Astroshop.eu wishes you all the best for the new year and scores of beautiful observations.
We look forward to meeting you again in 2019 with advice and deeds, as well as special offers.
Your Astroshop.eu team.
A simple Dobsonian or a GoTo telescope? – a question whose answer you first have to decide on. You should also choose your telescope based on what you would like to observe or experience in the night sky.
Did you know that there is also a system with something like ‘a bit of GoTo’?
But how do you find out if a Dobsonian telescope is right for you? In Part 1 of this post, we’ve put together a few questions to help you find your preferences.
Following on, in part 2, there are product recommendations for three different telescope series, with you can use to explore the night sky.
Are you an observer for whom a Dobsonian telescope is suitable? Or do you need a telescope with an equatorial mount? Decide which using the following questions:
There are two types of observing: the visual and photographic. Which do you prefer? If you are a visual observer, then a Dobsonian would probably be the right choice.
1 Yes I want to observe visually.
2 I do not know yet, maybe both.
3 Taking photos is more important to me than observing visually.
Dobsonian telescopes consist of a wooden box with plain bearings, called a ‘Rockerbox’, and a Newtonian mirror OTA. A clear emphasis here is placed on a larger OTA diameter. The mechanics remain simple. The advantage – you get a large aperture telescope for relatively little outlay, with which you can observe a lot.
1 I put more emphasis on a great optics for a low price.
2 I cannot commit myself, maybe both.
3 I am a fan of complex mechanics that controls my telescope via slow motions and worm gears.
Dobsonian telescopes consist of only two parts. The advantage – just two parts can be quickly transported and reassembled at the observing site. They are often much quicker to put together than a telescope with a tripod, equatorial mount, several counterweights and the OTA itself. You do not have to align a Dobsonian telescope to the celestial north pole, you are tracking in both axes’ directions.
1 I want to set up my telescope quickly, I can’t be bothered with all the complexity of assembling and observing with an equatorial set up.
2 I would like to have GoTo, but only if the setup does not take too long.
3 I’d rather spend more time putting the system together and precisely aligning it.
A medium to large Newtonian telescope is of course also suitable for planetary observing. But the strengths of a large mirror lie in its greater light-gathering power. This makes many Dobsonian telescopes suitable for observing nebulae and galaxies. Bu if you are more interested in the Moon and planets, then a refractor telescope would be the better choice.
1 I want to observe nebulae and galaxies.
2 I want to observe nebulae and galaxies, but how am I supposed to find them?
3 I am interested in the Moon and the planets, but there is so much light pollution where I live that I cannot observe galaxies very well. An automated telescope would have to find them.
Dobsonian telescopes are almost always manually controlled instruments. In other words, there is no GoTo system here that slews to objects at the push of a button. You have to guide the telescope purely manually to the object of your choice with the help of a star map and then track it manually. But what is the advantage of that? Quite simply – the night sky will eventually become your familiar hunting ground that you know like the back of your hand. You’ll become a real expert at finding deep sky objects. And you will develop a feeling for tracking objects. The other thing is that it’s a lot of fun, and every time you find an object there is that little thrill of achievement.
1 Of course, I want to find the objects myself using a Dobsonian telescope.
2 I’m afraid that I’m not so good at orienting myself.
3 I’m not really interested in star hopping – there are GoTo telescopes for finding astronomical objects.
Observers repeatedly report that they can enjoy a natural experience to the maximum with a Dobsonian telescope. There is no complicated technology here that needs to be made to work. No, naturally experiencing the night sky without any motor noise is the most important thing.
1 I want to visibly experience the night sky in a clear simple and natural way.
2 I would like to be able to to add a little technology if I want.
3 No, this manual control idea is not for me. State-of-the-art technology and GoTo systems would be my first choice.
If you answered most questions with a 1, then you are definitely a ‘Dobsonau’. You should immediately buy a Dobsonian telescope – perhaps one of the three examples detailed below?
If you’ve answered most questions with a 2, then you’d like to observe with a Dobsonian, but GoTo systems also tempt you. The Onmegon Push+ Telescope with object navigator (see below) would be the way to go.
