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Post Info TOPIC: January 2010


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RE: January 2010
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Hundreds of people gathered in falling snow to watch Aberdeen's fireworks displays bring in the New Year.
The crowds braved the subzero temperatures to gather in the city centre and watch the demonstrations from Castlegate and the roof of HM Theatre.

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January Highlights

The Beehive Cluster
Otherwise known as M44. This is an open cluster and is a wonderful object for binoculars or a small telescope. It contains nearly 200 stars. At a magnitude of 3.7, the cluster should be visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy patch of light, and as such was known to the ancients and actually included in some of their myths. Hipparchus in 130 BC called it "the little cloud". Its true nature was never revealed until 1610 when Galileo became the first person to ever see it through a telescope.
Using your binoculars, you should find about 80 (many more, if you're using a telescope). Since the Beehive is about 450 light years away the light you are seeing tonight left before Galileo first lifted his telescope toward the sky.

The Orion Nebula
Orion is a favourite target of telescope owners. In the centre of Orion's sword, just below the `belt`, lies the great Orion Nebula. Even small 60mm telescopes will show the brightest regions of the nebula and the "Trapezium"; a grouping of the brightest blue stars near the centre. The nebula glows because of the intense energy being radiated by them. The red light shows the location of the hydrogen gas, the blue light is light being reflected from the Trapezium. The blue colour has the same origin as the blue light of our daytime sky, the dust particles in this nebula, reflect blue light more readily than red.

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There are many meteor showers this month...
The Quadrantids Meteors Shower Peaks on January 3. It is active from January 1 through January 5.

You can listen to them by tuning to the 67 MHz meteor radar in Roswell, NM.

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity ZHR
Date R.A. Dec. km/s
Zeta Aurigids Dec 11-Jan 21 Dec. 31/Jan. 1
Quadrantids Jan 1-5 Jan. 4 16.3h 56.6 52.1 114.2
Gamma Velids Jan 1-17 Jan. 5-8
Rho Geminids Dec 28-Jan 28 Jan. 8/9
January Draconids Jan10-24 Jan. 13-16
January Bootids Jan 8-18 Jan 8 13.9h -12.0 19.4
Eta Craterids Jan 11-22 Jan. 16/17
Delta-Cancrids Dec 14-Feb 14 Jan. 17 128 +20 20.4 4
Coma Berenicid Dec8 - Jan 23 Jan 18 165 +30 6
Alpha Hydrids Jan 15-30 Jan. 20/21
Eta Carinids Jan 14-27 Jan. 21/22
Canids Jan13-30 Jan. 24/25
Alpha Leonids Jan13-Feb 13 Jan. 24-31
Aurigids Jan-Feb 23 Jan. 31 bolids
Orionids Jan. 31 15.4h -15.3 29.9 24.3


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planet020110.gif

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Jupiter satellite positions
Jupitersatjan10.gif

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Sky enthusiasts in India, especially in Tamil Nadu, will have a rare opportunity to witness the longest annular eclipse of the sun, occurring on Jan 15 next.

"The annular phase runs from 10.44 am (IST),when the eclipse begins in the Central African Republic to the end of the eclipse on the Chinese Yellow Sea coast at 14.29 pm (IST)" - Tamilnadu Science and Technology Centre Executive Director Dr P Iyamperumal.

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One of the most intense and briefest meteor showers of the year, the Quadrantids, will peak early Sunday morning. The Quadrantid shower can produce between 40 and 60 meteors per hour.
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Mercury is a ''morning star'' during the last two weeks of January. You can catch it a half-hour before sunrise a little above the southeast horizon.
Venus is too close to the sun to spot in January. Mars, too, is a ''morning star'' in the west about 7 a.m., at magnitude 0.8. This Saturday, look for Mars and the waning gibbous moon below the Beehive, or Praesepe. On Monday the 25th, Mars and the Beehive will be visible within the field of 7x50 binoculars. That same night, the moon will be near the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters.

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