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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 08:29:47 EST
Subject: Quadrantids, Machholz, Sun, meetings

Happy New year to all!

1. The Quadrantid meteors, 3rd best of the annual showers, will peak on 
January 3 at 10.00. The peak is shorter & sharper than most meteor showers, so our 
best view from Ireland/UK will be jsut before dawn on the 3rd, when we might 
see up to 80 meteors per hour from a very dark site. Earlier on Sunday evening, 
or after dark on Monday evening, rates will be somewhat less - perhaps 20-50 
per hour, in a dark sky, depending on conditions.
   This shower is unusual, in that it seems to consist of particles emanating 
from an asteroid (2003 EH1), rather than a comet.
   The radiant lies in northern Bootes, about halfway between the end of the 
handle of the 'Plough' or 'Big Dipper', and the head of Draco. 

2. Comet Machholz is now a nice sight in a dark evening sky, West of Orion. 
It's about manitude 4, slightly brighter than the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and 
has two shortish tails. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the lovely green 
colour! You'll probably only see the colour in binoculars or a telescope. And 
there are also reports of short jets emanating from the apparent nucleus, 
visible in a medium-sized telescope.
  I attach a bitmap file showing its position at 8 p.m. each evening: note 
that it's about 1 magnitude brighter than the figure given, which is a pleasant 
change!

3. SUN:  A new sunspot appeared this week, with increased solar activity. The 
active region, NOAA 715, is emitting M-class solar flares. So far no CMEs 
have been
directed toward Earth, but this could change in the next few days as the spot 
rotates to face Earth. So there's a possibility of aurorae to come: watch 
this space, as they say.

4. The next EAAS meeting is on Jan 3, 8 p.m., Thompson Primary School 
Ballyrobert, when member Paul Evans will talk on "Eclipses". Admission 3.

5. The next IAA meeting will be on Wed 5 January, 7.30 p.m., Lecture Theatre 
5, Stranmillis College, Stranmillis Road, Belfast. Dr Katherine Gunn 
(Southampton University) will talk on X-Ray Astronomy. Admission free, including light 
refreshments. All welcome.

Happy Perihelion! (Tomorrow, 2 January....)

And clear skies for 2005....

Terry Moseley

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Last Revised: 2005 January 5th
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