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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2005 18:39:54 EST
Subject: Rosetta, Aurora Calendar

Hi all,

1. Congrats to Michael Scully in Kerry who observed the Rosetta Spacecraft at 
its flyby of Earth on Friday evening. He may be the only one in Ireland who 
succeeded!

The discussion is at 
http://www.irishastronomy.org/boards/viewtopic.php?t=1701&highlight=

The actual images if that doesn't work are:
http://www.irishastronomy.org/user_resources/files/1109977864-Ani_rosetta_sm2.gif
http://www.irishastronomy.org/user_resources/files/1109978059-rosetta_still.jpg
http://www.irishastronomy.org/user_resources/files/1110013944-1109978059-rosetta_still_mod2.jpg

   The last is the result of Dave Lillis trying to clean up the image.


2. Some of you may have bought the magnificent AURORA calendar by Fred 
Hirschman, with the most fantastic aurora photos I've ever seen, (ISBN: 
0-7631-7160-3, www.browntrout.com) earlier this year, and now that you're on to the 
third month, you may have been wondering about some of the puzzling starfields in 
the background, and maybe wondered when the photos were taken. You see, 
aurorae don't always line themselves up with a particular constellation - often the 
field comprises unfamiliar parts of several neighbouring constellations! And 
then there may be a planet in the field, just to confuse you!
  Well, what else would one do on cloudy nights but a little astronomical 
detective work? Using my limited knowledge of the sky, a star atlas (Norton, of 
course), and Skymap Pro, I have been able to identify all the starfields, and 
in the cases where a planet is shown, to narrow the date when the photo was 
taken to within fairly narrow limits. Not as easy as you might think, when you 
consider retrograde motion! Some starfields were easy, some were not! Sad, I 
know. But I suppose one could be doing worse things on a cloudy night... But if 
you want to have a go yourself, don't read any further!


   This is what I get:
Front Cover + October: Saturn + Hyades & Pleaides: date 16 Nov 2001.
Inside Front Cover: Jupiter in Gemini, Procyon Centre Left, 23 November 2001
January: Saturn between Gemini & Taurus. Saturn is 2cm right of Zeta Tau. 
Capella & the Haedi at Top Centre, Perseus Top Right: 10 Feb 2003.
February: part of Pegasus (L) & Aquarius (Bottom) & part of Cygnus (Top 
Right) & Delphinus Centre Right.
March: Capella (Top Centre), & Pleiades cut by mountain horizon at Bottom 
Left Centre, & Perseus (R), Gamma And (BR), Aldebaran just above horizon at 
bottom. Saturn just above Aldebaran.  Approximately 10 November 2001. 
April: Orion (L) & Hyades in Taurus at top. Saturn above left of Aldebaran. 
About 27 November 2001.
May: Hyades (near Bottom Left), past Pleiades, Left, to Aries (top right 
centre)
June: part of Cassiopeia, Top Left Centre, & part of Cygnus Bottom Right:  
Gamma and Epsilon Cygni just above horizon, Deneb above them.
July: Parts of Serpens & Ophiuchus to Left. Zeta Oph just above horizon on 
Left. Delta & Epsilon Ser are at Bottom Left Centre, Alpha & Lambda Serpentis at 
Top Left Centre. 
August: Parts of Andromeda & Pegasus, with Alpha & Beta Cas Top Centre Right. 
Beta Per just above horizon, Lower Right. Alpha, Beta & Gamma Andromedae 
stretching from Bottom Centre to Top Left. M31 is slightly Top Left of Centre. 
(see below)
September: Bottom of Square of Pegasus on Top Left, part of Aquarius Bottom 
Right. 'Circlet of Pisces' in Centre. 
October - as Front Cover
November: Arcturus Bottom Left, Coma in Centre. Moon near Bottom Right. 
(Given that the photo was probably taken in Alaska in the winter half of the year, 
in the early 'Noughties', some real 'anoraks' among you might like to try to 
identify the date from the EXACT position of the Moon, which seems to be an 
overexposed young crescent!)
December: Corona Borealis Bottom Centre, part of Hercules Left Centre, Head 
of Draco Top Centre, Vega at Top Left.
   Now that I've done all the hard work, what's the faint mystery object near 
the Left Centre Edge (just above the auroral band) in the August photo - and 
when was it taken????

P.s. Saw Mercury again this evening - 3 nights in a row! Who says our weather 
is always bad?

Clear Skies (but try the above when its cloudy!)

Terry Moseley

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