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Archive for August 2022

Astronomy highlights in Autumn 2022

August 31 2022, Marcus Schenk

Autumn is on its way, and the evenings get dark earlier. For many, this marks the start of a great observing season. And it’s all there: Saturn is eye-catching as it shines in the night sky, Jupiter is at opposition and there will even be a partial eclipse of the Sun! What’s more, the Moon will occult Uranus. And that’s just the start!

In our “Astronomy Highlights in Autumn 2022” infographic, you’ll find many of the important celestial events at a glance. Information and further explanations of the events can be found in the accompanying text.

Have fun observing!

September

11/09 Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter

The Moon and Jupiter rise almost together and we can admire them at around 9 p.m. above the eastern horizon.

14/09 The Moon occults Uranus

The Moon and the planets move along an imaginary line in the sky known as the ecliptic. This refers to the apparent path along which planets move around the Sun. Once in a while the Moon occults one of the planets. Now, on the 14th, it’s that time again: the Moon approaches with its illuminated side and occults Uranus at around 10 p.m.

16/09 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

Shortly before midnight, the constellation Taurus climbs above the eastern horizon and will look particularly attractive today, because it also marks the meeting place of Mars and the Moon. Together with Aldebaran, Capella and the Pleiades, it makes a lovely sight.

16/09 Neptune at opposition

Our farthest planet is at opposition to the Sun tonight. Neptune is currently 4.3 billion kilometres away from us and shines with a magnitude of 7.8. Its light takes 4 hours to reach the Earth. We can even see Neptune with binoculars, though it cannot be distinguished from a star. It is only with a telescope that can we identify it as a planet with certainty. But it’s not so easy to find as Jupiter or Saturn. A star chart or app will help you.

26/09 Jupiter at opposition

An opposition is quite special: for this is when a planet is directly opposite the Sun and shines brightly all night long. Jupiter is currently at an altitude of 42 degrees above the horizon. This is considerably higher than in recent years, which greatly improves the quality of our observations.

Lunar phases:

03/09 First Quarter, 10/09 Full Moon, 17/09 Last Quarter, 25/09 New Moon

October

05/10 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn

Tonight, the Moon passes below the ringed planet. On the Moon you can also observe the phenomenon known as the Golden Handle, an illuminated mountain at the Moon’s terminator.

08/10 Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter

Time for a planetary evening! The Moon and Jupiter meet today in the constellation Capricorn. In September, Jupiter was at opposition to the Sun and is still an excellent object for any telescope. Tonight, we won’t be disturbed by a bright Moon.

11/10 Mercury in the morning

From 5 October, we can catch Mercury in the morning sky. The closest planet to the Sun is usually too close to it, which is why we rarely see it. October is the only time this year that it is visible in the night sky.

14/10 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

From midnight, we get a taste of winter because then the constellations Auriga and Taurus appear above the horizon. In the middle of all this we can also see Mars and the Moon, which are particularly close to one another today. Can you see the red colour of our neighbouring planet?

21/10 Orionids

The Orionids are a small meteor shower producing around 20 meteors per hour. The radiant is located in the constellation Orion near the star Betelgeuse. Although you can observe the shooting stars throughout the month, they will be at their peak between 20 and 21 October. The best time to observe them is between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

24/10 Conjunction between the Moon and Mercury

Are you an early riser? Perfect, because this morning you can take a quick look at the slender crescent Moon and Mercury. For this you will need an elevated location or an unobstructed view towards the horizon. Then, just before sunrise from 6:50 a.m., you will discover the two celestial bodies.

25/10 Partial solar eclipse

The last partial eclipse that was visible to us was on 10 June 2021. A little more than a year later we can follow the next one. It starts at around 11a.m. on 25 October when the Moon moves in front of the Sun and obscures around 25% of it.

Important: use a solar filter when observing. Safe filters are available in our Astroshop.

Lunar phases: 09/10 Full Moon, 17/10 Last Quarter, 25/10 New Moon

November

01/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn

The waxing crescent Moon and the planet Saturn are now to be found together in the constellation Capricorn.

04/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter

This evening, the waxing Moon meets the planet Jupiter, which was at opposition in September. Over the course of the night, the two celestial bodies approach at a distance of around 2 degrees.

09/11 Uranus at opposition

Uranus is one of the most distant gas giants. It appears only as a tiny, greenish disc in a telescope and we cannot make out any detail. However, you can still distinguish it as a planet. Find Uranus with a star chart or, easier still, with your telescope’s GoTo system. Then you can identify the planet using 150 to 200 times magnification.

11/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

Tonight, the waning Moon finds itself close to the planet Mars. The Red Planet is between the Moon and Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus. An interesting task for today is to compare the intensity of the red colours of Mars, Aldebaran and Betelgeuse.

17/11 Leonids

From 16 to 17/11, the Leonids reach their peak. Together with the Perseids, they are among the most famous meteor showers. In some years these meteors fall like raindrops from the sky. This usually happens every 33 years when the Earth meets the Leonids’ debris cloud. In normal years, the peak does not exceed 20 meteors per hour. This year, you can observe them during the first half of the night, undisturbed by moonlight.

Lunar phases: 08/11 Full Moon, 16/11 Last Quarter, 23/11 New Moon, 30/11 First Quarter

New: Services for Telescopes and Accessories

August 30 2022, Marcus Schenk

Discover our new workshop services here!

W have a professionally-equipped workshop, an optical bench and trained service personnel to diagnose and correct optical, mechanical and electronic problems with your equipment, quickly and professionally. Your Omegon telescope will feel just as happy with us as instruments from Meade, Celestron, Skywatcher and iOptron. We are an authorised service partner for all of these manufacturers. We can often assist with other brands so please do get in touch with us if your instrument brand is not mentioned.

Our services at a glance:

  • Collimation and adjustment of large binoculars
  • Filter testing (transmission measurement) with a spectrophotometer
  • Service, tuning and repair of mounts
  • Software updates and replacement of electronic components
  • Cleaning, adjustment and collimation of optics
  • Star testing using an artificial star
  • Interferometer measurement and autocollimation

You want to repair your telescope or have it checked? We are looking forward to hearing from you. Email: [email protected] Telephone: +49 8191 94049-1.

Sky Quality Map of Europe: Where can dark night skies still be found?

August 9 2022, Stefan Taube

Following the success of the Sky Quality Map of Germany, Oculum Verlag has produced another pull-out map showing light pollution. The Sky Quality Map of Europe is a comprehensive source of information for anyone looking for dark skies in Europe.

Sky Quality Map

Additionally, the map can play an integral role in the public relations activities of observatories and also contribute towards the conservation of nature as light pollution is not only annoying for astronomers, but it is also a significant cause of insect death.

Satellite images were used to generate data which renowned Italian researchers Fabio Falchi and Riccardo Furgoni then processed.

This data was carefully calculated, taking numerous factors into account, to enable them to reach reliable scientific conclusions about artificial light in the night sky.

Sky Quality Map

A high-quality travel map was used as a cartographic basemap. Even small towns, bodies of water, train tracks, streets and attractions are listed on the map. This means the map can be used for planning as well as for navigation.