Just by chance I happen to glimpse a bright `star’ from my bathroom window..almost at low horizon in the west..and I knew instantly what it was..so ran out to garden with my Digital SLR ..and started clicking.. and then I looked to the SW sky and saw an equally bright object and knew ..that’s gotta be Jupiter.. Of course both were confirmed by me using my SKy-eye app on the mobile..(by pointing it / centering on object). So here we are..:-)
This blog shows 2 photos. Here are a few photos I took just hours ago (5th May 2015.. around 22:17hrs GMT) from my garden in South London area…in between fast moving clouds, using my DSLR (sony DSC-HX300).
This shot was taken (hand-held) using the 3D viewable function of the DSLR.
This shot was taken using the `superior auto’ function (low light).
It’s notable that currently Jupiter is at 13’41” Leo, and Venus is 27’17” Gemini. These two planets are of course called the beneficial planets.. So to capture them both in one frame is a great thrill for me.. 🙂 (no trickery.. it’s why I didn’t even stamp a `copyright’ note on the photo.. lest anyone thought I `graphixed’ it 🙂
People get excited about Eclipses – only when they can actually see them! Otherwise these wonderful stellar Events just pass many people by – it just happens `somewhere else’ (ie visible in another part of the world, but not where `you’ live). But for astronomers & astrologers, no matter where they are and where the actual eclipses are visible from- it’s always of great interest and importance. And me? I am both an amateur astronomer and a full on astrologer. Here in England, it’s hard to plan observing one (safety in mind!) because of unexpected clouds and rain..but i have always marked them on my diary and always taken the opportunity to do personal spiritual & magical work. (I wrote a book some years ago, called `Eclipse Magic Workbook’ it’s on kindle for sale and on my own websites! See links below)
I see that the internet and social media is beginning to saturate already .with lovely *fantasmagraphical..graphics and such. So many of them are so very inaccurate. Astronomers would cringe..and erm..so would astrologers.
So as usual, I have spent a great deal of time either creating or compiling the useful data for the upcoming Solar Eclipse of 20th Match 2015. It’s visible from UK (over 90%).
Here are all the useful stuff
Astrology / Planetary chart for Solar Eclipse 20th March 2015
This is drawn for exactly 9.45am Universal Time (pretty much same as GMT)..and uses just sun signs only (no house positions shown as that depends on geography). But for those interested, if a Placidus chart is drawn for this event, using coordinates of where greatest Eclipse is visible (Lat 64′ N; Long 6’W), then Ascendant is in Cancer, and Midheaven is in Aquarius).
NASA diagram with full astronomical data
Earth enters the Umbra of the Lunar shadow at 9.09am (UT)..
Greatest Eclipse of the Sun occurs at 9.45am (UT).
Earth leaves the umbral shadow at 10:21am (UT).
The duration of greatest eclipse is 2 min 46 seconds!!
Where is this visible?
This is visible from Iceland, Europe, N.Africa, N.Asia .
Total Eclipse is visible from N.Atlantic, Faeroe Is, Svalbard.
I’ll be uploading some video-graphics I found and edited together, showing actual visibility (where this eclipse can be seen from) in another blog post, as well as to my youtube channel, and my `Eclipse Magic’ facebook page
I came across this marvelous news..! NASA’s fastest spacecraft `New Horizon’ launched in 2006, has been hurtling towards planet Pluto at 1 million miles per day…! Closest approach to Pluto is next year (July, 2015)..but will start taking photos …(tons I imagine) from next January 2015 onwards…! So we are just under a year away from this event!
Bit of astrology :The 7 sharp aspects between Pluto and Uranus (squares) will be complete by March 2015.. so it is interesting that humanity’s first proper closest look at Pluto comes just at the end of it.. Uranus is a planet that rules technology..and innovation.. (the `Age of Aquarian planet’) ..and Pluto symbolises smallest things that create the biggest impact.. So by July 2015, I’d say (as an Astrologer), we on Earth will have had some revolutionary changes…at least in our own lives.. if not on a global level..
“One of the fastest spacecraft ever built — NASA’s New Horizons — is hurtling through the void at nearly one million miles per day. Launched in 2006, it has been in flight longer than some missions last, and it is nearing its destination: Pluto.
“The encounter begins next January,” says Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute and the mission’s principal investigator. “We’re less than a year away.”
Closest approach is scheduled for July 2015 when New Horizons flies only 10,000 km from Pluto, but the spacecraft will be busy long before that date. The first step, in January 2015, is an intensive campaign of photography by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager or “LORRI.” This will help mission controllers pinpoint Pluto’s location, which is uncertain by a few thousand kilometers.
“LORRI will photograph the planet against known background star fields,” explains Stern. “We’ll use the images to refine Pluto’s distance from the spacecraft, and then fire the engines to make any necessary corrections.”
