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Thread: Aurora alert feb 9/09

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    UHF JUNKIE UHF Moderator Rank ricklbert's Avatar
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    Aurora alert feb 9/09

    FEB 9/09

    AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Spaceweather PHONE.

    COMET LULIN UPDATE: Experienced observers report that Comet Lulin has brightened to naked-eye visibility from dark-sky sites. It looks like a pale "fuzzy patch" in the constellation Libra before dawn. Backyard telescopes pointed at the patch reveal a lovely green comet with a rapidly re-growing plasma tail. Browse the gallery for latest photos.

    SUBTLE LUNAR ECLIPSE: Earlier today, the full Moon passed through the outskirts of Earth's shadow producing a subtle "penumbral" lunar eclipse. Christopher Calubaquib photographed the event from El Sobrante, California:


    Normal full Moons are fully lit, yet this one has a dusky shading across the north pole. That was the eclipse.

    "It was not really a sight that would stop someone in their tracks, but I did find it to be much darker than I imagined," reports Navneeth Chandrasekaran from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. "This photo was taken about 10 minutes before maximum eclipse."

    more images: from Pam Haley of Kailua, Hawaii; from Yandong Hu of Changzhou, Jiangsu, China; from Wah! of Hong Kong; from Miyagi Takafumi of Okinawa Japan; from Karzaman Ahmad of Langkawi National Observatory, Malaysia; from Andy Yeung of Hong Kong; from Rob Kaufman of Bright, Victoria, Australia; from Grahame Kelaher of Perth, Australia; from Ben Levis of Carmel, Perth, Western Australia;

    TITAN TRANSIT: Saturn's rings are nearly edge-on to Earth and this is giving astronomers a chance to see unaccustomed things. On Feb 8th, Christopher Go of the Philippines photographed one of them--a transit of Titan.

    "I woke up at 1 o'clock in the morning to photograph Titan's passage across the disk of Saturn," says Go. "The sky was overcast from around 1am to around 1:50am. I was fortunate to see the end of the transit which is really stunning as it gave Titan a 3D effect!" He combined several photos taken through his 11-inch Celestron telescope to produce this animation:


    Titan passes in front of Saturn fairly often, but the transits are usually hidden from view by Saturn's broad rings. Only when the rings are edge-on does the giant moon's silhouette reveal itself to backyard telescopes.

    "There will be two more transits visible this year: Feb 24th and March 12th," notes Go. "The one on Feb 24th is special as it will be a quadruple transit of Titan, Mimas, Dione and Enceladus. At around 14:25UT on that day, all four moons will be within Saturn's disk."

    Feb 24th is special for another reason: Comet Lulin makes its closest approach to Earth on that date, coincidentally just a few degrees away from Saturn: sky map. In one quick sweep of a backyard telescope, you'll be able to see Titan, Saturn's edge-on rings, and a green comet with an active tail. Mark your calendar!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Aurora alert feb 9/09-christopher-calubaquib1-jpg   Aurora alert feb 9/09-christopher-go2-jpg  
    Last edited by ricklbert; February 9th, 2009 at 06:35 PM.
    “How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which has to be overcome, by the effort it costs to stay aloft. One would have to seek the highest type of free man where the greatest resistance is constantly being overcome: five steps from tyranny, near the threshold of the danger of servitude.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

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