Observing Iridium

Apologies to last night’s observers for predicting the two iridium satellites that failed to appear. Still not sure why but most probably the low angle, 16°. I ‘mistook’ on the direction – it was NE not NNE but you would have thought that was near enough for a -2.8 mag.

Sky Watch Wednesday 10 Feb 2016

Thanks to Simon for his organising efforts and perseverance with Kendal weather.

Grand night learning a number of member’s techniques very quickly:

ISS kindly flew over to to set the evening off.

Simon W’s easy magnitude benchmark for the evening: Polaris and the rest of Ursa Minor give you: two Mag 2’s, a 3 and a 5 (there are a few near fours – and a nearly six if viewing is that good as well). We’re seeing mag 5 naked eye.

We can now all find the Andromeda galaxy from either Cassiopeia of Pegasus (easy in binoculars, I say).

Graham’s colour index, blue Rigel to red Betelgeuse. We’re all on the look-out for a supernovae from a red giant like Beetlejuice or Aldebaran in the next 1,000 years. Sirius is white, so say most of us.

Ian showed us Uranus near the horizon through a telescope (findable in binoculars noticing that the scope was pointing above a white drainpipe).

Jupiter and its moons rose: a steady image, easy to follow with manual controls on the society’s scopes and more impressive with increasing power in other scopes. On the other hand, the Orion nebula is brighter and more impressive in binoculars – for me, personally.

Graham and Moira kept us informed with the constellation legends. Some of us are stuck in our ways though. Perseus is no warrior but a horse crossing the sky in the direction of all the other characters while Pegasus is just a big (Autumn) square. Taurus is a ‘V’ on its side – okay it’s got a tail.

With a bit of luck, Leo the Lion next month. That’s the backwards question mark although some members see a coat-hanger.

One orbital manoeuvre to get to the outer planets

Members may like this ‘simple’ video I found relevant to Monday’s discussion of Rosetta’s convoluted orbital path in order to get to a comet. How to throw Juno at Jupiter: power out past Mars, change course back towards Earth, presumably, to steal a bit of its orbital energy and you’re on you way. Juno spacecraft trajectory animation

If the journet out was convoluted, on arrival Rosetta defies inutition, gyrating around in its own triangle after orbiting the comet