If you answered most questions with a 3, then you’d better use a GoTo system. Here, we have a large selection.
We have three Dobsonian telescopes in our program: the Omegon Advanced X Dobsonian telescope for beginners, the Omegon ProDob for intermediates and experts and the Omegon Push+ with push-to-technology.
These telescopes are a great way to start visual deep sky observing. Explore star clusters, hydrogen nebulae, planetary nebulae, and even galaxies with their spiral arms. With a 200mm lens aperture, this telescope will show you hundreds of interesting objects. If you want even more light, you can also use the Omegon Advanced X N 254/1200 or a real ‘light cannon’, the Omegon Advanced X N 304/1500. Of course, ‘excursions’ to the Moon and the planets are also possible.
If you do not want to spend a lot of money, but are looking for a great value-for-money telescope, then an Omegon Advanced X is the instrument for you.
ProDob Dobson telescopes come with a particularly good 2″ Crayford focuser and a deluxe friction system. Once an object is centred in the eyepiece, tracking is even more accurate and precise – even at very high magnifications. There is no juddering or anything (as with instruments with Teflon bearings), as when slewing the telescope it almost floats to the next object. The reason for this is a ball-bearing system in the elevation axis and roller-bearings in azimuth. And also, the friction level can be set to your needs. High magnifications are also possible with a Dobsonian.
The ProDob from Omegon comes in a range of apertures:
– ProDob N203/1200 with 8“ diameter
– ProDob N254/1200 with 10“ diameter
– ProDob N304/1500 with 12“ diameter
– ProDob N406/1850 with 16“ diameter
With the Omegon Push+ Dobsonian, you can travel to the planets, nebulae and galaxies in the universe whenever you wish. You do not even need to be very knowledgeable about the night sky, because the telescope guides you using a push-to-system to any object you wish to observe. All you need is an Android smartphone and the SkySafari 4.0 app.
The Omegon Push+ and Push+ Mini telescopes bridge the gap between a purely manual Dobsonian and a GoTo telescope. So to speak: ‘A bit of Goto’, so to speak – as the Push+ can still be slewed manually, as is common with Dobsonian telescopes, but also using your smartphone and built-in fine-step encoder in the telescope,
The high-resolution encoders allow the system to take you to any astronomical object you desire. Your smartphone functions as a display screen and at the same time orients you in the night sky. A crosshair shows you the position of your telescope in real time. You can decide, at any time, whether you want to use the push-to-system or prefer to control the telescope completely manually – it’s nice to have the choice!
The Omegon Push+ is available with a 200mm (8″) OTA or as a Push+ Mini with a 150mm (6″) OTA:
– Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Pro Dobsonian telescope
– Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Dobsonian telescope
– Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Skywatcher Dobsonian telescope
Once again, we stand at the door of the holiday season. The first cold days lay behind us and we all look forward to a nice cup of hot cocoa to warm our cold hands. Oh… and clear-sky Winter nights! In the past few years, Astroshop has shared several bits of exciting news with stargazers at the end of each year. At the end you will find a great holiday tip from us.
Astroshop in Dutch
The Belgian Astronomy dealer Astromarket now belongs to the Astroshop family. With a bigger and more diverse team, we can advise Dutch and Belgian customers in their own language. Another positive side-effect: as a current customer, you can take advantage of a larger product range, as well as a new show-room in Hasselt, not far from the German border near Aachen.
Mead Telescopes with Service from Distributor
As of August 2018, Astroshop is an official distributor of the well-known telescope brand MEADE in 15 European countries. Our experts possess extensive knowledge of the Meade product range, meaning you get competent advise and all-around technical service from Astroshop.
Your Own Wide-field Photos with the MiniTrack LX2
The Omegon MiniTrack LX2 is a fully mechanical and extremely compact travel mount, with which you can capture wonderful photos of the night sky. The magazine Sky & Telescope has awarded the MiniTrack the coveted “Hot Product 2019” award.
