Supermoon, Blood Moon and a Lunar Eclipse.

 

Picture of Blood Moon September 2015

Fabulous picture wish I could have viewed it like this..

What did you think of the Blood Moon? I am guessing if you read my blog you actually did see it! I will be honest I was a bit disappointed, really wanted to see the whole spectacle you know, blood-red freaky moon. What I got was a great lunar eclipse and a diluted blood moon, but at one point in the night in Yorkshire I could see why it was called a supermoon. It was huge being at its closest point to the earth made it dominate the sky, when the clouds were not covering it. Well I hope I get to see the next one in 2033. If you want to check out some cool pictures and time lapsed video from around the globe look here.

Getting a combination of supermoon, blood moon and lunar eclipse is rare, the last one was in 1982. There is a history connected with this event in that it indicates the end of the world, I guess in the past it was a pretty awesome and spectacular event and the people would not know what was happening so associate it with a foretelling of something going to happen. Thank goodness we know better. If you are interested in some of the history surrounding this event The Daily Mail ran a great article on it, really interesting read.

I am just getting to grips with understanding how it all comes together maybe I can share some of the science behind it next time.

Comet Lovejoy and other February Delights

 

 

Comet pictured from an Oulton observatory. Picture: David Jackson

Photo by David Jackson (Norfolk man see below)

 

Given the weather not been doing much stargazing but done a bit of internet searching and exploring on various aspects of astronomy. Found this interesting blog talking about the comet  Lovejoy and some amazing photos. Also on there was a video of last years comet Rosetta and the “sound’ it makes. it ws speeded up and really sounded like the Predator -quite creepy!!Following the links on the site, Space.com, I found some really interesting video shows some fact some fiction but all really interesting. I never suspected how many layers I would find when I decided I was interested in the stars. I found Spacewatch; lovely for cosmic killers the most engrossing – have a look and tell me what you think. Also take a look at this article about a Norfolk man who managed a great photo of the comet – wish I could afford his gear!

I also found this site, Dark Sky Discovery which lets you know the best places to view the stars with Britain, with interactive maps, there are also surveys that you can take part in. Really so interesting and I must say time consuming, if you are planning to take this up for a hobby it will be good to know that it does take up your time. If you just want to lie under the stars, and looking no problem but if you want to know more and learn more about your hobby it takes time and money – things can be done inexpensively but I guess like anything else you get involved in a cost is expected and you will have to be firm with your budget.

Next month hopefully will get to see the solar eclipse on the 20th, although a total eclipse for some we should be able to see a partial eclipse in the UK…here hoping.

 

Shadows on Jupiter

Jupiter showing the shadows of the Galilean Moons

Jupiter and its 3 moons Io. Callistra & Europa

Not done a lot of stargazing this month due to the wet, cold and snowy weather, plus got myself a real dose of the flu mid month, just recovering from it now. So, not felt like doing much of anything really. One event that was on my calendar to not miss was the triple moon shadows on Jupiter. The three moons of Io, Callistra and Europa will all pass over Jupiter. We will not see this event again until 2032 so I was determined not to miss it. I have been told that seeing Jupiter and the Galilean moon is easy from the UK but not if you think you are dying of flu and it is raining and cloudy. So I was tucked up with my lemsip and watched the live webcast on the Livestream channel of the Griffith Observatory. This is a really great channel that I did not know about before but have spent quite a few days watching some of their previous webcasts. Wish I had found it sooner might not have watched as much Big Bang Theory over the past couple of weeks, who I’m kidding? I’d watched both. I fell asleep after watching the Io and Callistra moons so did not get to see Europa, but there is the recording on their Livestream website or a speeded up version on their You Tube channel. I forgot to mention I got a gift from my parents at Christmas and I am so pleased with it, a year’s subscription paid to the Astronomy Now magazine, it’s fantastic. The January issue has just arrived so much of interest in it especially for a beginner like me. You can see something of what is in it here.

I should be so lucky, Not Once but Twice!

 

Magnificent solar eclipse

Solar Eclipse

What am I talking about, Solar Eclipes. Yes I actually have seen two. One was on holiday with my parents in 1999 the other again in Turkey but on an organised trip in 2006.

In 1999 I was in a Turkish resort on the Mediterranean   called Alanya. I was on the magnificent beach there early afternoon when I noticed something odd.  I was hiding out under a parasol (I burn)  when I noticed people gathering into groups. When I investigated they were using makeshift sun goggles to look at the sky, we were having a solar eclipse. It was quite dramatic as well as being fun, everyone spoke to one and other whatever the nationalities and during the week I was there we chatted again many a time. I found out later we were not in the best place to see it but it was certainly start of a lifelong interest for me. I found a video of the 1999 eclipse shot in Germany.

The second Solar Eclipse was a planned trip just for that. I went on a 4 day trip to Side, Turkey, by lunchtime on the 29th March 2006, I and a group of other like minded friends where ensconced on a beach. Around us was every nationality you care to name, at first it was just chattering and folk moving around. Then it all went quiet as the eclipse started. the first thing we noticed was the birds stopped singing and then the temperature dropped. It is so hard to put into words what the “blackout” felt like. Awe inspiring yes but also like an instinctive sense of fear mixed in with awe, no one was speaking you could just hear breathing. Then a resounding cheer went up as the sun started to appear, relief? I don’t know I just know it was thrilling. Behind me a Frenchman popped open champagne and  shared it and everyone was talking to their neighbours, similar terms being tossed about in many languages, magnificent, magnifique, harika,prächtig, to name but a few.  An experience I will never forgot but one I certainly want to experience again.

The sun emerging from a solar eclipse