The Observer

A new meteor shower?

Meteor experts predict that debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR may create a strong meteor shower the night of May 23-24. Named the Cameoparalids after the constellation where the meteors will appear to originate, it will be best viewed from North America, but may be visible worldwide. The meteors are caused by debris left by the comet in 2012. We’ll have to see what happens

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Imagine Carl Sagan’s miniseries, Cosmos, but with updated science knowledge and today’s graphics!

Called “an epic follow up to Carl Sagan’s widely renowned space documentary series”, the first of 13 episodes airs on March 9. Hosted by physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a continuation of 1980’s Cosmos, considered to be some of the best science programming ever on television.

The series will be televised on Fox and National Geographic (check local listings for times). The trailers alone are mind-blowing!

Here’s the website:

Two-Toned Moon

From the Space Place, new information on why Saturn’s moon Iapetus has its half-and-half coloration. Two-Toned Iapetus

2 recent supernova

Here’s a couple of recent supernova images. The first is a color image of supernova 2014G in the host galaxy NGC 3448.
The supernova 2014J is located in the “cigar” galaxy M82. (b&w)
Rough instrumental magnitudes 2014G = 14.8 R., 2014J = 11.1 R.
Both images were taken with the .56 meter reflector at sandlot Observatory.

3 oppostion of comet 178P (Hug-Bell)

3 oppostion of comet 178P (Hug-Bell)

Here’s an image of Comet 178P (Hug-Bell) just 3 nights shy of 14 years after discovery at Farpoint. The 30 x 1 minute stacked image was taken 12-7-13 with the 22″ reflector at Sandlot Observatory.
There’s a faint but obvious coma extension to the West North-West ( PA ~ 285). It’ll stay just under 18th magnitude for another month or so. It’s currently about 3 degrees southeast of Jupiter.


Comet ISON 9-30-13

Here’s a quick image of Comet ISON as of 9-30-13
Its a composite of ten – 1 minute images shifted according to the speed and direction the comet was moving. (thus the trailed stars)
22″ f4.8 scope, the image is cropped to just a few arc minutes.

Dance of the Planets

During the last part of May, three planets will be dancing around each other low in the west after sunset. Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will give a vivid illustration of the origin of the word “planet”, which means “wanderer”. If you ever wanted a demonstration of how planets move against the background stars, this is your chance! Here are links to two websites that give observing details:

Planetary trio has ended. Where do the planets go next?


Mark Your calendar for May 4th, 2013. All NEKAAL members are invited to meet at the parking lot at 10th & Gage (west of Walgreen’s). We will carpool/caravan north to Holton and then west a few miles to Banner Creek Reservoir. The Banner Creek Science Center is located on the west side of the park.
We will get a special tour of the observatory and if you want to bring your telescope and set it up, there is a splendid observing area.
We’ll leave promptly at 6:00 PM , so you may want to get there a few minutes early…
You can stay latter if you want but the group will head back to Topeka by 11:00 PM, getting back to the parking lot before midnight..
If you have any questions be sure to let me know.

KU SEDS visits Farpoint

Dr. Twarog from Kansas University brought out a group of SEDS members. They stayed til 3:00 AM after arriving the about 9:00 PM the night before (2nd of February). SEDS stands for Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.
– Gary

Another Apollo (this time a PHA) found at Sandlot Observatory

I swept up 2013 AS27 while performing NEOCP follow-up. The object I was looking up was listed as UABF97F on the NEOCP. Off the NE side of the images was a fast moving 18th magnitude unknown. I immediately turned in the object as lb4020 (my temporarily assigned designation) to the MPC. Within minutes it was posted on the NEOCP and after a few hours Bob Holmes of ARI (H21) provided the first of many confirmation observations posted from around the world. This makes the second Apollo Near-Earth Asteroid discovered at Sandlot Observatory in 4 months. 2012 SY49 discovered last September was a VI but was only about 20 meters or so in diameter. 2013 AS27 is a PHA coming as close as .034 A.U.s but is ~.25 KM in diameter.  

Here’s a website to check out a Planetary Society ‘Hangout’  webcast.