Observing

Don’t miss the Quadrantid meteor shower peak on 4 January 2019

2 January 2019 Ade Ashford

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.

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

Polaris, the Pole Star by Greg Parker

21 March 2016 Astronomy Now

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.

Observing

See Comet Catalina pass overhead from UK when closest to Earth

13 January 2016 Ade Ashford

Having brushed by bright star Arcturus on 1 January, Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) continues its trek through the constellations of the far north. Now a circumpolar object for the British Isles, in the early hours of 17 January it lies between famous double star Mizar (ζ Ursae Majoris) and the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101), virtually overhead in the UK.

Observing

Comet Lovejoy’s June swan song through Ursa Minor

3 June 2015 Ade Ashford

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.

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.