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Astronomers Watch Comet Break Up Comet 73P Schwachmann-Wachmann 3 PDF Print E-mail

Armagh Observatory, 5th May 2006: A comet, currently breaking apart, is visible in our eastern evening sky in the constellation of Lyra. Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW3) has broken into at least sixty pieces. Named alphabetically, one of the fragments, C, is just bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye, and fragment B with 50mm binoculars, while the others require telescopes of varying sizes to be seen.

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Ursid Meteors PDF Print E-mail

The Ursids meteor activity begins annually around 17th December and runs for for just over a week, until the 25th or 26th, with a peak on 22nd December. This meteor shower is named for its radiant point which is located near the star Beta Ursae Minoris (Kochab) in the constellation Ursa Minor.

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The World of Atmospheric Optics – Part Two by John Flannery SDAS PDF Print E-mail

In the first installment of this series on atmospheric optics we touched on various aspects of rainbows that one can witness. Now, let us turn our attention to those strange and wonderful halos and spots of light that are grouped in the family of ice-crystal related phenomena.

The classic halo
Most of have probably seen the Sun or Full Moon with a pale ring of light surrounding it roughly two fist-widths out from either edge of the disk. This is the 22-degree halo, the simplest form of ice crystal display. The 22-degree halo is caused by light passing through the faces on alternate sides of long pencil-shaped ice crystals floating in the air.

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The World of Atmospheric Optics – Part One by John Flannery SDAS PDF Print E-mail

My heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky:

-- The Rainbow by William Wordsworth

Painters, poets, and photographers have long tried to convey to us through pictures and prose the beauty of that delicate brushstroke of colour we term a rainbow. But rainbows are just one of the many classes of phenomena that fall into a grey area between meteorology and astronomy – the world of atmospheric optics.

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How to make a very sensitive jam jar magnetometer by Robert Cobain PDF Print E-mail

Hi all,

Just thought I would write up the instructions for making a very sensitive jam jar magnetometer. The plans are based on instructions found on the internet, but it was so long ago, I can't remember from which site.

These plans will make a very very sensitive magnetometer. This magnetometer will go crazy if someone downstairs sets up an ironing board, or if a car drives near your house (within 50m or so!). If the car parks, the local magnetic field is permanently displaced and the magnet will not return to its original position until the car leaves. Turning a TV off nearby causes it to move a lot. Sometimes you will see unexplained magentic activity. It will also show fluctuations in the earth's magnetic field which are most obvious during geomagnetic storms.


(Strong laser for illustrative purpose only!)

The ingredients needed are as follows,

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