Radio Warwickshire Astro Blog for May

Written by on April 30, 2014


Words: Astroforfun

Photo: Julie Straayer

Getting this in now, so you have plenty of time as you may not know its taking place! Well, now you do know.

International Astronomy Show 2014, Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, June 7th & 8th.

Buy your tickets online, then register for the tweet up that is taking place at the event too

If you are on twitter, follow us @astroforfun and make sure you follow @ccdhome, Then tweet him to register for the Tweet Up.

Beginners, you may have questions you’d like to ask, so come to stall 46 and ask us, we will be there on both days.

Mobile and PC/Laptop Astronomy Apps by Gary Colville

Starting in astronomy, need not mean you must have a telescope or Binoculars, in today’s world of technical wonders, you can start right there, in the palm of your hand or at home, in front of your pc.

I personally use the ones listed below, but do a search on any mobile store and you will come across lots of Astronomy apps, some free, some at a cost. we have one of our very own for free., you can find 2 of our very own, for free. Well we could advertise others first could we? ALL available app and the links can be found on our google+ page here > and if you cant find them, ask Gary for the links to them.

On Google Store you can find, SkEye (point your mobile camera to the sky, it will tell you what its pointing at, 1000′s of different objects out there), Astronomy Calendar, NASA, NASATV, Latitude converter (Mostly for powered telescope users), APOD (Astronomy Picture Of  the Day), Astro Panel( Which is a weather app for astronomers), Night Sky Tools (an app full of great items we astronomers need), Compass ( some Telescopes require North polar aligning) SkyNight ( as SKEye), ISS Live ( see whats happening LIVE onboard the ISS and where its location is every single minute so you know when to see it above you)

On Amazon store you can find Compass as on Google Store, Orrery ( A beautiful example of our solar system and the planets orbiting our Sun), Hubble3d (some amazing images from the what i personally think is the Greatest ever Space Telescope), Panoramic Mars, (Images from 3 different adventures on the red planet from Mars Pathfinder, Spirit & Opportunity Rovers and Mars Curiosity Rover).

On my laptop, i use Stellarium for finding planets, nebula, galaxy locations from your location, SharpCap for running a live view from my Telescope to laptop via webcam/CCD.

I also use Gimp2 for tweaking the final image and adding my details after using either webcam or DSLR, AutoStakkert or Registax for putting image upon image upon image etc after using a webcam or DSLR camera. Virtual Moon Atlas, which covers all craters and oceans on the moon. Of course there are no REAL oceans on the Moon.

Darren Murray uses These apps: Skysafari,  Pro Polaris Finder and Astro Panel.

Tracey Snelus uses these on occasions: Sky safari and scope Companion

Margaret Dixon Uses Scope help and Scope Nights, ISS Spotter, and Iridium flares.

Craig Dawes uses Sky safari pro, Iridium Flares, Sky Chart, Polar Align and Stellarium. Stellarium is also a great free download for laptops and PC’s.

Hayley Parr uses sky map, star walk, Stellarium, ISS tracker and one called world radar for weather/cloud cover

Jonathen Harty uses Sky Safari, ISS spotter, Phases of the Moon, Scope Help, Star Walk and Scope Nights.

Our friends at Norwich Astronomy Society said they use SkySafari+, Satellite Safari  but also suggested Star Walk and Solar Walk for the younger members of the public.

The Rise of Saturn by Margaret Dixon

While April saw Mars reach opposition, the point at which Mars was directly in alignment with the Earth and the Sun, May is Saturn’s month.

The best time to see Saturn in 2014 is May, Saturn reaches opposition on the night of May 10th it rises at sunset and will be visible all night long. Opposition also brings Saturn to its closest point to the Earth for 2014. This means that the planet will be shining at its most brilliantly in the night sky for the year.

