Well, it’s the holidays at last. A time to relax, a time to do your own thing.
 
Or at least, it would be, were it not for a chemistry homework… and of course F1 In Schools.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m in a team of six from Inst competing in this competition. I can’t be bothered to explain it so here’s the website: www.f1inschools.co.uk. That’s why there’s such a buzz about Birmingham on the network lately – we got through to the National Finals.
 
On the astronomy side of things, there’s some cool stuff happening over the next few weeks:
 
27 Dec   Venus passes 1.5° south of Neptune. Because Neptune is so faint, this conjunction won’t be so spectacular, but if you’re interested, mail me for more details.
29 Dec   The Moon, Jupiter and Mercury form a triangle in the evening sky. Here’s the scene at sunset: Sunset 29.12.2008 1605h.wmf The red lines are altitude/azimuth lines – there is a fist-width between each of the horizontal (altitude) lines.
31 Dec   Mercury and Jupiter pair up now, separated by 1.25°, while the Moon goes on to meet Venus at a distance of 2.7°: Sunset 31.12.2008 1607h.wmf
03 Jan    The Quadrantids meteor shower peaks at midday. It’s a sharp peak (largest amount of meteors for a short time) but if you get up early before it starts to get light you’re bound to see something. Last year there were 82 meteors per hour but it can be up to 200 per hour. The shower is active from 01 Jan to 06 Jan.
 
Keep an eye on the BAA comets section http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jds/ – there’s a few comets getting brighter and may be worth watching.
 
The Moon passes in front of the Pleiades several times in 2009 – more on that later.
 
Lastly, did you know astronomers have taken photos of SEVEN planets outside our Solar System? Google it.
Remember, if you have any questions, mail me.
 
SAM
 
 
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