By the way
Many other product announcements, regular sales, and other news can be found on our blog on the Astroshop.eu website. Or just like and follow us on Facebook!
Tip: the Christmas Comet
Just in time for the holidays, an astronomical highlight awaits! The Christmas Comet, as many have called it, 46P/Wirtanen will take the stage. On the 16th of December, the comet will reach its closest distance to Earth, and for the following weeks should be visible to the naked eye and easily with a set of binoculars. In the New Year, we have the pleasure of witnessing a Lunar Eclipse on the 21st of January.
We wish you all clear skies and a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. We thank you for putting your trust in us and we look forward to being a part of a happy and astronomically successful 2019!
Columbus, one of the leading globe manufacturers, has a tradition-rich history to show for itself. Since the 1950s, the Duo-Series has long been produced in southern Germany by hand. Yet, hand-made and tradition do not exclude innovative ideas. Columbus remains true to that concept, even today: the new 4D Globe App for iPhone and iPad gives your Duo-Globe a completely new dimension!
As a result of technological advances, the app can display additional information on top of the globe, such as weather data or geographic details. A completely new animation of the Earth’s inner makeup create an awe-inspiring experience. All Duo-Globes, even older models, have the makings of augmented reality and only with a few taps of a smartphone. Check out our selection of Duo-Globes here. . The app is free to download in the Apple Appstore.
Other globe-makers have also jumped on the Augmented Reality bandwagon. Oregon Scientific has a series of new (childrens’) globes on the market, which take young adventurers on at trip around the world! Special 3D effects with animals dinosaurs and special landscapes creates an exciting tour of discovery at every turn and for the whole family. The addition of a massive amount of interesting facts about continents, countries and cultures make the globes an excellent educational tool!
Augmented Reality paired with precise 3D printing technology: the US-based company, AstroReality has combined the two, to create incredibly, detail-rich and unique relief globes. The app allows you to explore the Martian surface, for example, with a plethora of details. Check out for yourself what you can discover on Mars – no personal interplanetary spaceship necessary.
The many other planet models, as well as EARTH and Lunar Pro, are not just pleasing to the eye. Every space enthusiast will not want to let go of any AstroReality globe!
The brand ZWO is, especially thanks to its powerful and user-friendly CMOS astrocameras, a frequently heard name in amateur astronomy.
With the ASIAIR control unit, ZWO now promises to fundamentally change the astrophotography scene! It’s a compact computer (Raspberry Pi), that is secured to the telescope of the mount. The device can do everything you expect a computerised telescope system of the 21st century to do!
Mount, camera, filter wheel, and autoguider are connected with the ASIAIR. Via an app for Android or iOS, everything can be controlled centrally and wirelessly via WLAN from the smartphone or tablet. You’ll no longer need to take your laptop with you to autoguide and to use cooled astrocameras. There are also advanced functions such as plate solving at the press of a button.
ASIASI communicates with the telescope mounts via the instrument neutral distributed interface (INDI) and so is compatible with most available GoTo mounts. The only snag: The device only supports ZWO cameras, autoguiders and filter wheels.
Other manufacturers like PrimaLuceLab with the EAGLE 2 are following similar approaches to computerisation. This one may feature higher performance and a wider range of functions, but there’s also the user-friendly ASIAIR for just a fraction of the price.
The Omegon MiniTrack LX2 is the world’s first fully-mechanical photo mount for wide-field astrophotography. With just a simple twist, you can capture amazing photos of the Milky Way. This year the LX2 has received the much coveted astronomy award “Hot Product 2019” that the magazine Sky & Telescope awards annually to especially innovative products.
The Omegon Mini Track LX2 (or the set with the photography ball-head) makes a great gift for beginners and nature photographers, who would like to capture the night sky along with an amazing landscape. If you have already tried with traditional means, but have not been satisfied with the results, the Mini Track LX2 is much simpler. The proof is easy to see, if you look at the many amazing photos take with the LX2 and posted on social media.
More info about the Mini Track LX2 mount is available here. Gift-giving during this holiday season will be a piece of cake with the Mini Track LX2.
Below, you can read up on other, special products in our assortment, which have also received the “Hot Product” seal of approval:
The Mead Deep Sky Imager IV
The new and improved Planetary and Deep Sky Camera from Meade has convinced reviewers. With a 16 megapixel Panasonic CMOS-Sensor, thermoelectric cooling, USB 3.0 and 3.8 µm pixels, the camera is a strong multi-use device for astrophotographers, who want to limits in their photography. The new Deep-Sky-Imager IV is available in color or monochrome. The software SkyCapture makes other programs superfluous and you can use if for all your photographic purposes. The software runs on Windows and MacOS, as well as Linux.
Hubble Optics N 607/2012 UL24 f/3.3 Premium Ultra-Light DOB
“BIG DOB TO GO” is the moniker Sky & Telescope gave to the huge 24” Truss Dobson from Hubble Optics. And for good reason. The telescope can be broken down into individual pieces and transported in even the most compact vehicles. Just imagine taking a telescope, as big as in many observatories, to the mountains or to a nice dark pasture. You are sure to have quite the stargazing experience!
Celestron Telescope Astrograph S 203/400 RASA 800 OTA
A digital Schmidt Camera for wide-angle photos! The Celestron Astrograph RASA takes photos 20 times faster, than a Schmidt-Cassergrain Telescope. The results are awe-inspiring photos of large-scale celestial objects. In 30 seconds, you can capture, what would require 10 minutes with a f/10 telescope.
iOptron Mount CEM120 GoTo
The heaviest mount from iOptron can handle instruments up to 52 kg and is fully LAN and Wifi remote capable. In spite of its size, the mount moves smoothly like a hot knife through butter.
Daystar SS60-DS Solar Telescope
A compact solar telescope with 60mm aperture for safe solar viewing in H-alpha. Daystar integrated a double stack Etalon Filter from the QUARK series into this refractor, which meanwhile has written a little success story of its own in solar observing. Here, you get everything in one package, with which you can see solar protuberances, filaments and flares – everything that raises the pulse of a solar observer. Attaching a camera to the helical focuser and you can capture your observations for good.
Celestron Smartphone Adapter
The easy way to connect your smartphone to your telescope with the Celestron Smartphone Adapter, which can be adjusted with precision on three axes. Now you can easily position your smartphone’s camera over the eyepiece.
Lunatico Pocket CloudWatcher
The Pocket CloudWatcher keeps an eye on the clouds on your behalf. This weather and cloud detection device, which alerts you, when something changes in the sky. The mobile CloudWatcher measures temperatures, brightness, relative humidity, dewpoint and alerts you immediately on your smartphone, when clouds move in. The perfect gift for astrophotographers.
A few years ago, but still a great device:
Hot Product 2017: Universe2go
This AR Planetarium, which shows you and simultaneously explains the night sky. There is no need to spend your time with star charts and books. Universe2go is like a visit to the planetarium, but all in a handheld viewer that augments your reality. Just download the free app, put your smartphone into the viewer and look up into the night sky. The magazine Sky & Telescope was so enthusiastic about Universe2go that it received the Hot Product 2017 Award.
Omegon Handheld Planetarium Universe2go
In the current issue, Sky & Telescope introduced many more products in the Hot Product category.
Over 60,000 twinkling stars without leaving your home! Sound familiar? True, you already know about the popular Sega Toys Home Planetarium Homestar Pro Original. However, its successor is now available and is the best performing and most progressive home planetarium on the market: Sega Toys Homestar Flux.
From an optical point of view, Sega Toys has given the Flux a new paint job, being now available in matte black. A highlight is its high quality and secure packaging. Flux delivers awe-inspiring images to real science fiction fans, by reminding us of many classic space movies.
Enjoy the Stars from Your Couch!
The design is not the only change. The technology has upped its game with a light intensity of 5 watt, illuminating your ceiling with not only brighter stars, but also great contrast! The focus has been improved, to make it easier to adjust the crispness of the stars. Rotating the projecting lens has also been improved, which means more relaxing stargazing for you and your family.
For the new Flux, Sega Toys has also created a variety of new slides, complementing the two already included in the box. Experience the northern lights with the “Aurora Borealis” slide. While the solar system slide gives you the feeling of really being in space, allowing our neighboring planets to grace your ceiling. The new slides are additionally backwards compatible with the Flux’s predecessor Homestar Pro Original.
The Homestar Flux is in stock and a fantastic gift for the holiday season! Don’t wait to get your hands on one and order your Flux today!
The almighty has crossed the pond: the brand-new Meade telescopes of the Series LX65 and LX85.
The Meade Maksutov Telescope MC 127/1900 UHTC LX65 GoTo is immediately available and thanks to its high focal length is excellent for lunar and planetary observations. The optics capture enough light, that even far-off objects show details, such as star clusters.
As with every LX65, this telescope features an azimuthal single-arm mount, which is light, easy to disassemble and even has an integrated battery compartment. The AudioStar Handheld Controller makes it a breeze for beginners to find their way around the sky, while the database features more than 30,000 objects. Conclusion: An excellent telescope for beginners or planet specialists, who are looking for a transportable telescope.
The LX85 Series has just arrived with several models. These telescopes are delivered with the new LX85 mount. As compared to the LX65, the LX85 series features a parallactic mount. This sort of build features an axel which is parallel to the Earth’s axis, a trick which prevents the celestial objects from drifting in the telescope. Such a feature is extremely important for longer exposures in Astrophotography. The LX85 is an inexpensive mid-sized mount, which also has an AudioStar controller.
The Meade Teleskop N 150/750 LX85 GoTo is available now. Equipped with a Newton-style telescope with a 150 mm diameter, it features a parabolic mirror with 750 mm focal length. The combination of 150/750 is very popular and can be found in nearly every telescope brand. The mirror is big enough to be able to observe faint galaxies under a dark sky. The quick focal ratio of f/5 makes it great for photography.
The LX85 is also available as a Newton Telescope with 200mm Mirror. For purely visual observations, it is a great choice, while a 150 mm Newton telescope would be less ideal for astrophotography, since stability is so important in taking photos.
For friends of lens-based telescopes, we offer Achromats, namely the Meade Telescope AC 120/700 LX85 GoTo and the Astrograph AP 70/350 Series 6000 LX85 GoTo. Last but not least, we also offer something special for astrophotography, which is also available without a mount: Meade AP 70/350 Series 6000 Astrograph OTA.
This very interesting set-up for astrophotographers even received the Hot Product 2018 Award from Sky & Telescope!
Since we are on the subject of photography, we would like to share two camera tips from Meade: Have a look at version 4 of the legendary Deep Sky Imager. The cooled cameras can be used universally. The price-worthy LPI-G Cameras meanwhile are real planetary specials and perfect for beginners.
The LPI-G-Kameras can also arrive just in time for the holidays!
After quite a while, we are finally going to get another visitor…. from SPACE! The comet 46P/Wirtanen will approach Earth, becoming brighter and brighter, and will be visible to the naked eye. But, a look through binoculars or telescope truly allows you to take in the comet’s beauty. The best time to see the comet is between the beginning of December and the 25th of December.
46P/Wirtanen is a short-period comet which takes 5.5 years to come back around for another visit. This December, however, is a special visit, since the comet will appear especially bright in the night sky. If all goes as planned, Wirtanen’s brightness could reach the 3rd class and be easily visible to the naked eye, or better yet with a pair of binos.
If you haven’t yet seen a comet, then now is the right time! A bright comet is one of the most enjoyable experiences in Astronomy.
So, what is so special about it? Only every few years, we have the pleasure of seeing a comet with the naked eye. The last occurrence was 2014/15, when comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) was visible to the naked eye for a short while at the end of the year.
Wirtanen has always been a weak comet. But this year, we get a nice year-end present: excellent positioning. As a result of a course correction, after a close encounter with the gas giant Jupiter, the comet’s orbit around the sun is now significantly closer to our star. At the same time, the Earth is much closer to the comet’s orbit, making it appear brighter. As a comparison: when discovered, 46P/Wirtanen was at a brightness of 16 mag. When it passes by Earth, it will appear 160,000 times bright at 3 mag.
