A Sky Full of Stars: January’s Joys!

December 31st, 2017 by Tavi Greiner

The New Year begins with an astronomical bang, with two perigee Full Moons, four morning planets, two Moon/planets conjunctions, the Quadrantid Meteor Shower, and a lunar eclipse – all in the month of January!


PERIGEE FULL MOON – January 1/2: January’s first perigee Full Moon will also be the closest, thus largest-appearing, of 2018. The Moon will reach lunar perigee at 21:54 UTC on the 1st and 100% illumination about five hours later, at 02:24 UTC on the 2nd.

You can use a timezone convertor to determine your local times, but wherever you are, the Full Moon will look especially large and bright during the first two nights of the New Year!

FUN FACT: January’s Full Moon is also know as the Wolf Moon. At perigee, it will be 221,559-miles from Earth.


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The Event^Horizon 2018/01/05

January 6th, 2018 by Nick Evetts

My thanks to Starstorm for joining in and getting the Maths and Links


The formula for the velocity of an object at some distance r from the Sun is:

v = sqrt[GM*(2/r – 1/a)]

Where G is the universal gravitational constant, M is the mass of the Sun, and a is the planet’s semimajor axis.

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AFM’s Space Pirate Radio 2018/01/04 Pirates At Perihelion!

January 5th, 2018 by Nick Evetts

Here are the links from tonight’s episode with thanks to Dale 🙂

First off, let’s get this out of the way-nothing happening with the sun.



Of course, since the earth is at perihelion, Marty pointed out that we were enjoying a “Super Sun”

Diane mentioned that we also were getting the Quadrantids:


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Focus On: Wishing Well Cluster

December 29th, 2017 by Tavi Greiner


The Wishing Well is an open cluster of about 400 stars, located 1300-light-years away, in the southern constellation, Carina. Formerly known as NGC 3532 and Caldwell 91, it was originally catalogued in 1755, by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, a French astronomer who catalogued nearly 10,000 stars, introduced 14 new constellations, and determined the solar and lunar parallaxes, from his observatory at the Cape of Good Hope.

Targeted as the Hubble Telescope’s first light image in 1990, the Wishing Well is about 300-million-years old and includes several red-giants, white dwarfs, and binary stars. Southern hemisphere observers can easily spot this colorful cluster, spanning a visual region about twice the size of the Full Moon, next to the famous Eta Carinae nebula – NGC 3372 – and just a few degrees from the famous “Southern Pleiades” cluster – IC 2602.

FUN FACT: NGC 3532 is known as the Wishing Well because, to some observers, it appears as colorful coins scattered across the bottom of a fountain. It is also nicknamed the Football Cluster, for its oval shape resembling a rugby ball.

BONUS: Click on the Wishing Well image for a fun ESO full dome video of the cluster!



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Happy Holiday Season to All!

December 24th, 2017 by Tavi Greiner

Stellar Fingerprint / Hubble


Across the world, the month of December is a time of special celebration for various cultures and religions. Whatever your traditions and beliefs, Astronomy.FM wishes all a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!


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AFM Space Pirate Radio 2017/12/21 Space Pirates Of The Long Night

December 21st, 2017 by Nick Evetts

As for what’s up in the sky for the coming week:
Thu, Dec 21, 16h Solstice
Thu, Dec 21, 21h Saturn in conjunction with Sun
Thu, Dec 21, 21h Ceres stationary
Sat, Dec 23, 03h Mercury stationary
Sun, Dec 24, 06h Pallas stationary
Sun, Dec 24, 13h Neptune 1°.4 N. of Moon
Tue, Dec 26, 09h FIRST QUARTER
Wed, Dec 27, 18h Uranus 5° N. of Moon
Times given in UT. These events, and more can be found at:  http://asa.usno.navy.mil

Diane talked about visiting a radio telescope while visiting California:



Marty and Diane went on a jog through the Greek alphabet while discussing occultations:





Marty has a comet report-



Diane tells us that the Keck II telescope is getting an upgrade:


Here are some links Twistedge dropped in the chatroom-

Bright Areas on Ceres Suggest Geologic Activity:   https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7022

The Most Precious Bronze Age Artefacts Were Made With Cosmic Materials


Vandals Have Damaged a 115 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprint in Australia


After 37 years, Voyager 1 has fired up its trajectory thrusters


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