Saturn is, of course, most famous for its system of rings. For those who are lucky enough to view Saturn through a telescope, at the time of opposition, then they may notice a brightening of Saturn’s rings at this time. This is known as the Seeliger effect. Saturn’s rings contain ice particles and at the time of opposition the reflection of the light from the sun is at just the right angle for the rings to be illuminated without us seeing any shadow.

Saturn can be found lying in the constellation Libra. Regardless of where you are in the world Saturn will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight, local time.

Saturn can be found in the South Eastern sky. To find Saturn look for the bright planet near the moon, this is Mars, below and slightly to the left of Mars you can find Spica and then below and slightly to the left again is Saturn.

Saturn will remain visible and in a good place to observe throughout May 2014. So here’s to clear skies and happy observing.

louise stanton


Photo: Louise Stanley

The Orion Nebula, by Hayley Parr.

It’s fair to say that the constellation of Orion is one of the easiest to spot with the three stars of huntsman’s belt being prominent in the night sky.
However Orion has a thinly veiled secret within the constellation there is a very active stellar nursery. This due to the nebula that it contains within it. If you look out into the night sky and locate Orion (you will need a very clear night, in a dark area with little to no light pollution) avert your gaze to just underneath the constellations belt. You should be able to see a haze which appears greenish in colour. This is the Orion nebula or M42 a vast expanse of space where stars are coming to life, a massive cosmic cloud of dust and gases.
Within this nebula there are four baby stars (well a million years or so old, but stars live for a very long time.) These stars are a cluster called the trapezium and they shine incredibly brightly. However a lot of stars starting out their life within this cosmic wonder are concealed behind the nebula itself.

Double Star of the Month by Darren Murray

Binary Star of the Month MAY: 2014
Alpha Gem, 66 Gem, SAO 60198, STF 1110A
Castor is found high in the sky in the constelation of Gemini ,
it was first resolved by Cassini in 1678.. during the month of may it is best visible between
21:32 and 23:35 .
This star is a brilliant Binary with two components of Magnitudes of 2.0 and 2.9 and separated by 4.4 Arc seconds making it an easy target for small scopes.


Moon Rise and Moon Set by Gary Colville

May 1st

Moonrise: 07:05 local (06:05 GMT, 30 Apr), azimuth 59.6°
Moonset: 23:00 local (22:00 GMT, 30 Apr), azimuth 301.6°

May 2nd

Moonrise: 07:50 local (06:50 GMT, 1 May), azimuth 58.1°
Moonset: 23:52 local (22:52 GMT, 1 May), azimuth 301.9°

May 3rd

Moonrise: 08:41 local (07:41 GMT, 2 May), azimuth 58.4°
Moonset: No moonset on this date

May 4th (Unofficial International Star Wars Day)

Moonrise: 09:37 local (08:37 GMT, 3 May), azimuth 60.3°
Moonset: No moonset on this date

May 5th

Moonrise: 10:35 local (09:35 GMT, 4 May), azimuth 63.7°
Moonset: 01:13 local (00:13 GMT, 4 May), azimuth 297.7°

May 6th

Moonrise: 11:36 local (10:36 GMT, 5 May), azimuth 68.3°
Moonset: 01:45 local (00:45 GMT, 5 May), azimuth 293.7°

May 7th

Moonrise: 12:39 local (11:39 GMT, 6 May), azimuth 73.7°
Moonset: 02:12 local (01:12 GMT, 6 May), azimuth 288.6°

May 8th

Moonrise: 13:43 local (12:43 GMT, 7 May), azimuth 79.8°
Moonset: 02:36 local (01:36 GMT, 7 May), azimuth 283.0°

May 9th

Moonrise: 14:48 local (13:48 GMT, 8 May), azimuth 86.4°
Moonset: 02:59 local (01:59 GMT, 8 May), azimuth 276.8°

May 10th

Moonrise: 15:55 local (14:55 GMT, 9 May), azimuth 93.3°
Moonset: 03:22 local (02:22 GMT, 9 May), azimuth 270.1°

