The Sky This Week

November 27th 2021 – 4th December

27 November: Ceres at Opposition

On Saturday, November 27, the dwarf planet Ceres will reach opposition, its closest approach to Earth for the year – a distance of 163.5 million miles or 263 million km or 14.6 light-minutes. On the nights around opposition, Ceres will shine with a peak visual magnitude of +7.0 mag, well within reach of binoculars and backyard telescopes. As a bonus, Ceres will be situated only a thumb’s width above (or 1.4 degrees to the north of) the bright star that marks the chin of the bull, Gamma Tauri. Both objects, and the rest of Taurus’ triangular face, will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars. Ceres will already be climbing the eastern sky after dusk and will reach its highest elevation, and peak visibility, over the southern horizon around midnight.

Observers’ Group Activities

The Observers Group covers a number of activities that are carried out collectively by a select number of individuals from within the group. the group meets formally on a set night each month at a published location – previously currently Dan Sheahan’s Bar and Restaurant (see image below) it is now online via ZOOM.

Dans Bar where we meet prior to Observing

Short reports of the groups activities are set out below however the Group’s main activities cover the following discrete subjects:

Observing – Physically looking at the sky with and without optical instruments. This may be from known local sites in Cork to foreign trips to other observatories. Takes place at least once a month weather depending.

presentation at Observers Night

Observing Presentations: When the skies are overcast on the observing night the group holds discussions and presentations of astronomy subjects – normally several 10 – 15 minute talks with slides.

Astrophotography – at dark sky and other sites those interested in this subject meet to take images via terrestrial or astronomy cameras. The club also published a monthly astrophotography newsletter, the Image Board, comprising images from club members.

Radio Astronomy – a small group within the club are experimenting with radio detection apparatus.

Light Pollution – the club is carrying out a planned project to measure light levels at a variety of Cork locations.

Club Observatory  – this has a 13″ reflector telescope.  Use of this is by prior invitation/arrangement

Equipment, Domes and Observatories

Ďáblice Observatory in Prague
Ďáblice Observatory in Prague
Ďáblice Observatory in Prague
Observatory in Prague
Ďáblice Observatory in Prague
Ďáblice Observatory in Prague
Ďáblice Observatory in Prague
Ďáblice Observatory in Prague
Ďáblice Observatory in Prague

Winter Solstice 2018 at Drombeg Stone Circle

The weather on Friday 21st December looked unpromising for a visit to Drombeg stone circle–but perseverance was rewarded when about 25 members and their friends briefly witnessed–or almost witnessed–the solstice sunset there. Just about 4 in the afternoon, twenty minutes or so before official sunset, the sun briefly broke through the clouds fractionally to the left of a notch in the hills which really made the day. Club member Michael O’Keeffe gave a tour of the site, telling its history, the excavation of the site which took place in the 1950’s, and the relevance of the winter and summer solstice.


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Fri 16 Nov – Blackrock Castle open night

The open night will be hosting workshops, a Gravity Well to show how space is warped by large objects, demonstrations on Stellarium (a free software that helps you to explore the night sky) and observing in the courtyard with telescopes brought by Club members. (weather dependent!)

Schedule of events:

19:00 – 20:00 – Prof Robert Walsh: A talk in the area of solar science and our relationship with the Sun
20:15 – 22:00 – Cork Skeptics host Kevin MitchellDestiny and Chance – How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are
19:00 – 22:00 – Stargazing with Cork Astronomy Club*

Workshops and other activities will run throughout the night from 19:00