Observing

Get ready for Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) in the northern spring sky!

2 April 2020 Ade Ashford

Comet C/2019 Y4 was discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) on 28 December last year and brightened 6000-fold in just two months to attain magnitude +7.5 on 1 April. Alas, the comet’s nucleus has now fragmented, dashing hopes for a conspicuous naked-eye spectacle in the constellation of Perseus. Here’s our telescopic observing guide.

Observing

Halloween near-Earth asteroid 2003 YT1 has Polaris encounter on 2 November

31 October 2016 Ade Ashford

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.

Picture This

Hubble views the iridescent interior of a starburst galaxy

27 June 2016 Astronomy Now

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the glittering interior of one of the most active galaxies in our local neighbourhood — NGC 1569, a small starburst galaxy located about eleven million light-years away in the northern constellation of Camelopardalis. For almost 100 million years, NGC 1569 has pumped out stars over 100 times faster than the Milky Way.

Observing

Comet Lovejoy’s May rendezvous with Polaris

1 May 2015 Ade Ashford

Comet Lovejoy has been a easy to follow object since the beginning of the year. Throughout May the comet continues its trek towards the north celestial pole, culminating in a close conjunction with Polaris at the end of the month.