May 11th

Moonrise: 17:04 local (16:04 GMT, 10 May), azimuth 100.3°
Moonset: 03:44 local (02:44 GMT, 10 May), azimuth 263.4°

May 12th

Moonrise: 18:14 local (17:14 GMT, 11 May), azimuth 107.1°
Moonset: 04:09 local (03:09 GMT, 11 May), azimuth 256.6°

May 13th

Moonrise: 19:27 local (18:27 GMT, 12 May), azimuth 113.3°
Moonset: 04:37 local (03:37 GMT, 12 May), azimuth 250.3°

May 14th

Moonrise: 20:38 local (19:38 GMT, 13 May), azimuth 118.2°
Moonset: 05:09 local (04:09 GMT, 13 May), azimuth 244.6°

May 15th

Moonrise: 21:47 local (20:47 GMT, 14 May), azimuth 121.5°
Moonset: 05:49 local (04:49 GMT, 14 May), azimuth 240.3°

May 16th

Moonrise: 22:49 local (21:49 GMT, 15 May), azimuth 122.5°
Moonset: 06:37 local (05:37 GMT, 15 May), azimuth 237.9°

May 17th

Moonrise: 23:43 local (22:43 GMT, 16 May), azimuth 121.0°
Moonset: 07:36 local (06:36 GMT, 16 May), azimuth 237.8°

May 18th

Moonrise: No moonrise on this date
Moonset: 08:43 local (07:43 GMT, 17 May), azimuth 240.1°

May 19th

Moonrise: No moonrise on this date
Moonset: 09:57 local (08:57 GMT, 18 May), azimuth 244.5°

May 20th

Moonrise: 01:05 local (00:05 GMT, 19 May), azimuth 112.0°
Moonset: 11:13 local (10:13 GMT, 19 May), azimuth 250.5°

May 21st

Moonrise: 01:37 local (00:37 GMT, 20 May), azimuth 105.6°
Moonset: 12:30 local (11:30 GMT, 20 May), azimuth 257.6°

May 22nd

Moonrise: 02:05 local (01:05 GMT, 21 May), azimuth 98.3°
Moonset: 13:47 local (12:47 GMT, 21 May), azimuth 265.2°

May 23rd

Moonrise: 02:31 local (01:31 GMT, 22 May), azimuth 90.9°
Moonset: 15:02 local (14:02 GMT, 22 May), azimuth 273.0°

May 24th

Moonrise: 02:57 local (01:57 GMT, 23 May), azimuth 83.6°
Moonset: 16:16 local (15:16 GMT, 23 May), azimuth 280.4°

May 25th

Moonrise: 03:23 local (02:23 GMT, 24 May), azimuth 76.5°
Moonset: 17:29 local (16:29 GMT, 24 May), azimuth 287.3°

May 26th

Moonrise: 03:52 local (02:52 GMT, 25 May), azimuth 70.2°
Moonset: 18:40 local (17:40 GMT, 25 May), azimuth 293.2°

May 27th

Moonrise: 04:24 local (03:24 GMT, 26 May), azimuth 64.8°
Moonset: 19:47 local (18:47 GMT, 26 May), azimuth 297.8°

May 28th

Moonrise: 05:00 local (04:00 GMT, 27 May), azimuth 60.8°
Moonset: 20:49 local (19:49 GMT, 27 May), azimuth 300.9°

May 29th

Moonrise: 05:43 local (04:43 GMT, 28 May), azimuth 58.5°
Moonset: 21:45 local (20:45 GMT, 28 May), azimuth 302.1°

May 30th

Moonrise: 06:32 local (05:32 GMT, 29 May), azimuth 57.9°
Moonset: 22:32 local (21:32 GMT, 29 May), azimuth 301.5°

May 31st

Moonrise: 07:25 local (06:25 GMT, 30 May), azimuth 59.2°
Moonset: 23:12 local (22:12 GMT, 30 May), azimuth 299.2°


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