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Monday, December 30, 2013

PAGASA Astronomical Diary JANUARY 2014

Astronomical Diary

Stars and Constellations

The famous equilateral triangle in the sky, known as the Winter Triangle rises after sunset. The Triangle is composed of Betelgeuse, the super giant red star and the prominent star of the famous constellation Orion (the Mighty Hunter), Sirius, the brightest star in the sky of the constellation Canis Major (the Big Dog), and Procyon, the brightest star of the constellation Canis Minor (the Little Dog) as shown in Figures 1 & 1a.

Meteor Shower

The annual Quadrantid meteor shower will be active from January 1 to January 7. The observation of its peak activity is on January 3-4 in which, meteors or “falling stars” can be seen at the rate of at least 40 meteors per hour. The shower will appear to radiate from the constellation of Bootes, as shown in Figures 2 & 2a. The Quadrantid meteor shower hits the Earth’s atmosphere at the rate of about 40 kilometers per second. The incinerated dust are said to be particles apparently derived from the debris ejected by the near-Earth asteroid 2003 EH.

Astrophotography Using PAGASA Telescopes and Camera

Figure 3 & 3a shows the Photograph of astronomical event using PAGASA equipment.

The Planets

On January 1, Venus will be shining at magnitude -3.7 and will be found low in the west southwestern horizon after sunset. It slips down the horizon as days pass by and it will no longer be available for observation after the first week of the month. The Planet will then appear in the morning sky at the last week of the month.

Mercury comes into view on mid-January at the west southwestern horizon. It will be shining at magnitude -1.0 and will have full disk (span of 5 seconds of an arc in diameter) as seen through a telescope.

Neptune and Uranus will be found above the west southwestern sky after sunset and can be observed with the aid of modest-sized telescopes and binoculars under clear skies with the aid of a star map. They will be located among the background stars of the constellations Aquarius, the Water-Bearer and Pisces, the Fish, glowing at magnitudes +5.8 and +7.9, respectively.

Jupiter will dazzle at magnitude -2.7 in the eastern sky after sunset and will be visible in the evening sky throughout the month. It will be found among the background stars of the constellation Gemini, the Twin. This month will provide a perfect opportunity to view the largest planet in the solar system with its alternating series of bright zones and dark belts and with a diameter disk that measure at 47 seconds of an arc.

Saturn rises in the early morning hours during the month. It will be glowing at magnitude +0.6 and will be located within the stars of the constellation of Libra, the Scales. Through a telescope, it will measure at 16 arc of a second across its equator, while the ring spans at 37 and tilt at 22 degrees to our line of sight.

The Red Planet Mars will rise before midnight during the month of January. It will be found among the stars of the constellation of Virgo, the Maiden. By the end of the month, the planets apparent diameter will reach 9 arc of a second through a modest-sized telescope.


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