The Sun is very active. This shot was taken at the Tabke Mountain Star Party at Eden Valley WA on 11 August 2023 with an H-Alpha filter. ... See MoreSee Less
As we approach solar max, the Sun has been very active. This image was taken on March 5th, 2023 at the Arizona Sky Village near Portal AZ, by Ajai Sehgal and Jack Newton using Jack's Coronado H-Alpha solar telescope. This is a composite of 500 video frames taken using a ZWO planetary color camera. ... See MoreSee Less
Messier 13 - The Great Cluster in Hercules, also known as NGC 6205 or the Hercules Globular Cluster, is a globular cluster of several hundred thousand stars in the constellation of Hercules. It was discovered by discovered by Edmond Halley (of Halley's Comet fame) in 1714, and later cataloged by the comet hunter Charles Messier in 1764 on his "Messier list of objects to not mistake as comets". This color image is a composite of exposures taken the week of August 15th, 2022 at AMO with our 0.5m custom built folded Newtonian telescope. #astronomy #astronomyphotography ... See MoreSee Less
M-101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101, M101 or NGC 5457) is a face-on spiral galaxy 21 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781 and was communicated that year to Charles Messier, who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries. This image was taken with a ZWO ASI071-MC camera on a 6” Astrophysics refractor at the 2022 Table Mountain Star Party in Eden Valley WA with 400 minutes of exposure. ... See MoreSee Less
A powerful X1-class solar flare from sunspot AR2887 has created a massive eruption on the Sun. The explosion has created a massive plasma storm in the sun's atmosphere, along with a coronal mass ejection that is very likely heading for Earth, potentially arriving on Halloween. We may see lower latitude aurora activity while trick or treating! For more information, check out spaceweather.com : ... See MoreSee Less
A GREEN COMET APPROACHES EARTH: Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is approaching Earth. On Sept. 10th, it will be 0.39 AU (58 million km) from our planet and almost bright enough to see with the naked eye. Already it is an easy target for backyard telescopes. Last night, Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria, caught the 7.7th magnitude comet passing through star cluster Tombaugh 5 in the constellation Camelopardalis:
This comet is relatively small--its nucleus is barely more than a mile in diameter--but it is bright and active, and a frequent visitor to the inner solar system as it orbits the sun once every 6.6 years. On Sept. 10th, 21P/Giacobini-Zinner will not only be near Earth, but also at perihelion, its closest approach to the sun. Solar heating will make it shine like a star of 6th to 7th magnitude, just below the threshold of naked-eye visibility and well within range of common binoculars. Detailed sky maps will help you find it.
21P/Giacobini-Zinner is the parent of the annual Draconid meteor shower, a bursty display that typically peaks on Oct. 8th. Will the shower will be extra-good this year? Maybe. Draconid outbursts do tend to occur in years near the comet's close approach to the sun. However, not every close approach brings a meteor shower. Forecasters say there are no known Draconid debris streams squarely crossing Earth's path this year, so we will have to wait and see.
Click to view an interactive 3D orbit of 21P/Giacobini-Zinner as it passes by our planet in 2018: ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=21P;cad=1;old=0;orb=1;cov=0;log=0#orb
Note: "AU" means "astronomical unit." 1 AU is the distance between Earth and the sun. The distance to Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner on Sept. 10th will be ~0.39 AU or 58 million km. On the scale of things in the solar system, the comet will be close to Earth, but not scary-close. ... See MoreSee Less
TONIGHT! THE GEMINID METEOR SHOWER: On Dec. 13th and 14th, Earth will pass through a stream of gravelly debris from rock comet 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. Sky watchers far from city lights could see dozens of meteors per hour. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the dark hours before dawn on Thursday the 14th when the constellation Gemini is high overhead. ... See MoreSee Less