How Astronomy Now magazine shared one of our Milky Way pics (May 2017 edition) – nice one!
Jupiter is a magnificent object in our skies at the moment. Here is how we captured it during April where we see both sides of Jupiter with its moon Io in attendance. In one image we can see the Great Red Spot, a massive hurricane that has been raging for at least 300 years and is 3 times the size of the planet Earth, and nearby the shadow of Io as it passes between the Sun and Jupiter – a mini-eclipse!
Jupiter is a very turbulent gas giant and its clouds are in constant motion, changing shape and colour making it fascinating to study. These clouds are being driven by near supersonic winds with each band or zone of clouds moving in opposite directions. The chemical composition of the atmosphere, high wind speeds and enormous pressures on Jupiter would make this a very inhospitable place to visit though.
Looking good again for the coming week.
Looks like a great week of clear nights ahead!!!
A popular target at this time of year, the Double Cluster lies between Cassiopeia and Perseus. They are clearly visible with the naked eye from our location but their beauty is best exposed through binoculars or a telescope. They lie around 7500 light years away and form the jewelled handle of Perseus’s sword.
A brand new star has appeared in the constellation of Sagittarius and is bright enough to be seen with binoculars. New stars or Novas shine very brightly soon after they are created. Here’s a great chance to see one!
We had a great time at this year’s IAS at Stoneleigh Park and met a lot of very nice people who asked us lots of questions.
A common question for us was how does the weather on the mountain differ throughout the year? Well, here is the monthly average data from the Observatory site at Izana at 2367m altitude. Minimum average monthly temperatures range between 0.9 degrees C in January to 14 degrees C in July/August.
Wind chill is always factor that can make temperatures feel lower and here is the last 12 months of daily average wind speeds. These are measured at the observatory site which is very exposed. The yearly average recorded was 12Km/h.
The other question was about cloud cover. We were quoting a yearly average of about 80% or 292 days per year and I’m sure a few people may have thought we might be exaggerating slightly. Our information isn’t anecdotal, it is from data published by the Institute of Astronomy of the Canaries (IAC) – An extract from the report follows:
We have exploited the European Climate Assessment & Dataset series of day time oktas of cloud cover at Izaña Observatory, Tenerife (Spain), to estimate the useful time at Teide Observatory. The data cover a period of 68 years (1933–2000). The useful time, considered as the sum of days classiﬁed as clear and partially cloudy, ranges between 94% in summer and 69% in autumn, with an average value of 81%. The clearest month is July and the cloudiest is November.
The clearest months unsurprisingly are in the summer but even the poorest month, November manages 20 useful days (plus or minus 6 days) which is probably better than the best month in the UK (whichever that is!).
Another reason why Tenerife is probably the best dark sky location in Europe!
Light fantastic: Tenerife is named one of the best places for tourists to go stargazing
Teide National Park was awarded the title of ‘Starlight Tourist Destination’ thanks to its clear, dark skies, high altitude and its proximity to the Equator.
So excited to have finally launched DarkSkiesTenerife – big shout out to Ian Aiken for his help and patient support in getting the website designed and launched. Hope you find what you are looking for here but let us know if you don’t!
Clear skies and remember to look up!
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