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Solar Observing tips by John Mcconnell FRAS PDF Print E-mail


As a veteran solar observer, I have been asked many times about safe solar observing, and how to go about it.  Firstly, let me stress that the Sun is dangerous, and at no time should anyone chance looking at it either with the unaided eye or with any optical aid even when near the horizon.  You will be bringing to a focus all of the heat and light onto your eye, and the result will be blindness!

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About Venus PDF Print E-mail
Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky (second only to the Moon) and our nearest planetary neighbour, being the 2nd planet from the Sun. Venus is almost the same size as Earth, and has a rocky surface with a metal core. Clouds of sulphuric acid coat Venus. An extremely thick carbon dioxide atmosphere blocks almost all sunlight. The surface pressure is extreme, equal to the pressure 3000 feet below the ocean's surface. The greenhouse effect makes Venus much hotter than Earth, with a surface temperature of 860 K. Because Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth, we sometimes see rare solar transits when the planet passes directly in front of the Sun from our vantage point.
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Leonid Meteor Shower PDF Print E-mail
Predictions for 2006

Dr. David Asher from the Armagh Observatory along with Dr. Rob McNaught have predicted an enhanced peak to occur on November 19th The Earth will pass very close to the centre of Tempel-Tuttle's dust trail created at the comet's 1932 return (i.e. 2 revolutions ago).

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The Perseids PDF Print E-mail

The annual Perseid meteor shower is coming. The shower begins, gently, in mid-July when Earth enters the outskirts of a cloud of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Dust-sized meteoroids, hitting the atmosphere, will streak across the night sky, at first only a sprinkling, just a few each night, but the rate will build. By August 12th when the shower peaks, sky watchers can expect to see dozens, possibly even hundreds, of meteors per hour.

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The Seasons PDF Print E-mail

The Earth tilting on its axisOur planet takes just over 365 days to orbit the Sun – the basis of our calendar year.
The Earth's axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees.
This means that different parts of the globe receive varying amounts of sunlight during the year, creating the seasons.

Day and night
Imagine a rod going from the north pole through the centre of the Earth and out of the south pole. Over the course of 24 hours, the planet spins once around this central rod or 'axis'. When we're facing the Sun, the sky is light and it's daytime. Then we turn away from the Sun and it's night.

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