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Deep Sky

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AUGUST 2020 SKY EVENTS: Month ushers in the Perseids, more planets and nebulae as NEOWISE bids adieu

August begins with the curtain call of a bright comet’s remarkable display last July—the Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE.

The first few days of the month will be the last chance to see Comet NEOWISE, which will be at its highest in the sky. Catching it now may prove difficult, since the days will lead up to a full moon on August 3rd but there’s no harm in trying, right? It’s a historic visit, and we won’t be seeing this cosmic wonder in our neighborhood for 6,800 years!

With the comet’s goodbye, August may seem to start off anti-climactic, but it still has a few tricks up its sleeve. Remember, the eighth month of the year is famous for hosting one of the best meteor showers!

Read on and mark your calendars for August’s sky events! read more

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Comet 260P/McNaught

This is comet 260P/McNaught taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last September 23, 2019, using GSO RC8 telescope and ZWO1600MC. Apparent magnitude at the date and time of observation was +13.54. read more

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C/2018 W2 Africano

Here’s C/2018 W2 Africano imaged using SBIG STT-8300MM CCD with Johnson V filter, Meade LX850 16 inch SCT last September 11, 2019. Its apparent magnitude was measured at +11.6 at the date and time of capture. read more

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Comet C/2018 N2 (ASASSN)

Comet C/2018 N2 (ASASSN) (center) taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last September 10, 2019, using GSO RC8 telescope and ZWO1600MC camera. Comet’s apparent magnitude is at +12.82 at the date and time of capture. read more

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Epsilon Aurigae

We got an interesting gem in the Auriga constellation— Epsilon Aurigae, an unusual eclipsing binary star that remained a mystery to scientists and experts in the field of #astronomy for over two centuries! read more

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MARCH 2020 AL SADEEM SKY-LENDAR: Period of galaxy hunting begins; Spring equinox signals change of season

March is one of the most exhilarating parts of the year when the night sky goes in “full bloom”—amateur astronomers and experienced stargazers enjoy a feast of Messier objects and a slew of planets around the Moon spicing up the United Arab Emirates’ cool spring nights. read more

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FEBRUARY 2020 AL SADEEM SKY-LENDAR: A Supermoon and more planet-Moon pairings

The Moon and some prominent planets will rule our February night sky this year, and to keep up with the love season, these celestial objects will be often seen in “pairs”!

Keep your eyes peeled for planets such as Venus and Uranus, which will be immediately visible at the western section of the sky right after sunset until 9 in the evening. Other bright planets Mars and Jupiter can be observed before dawn at 4 AM and 5 AM, respectively, until sunrise. Planets that will be no-shows for February are Mercury, Saturn, and Neptune.

The “love month” will also be peppered with prominent winter constellations and deep-sky objects like the Great Orion Nebula, the Flame and Horsehead nebulas, Andromeda Galaxy, and the brilliant open star cluster Pleiades known as the “Seven Sisters.” read more

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Comet 2I/Borisov

Some snaps of Comet 2I/Borisov with measured magnitude at +17.1 (gradually brightening)!

This rocky visitor may still ring new to anyone’s ears, since it was only recently discovered on August 30 by Ukrainian amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov, but it is not a comet to be taken lightly. read more

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THE PACMAN NEBULA (NGC281)

NGC281 known as the Pacman Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory October 12, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. 2.5 hours total exposure time, stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC281, also known as the Pacman Nebula is an emission nebula located about 9200-9500 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cassiopeia (the queen). It is also called IC 11 or Sh2-184 using the IC and Sharpless sky catalogues respectively. Specifically, it is a bright HII region,spans about 96 light-years in diameter (a region in space where interstellar atomic hydrogen is ionized signifying active star formation) within the Milky Way’s Perseus Spiral Arm. read more

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THE WITCH’S BROOM NEBULA (NGC6960)

NGC6960 known as the Western Veil Nebula taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last July 21, 2018 using Vixen ED115S telescope and ZWO1600MC-cool CMOS camera mounted on Skywatcher EQ6. 2 hours total exposure time, stacked and post-processed in Pixinsight. (Image Credit: Al Sadeem Astronomy)

NGC6960, known as the Western Veil Nebula, is a diffuse nebula located about 1470 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus (the swan). It has multiple other designations such as the Witch’s Broom Nebula, Filamentary Nebula, Finger of God Nebula, Lacework Nebula (based on its shape resemblance) or Caldwell 34. It is a western portion of the Veil Nebula or the Cygnus Loop placed at the right wing of the swan. read more