Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.
Welcome!

Astronomy is an infinitely captivating subject and the oldest of the natural sciences. It is one of the few areas of science that amateurs can assist professionals and directly contribute to science.

As a science, astronomy began tens of thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. Later observations made by the ancient Chinese, Babylonians, and Greeks. They tracked the motion of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars across the night sky. It was important to know the position of the moon and sun throughout the year for planning agriculture and preparing for winter. They were the first to devise the seasons. Astronomy has since advanced into a complex study of the laws of nature which govern these phenomena.

Astronomy is however more than simply a mapping the motion of the stars, Moon and Sun. It is now the scientific study of the contents of entire Universe, stars, planets, comets, asteroids, galaxies, and space and time, as well as its history.

If you’re starting out and looking at the sky at night, the contents of this site will take you through what you can see at night as well as some equipment advice. The tutorials cover the types of objects you can see and also illustrate some basic astronomy concepts.

 

Getting Back into Astronomy after a Long Break
6th December 2013Observations
It's been a long time since I have done any night sky viewing, according to my last post on this website it was back in 2010! Well, now I have been out every clear night for the past month (only two nights!) with some new equipment and taken some amazing new photos.
Ursid Meteor Shower
3rd December 2013Sky at Night
The Ursids are often neglected due to the fact it peaks just before Christmas and the rates are much less than the Geminds, which peaks just a week before the Ursids. Observers will normally see 5-10 Ursids per hour during the late morning hours on the date of maximum activity.
A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of woodChinese Proverb
Leonid Meteor Shower
3rd December 2013Sky at Night
The Leonids are famous because their meteor showers, or storms, can be among the most spectacular. The outbursts of meteor activity are best seen when their parent object, comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, is near perihelion (closest approach to the sun).
Orionid Meteor Shower
3rd December 2013Sky at Night
The Orionid Meteor Shower is a medium strength shower that can reach high strength activity. In a normal year the Orionids produce 20-25 shower members at maximum. In exceptional years, such as 2006-2009, the peak rates were on par with the Perseids (50-75 per hour).
Perseid Meteor Shower
3rd December 2013Sky at Night
The Perseids meteor shower is the most popular meteor shower as they peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 13 to August 26, reaching a strong maximum on August 11 - 13, depending on the year. Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 meteors per hour at maximum.
Alpha Capricornids Meteor Shower
3rd December 2013Sky at Night
The Alpha Capricornids are active from July 11 through August with a "plateau-like" maximum centered on July 29. This shower is not very strong and rarely produces in excess of five shower members per hour. What is notable about this shower is the number of bright fireballs produced during its activity period.
Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower
3rd December 2013Sky at Night
Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower is another strong shower best seen from the southern tropics. North of the equator the radiant is located lower in the southern sky and therefore rates are less than seen from further south.
Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower
3rd December 2013Sky at Night
The Eta Aquariids are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics. From the equator Northward, they usually only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity.