Current constellations visible

Here is our latest constellation update! Currently the Spring and Summer constellations are out and I will be going thru a few of them.

Scorpius (spring):

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This beautiful constellation is best recognized by its most prominent star, Antares, which is a red giant (the red-orangy dot in the photo). This constellation is located right in the plane of the milky way, in the Sagittarius arm.

 

Ursa Major (spring)

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The northern constellation, the Big Bear, with its famous asterism the Big Dipper. This asterism should be easy to spot even in a light polluted city.

 

Cygnus and the Summer Triangle (Summer)

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Cygnus is another northern constellation and it is the 16th largest constellations in the sky. Deneb, one of Cygnus’ star forms one of the vertices of the Summer Triangle. The 2 other vertices are Vega from the constellation Lyra and Altair from the constellation Aquila.

 

Sagittarius (summer) 

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Sagittarius lies in the milky way plane, beside Scorpius. It contains the asterism, the teapot. Interesting tip: you can see the constellation Corona Australis (Southern Crown) below Sagittarius :D

 

Crux (southern)

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Another beautiful constellation the Crux (Southern Cross). It is also known as the holy cross of the sky. Sadly, those who live in the northern hemisphere cannot observe the Crux. Interesting tip: you can find Rigil Kentaurus, the nearest star system closest to our Sun near the Crux.

Want to see more constellations??? Well go out there and observe them! Haha. Hope you like the pictures though, I took them hehe

Thats all for this post, see you again next time! ^^

Gas Planets of our solar system

Hello there again!!! This week’s post is a little recap on what we did during one of our last sessions where we touched on the topic of gas planets. The gas planets in our solar system are beautiful planets, but how much do we know about them?

First of all, we have 4 gas planets which are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (personally I like Neptune and Uranus the most :P)

So how do the gas planets come about? Let me tell you a little story about our solar system past…

Well in the very early days of the solar system, there were a lot of gas and dust. Some of those gas and dust form our sun and the remaining materials form a protoplanetary disk around the sun and the whole thing was known as the Solar nebula. Amazing isn’t it? ^^

Now there was an imaginary line called the frost line and any gas beyond the frost line will condense and freeze into icy balls. Our Sun was not what it used to be, in the past our Sun was younger and hotter. So the solar wind from our Sun was stronger and it blew the lighter elements such as Hydrogen and Helium out into the outer solar system. Remember the icy balls we mentioned earlier? Well the elements that got blown out got trapped by the icy balls’ gravity and they start to accumulate around the icy balls until they become……..Gas Planets!!! (Ta-Da) :D

Now that you know where the Gas Planets come from, lets talk about their structure, as you can probably guess, Gas planets are made up of Gas. But they also have a ‘rocky core’ made of rocks, molten metal and ice. The atmosphere of the gas planets extends all the way to the core, so there is no solid ground for you to stand on! 0.0

So you think you know more about the Gas planets? Well do you also know that there are different types of Gas Planets? There is the Traditional Gas Giant which are composed of Hydrogen and Helium and there is the Ice Giant which are composed of ‘ices’ (methane, ammonia, water).

Now we will move on to the Rings! A popular topic I suppose! Not going to be very detailed, just the very basics:

All the Gas Planets in our solar system has rings, not just Saturn. However, Saturn’s rings are the most beautiful and the most obvious because Saturn’s Rings consist of ICE while the other planet’s ones are made up of darker rocks. Since ice reflects more light so Saturn’s rings are the brightest! Do also check out this link where it shows you how it would look like if Earth has Saturn’s Rings (very cool): http://io9.com/if-earth-had-a-ring-like-saturn-508750253 

This year is a good year for planet gazing. This year, Saturn’s rings are titled so we can very beautifully observe them from Earth. And if u did not know, this year was the opposition of Mars (not a gas planet but just a little info for u ;) ). If you missed the opposition period, well… wait for the next one lol.

Well that was a mouthful! Thats all folks, we will update you guys again next time! ^^ see you~

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Current constellations in the sky

Hello there Stargazers!

This is your time to shine because the stars this season is the brightest and clearest.

Here is a brief list of the constellations available in the tropical skies now.

1. Orion -The hunter

Yes, the famous constellation Orion is out now! Say Hi the hunter when u see him in the sky :D

How to spot: locate the orion belt which is characterized by three stars lining up together.

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2. Canis Major and Canis Minor – The loyal hunting dogs of Orion

How to spot: Find Sirius (brightest star in the night sky). Sirius belong to the constellation Canis Major. To find Canis minor, find another bright star Procyon nearby.

canis major

3. Taurus-The bull

How to spot: Find the orange star Aldebaran in Taurus. If your eyes are sharp enough, you may be able to spot the star cluster M45 (Pleiades) in Taurus.

4. Gemini-The twins

How to spot: Find the two stars, Castor and Pollux, in Gemini which is near Orion.

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5. Auriga-The charioteer

How to spot: Find the bright star Capella in Auriga.

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So go out there and spot them!

The Quadrantids 2014

The year 2013 is coming to an end. Other than celebrating the new year, you can look forward to the Quadrantids in 2014. The Quadrantids is a meteor shower and it is the first major meteor shower of the year. The meteor shower is named after the obsolete constellation Quadrans Muralis which is no longer valid in modern skies. The best place to view this heavenly spectacle would be the northern hemisphere as the radiant point of the meteor shower would be in the north, near the big dipper. As an added bonus, if you are in the eastern part of Asia you can stand a good chance of catching the Quadrantids. In fact, according to astronomers, those in eastern Asia have the best view of the shower.

Here is a basic guide on how to view the Quadrantids:

First of all, you may want to travel north if you live in the southern hemisphere.

Secondly, find a dark sky(away from city lights) to ensure maximum viewing pleasure.

Next, prepare a comfortable chair to lie down on while looking for the shooting stars.

quadrantids

The Quadrantids, unlike its more famous counterparts the Perseids and Germinids, its peak period lasts for only a few hours. Hence you would have to find the right moment to catch it in action. However, an average of about 50 to 100 meteors are expected to fall per hour this time, even more than the Geminids which has about 50 meteors per hour. The best time to view would be around after midnight to before dawn on 3rd or 4th January 2014. The region of the sky where the Quadrantids will be occurring is around the big dipper and the star Arcturus in the constellation Bootes.

All the best for tracking down the Quadrantids and wish all of you a happy new year ahead! :D