With around 8-hours worth of 5- and 10-minute subs taken with his Sky 90 array, Greg Parker managed to pick up a trace of the Integrated Flux Nebula around Polaris, the Pole Star, in Ursa Minor.
A constant feature of spring nights owing to its enviable circumpolar position, Comet Lovejoy still rides high throughout June, yet it’s fading slowly with distance and has to compete with twilight all night for observers in the British Isles — but it has one more conjunction in store for the end of the month.
At 9:24am GMT on 31 October 2016, near-Earth asteroid 164121 (2003 YT1) will safely fly by at a distance of 3.2 million miles (5.2 million kilometres), or 13.5 times the distance of the Moon. Furthermore, this 1.1-mile-(1.7-kilometre)-wide Apollo asteroid also passes very close to Polaris early on 2 November, creating a rare astrophotographic and observing opportunity.
Hot on the heels of terrestrial fireworks ushering in the New Year, it’s time for some celestial pyrotechnics from the Quadrantid meteor shower – the year’s first major display of shooting stars – on 4 January. With an old waning crescent Moon not rising until nautical dawn in the UK, dark skies could see up to 80 meteors per hour around 2am GMT.