Novembre 14th SuperMoon

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Lots of talk in the last week about the upcoming SuperMoon on November 14th.  While it will be the closest and largest Full Moon since 1948, the differences won’t be that significant.  It’ll look just like any other Full Moon, one that happens every month.  Nothing special will happen to the solar system or the Earth.

However it’s a good opportunity to experiment with your camera and composition as the Moon is rising over the Horizon.  Play around with different settings and different lens.  You can even spend the day before scouting a good spot with view to the East.

Don’t need dark skies.  Don’t need a special mount or stand. This is astro-photography accessible to all.

Closest Comet in 246 Years

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There’s a good article in Sky & Telescope on comets 252P/LINEAR and the smaller fragment P/2016 BA14, explaining observation opportunities.  A comet hasn’t passed this close to Earth in 246 years.   And as it does the wonderful green halo around 252P/LINEAR  is sure to grow but will probably remain around magnitude 6.

As the comet flies by Earth it will sweep through the constellations quickly and then fade back to below magnitude 12 in short order.  Therefore try not to miss it.

Comets to Pass Near Earth

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Two comets will pass near Earth between March 21st and 23rd. Comets 252P/LINEAR and P/2016 BA14 will pass between 14 and 9 lunar orbits with the Earth.  As both comets  have similar orbits they most likely broke in two following a close encounter with a planet’s gravity.

252P/LINEAR  has surprised everyone by brightening to magnitude 6 as it was predicted to remain in the 12-14 range.  Presently accessible to folks in the southern hemisphere it will be visible to northern observers after the Earth fly-by.

Blue Moon – July 30

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Tonight is a Blue Moon. Normally there are 12 full moon in a calendar year, but every 3 years or so there are 13.  That extra full moon is called a Blue Moon, and it’s normally give to the 2nd full moon in a calendar month.

It’s a “rare” event, hence the saying “Once in a Blue Moon”.

June 30th – Venus and Jupiter Less Than 1deg Apart

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Tonight, June 30th, right after sunset and before it’s fully dark if you look West you’ll see Venus and Jupiter less than a degree apart in the sky.  And with either binoculars or a small telescope you’ll be able to observe Venus as a crescent, and the moons of Jupiter.

Creating Fake Diffraction Spikes

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Found a way to create fake diffraction spikes using GIMP.  Process comes down to defining a new brush in the shape of a cross, and then using that brush to create spikes in a new layer. Will post a procedure in the next few days.