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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 16:21:23 EST
Subject: Comets, Quadrantids, JMSE, Party

Hi all,

Happy New Year to one and all! Let's hope for some better weather: apparently 
December was the cloudiest (in NI at least) for 16 years!). 2003 hasn't got 
off to a good start in Glengormley, where I've had rain all day from a 
cloudbase just a few feet above my roof!

But it's better elsewhere, and I've just had a t/c report from Martin Eagle 
in Eyeries in the Beara peninsula in West Cork that he saw Kudo-Fujikawa 
earlier this evening in 10x50 binocs, looking like a fainter version of M13 
(no tail). So there's hope yet. He also reported a faint greenish glow along 
the N horizon on the evening of 30/12, which sounds like an aurora, and 
pretty rare for that latitude!

No reports of obseravtions of the other new comet, NEAT, details of which 
were in the last email.

Friday evening (3 Jan) sees the maximum of the Quadrantid Meteors, usually 
the 3rd best annual shower: the max rate can approach 100 per hour in good 
conditions, but the peak is brief, and if it occurs in daylight, or if it's 
cloudy for the best few hours, or there's moonlight, then hard luck! 
Conditions this year are fair, with the maximum predicted for 22h that 
evening, as the radiant is just past lower culmination, and starting to climb 
in the NNE sky. It's not high up until the small hours of next morning, but 
at least there's no moonlight. For once Northern observers are best favoured, 
with the radiant higher here at any given hour of the night than for 

The radiant actually lies in N. Bootes (the shower is named after the now 
defunct constellation of Quadrans, which is now in Bootes), at R.A. 15h 28m, 
Dec + 50 deg. It lies about midway between the end of the Plough and the Head 
of Draco. You might see 40-50 per hour in good conditions; maybe 60-80 per 
hour if the maximum is a little late, and therefore occurring when the 
radiant is higher. Observations anytime from evening twilight all through the 
night will be useful! 

If it's clear tonight, loook out for a very rare event if you have a 
reasonable-sized telescope: It's a Jupiter Mutual Satellite Event (JMSE): in 
this case a partial occultation of Io by Ganymede. What makes it even more 
interesting is that Io & Ganymede will be in transit across the disc of 
Jupiter at the time! And as Europa is in eclipse/occultation by Jupiter 
itself at that time, only one (Callisto) of the usual 4 moons will be visible 
off the disc! The details are: 
Jan 2:  Gannymede occults Io:   start: 01h 50m 10s; end:    02h 04m 32s; 
magnitude: 27%. Configuration, as seen in an inverting telescope, Left to 
Right:  Callisto, Jupiter/Ganymede/Io. 
   Europa enters eclipse by Jupiter at 23.19 on Jan 2, emerging from 
occultation at 03.37. Full observing details are in STARDUST for those of you 
lucky & wise enough to be IAA members! Good Luck!

IAA XMAS /NEW YEAR PARTY: Don't forget to book your ticket(s) for the social 
event of the year, on Saturday 4 January, 7.30 p.m., at the Tudor Private 
Cinema, Comber. The film is 'Space Cowboys', and a great selection of buffet 
food & drinks are included in the price. Full details were sent out with 
STARDUST: if you've lost them, or didn't get them, contact me immediately by 
return, or John Hall, tel 9084 3109, or email at <
jimmyaquarius@btinternet.com>.  Great fun, and great value, with various 
family tickets available.

Terry Moseley

Last Revised: 2003 January 7th
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