Majestic Jupiter, king of the planets reaches opposition on the night of the 8th May this year and will be at its closest to Earth on May 10th. We’ll be running Jupiter watch sessions with our big telescopes throughout May which also sees a number of moon transits like the one pictured when you can watch one of the Galilean moons and its shadow cross the face of Jupiter. Saturn and Mars are also up making this a great month for planetary observations and imaging!
2018 sees a number of excellent imaging opportunities for the planets, particularly Mars which is at a very close opposition this year. Deep sky targets are always on hand with the clear skies here making imaging them so much easier and it will be a very good year for the main meteor showers. Why not treat yourself to a serious Astro imaging break here and get yourself a year’s worth of data to process back in the cloudy UK?
Mars will be at its closest this summer since way back in 2003 and will be brighter in the sky than the mighty Jupiter. Make the most of this great opportunity to see and image this enigmatic planet on our exclusive tour.
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.
The Milky Way is brightening in our night sky as we move into Milky Way season – check out this wonderful image taken last year by our resident astrophotographer. If you’d like to see the Milky Way or learn to take pics like this, get in touch!
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!