Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mars close encounter internet myth or ...

There are a lot of stories circulating on the internet about a close encounter with mars on the 27th August. Well they are not true, the earth does come close to the orbit of mars on 30th October (if 69 million kilometers is considered close) and it will be visiable to the naked eye, but it already is. The really bright start after sunset at the moment in the western sky is venus and mars is the dimmer reddish star above it. The bright star close to the full moon is jupiter.

Find out more about this "real" photo at the NASA mars-mythbuster site

The planets Mars, Venus & Jupiter can have a slight affect on tides. However the largest effect would have been at the last new moon when all three, the sun and moon where in close alignment and the effect was apparently minimal!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Second chance for 75 Litres of Venus Bay Pipi

The current edition of The South Gippsland Sentinel-Times, Tuesday August 17 2010 page15, is carring a story on Pipi poachers intercepted by Fisheries officers at Venus Bay. The five alleged poachers were apparently caught with 75 litres of Pipi. That is 60 litres over the legal catch limit.
The best news of all is most of the Pipis were returned back into the surf.
Anyone who sees or suspects illeagal fishing activity should call 13 FISH (13 3474).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another light show in the sky

On the morning of the 13th August there will be an aligment of Venus Saturn and Mars, and a crescent moon in the eastern sky. Unfortunately it will occur a little after sun rises and not break on the eastern horizon till almost 8am. What you might see with the naked eye is a thin cresent moon and a bright star (venus) nearby The famous Perseid meteor shower should then becoming to its maximum at roughly the same time on the northern horizon, or slightly east of north. A great place to view this is from the bike track to Lower Tarwin on the rise at the start of the track near the intersection of Jupiter boulevard and Lees Road.

View Viewing perseids meteor shower in a larger map
Look across the adjacent field at the horizon to the right of the Pine trees close to Lees road, just before dawn, for the best chance of viewing meteor trails.

The moon, sun and planetary alignment in conjunction with the current lower air pressure (stormy weather) is likely to produce a very high tide and lead to significant new erosion at the top of the ocean beach profile.

There is a great article on viewing the alignment & meteor shower by Dr Tony Philips of Nasa, but remember his times and date relate to the Northern Hemisphere.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lightshow over (for now)

"We missed the major part of the storm--wrong side of the planet--but still caught some bright Southern Lights after the sun went down," Tom Luttrell photo from Australia's Casey Station on the coast of Antarctica (source spaceweather.com)

So the current magnetc storm may be over but there may be many more opportunities to view the southernlights from Venus Bay as the 24 year sunspot cycle climbs towards its expected maximum in 2013. This VBOP site will endeavor to keep you posted when good sightings are likely.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Keep an eye on the sky at night

Two large solar flares occurred on the sun on August 1st.(source spaceweather.com) The first of the resulting magnetic storm arrived at the earth yesterday and triggered spectacular north lights. It is possible that a similar light show may occur in the southern hemisphere tonight, and more storms are expected. So when the sky clear, keep an eye out for auroras in the southern sky

Did you know Australia actually has a space weather bureau? Well is it actually a geopyhsical conditions monitoring authourity, but it does offer an aurora alert on its website. Nothing is confirmed as yet. However tonight and the next few days are definitely the time to monitor the southern sky.

PS If your mobile phone is registered for the alert system, expect an SMS if & when the aurora is visiable.