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Cosmic recycling in the Prawn Nebula

2 September 2015 Astronomy Now

Dominating this image is the so-called Prawn Nebula, part of the gigantic nebula Gum 56, some 6,000 light-years away in Scorpius. For millions of years stars have been born out of the nebula’s gas, material which is later returned to the stellar nursery when the aging stars either expel their material gently into space, or eject it more dramatically in supernova explosions.

Observing

See the Moon meet Saturn and a star disappear on 22 August

21 August 2015 Ade Ashford

As dusk fades to dark on Saturday, 22 August, observers in the British Isles and Western Europe with clear skies can see the first quarter Moon close above planet Saturn low to the southwest. But for those skywatchers with binoculars and small telescopes, an additional treat is in store as the Moon passes in front of (occults) a naked-eye star.

Observing

See Saturn close to the Moon on the evening of 26 July

26 July 2015 Ade Ashford

Saturn’s summer apparition for 2015 is drawing to a close as the ringed planet is highest in the southern sky before sunset for observers in the British Isles, but it can still be found in the bright evening twilight if you have a convenient guide — like tonight’s gibbous Moon.

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Hubble views a nitrogen-rich planetary nebula

29 June 2015 Astronomy Now

NGC 6153 in the constellation Scorpius contains up to three times the amount of neon, argon, oxygen, carbon and chlorine to be found in our Solar System, but what really sets this planetary nebula apart is the quantity of nitrogen in its clouds.

Observing

See Saturn’s close brush with the Moon on 28 June

27 June 2015 Ade Ashford

Some five weeks after opposition, Saturn attains a maximum altitude of just 18 degrees in the south around 10:30pm as seen from the centre of the UK. If you need help finding the ringed planet, the Moon passes conveniently close by on the night of 28 June.

Observing

Saturn’s close encounter with the Moon

31 May 2015 Ade Ashford

If you would like to view ringed planet Saturn at its best but are unsure which ‘star’ you should point your telescope at, no problem — the Moon makes a convenient guide as it brushes close by late into the evening of Monday, June 1st.

Observing

See ringed planet Saturn at its best

18 May 2015 Ade Ashford

Often referred to as the Jewel of the Solar System, Saturn reaches opposition on May 23rd and is currently best placed for observation during 2015. Despite the planet’s southerly declination, its glorious ring system is favourably tipped in our direction with the northern hemisphere on show.