Sky at Night
Find out what to see in the night sky this month. What meteor showers are active now? Are there any comets to see? When is the next planetary conjunction?, Is there a solar or lunar eclipse soon?
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.
The Quadrantid Meteor Shower have the potential to be the strongest shower of the year but are usually marred by poor January weather and the short length of maximum activity of 6 hours.
Comet ISON is already visible through binoculars but it is set to get even brighter over the coming weeks as it makes its approach to the Sun. Here are a few pointers to observe the Comet of the Century.
The winter nights sparkle with some of the best celestial objects to observe from the northern hemisphere. By the end of December, the winter constellations are high in the southern sky at around 11 pm.
The annual Taurid meteor shower gets underway with a peak around 12th of November. Expect an average zenithal hourly rate of seven meteors per hour.
Comet ISON can now be seen with fairly modest equipment and should improve throughout October as it approaches the Sun, and throughout October ISON makes a close pass with Mars.
As the warm nights of summer give way to crisp autumnal evenings, there's plenty of autumn deep sky objects to see in the night skies. We take a look at some of the top sights to see during autumn.
Summer can be a wonderful time for stargazing and despite the light evenings, there's much to be seen in the night sky at this time of year.
Spring deep sky objects In March and April include the Leo Triplet (M65, M66 and NGC 3628) are a fine sight in a 6 or 8-inch telescope, and there are several open and globular clusters worth observing as well.
Each year the Earth moves through a number of meteoroid streams, producing meteor showers at roughly the same time each year. This handy chart shows you when the most active showers occur throughout the year, along with their Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR).