October 21, 2017

Astro-Event: Aphelion, an Occultation, a Launch and a Close Double.

Sunday night’s occultation path across the US…(Credit: NASA/IOTA).

We bring you this week’s edition of astronomy events a tad early to point your eyes skyward towards an interesting event; the occultation of a 10th magnitude star constellation Virgo. The asteroid is 52 Europa, and the event will last for up to 18 seconds for viewers from Montana across the central US down to our very own neck of the woods in Central Florida. [Read more...]

Astro-Event of the Week: Can You Spy Sirius B?

(Constructed by the Author in Paint).

(Constructed by the Author in Paint).

The elongated orbit of Sirius B.

   This week’s challenge is a tough one, and may deserve a re-visit or two over the coming decade  to yield success. Everyone knows that Sirius is this brightest star in the sky, but did you know that it has a tiny, elusive white dwarf companion? Tough to locate, this +8.7 magnitude object currently lies at an apparent separation of 9” arc seconds and growing. Usually, that wouldn’t be a tough split, except for the fact that bright Sirius A swamps it out by its -1.42 magnitude brightness! To spot it, you’ll need a telescope of at least 4” aperture, high magnification, and clear, pristine skies. Also, an eyepiece equipped with an occulting bar could prove helpful; the trick is to cover up the bright primary to the northeast while Sirius B lies to the left at a south western position angle. [Read more...]

AstroEvent of the Week: 25.05.09: Castor: a Sextuplet Star!

This week’s astro-challenge is a unique multiple star system…Castor, also known as Alpha Geminorum, rides high in the west of the northern hemisphere sky on clear late May evenings. Shining at a brightness of magnitude +1.6, it forms one half of the pair Castor and Pollux, known as the Twin stars of Gemini.

[Read more...]