Friday, June 1, 2012

First the annular eclipse, now a partial lunar one - and then the Transit of Venus!

We are in a 17-day interval of an unusual massing of rare celestial events, culminating in the rarest of all, the last Transit of Venus until 2117 on June 5/6: numerous links about it can be found in this still growing collection, some videos here and various science plans here. It is preceded by a partial lunar eclipse on June 4 that coincides with another big Moon (appearing as big as the one in early May; see below) - more details here and esp. here. And right now on June 1 there is a conjunction of Venus and Mercury, obviously - 4 days before the solar transit of the former - very close to the Sun and dangerous to observe, but it can be done. And here they are, in the same FOV, a few hours ago (and a bit earlier), with Venus as a crescent and Mercury fully lit! And both planets are already in the LASCO C3 FOV as well. For other lesser June sky events - including a mediocre Mercury evening apparition following the Venus conjunction - see here and here.

Venus as an ultra-thin and huge crescent was the sky show in the final weeks of May: tons of pictures, the changes January to May and selected views of May 30 (also cusp extensions; more and more, an Indian video, the changes May 26 ... 30 and again), May 29 (more and more), May 28 (more, more, more and more plus scenic), May 27 (more, more and more), May 26 (more, more, more and more), May 25, May 24 (also with the Moon), May 23 (more, more, with the Moon, more and more), May 22 (with links; more, more and more), May 21 (more), May 20, May 19, May 18, May 17 (more), May 15 (also veery long but no ashen light; more), May 14, May 12 (more) and May 10 with simple means. Also how not to film Venus, new amateur Venus cartography at 1 ┬Ám. • And Mars on May 13, May 6, April 4 and April 1, Saturn on May 23 (more) and May 13 and Jupiter & Mercury close to the Sun on May 22 and May 21.

The annular solar eclipse of May 21/20 had opened the 'hot' 2 1/2 weeks in the sky: Lots of pictures and links can be found in this live-blog and this page. There are reports from Hong Kong (pictures), Japan (more), California, Nevada (H-Alpha), Utah (more & more), Arizona (more, more and more), New Mexico (more) and Texas (more and more) and reports here and here. Interesting videos comes from an island off Taiwan, Japan, California (great Baily's Beads from 4:00! Also H-Alpha and nearby), Nevada (timelapse), Arizona (with Beads; more and a partial sunset) and New Mexico (Beads at 3rd contact; the same), plus another partial sunset and a sunset ring! Further picture & story collections are here, here, here, here and here.

More selected pictures from Norway (yes, they got a shallow partial - at night!), China (with chromosphere & inner corona; more and another chromosphere from there), Japan (with Beads), California (montage), Nevada (good Beads; also clouds), Monument Valley (more, more and more) and Arizona (at the edge, more in the stream; more, more, Beads at the edge and people in the foreground), also low chromosphere (more), a Texas sunset, a setting crescent and more Beads (more). From space the antumbra as seen by the LRO (more), Michibiki, Terra and the ISS (video; more space eclipses) - and the view from a balloon; there was also radio astronomical interest. Finally the confession on how a famous picture fake was made - that was distributed for real ("I was taken with a lens of three months salary! No proposal ... who cares?"; see also here and here).

The big full moon of early May - see here for angular size comparisions - was also widely observed two weeks earlier, even from the ISS. Further reports, pictures and collections here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here - and here's a list of big full moons over many years. • A video of a grazing occultation of a star by the Moon.

A big sunspot group crossed the solar disk in mid-May as documented in German postings on two German blogs # one, two, three, four, five, six and seven. Also the full disk May 21 ... 30 animated (more), an unusual effect by an M flare (more and more), prominences on May 19, May 17, May 15 & other dates and May 5, satellite use for serious space weather assessment (not like here ...), tales of the Carrington Event, corona mysteries, auroral processes studied and a Canadian aurora on May 20.

The long Garradd comet show is coming to an end after many months: pictures of May 16, May 15 and May 11. • Meanwhile interest is rising in comet PANSTARRS: an update and pictures of May 21, May 20 and May 18 (wide-angle). Also a little Holmes outburst and news about P/2012 K3, 2011 KP36, P/2005 N3, C/2012 K5 and P/1994 X1.

In other small bodies news a Lyrid imaged from the ISS (more and more plus a related timelapse), while the imaging balloon was also found. • There is finally a little video of the April 22 bolide (more) while the meteorite search continues (more, earlier) - and meteorites fell in India, too (pictures). • A close visit by tiny 2012 KT42, ESA crowdsources NEAs, a new story about 2012DA14 is fishy (dito, dito and the real risk), WISE improves the PHA statistics (more, more, more, more and more), the Yarkowsky effect was measured in a NEA (more, more, more and more) and there is new speculation about the Tunguska impactor (more, more, more and more).

In other news the supernova 2012cg has flattened out at 12 mag.: more reports here and here. • Also a SN early warning system, problems for Boles, the SN hunter, a Nova in Oph (more, a spectrum and several recent novae) and reviews of CVs and R CrB. • A sprite & a meteor: some connection? • The NLC season is just beginning, a paper on the earliest NLC reports and aurora fun. • A video with TWAN winners (more). • And finally Tiangong vs. the Sun, geostationary satellites in motion, a crazy rocket launch trail and an old UFO case finally solved.

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