Sky this month – January 2016

Here is a list of astronomical events for given month. Location dependent events listed here are visible from central Europe.

January 2016:

4 – The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks at 8:00 UT with a ZHR variable from 100-130 favouring North America. This shower has very narrow time of peak activity with more visible meteors than Perseids shower.

9 – Close conjunction between bright planets Saturn and Venus at 4:12 UT. They pass within 10 arcsec of each other. Event is easily observable within a field of view of a telescope with higher magnifications.

10 – Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) should be at its brightest, with magnitude of around +5.

11 – New Moon.

24 – Full Moon.

Catalina C/2013 US10

The comet has passed perihelion on Nov. 15th and after that begun its climb into morning twilight. Catalina should be easily visible in ordinary binoculars. Watch for it to gradually brighten through the end of the year, peaking around magnitude +5.5 (just barely naked eye) in late December and early January, when it will be well-placed high in the northeastern sky.

Here are some key dates with celestial destiny for Comet US10 Catalina for the next few months:

  • 7. December — Comet passes less than 5 degrees from the Venus and waning crescent Moon.
  • 1. January — Comet passes less than 0.5 degree from the bright (0.04 magnitude) star Arcturus in Bootes.
  • 12. January — Closest to Earth.
  • 14., 15. January — Comet passes less than 1 degree from the bright star Alkaid in Ursa Major.
  • 16. January — Comet passes less than 2 degrees from one of the brightest visible spiral galaxies M110.
  • 17. January — Comet passes less than 3.5 degrees from the bright double star Mizar in Ursa Major.
Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina, imaged on 11 December 2015 at 4:50 UT.

Geminids 2015

The Geminids in 2015 are near optimal, with the Moon a waxing crescent in the night from Sunday to Monday December 14th, safely out of the way and 10% illuminated. The Geminids have a projected plateau of activity running from 1:00 UT to 23:00 UT on December 14th, with an expected maximum falling right around 12:00 UT.
Geminid, image taken in the morning of 13 December 2015
Geminid, image taken in the morning of 13 December 2015
Geminid, image taken in the morning of 13 December 2015

Sky this month – December 2015

Here is a list of astronomical events for given month. Location dependent events listed here are visible from central Europe.

December 2015:

11 – New Moon.

14 – The Geminids meteor shower peak with a ZHR of around 120. Favourable conditions with the Moon (illuminated less than 10%) bellow the horizon.

22 – The December southward solstice occurs at 4:48 UT.

23 – The Ursid meteor shower peaks at 2:30 UT with a ZHR variable from 10-50 favouring Europe and the Middle East.

23 – The Moon occults Aldebaran for Europe and central Asia at ~19:32 UT. Additional informations.

25 – Full Moon.

29 – Mercury reaches greatest evening elongation at 19.7° east of the Sun at 00:01 UT.

VIECC 2015

On the 21st and 22nd of November 2015 the first edition of Vienna Comic Con premiered at the Messe Wien exhibit hall in Vienna, Austria. The event aims to be the leading pop culture event in Central Europe, so be prepared for larger hall and more people next year. For this year they already managed to bring a handful of moderately famous people from film and TV industry to do the signing, photos sessions and panels. As the main hall was quite smaller than I expected (from my previous trips to other Cons) it was still packed with action and cosplayers.
Main event hall in Messe Wien exhibit hall D.

A great portion of the event hall was dedicated to gaming, especially to the newest Assassin’s creed game.
Assassin’s creed cosplay.

Gaming area

A large area was also dedicated to Star Wars saga and promotion of the exhibition Star Wars Identities that will be held in Vienna in the next few months.
Tie fighter

Can you shoot the Stormtrooper before he misses you.

And some pictures with various content.
T-shirts everywhere.

Marvel heroes cosplay.

Bat family (almost) cosplay.

More pictures can be seen in gallery.

Taurids – November 2015

This year the Taurid swarm of larger meteoroid particles may return as predicted by some mathematical models. This prediction indicates a possibility for an increase in activity of bright meteors (fireballs) from 29. October to 10. November. Meteors observers should be alert to visually/photographically cover the dates of predicted maximum activity. As always, anything can happen, so go out under the dark sky and observe some meteors.

Bright Taurid 1. November 2015 19:14 UT
Taurid 2. November 2015 21:31 UT
Taurid 3. November 2015 21:25 UT
Taurid 3. November 2015 21:50 UT