Astronomers have discovered a vast cloud of high-energy particles called a wind nebula around a rare ultra-magnetic neutron star, or magnetar, for the first time. The find offers a unique window into the properties, environment and outburst history of magnetars, which are the strongest magnets in the universe.
Physicists and astronomers from the University of Texas at Arlington have used advanced software to accurately date lyric poet Sappho’s “Midnight Poem,” which describes the Pleiades star cluster in the constellation of Taurus having set at around midnight, when supposedly observed by her from the Greek island of Lesbos more than 2,500 years ago.
Have you ever seen Mercury with the naked eye? If not, now is the time to check the elusive innermost planet off your list. Mercury reaches greatest easterly elongation from the Sun on Monday, 18 April, the highlight of a very favourable dusk apparition in the west-northwest for observers in Western Europe and the British Isles.
If you have a clear western horizon from shortly before 9pm BST until midnight on Sunday, 10 April, don’t miss an opportunity to see a young crescent Moon glide slowly through the southern edge of the Hyades star cluster in Taurus, covering (or occulting) stars as it goes. All you need is a typical binocular or a small telescope to enjoy the show!
On the night of 19—20 January, the 10-day-old waxing gibbous Moon glides in front of the loose open star cluster known as the Hyades that represent the bull’s head in the constellation of Taurus, culminating in the occultation of bright star Aldebaran an hour or so before moonset for observers in the British Isles.
Early on the evening of Wednesday, 23 December, observers in the British Isles can see the 13-day-old waxing gibbous Moon pass in front of first-magnitude Aldebaran — the ‘Eye of the Bull’ in Taurus — the brightest star to be occulted for UK observers in 2015. Here’s our observing guide to this readily observable event in large binoculars and small telescopes.
On Thursday, 29 October, observers in the British Isles with clear skies and armed with binoculars or small telescopes can see the waning gibbous 17-day-old Moon occult first-magnitude star Aldebaran, the ‘Eye of the Bull’ in the constellation Taurus. The star slips behind the Moon soon after 9:45pm GMT and reappears at the darkened lunar hemisphere about an hour later.
In the dawn twilight of Saturday, 5 September, observers in the British Isles with clear skies can see the last quarter Moon pass in front of first-magnitude star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus — the brightest star (aside from the Sun) to be occulted by the Moon as seen from the UK this year.