Observing

This article was written with the March 20th Solar Eclipse, visible from Ireland (though only with 90% totality that morning), but the contents are still relevant to safe solar astronomy. You can download the 6 page article here and distribute it as you see fit. All photos contained therein are copyright to the author, Seanie Morris.

http://www.irishastronomy.org/images/How%20to%20observe%20the%20Sun%20%28IFAS%29.pdf

 

Right-click and select 'Save As' to save it to your computer, or click on it to view it in your browser (5.3MB, Adobe PDF)

 

Last Updated, February 13th 2015.

The annual Perseids Meteor Shower, the year's most beloved shower for its reliability and seasonal assistance, peaks on the night of August 12th/13th. A result caused by Earth passing through the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle (last seen in 1992), predicted rates may get as high as 100 per hour, with fireballs also to be seen.

perseid meteor shower sky map 2015

Read more from our forums here >

On the night of February 15th we will have a very near miss from an NEO (Near Earth Asteroid). It is going to pass so close to us that it will pass inside the orbits of our own geostationary satellites.

Named as Asteroid 2012 DA14, it is c. 50 meters in diameter. It is due to pass around 21,000 miles from the centre of the Earth, or about 17,000 miles above the surface. Experts are sure that there is no risk of a collision, but if an object of this size did hit Earth, you could only imagine what the damage would be like - think about the 'small' objects that hit before the big one in the movie Deep Impact. Asteroid 2012 DA14's speed will be 7.8km/sec.

Read More Here from the forums >>

They finally made their appearance as Irish observers always look forward to the first sighting of Noctilucent Clouds. Spotted very bright after midnight on the morning of Thursday May 30th for the first time this year, the display was seen by observers all over Ireland and the UK.

Noctilucent Clouds are believed to be ice-coated dust particles left behind by meteors that burned up, suspended on probably the uppermost layer of our atmosphere. They 'shine' because, as an observer is in full night time, the clouds are high enough to catch sunlight and reflect it back to the ground.

Read reports and see photos here >>

January brings Jupiter, Venus, The Quadrantids and even a Comet (but not naked eye!) - check out our monthly Sky Guide, provided by Neill McKeown, in our Celestial Events forum here. As the nights beckon Winter's delights as darkness grows longer, plan your observing session in advance with our Monthly Sky Guides.