Category Archives: astronomy

Countdown to Space Walking with an Astronaut in Abingdon

Space Walking
One of NASA’s most experienced veteran astronauts, British born Dr.Michael Foale, will be in Abingdon this week. The picture shows him taking part in an epic eight-hour spacewalk in 1999 to upgrade the computer on the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble Telescope continues to bring images and discoveries eighteen years on.

He will be giving a public lecture at the Amey Theatre at 7:30pm on Tuesday 30th January.

At the last count (21:07 on 28/01/2018) there were just 16 tickets in the theatre upstairs and down. The countdown is on. There may still be tickets available from here.

New Year’s Day Moon

According to the Lunar Glow-in-the-dark calendar for 2018, that I got for a Christmas present, January 2018 brings us a month of extreme lunar phenomena. The Full Moon on New Year’s Day is the largest of the year, with the moon coming to it closest approach to Earth all year, when its distance will be 356,565 kilometres (221,559 miles) at perigee.
New Years Day Moon
The first picture shows the moon shining through cloud as viewed from St Helen’s Wharf.
New Years Day Moon
In the second picture taken from St Helen’s Churchyard, the moon is hidden by the central aisle of St Helen’s Church.
New Years Day Moon
As the skies cleared, the moon was clearly visible from Abingdon – as seen here above the Christmas Candles round the Market Place.
New Years Day Moon
I was amazed by the detail I could see using a compact camera with optical zoom. The image was even clearer than this in the camera screen as the camera rested on one of the Market Place bollards.

This evening, of the 2nd January, as the moon becomes ‘waning gibbous’ the skies are cloudy and rain is falling.

The moon will be the farthest from the earth all year on 15th January. There will be another full moon on 31st January (the first blue moon since July 2015). That full moon will be in total eclipse for 1 hour 16 minutes across Asia, Australia, and western North America.

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse as seen from Abingdon

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse
Thanks to Peter Dann for this picture of the “Lunar Eclipse”. He says “I trust everyone got up at 3.30am this morning to see this!

Taken from just outside my back door.

The moon was higher in the sky than I expected so I failed to get any exciting background!
Supermoon Lunar Eclipse
Also thanks to Peter Delehar for a picture of “This morning’s super moon over Abingdon.

Peter said “I thought it would be bigger and redder!

See Jupiter from Sunningwell in National Astronomy Week

Apologies to Michael that there were no pictures of the Aurora Borealis, taken in Abingdon last week, but this evening (Saturday 08/03/2014) there is the chance to see Jupiter as part of National Astronomy Week. Meet by Sunningwell Village Hall at 7pm (Adults £2, Accompanied Children £1) and, weather permitting, telescopes will help you see Jupiter.

“Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, will be at its highest point in the sky for many years to come. Near their closest to Earth, Jupiter and its moons will appear obvious in the sky, offering fantastic opportunities to view the giant planet through a telescope.”

If anybody gets a good picture please send a copy to include here.