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Leonid Meteors Outburst PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Stronge   

This year's annual display of the Leonid meteor shower occurs from 10th to 21st November, with the broad peak of activity occurring during Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th.

According to theoretical predictions by David Asher of the Armagh Observatory, and colleagues, there may be up to 100 meteors per hour seen under ideal conditions during the late evening of the 17th and early morning of the 18th November.

This year's activity results mainly from the Earth passing through trails of dust emitted by Comet Tempel-Tuttle in the years 1466 and 1533. Esko Lyytinen and Markku Nissinen of Finland further predict that the 1466 trail may produce enhanced rates generally, with at least 40 meteors per hour occurring for much of November 17th.

Leonids travel at very high speeds through our atmosphere, at up to about 160,000 miles per hour, and many leave lasting glows known as persistent trains.

Choosing Your First Telescope PDF Print E-mail

Choosing Your First Telescope - A Beginner's Guide by Stevie Beasant & Eamonn Keyes

A question which keeps popping up over and over again on the NIAAS forum is "How do I select a telescope"?

Usually, this question will be asked by those who are beginning to take an interest in astronomy.

They may have seen or read an article about some aspect of astronomy, and want to investigate further.

Astronomy is a vast subject, with many different aspects.
Observing is only one aspect of the subject, although it is a very important one.

There are hundreds of books, several monthly magazines and literally millions of articles on the internet about astronomy, and it would be possible to build a detailed knowledge of the subject from these sources alone.

A to Z Of Astronomical Terms PDF Print E-mail

Below are the definitions for some of the most common terms used in astronomy and space exploration. You may click on any blue highlighted word to jump directly to the definition for that word. You can also click on any letter of the alphabet below to jump directly to that section in the listing.

Constellations: Andromeda, Cassiopeia and Perseus PDF Print E-mail


Andromeda is a bright constellation, visible all year round in the northern hemisphere (circumpolar.) and represents the figure of a woman with arms outstretched. It contains the famous spiral galaxy M31, known as the Andromeda Galaxy. On the limit of visibility, at magnitude 4.4, it is the most distant object that can be seen with the unaided eye, and is the nearest galaxy to our own. It can be seen as a misty patch, given good seeing and a very dark background sky, free of light pollution. The Andromeda Galaxy has two companions: M110 ( NGC 205) and M32. M110 is located one degree north west of M31 and M32 can be found half a degree south of M31. Both are elliptical galaxies.

Constellations: Pegasus PDF Print E-mail

Pegasus is easily recognised by 4 stars which form a large square known as The Great Square of Pegasus. One of the stars of the Great Square used to be delta Pegasi Alpheratz (Sirrah), but is now assigned to the constellation of Andromeda. Pegasus was the winged horse of mythology, created by Neptune, born of sand, sea-foam and Medusa’s (patron saint of Bad Hair Day :-) blood.

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