At first, Pluto and its large moon Charon will be little more than distant pinpricks-“a couple of fat pixels,” says Stern–but soon they will swell into full-fledged worlds.
By late April 2015, the approaching spacecraft will be taking pictures of Pluto that surpass the best images from Hubble. By closest approach in July 2015, a whole new world will open up to the spacecraft’s cameras. If New Horizons flew over Earth at the same altitude, it could see individual buildings and their shapes.
Stern is looking forward to one of the most exciting moments of the Space Age.
“Humankind hasn’t had an experience like this–an encounter with a new planet–in a long time,” he says. “Everything we see on Pluto will be a revelation.”
He likens New Horizons to Mariner 4, which flew past Mars in July 1965. At the time, many people on Earth, even some scientists, thought the Red Planet was a relatively gentle world, with water and vegetation friendly to life. Instead, Mariner 4 revealed a desiccated wasteland of haunting beauty. New Horizons’ flyby of Pluto will occur almost exactly 50 years after Mariner 4’s flyby of Mars-and it could shock observers just as much.
Other than a few indistinct markings seen from afar by Hubble, Pluto’s landscape is totally unexplored. Although some astronomers call Pluto a “dwarf” planet, Stern says there’s nothing small about it. “If you drove a car around the equator of Pluto, the odometer would rack up almost 5,000 miles-as far as from Manhattan to Moscow.” Such a traveler might encounter icy geysers, craters, clouds, mountain ranges, rilles and valleys, alongside alien landforms no one has ever imagined.
“There is a real possibility that New Horizons will discover new moons and rings as well,” says Stern.
Yes, Pluto could have rings. Already, Pluto has five known moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. Numerical simulations show that meteoroids striking those satellites could send debris into orbit, forming a ring system that waxes and wanes over time in response to changes in bombardment.
“We’re flying into the unknown,” says Stern, “and there is no telling what we might find.”
Here’s a list of major Meteor Showers that many of us are going to be able to observe in 2014.
I set up facebook events for a few (in the later half of 2013) and it was popular ..as in people were happy to get the info and go out and check on those respective nights.. So have set up `Events’ for these ones on my facebook profile.. Just click, join or don’t join.. as long as you get out and look 🙂
Info for each one is gathered from a variety of Scientific sources freely published online by various organisations. (will reference it later).
I was out looking for the Geminids Meteor shower..and thought as it’s a clear sky, will take a photo of Jupiter. (well the last time I tried catching a meteor on my compact digital ..it took me many hours and I got one clip of one meteo..so wasn’t going to do all that tonight..)
Good news is, even before I had set up my tripod, I saw a meteor shooting past.. and within about 5 minutes I had seen about 7..and made 3 wishes (just to be safe..the same wish three times.. rest of the views were just for joy 🙂 )
So took this photo of Jupiter…easily the brightest object as you can see.. (my own astro chart calculations and mobile app confirms it). You can spot the Orion the Hunter to the right.. (and just start to see the glow of the moon to the right – not on this photo).
I;ve marked one of the photos to show the objects..
Quick one..! Geminids Meteor showers are of the more prolific ones.. And as it gets cold and skies get clearer in Winter, there’s more chance to see it.. BUT we are also coming up to a full moon in a few days so.. we’ll see what we can see.
“Radiating from near the bright stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini the Twins, the Geminid meteor shower is one of the finest meteors showers visible in either the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere. The meteors are plentiful, rivaling the August Perseids, with perhaps 50 to 100 meteors per hour visible at the peak. Plus Geminid meteors are often bright, so, if there’s a bright moon, many meteors may be able to overcome the harsh moonlight. These meteors are often as good in the evening as in the hours between midnight and dawn. In 2013, a bright waxing gibbous moon will interfere with the Geminids throughout most of the peak night. Your best bet is to watch on the mornings of December 13 and 14, from moonset until dawn.”
There is a penumbral Lunar Eclipse (at Full moon!) taking place in the Sign of Aries…tonight (18th October.. )..
Here are the beginning, actual, and end of this Eclipse
Visibility: Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia.
Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 21:50:38 UT
Greatest Eclipse: 23:50:17 UT
Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 01:49:49 UT
(UT is Universal Time..and is more or less equal to GMT).
Then in 2 weeks time, we have a Solar Eclipse (at New/dark moon) on 3rd November.
Here are the details of that one..
Visibility: East Americas, South Europe, Africa
Contacts of Penumbra
P1 = 10:04:33.8 UT
P2 = 12:13:09.5 UT
P3 = 13:20:01.1 UT
P4 = 15:28:21.7 UT
Contacts of Umbra
U1 = 11:05:17.1 UT
U2 = 11:05:21.3 UT
U3 = 14:27:42.7 UT
U4 = 14:27:43.3 UT
Greatest Eclipse: 12:46 UT
Data thanks to F. Espenak, NASA’s GSFC / eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html
I’ve written extensively about doing magical / esoteric works at times of Solar & Lunar Eclipses.
