ASTEROID (654) ZELINDA
Discovered by Kopff in 1908; diameter 80 miles, distance 125 ml miles. Est mag 11.8. Nov 1 2018, 2342 UT. With (a) mag 7.9 HIP 3740 in Andromeda and, (c), Comet 64/P Swift-Gehrels. [asteroid total: 38]
T CORONAE BOREALIS
Recurrent nova discovered by Irish astronomer John Birmingham from Millbrook, County Galway on May 12 1866, when it reached second magnitude. Erupted again in 1946 attaining third magnitude. Imaged here (crosshairs) at est mag 9.6, slightly above normal; Sep 18 2019, 2149 UT. With (e) mag 4.2 epsilon CrB. Expectations of a further outburst caused by the funnelling of material between the red giant and white dwarf components are confidently entertained circa 2026. GAIA-corrected distance of 2700 LY.
14 DAY 2 HOUR MOON…
… still 36 hours short of Full Moon status. Dec 9 2019, 1709 UT.
CYGNUS DWARF NOVA
Discovered on Jul 12 2019; a 17th mag cataclysmic variable outbursting to a max of ~8.5; fading and brightening over subsequent months. Catalogued as TCP J21040470+4631129 at an estimated distance of 355 LY. Dwarf novae differ from other nova subcategories in that they result from the release of gravitational energy in the disk, and show no spectroscopically-detectable shell of ejected matter. Seen here (crosshairs) at est mag 11.3 on Dec 16 2019, 2043 UT. With (a) mag 5.4 60 Cyg.
RETURN OF THE LIMERICK METEORITE
Dec 5 2019; 75,326 days after its fall at location 52.6 -8.74, the main mass of the 1813 Limerick meteorite is displayed at 52.65 -8.68, 8.12km distant. Weighing 27 kilos, the meteorite is still the largest witnessed fall in the history of the British Isles.
SOLAR SYSTEM SYMMETRY
From left – Saturn, Moon, Venus Jupiter; Nov 29 2019, 1656 UT. Below: Close-up; Saturn with 3 day 2 hour moon
Above – Venus, left and Jupiter (visible in binoculars). Venus – 135 million miles distant; Jupiter 570 million; Saturn 1.001 billion.
Venus Saturn Conjunction
Above – Dec 9 2019, 1737 UT; (300mm lens) mag -3.4 Venus 2½ degrees SW of mag 0.8 Saturn (S) in Sagittarius. With (H) mag 5.6 HIP 95077, mag 5.5 Chi3 Sgr (χ3) and mag 5 Chi1 Sgr (χ1). Venus – 130 million miles distant; Saturn 1.009 billion. Below – Dec 11; day of closest approach: 1.8 degrees.
During the Winter of 2019/20 Betelgeuse, alpha Orionis, dropped to its lowest minimum since photometric measurements began in the 1920s. A record low of mag 1.61 was recorded in the second week of February; excessive levels of atmospheric dust being the likely cause. Seen here on Jan 14 2020, 2007 UT at est mag 1.5. To this observer, Betelgeuse appeared visually fainter than neighbouring Bellatrix (mag v1.6) on occasion. The red supergiant, and possible supernova progenitor, began rebrightening towards the end of February.
Geminid in Eridanus
Dec 13 2019, 2352 UT. 30 minutes of continuous imaging captured this solitary Geminid. 96% post-Full Moon – in Gemini. With (a), (b), (c), (d); Keid, Beid [omicron 2 and 1 Eridani], delta and epsilon Eridani.
C/2017 T2 – Comet PanStarrs
Discovered in October 2017 by the Hawaii-based survey (166th discovery). Imaged here (arrowed) 3 months before perihelion (May 4, 1.6 AU) and 3 weeks after perigee (Dec 29, 1.5 AU). Est mag 9.3, 2½ degrees NW of the famed Double Cluster. Orbital period ~half a million years. With (M) mag 3.8 Miram in Perseus. Jan 18 2020, 0002 UT. [31st observed comet]