Wirtanen will be visible in the evening sky throughout December. On the 12th of December, it will reach its closest position to the Sun and on the 16th its closest position to the Earth at only 11 million km, roughly 30 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Exactly at the point, in the evening of the 16th, the comet will reach its brightest point from Earth’s perspective, the so called perigee between the Pleiades and the Hyades.
The biggest obstacle will be the Moon spoiling the party and obscuring our view of the night sky and Wirtanen. In the early morning hours, after the Moon sets, you will be able to catch a bit of the comet before it disappears below the horizon.
But wait, didn’t we say that the comet should be visible to the unaided eye? Stars of a similar magnitude will also be visible, even when the Moon is bright in the sky. Yes, but the magnitude of the comet is spread across a surface – the comet’s coma of roughly 0.5°. As a comparison: that means the entire diameter of the Moon. To get the best view, you should try to find a dark sport, away from man-made light, and wait until the Moon is out of the way.
Have a look first right after dusk. At the beginning of December, the comet will hug the horizon, but climb higher and higher in the sky with each day. On the 10th of December, it will arrive at the head of the Cetus or whale constellation and makes its way to Taurus.
From the 24th onward, you will be able to see the comet before the Moon rises in the sky. 46P/Wirtanen will then be found close to the star Capella in the constellation Auriga. The early evening hours will give you the best chance of seeing it. In the following days, the Moon will rise later and lunar-free periods will grow longer.
With binos or a telescope, the comet will appear much more impressive. Take the time to check out the large green coma and if you have a telescope, even the little tail. By the way: an excellent thing to have on hand is a pair of Omegon Wide-field Binoculars.
Take the chance now and check out, what some are calling “the Christmas Comet”. Clear skies and have fun!
The new 3-month night sky calendar at a glance. The astronomical infographic ’Highlights of the Winter Sky 2018/2019’ shows you what will be happening in the night sky. Descriptions of the individual events are below:
05.12. The Moon near Mercury
Early in the morning, the Moon can be observed near Mercury. They are separated by about only 7 degrees – making them suitable for observing with a pair of wide-angle binoculars.
07.12. Mars near Neptune
A fantastic spectacle – a very close encounter between Mars and Neptune. Only about 4 arcminutes away from Neptune, Mars passes north of Neptune from around 18:00. You will need a pair of binoculars or, even better, a telescope to observe them.
If the night sky is clear in the evening, then it is best to observe facing south, as the ‘Geminids’ meteor shower will seem to come from the constellation of the ‘twins’ – more precisely, from a point two degrees above the star Pollux. Between 21:00 and 6:00 is the best time to observe. With around 120 meteors per hour, the Geminids is one of the most intense showers. However, the full Moon will diminish the view this year. Even so, you really shouldn’t miss this event.
15.12. Moon near Mars
The 42% illuminated and waxing moon can be observed near Mars today, separated by a distance of about 5 degrees.
16.12. Comet 46P/Wirtanen
The December Comet – finally, we have a bright comet again, which can be observed with binoculars and small telescopes. Comet 46P/Wirtanen reaches its closest proximity to the Earth on the 16th and can be observed near the Pleiades (M45) open star cluster at only 3 degrees away. A beautiful ‘constellation‘ through binoculars. Wirtanen is a rare comet, which could attain a strong brightness and hence become an impressive object for beginners. If everything progresses well, it could reach a brightness of up to magnitude 4 by the end of the year and so even become visible to the naked eye. Without the disturbing presence of the Moon, the comet can be found easily in the evening sky after Christmas.
28.12. Hebe in opposition
The asteroid 6 HEBE comes into opposition on December 28, attaining a brightness of about magnitude 8.5. It can best be seen around midnight in the constellation of Monoceros or in the constellation of Orion. You will need a mid-size telescope to observe it. Its current position can be found at any time, by using the Stellarium planetarium program for example.