You can watch a video about this (11 minutes) here on my Youtube channel, listen to a FREE webinar in the basics of Eclipse Magic, and also purchase my eBook `Eclipse Magic workbook‘ – Just visit my special site Eclipse Magic
Effectively, you now have a 2 week window – the duration between one eclipse (Lunar, 18th Oct) and the next (Solar, 3rd Nov) to undertake many types of Eclipse-related magical working.
You can do the most simplest, or a complex set of workings.. All will make a difference in` stellar engineering your life’!!
If you have any questions, drop me a comment or contact me via my websites..
Above is a clip that I filmed.. last night .. .(out of about 4 hrs of filming attempt) of one of the Meteors (shooting stars). This one was filmed about 03:27 am (British summer time) on 13th August 2013.. near Mitcham, South London..! Last night we were actually having the showers from 2 systems.. the now fading July’s Delta Aquarids, and the spectacular Perseids..!
It really tests patience.. and at one point, 3 days of sleeplessness was catching up with me..but i slipped into a pleasant trance-like easy state..and just had eyes open..no thought. . and then a shooting star strikes across the vision..and Wow! And that moment of peace is priceless.
So here’s some ideas / practical suggestions for observing & filming them..
What are shooting stars?
They are debris, chunks, pieces of comets that are orbiting the Sun.. Meteor showers occur when the Earth (in it’s orbit around the Sun pass through debris of comets.. and so e of those pieces get pulled in to Earth’s gravity, and burn up! Most of these streaks of light can be far and brief.. but during peak time of meteor showers, there are always many `earth grazing’ ones.. that are actually quite `slow’ …create a very bright light streak..and leave a visible light trail for a few seconds after burning up.. (I’ve seen these even last night!)
How to observe shooting stars:
I think if anyone looks at one clear (dark patch) of sky for about 20 minutes, without loosing hope..and looking around..you’ll catch one..
Wrap up warm.. even on a warn night…when you are not moving.. body temperature goes down…And cloudless skies are ideal for Stargazing actibvities…but it also means, without cloud-cover, there are no warm air pockets being trapped between you and the clouds…so clear nights = cold nights! 🙂
Insects & Mosquito: Have a hood or hat. Better to even have insect repellent on you first…Failing that, a strong incense stick or 5 (one at a time) placed near you may deter most of the bugs who want ya blood! Be fully covered…socks..neck-scarf. Nothing worse than waking up next day feeling bite-marks and itching on head, face, and all over. !!
Have a hot flask..of coffee or tea for cold nights.. And caffeine helps to stay awake.. When you are stargazing.. it’s quite relaxing..and you may fall asleep.. !!
Don’t drink any alcohol.. It may be fun..but afterwards, you’ll doubt if you really did see shooting stars…or was it a trick of light.. reflection of passing cars in streets on any clouds..or even a high-flying tint bird, moth, bat or bird! (these are my real experiences ..)
Step 1 – Go out…get comfy..and let your eyes adjust to dark..and get more sensitive to light. Now peripheral vision is good for detecting flickers and motion.. So don’t worry…Just look up at one spot…relax..and gaze.. (that’s the operative word!).. At some point..you’ll see one brilliant Meteor trail past you.. or you’ll see a bright enough flash at the corner of the eye..
Step 2. Keep gazing! get a feel of their speeds, directions, intensity.. These all vary! About 20 minutes of this will give you a `real experience’ …to start with. This is your `priming..’ or `calibrating’
Step 3. Now you’ll have a feel of where abouts the majority of the shooting stars are appearing.. Here’s the important bit. Pick a spot in the sky.. and stick to it…for at least 20 minutes further..(even if you see flashes on the sides.. !)
Step 4. You will see distant aeroplanes.. few tiny artificial satellites…slow moving.. and you;ll eventually see meteors. Have faith and keep gazing…That’s the real trick..
How to film Shooting stars with ordinary digital camera
I had the digital camera on movie mode…mounted on a simple tripod..! If you have highly light sensitive mode on your digital camera or video camera, even better. I don’t think phone-cameras are good enough.. for this. But web cams may be..(I;ll try it and let you know next time).
step 1. Charge up battery for camera. Nothing worse that filming for an hour.and battery runs out..just before a spectacular trail of meteor goes past! Have a spare battery if you have one..charged.
step 2; Mount on a tripod. It’ll give you a serious neck & arm ache if you have to hold it by hand for more than 10-15 minutes.. and Stargazing /filming takes a few hours at least! Lying on ground (for self) is a good idea..or a easy chair or garden recline chair..
