Of comets, toolbars and eclipses
There's a comet around at the moment which is at about magnitude 6, visible to the naked eye under dark skies, but an easy target with binoculars. Comet Lulin is in the constellation of Libra and is still getting brighter, so it may be worth watching. Of course, comet predictions are notoriously unpredictable, but it is still worth having a look out for it as it isn't going to be back in our neighbourbood for quite a while - it has an orbital period of more than 28,000,000 years! It is thought that the comet will be at it's brightest around the end of February when it will be close to the planet Saturn. At the moment it's not at a good altitude here in Perth until about 1am, so I'll be having a look at the weekend.
Incidentally, when I took out the rubbish the other night, I noticed that Orion was high and bright in the sky overhead. He's upside down of course, standing on his head compared to what I'm used to. I'm also used to thinking of it as a winter constellation, but it's the middle of summer and he's dominating the sky. Seems very odd!
There's now an Astronomy 2009 toolbar available for both Firefox and Internet Explorer. It's pretty cool, but something of a distraction when you're trying to get on with some proper work! Check it out.
This evening I went to a meeting about the Australia Day events that I helped out with last week. The whole day was a fantastic success and the feedback from the visitors was superb, everyone had a fantastic time by the sounds of it. From 2pm when we opened until the fireworks at 9pm, an estimated 5000 people visited the Family Zone including more than 1000 children who got to play on bouncy castles, trampolines, crazy bikes, and lots of other fun stuff. The eclipse viewing was a big success with over 700 people seeing the partial eclipse safely. Awesome. I'll be going back to help next year, even though there will be no eclipse!
End random post.