Tuesday 16 January 2018

Stargazers over the moon with spring spectacle

Photo: Steve Humphreys
Photo: Steve Humphreys
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

IT WAS the first full moon of the spring, and the spectacle was just one of the astronomical wonders stargazers can marvel at this week.

The fine weather has brought clear skies across the country, which means conditions couldn't be better to observe the moon and stars.

The Paschal Moon is the first full moon after the vernal equinox – or the arrival of spring – which took place in late March.

There was also a lunar eclipse yesterday morning but as this started when the moonlit began to set in this part of the world, it was missed here and best appreciated in the Americas.

But Astronomy Ireland's David Moore, who edits the magazine of the same name, said we would have our own chance and we should be able to see a lunar eclipse in September 2015.

"Monday night's full moon was spectacular – but every full moon is," he said.

"It's just that it's so rare that we get such clear skies to appreciate it. To actually get one of these totally clear nights when there is a full moon is really special," he added.

Clear conditions have also made it possible to see the $100bn International Space Station every night this week. Tonight, Astronomy Ireland – the world's biggest astronomy club – predicts the space station will be visible at approximately 9.53pm. Check www.astronomy.ie for exact times. Added to that, the planet Mars will be visible for the next few months, an occurrence that only happens every 2.1 years.

Irish Independent

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