Archive for the ‘Astronomical’ Category

2014, The February Sky

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

During February (at least) two interesting phenomena were seen in our skies.

In the evening of 27th February the notable aurora display seen over much of the UK was the stand-out evening sight this month!

Aurora 27 February, over the Struie Ridge #1


Click image to view

More regular, and predictable, was the silent, early morning conjunction of Venus and the Moon. A clearing in the southeastern sky was needed – and such clearings were rare.

Venus the morning starClick image to view



Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley’s Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower.  Continue reading “ORIONID METEOR SHOWER” »

Perseid Meteors, August 2013

Saturday, August 10th, 2013
Despite the fuss the press is making the predictions are not for an outstanding display this year but the Perseids are always good even in an average year.
The best night should be Monday (12th) when there could be up to 100 per hour.
There is good information on the Armagh Observatory website:
You can also find details (among the adverts) at Meteor Watch:
And slightly more technical at:
This is an American site but gives details for all over the world – so make sure you are reading the northern hemisphere information!
Hoping for dark skies

Comet PanSTARRS March 2013

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

As seen from mid-northern latitudes, Comet Panstarrs might become visible with an optical aid around March 7 or 8, 2013. Continue reading “Comet PanSTARRS March 2013” »

Aurora, October 2012

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Russell managed to see the northern lights on Monday night as a large parcel of cosmic rays ejected from the sun came sweeping through our atmosphere. Continue reading “Aurora, October 2012” »

Perseid Meteor Shower, 2012

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Annually the earth passes through a debris field when the debris particles striking our atmosphere produce a meteor shower.

In August this is the Perseid meteor shower, so-called because it appears to originate in the constellation Perseus.

The best time to look skyward is just before dawn. Continue reading “Perseid Meteor Shower, 2012” »

2012 TDFC Weekend Excursion – Caithness

Monday, May 28th, 2012
The drifts of delicate spring squill on Dunnet Head were a highlight of our walk. Continue reading “2012 TDFC Weekend Excursion — Caithness” »

2012 Transit of Venus

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

When Venus passes directly between earth and the sun, we see the distant planet as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun.

The next transit of Venus occurs 6 June, 2012.  Observers in or near Tain will see the transit at sunrise : 04:19, transit ends 5:36. This will be the last transit of Venus to occur in your lifetime. Continue reading “2012 Transit of Venus” »

What is this? – 1st Feb 2012, look SW

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

If you are afforded a view on these clear, cold evenings, just after sunset, The moon will be big and to the west of it are two planets.

Evening SkyClick image to view

These three bodies form the whole of the observable objects for a short time each evening.

Quadrantid Meteor Shower – 4th January

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

In the early hours of Thursday, 4th January, 2012, that is sometime near 4am, this meteor shower will peak.

Look north to find the centre (radiant point).

The meteor shower will last only a short time as the debris we will pass through is narrow.

This year’s shower may be quite productive, showing 40, or 80, or 100, or 200 meteors per hour depending on who is estimating it. One point commentators agree on is that the Quadrantids are unpredictable.

Lunar Eclipse 15 June 2011

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

On Wednesday night, June 15th, there will be a total lunar eclipse visible from every continent except North America.

The Moon will spend 100 minutes fully engulfed in Earth’s shadow, making this the longest lunar eclipse in nearly 11 years.

The appearance of the eclipse might be affected by exhaust from Chile’s erupting Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano, which is also causing spectacular sunsets around the southern hemisphere.

Discussion, eclipse maps, and links to live webcasts may be found at

Morning Showtime in the Sky

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

“It was an awesome morning with an unforgettable view: four planets packed in just a 7º piece of sky,” says Ribas.

“The very compact Venus-Mercury-Jupiter triangle was simply hypnotic. And Mars, below them, was faint but still clearly visible to naked eye. Marvelous planetary gathering, but the best is yet to come.”

Indeed, on May 11th, Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the Solar System, will converge to form a pair less than 1/2 degree apart. Set your alarm for Wednesday morning and begin the day with an eye-opener–no caffeine required.

target=”_blank”>Celestial – 4 Planet Show shows what will be in your eastern dawn sky for two weeks this May.

Solar Eclipse 4th January 2011

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

The portents were not good but in places the dawn was clear enough to observe the rising sun partly occluded by the moon’s disk.  Several TDFC members were in place to record this event – here are resulting photos.


Lunar Eclipse, Dec 2010 – watch from under your duvet

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Live webcast of Total Lunar Eclipse and Teide Shadow.

The eclipse and positioning of the shadow of Europe’s’ highest point will take place simultaneously on 21 December and will be broadcast from Teide if weather conditions are suitable. Continue reading “Lunar Eclipse, Dec 2010 — watch from under your duvet” »

New Comet – Ikeya-Murakami

Monday, November 8th, 2010

A new comet has been found by two Japanese amateurs.  Comet IKEYA-MURAKAMI is visible using a telescope or strong binoculars in the morning just before dawn.  Look east to where Venus is visible below Saturn.  The comet is moving downward and leftward very, very close to Saturn. Continue reading “New Comet — Ikeya-Murakami” »