happy.

I didn’t want to start imaging

I was not interested AT ALL in astrophotography for three reasons: -

1. I could not justify the expensive equipment

2. I really had no clue

3. I was intimidated by all those fantastic, professional looking shots that grace the pages of magazines and websites!

Yep, I was a scaredy cat! There was no way I, with my limited knowledge of photography (point and shoot) could hope to compete with such talented amateurs.

Out of the blue, I came across a ‘For Swap’ post on the Star Gazers Lounge website. Someone was offering a Meade LPI webcam in exchange for WHY? (I didn’t know either, but apparently it stands for ‘What Have You?’ as it what have you got?)

But, webcams are REALLY easy?

I read a couple of reviews on the web and saw

comments like ‘I had it working straight out of the box …’ and ‘My wife, who was looking over my shoulder, was completely amazed …’

I should have smelled a rat with the second

comment. Whose wife is ever interested in

astronomy??

Mine is just grateful that she can watch Eastenders in peace and scan FaceTube without me pestering for the computer.

But it looked simple enough. Any fool could do it, I thought to myself. How true the second word was to be!

The deal gets done So I offered a 5mm planetary EP (eyepiece) I had going spare and the chap accepted (God bless you Vinny!)

The LPI duly arrived in the post. I must say I was a little disheartened.

Astronomy equipment usually comes in B-I-G boxes, but this was, well, small.

Inspecting next door’s chimney! Still, I set it up in daylight and took some exploratory shots of my neighbour’s chimney during the day.

It all seemed OK. The chimney was a bit too close to bring into focus, but I thought I had it all sussed out.

As the astronomy rule of thumb goes, get something new and you are guaranteed cloud

Moving on to Jupiter

Some days later

up my kit and focused in on Jupiter.

it was finally clear, so I set

Now the LPI is pretty easy to use. It slots into the focuser and plugs into a laptop. Start the laptop, launch Autosuite, focus on the object and start recording.

It even sorts out the good frames from the duff ones and stacks them for you.

I set to work, recording 2 minute ‘videos’ of Jupiter onto my old and slow spare laptop.

Astro Imaging: A Start-Up Story (cont.)

By Hugh Collings

I had the LPI connected to my trusty Soligor 152mm Newtonian on a Tal motorised pier.

All went quite well and a couple of hours later, I felt I had enough to be getting on with. I packed up and went in to view my first ever picture of Jupiter

Apparently, I’m supposed to use a Barlow too!

Shall we try to persuade Hugh to write PART 2 of this astrophotography journey? Personally, I think so. Do you agree? Leave a ‘YES PLEASE HUGH’ comment on the feedback page to encourage him.

here and leave a comment on the December feedback page Hugh’s LPI Jupiter image ( with

Hugh’s LPI Jupiter image ( with sate ' ite moons )

Oh! What Have I Got Myself Into? (or a beginner’s path to astronomy enlightenment)

My interest in astronomy started this year, because of Venus back in September.

I live in Aberdeen in Scotland where we have one

of the busiest heliports in the world due to the oil industry, so I assumed it was something flying in.

As the mornings went on, I realised that what I thought was a star was actually the planet Venus.

I began to look at other stuff and was amazed at

what I had been missing. This is when I informed my wife of another hobby (much to her delight), the warning being if that’s another lot of stuff that’s going in the back of the wardrobe after a couple of times, it might be divorce!

Having got her approval, I was now at the stage of where to start and what telescope should I get, as everyone needs a telescope, don’t they?

I trawled the magazines and internet amazed at the wonders offered, but in all honesty was getting frustrated and confused. It was made even worse

by myself not having a clue about what’s up there

anyway!!

I eventually came across Aberdeen Astronomical

Society’s website which advertised a Moon watch locally.

I went along and navigated the hordes of kids

flinging themselves around the Satrosphere (which is a childrens science centre in Aberdeen) and was able to meet some of the members of the society who gave me some good advice.

Reader’s Letter

I am now currently at this

stage:

1. I have bought 10 x 50 binoculars and a star

guide. This advice was from the members at the Moon watch. It’s good advice because if you find astronomy is not for you, you can watch earthly sights when nothing is on TV, with not too much cost to yourself.

2. I have been to an Astronomy Society meeting,

which cleared up the myth that amateur astronomers are all bearded geeks with no life. I was made welcome, hardly a beard, there were women too and I even came across another newbie. They had a great talk on the eclipse in China and it was fun.

3. I am awaiting my first night viewing session with

the society. This I hope will introduce me to the different types of telescopes and advice from those more seasoned observers. The best bit of advice I have been given is to wait for a group night. Do not buy a telescope until you have tried some out at a group night, as we are all different. Doing this you will buy the scope suited to you, your needs and your wallet.

I will keep you updated on my progress, if I am allowed back by Kevin! [very welcome Ed, ed.]

Wrap up warm and happy observing, Ed Walker

Sky View

Looking East

Mid-December 9pm (lat 51N)

These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-December, for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Further South? Objects are higher above your local horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 21.00 hrs, in your local time.

Sky View

Looking South

Mid-December 9pm (lat 51N)

These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-December, for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Further South? Objects are higher above your local horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 21.00 hrs, in your local time.

Sky View

Looking West

Mid-December 9pm (lat 51N)

These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-December, for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Further South? Objects are higher above your local horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 21.00 hrs, in your local time.

Sky View

Looking North

Mid-December 9pm (lat 51N)

These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-December, for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Further South? Objects are higher above your local horizon, but patterns are the same. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 21.00 hrs, in your local time.

Observers’ Delights

December 2009

MOON

Full

MOON Full New Full

New

MOON Full New Full

Full

MOON Full New Full
 

2nd Dec

16th Dec

31st Dec (and partial eclipse)

 

Peak 14th Dec in the early hours UT (GMT)

Date range 7-16 Dec, but 100 ZHR (meteors per hour) only likely within 10 hours of peak

Very favorable rich shower

GEMINIDS METEOR SHOWER

JUPITER

 

VENUS

 
 

SATURN

 

MARS

Still very bright in the South evening sky (in Capricorn). Just 0.5 deg S of Neptune 19-21Dec

Rising at

Too close to the Sun for observation

Still brightening and now larger to observe. An evening object in December

midnight by

end-Dec

 
Starts ~ Ends ~ DEEP SKY “WINDOW” 10th Dec 2009 22st Dec 2009 Make the
Starts ~
Ends ~
DEEP SKY
“WINDOW”
10th Dec 2009
22st Dec 2009
Make the most of it!

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