01.01. Planet chain Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury
Just in time for New Year’s Eve, the New Year welcomes us with a pretty chain of planets. In the morning sky just before sunrise, you can see, from the top right to the bottom left to the horizon: the Moon, a bright Venus, Jupiter and even a shy Mercury close to the horizon. Tip: A great opportunity to take a beautiful photo.
The next meteor shower is here – the Quadrantids. This shower comes from the constellation of Bootes, with the number of meteors observed across the sky potentially reaching a maximum of 120 per hour. Observing in the early morning will give you the best chance of successful observing.
05.01. Comet Wirtanen circumpolar
The Christmas Comet will also delight us in the new year – while the comet was only seen in the evening or in the morning sky before, it has now become circumpolar, wandering through the constellation of the Ursus Major. You can now observe it over the entire night.
06.01. Venus at greatest western elongation
The best view of Venus is now here. The ‘morning star’ shines brightly (magnitude -4.5). At 47 degrees angular separation, it is at greatest western elongation and can be seen half illuminated. The planet will first peep over the horizon at about 4:30 CET, and can be observed for about three hours before disappearing in the sunlight.
12.01. Moon near Mars
From dusk on, you can observe the Moon in the south with Mars above it. They are separated by about 7 degrees.
15.01. μ Cet occulted by the Moon (evening)
The Moon will occult the 4.1 mag star μ Cet in the very early evening. The Moon approaches the star with its dark side and finally occults it at 17:44 CET. An occultation from the Moon’s dark side is always fascinating to observe – it appears as though the star has suddenly been ‘switched off’. It will take almost an hour for the star to then reappear on the illuminated side of the Moon.
21.01. Total lunar eclipse
Everyone probably still remembers the Total Lunar Eclipse in 2018, when the Moon offered us a summer spectacle at a still-comfortable time of night. This time around the show is on the 21st of January, at a rather unfavourable time with temperatures that are too cold to be considered ‘T-shirt weather’.
Entry into the penumbra: 3:36 CET
Entry into the umbra: 4:33 CET
Beginning of totality: 5:40 CET
End of totality: 6:43 CET
Exits umbra: 7:50 CET
Exits penumbra: 8:48 CET
22.01. Venus near Jupiter
Jupiter and Venus can be observed together before sunrise. We can observe both planets shining in the southeast at a separation of only about 2 degrees. Venus is at magnitude -4.3, with Jupiter significantly weaker at magnitude -1.9. They provide a beautiful sight through binoculars, where you can admire them both in the same field of view.
31.01. Moon near Jupiter and Venus
On January 22nd the Moon joins the two planets, inserting itself in the middle between Venus and Jupiter.
02.02. Moon near Saturn (occulting in Germany and Austria)
The Moon is a waning ‘sickle’ and only 6% illuminated, so it is not visible until early in the morning. At 6.30 CET both astronomical bodies can be seen close to the horizon. The Moon can be seen to actually occult Saturn in both Germany and Austria – the ringed planet disappears behind the illuminated crescent moon at 6:37 CET, reappearing an hour later at the dark, north-eastern edge.
10.02. Moon near Mars
You can observe the crescent Moon and Mars together this evening in the same field of view in binoculars having a field of view of at least 7 degrees.
13.02. Mars near Uranus
Tonight, Mars will be less than 1.5 degrees away from the distant gas giant Uranus. The difference in brightness is significant – the red planet shines brightly at magnitude 1, whereas Uranus is only at a dim magnitude 5.8. Both objects can be observed using binoculars or a telescope. But it is definitely worthwhile – you can even see them together in the same field of view in a low magnification, wide-angle eyepiece.
27.02. Mercury at greatest eastern elongation (and half-full)
Because Mercury orbits so fast and so close to the Sun we cannot always observe it. But now Mercury is once again at a greater angular distance – of 18°- from the Sun. It’s not a huge separation, but it allows us to observe it for sufficient time during its half-full phase. Mercury can now be seen in the evening sky shortly after sunset. Be sure to wait until the sun has completely set before observing through any optics. You will then find Mercury just above the western horizon.