Step 3: Aim camera (set up) at a part of the sky you have already seen a number of meteors (by unaided sight). Switch movie record mode..and let it run.. Remember to stay away from the camera’s field.
Step 4: Because filming can run from 5 minutes to even 30 minutes… and you may be filming lots of no-event sky.. it’s best to periodically stop the filming..and re-start immediately. This gives you a series of clips..which are easy to sift through on a lap top or PC.. ! (DON’T try to immediately re-play a clip.. to see if you caught a meteor. You are wasting precious camera battery with replay…and you my be missing another meteor above! The task is to film chunks of clips.. sift through them later.
Warning: Colder nights mean battery will run out faster!
Keep calm.. Enjoy the peace.. Be positive. There are usually 10’s to hundreds of shooting stars at those peak times. So it;s just a matter of time.. before yo spot one or 20! If you get erratic..in a hurry..and not so whole-hearted…you ain’t gonna see one..
Don’t forget to make a wish..when you see one! 🙂
Forthcoming Meteor showers in Northern hemisphere.
Here are the dates / names of the meteor showers coming up in October (2), November (1) and December (1) of this year 2013.
Super-Full Moon! A beautiful sight, it may be, but is there anything more to this – other than that? Here in the Solar system, we have 9 `planets’ with a huge number of their own satellites (moons) and asteroids, all orbiting the Sun. All sorts of geometrical effects can be viewed from Earth, as a result of all these. Astronomers don’t get excited much about many of these `events’ – but since Astrology presumes that what happens to stellar bodies has an influence on us and our human lives, astrologers to get excited about various phenomena.
Facts We have just had one of these – Supermoon! It is when the full moon appears to be bigger than average. It can be about 14% bigger (in diameter) and about 30% brighter..than an average full moon! These occur approximately once every 14 full moons. The next one is on 10th August 2014. The term `Supermoon’ was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979, arbitrarily defined as:
“…a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth..” (wikipedia)
Why? The moon is closer to Earth, so it appears bigger and brighter. That’s the observation. But why is it closer to the Earth? The orbit of the moon around the Earth is not circular but elliptical. The moon completes this orbit once every 29 days, so in that time, at one point, it will be furthest away from the Earth at about (apogee) at 406,000 km distance , and 14 days later, closest to the Earth (apogee) at 357,000 kilometers from Earth . So when a full moon coincides with the point when it is closer to Earth, we call it a Supermoon! (scientific term is perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system!)
SUPERMOONS between 2014 to 2020 Here are the dates of the minimum Perigee (moon closest to Earth) and nearest Full moon to those dates (Supermoons) .. f Perigee data taken from Fred Espenak. Full moon date from The American ephermeris for 2000-2050. Table created by me (Mani Navasothy)
Year m/d -Time (gmt) – perigee distance (km) – nearest Supermoon date
2014 Aug 10 – 17:43 -356897 km – Supermoon on 10th August’14
2015 Sep 28 – 01:46 -356877 km – Supermoon on 28th Sept’15 (also Lunar Eclispse!)
2016 Nov 14 – 11:23 -356512 km – Supermoon on 14th Nov’16
2017 May 26 – 01:23 -357210 km – Newmoon on 25th May. (Nearest Supermoon 9th June 2017)
2018 Jan 01 – 21:54 -356566 km – Supermoon on 2nd January’18
2019 Feb 19 – 09:06 -356762 km – Supermoon 19th Feb’19
Note: I’ll double check the rest of the data for this and amend if I find any errors in my matching nearest `supermoon’ to the perigee data. (Anyone of you can do the same..by checking the perigee/ apogee data and looking up full moons near those dates in an ephemeris of course!) -Mani Navasothy (astrologer)
Can be seen just after sunset, in the West-North-West sky (in the constellation of Gemini)
2. Meteor Shower
On 11th June. High in SouthEast sky around 4.30am. You can see the rare `Gamma Delphinids’ meteo shower (close to Aquila and Capricornids..is a small constellation called Delphinus).
3. Four major Asteroids
Ceres, Pallas, Vesta & Juno are the first 4 asteroids to have been discovered. All are visible this month. Ceres & Pallas near Gemini, Juno near Aquarius.
4. Asteroid 1998 QE2
This one passed by Earth not so long ago – on 31st May 2013! A medium-large telescope is needed now to see it. Look south after 9pm..in the Constellations of Libra & Ophiucus.
5. Milky Way
By the end of June, Moon is rising very late, by midnight, so that gives plenty of evening / early night time to look at the night sky..and without the bright light of gthe moon, parts of our galaxy Milk Way can be seen.. (as a fine dust of stars in bands that are obvious to miss. I saw this some years ago and was amazed!)