There will be a series of occultation of stars in the Hyades on the evening of 19-20 January, one of which is a triple star, so I'll give details of the main ones, in order as they occur. The following details are for Belfast, but will not vary very much throughout Ireland. But if you live much further West, start observing 15 mts earlier to be safe.
The Moon will be high up for the first of these occultations, but then starts to sink in the West, down to 20 deg by 02.13, and just under 11 deg by 03.23.
At 19.06, it occults Gamma Tau, mag 3.6
At 22.16 it occults 70 Tau, mag 6.4
At 23.58 it occults Theta 1 Tau, mag 3.8 (and HU 1080, mag 6.7, @ 23.59)
At 00.46 it occults HIP 21029, mag 4.8 * See below
At 00.53 it occults HIP 21053, mag 6.5
At 02.13 it occults HD 28879, mag 6.6
At 03.23 it occults Aldebaran, mag 0.8
As you watch, the invisible dark edge of the Moon slowly approaches the star and then, in the blink of an eye, it's gone! Instantaneously. Which shows very dramatically that even Aldebaran, although an orange K-type giant many times bigger than the Sun, is essentially a point source, since it's over 160 LY away.
*The occultation at 00.46, of HIP 21029, is of particular interest. This star is also listed as HD 28527 and LDS 2246, a multiple star. It has a fainter component, mag 6.5, at a separation of about 249" (4' 9") so you can see that one being occulted separately. But what is really interesting is that the main star is actually also a very close double, with components of mag 5.6 and 5.6. In fact it is so close, that it was only discovered to be double by observation during an occultation! The separation is quoted as 0.02", which is more than ten times closer than even the best amateur telescope will resolve! Its duplicity is revealed only by the fact that the occultation disappearance is not instantaneous, but occurs in 2 distinct steps, as each star is occulted. Of course, assuming that it is a close binary, it will have significant orbital motion, so the orientation of the pair during this occultation could well be different to the discovery observation, making the separation appear either greater, or even less! If you can take high time resolution video/ccd imaging, it will be well worth recording the occultation to see if you record the disappearance in 2 steps.
3. Comet is visible in binoculars Comet Catalina is now higher up in Ursa Major and is now circumpolar. Andy McCrea in particular has been getting some nice images - see the IAA website. As it gets higher, it's in a darker sky, though it is gradually fading. It's closest to earth this weekend, see http://earthsky.org/space/comet-catalina-c2013-us10-november-december-january-2015-2016?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=164c636236-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-164c636236-394571661
It had amazing double tail structure, see this fabulous photo:
5: IAA + IAS/IFAS event, Dunsink Observatory, 13 February. A major event is being arranged jointly by the IAA and other Irish amateur astronomy groups for Saturday 13 February at Dunsink Observatory, Dublin.
(14.00 Gates/Doors open).
We are delighted once again to bring you the full programme of the second NI Science Festival, an annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Thanks to the foresight and dedication of our sponsors and partners, we present you with an even bigger programme in 2016!
During the day the festival will present a range of workshops, talks and interactive activities for young people, parents and schools. In the evening the festival will come alive with an eclectic mix of scientific debates, talks, theatre, comedy, music and film for adults. As well as our core themes of science, technology, engineering and maths, we will be focusing on how science affects our everyday lives through exploring the science of food, music, art and sport.
With over 100 events across more than 25 venues, we invite you to discover the wonderful world of science in your lives.
CLOSING DATE: All considerations had to be received by Friday January 8th 2016.
13. Interesting Weblinks
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