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My lucky garden

29 December 2010 by Lisa

Want to spot some shooting stars and a partial solar eclipse in the new year? Here’s our planetarium demonstrator John Moran to tell you how!


There is a double celestial event to whet your appetite this January! As a starter, in the early hours of the 4 January we will be treated to the Quantadrids, which is one of the most abundant annual meteor showers of the year with 60 to 120 shooting stars per hour. Providing the sky is clear you will be pretty much guaranteed to see shooting stars galore. A dark location would be ideal but even from a built up area you shouldn’t be disappointed. I once watched the Perseids from my garden and got to see at least a dozen meteors, with one of them even breaking apart mid-flight.

Next we have a partial solar eclipse. At precisely 8.27am the moon will start to cover the surface of the Sun and even though it is only a partial eclipse, we can still expect to see about 75 per cent of the sun’s disc obscured by the moon.

I remember in 1999 when the UK had a total solar eclipse from the south west of England and partial eclipse everywhere else. I was stood in my garden again, in the city centre of Liverpool with my family and it was crystal clear. Patrick Moore the eminent astronomer, star of ‘The Sky at Night’ and personal hero of mine, was on the south coast with many other professionals and armatures alike. There were lots of tv cameras there, as it was live on the BBC, but they were completely clouded out! Read more…

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