Astronomical Observing at Fishcreek - Friday 7/20/2007

Last Friday's event was a bit of a struggle with clouds that just wouldn't stay away despite our best intentions.  We had equipment set up until eleven thirty.  Despite this short session, we still got to see Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, a few double stars and deepsky objects and Comet C/2006 VZ13 LINEAR near the handle of the Big Dipper.  What's on tap for this Friday?  We never know about the weather so check the weather forecast when we get closer to the event to see what our chances are.  Regardless, let's plan on another great night under the stars.  The Moon will be great for viewing - a nearly first-quarter 'half moon' with lots of detail on the terminator which will set early enough to give us appreciators of deepsky objects our dark skies.  We'll also be viewing the three planets that are currently available to us:  Saturn, with its beautiful rings, Venus, appearing like a tiny crescent Moon (which are both almost lost in the glare of the setting Sun) and Jupiter, the king of the planets.  Jupiter's Great Red Spot should be visible as well as its four moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.  Double stars - some quite colorful - are another class of object we love to observe and there are plenty of those to see.  Globular clusters, open clusters, planetary nebula and galaxies are all on the agenda.  We'll have another great night with plenty to keep us busy until who knows when.  Oh!  One last thing...Comet C/2006 VZ13 LINEAR should still be visible in the telescopes despite it moving away from us at approximately 10,000 miles per hour!

We hope to see you here for a night under the stars - our twelfth year.

Observing conditions in Stow, map to our location and other useful information is available here:

ClearSkyClock for Fishcreek Site  (the darker blue the squares are, the better)

For exact directions to our location, just click on 'Road Map' in the 'Nifty Links' section immediately below the Sky Clock.

The following Sun, Moon and planet detail was calculated as it will be on Friday, 7/20/07 at 10:06pm (nautical twilight).
Source: Guide8 software available from

Quick links:
Sun  Moon  Mercury  Venus  Mars  Jupiter  Saturn  Uranus  Neptune  Pluto  &  General Information
All times are shown in EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) as seen from Stow, Ohio.

Sun data:
     Rise 6:06am
     Transit: 1:32pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets 8:57pm
     Constellation: Gemini
     Distance: 1.01615910 AU = 152,015,237 km = 94,457,890 miles
     Magnitude: -26.7
     Apparent size: 31.48 arcminutes in angular diameter
     Civil twilight ends at 9:26pm ( When the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon )
     Nautical twilight ends at 10:06pm ( When the Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon )
     Astronomical twilight ends at 10:52pm ( When the Sun is 18 degrees below the horizon )
     Autumnal Equinox: Sunday Sept 23, 2007 at 5:51am (when fall will officially be here)
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Moon data:
     Rise 12:27pm
     Transit: 6:16pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets 11:55pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase: 38.75% illuminated (waxing crescent)
     6.59 days since last New Moon
     Distance: 0.00268169 AU = 401,175 km = 249,279 miles
     Magnitude: -9.4
     Apparent size: 29.78 arcminutes in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 76.85 degrees (evening sky)
     Next Phase: First Quarter on Sunday July 22, 2007 at 2:29am
     Next Lunar eclipse: Tuesday August 28, 2007 at 5:51am
At 10:06pm the Moon be at an altitude of 17 and look like this in binoculars:   
or like this in the telescopes - honest!

     (back to 'Quick Links')

Mercury data:
     Rise 4:40am
     Transit: 12:05pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets 7:29pm
     Constellation: Gemini
     Phase: 38.96% illuminated (waxing crescent)
     Distance: 0.87304761 AU = 130,606,063 km = 81,154,846 miles
     Elongation from Sun: 20.32 degrees (morning sky)
     Magnitude: 0.3
     Apparent size: 7.70 arcseconds in angular diameter
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Venus data:
     Rise: 9:10am
     Transit 3:45pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Set: 10:20pm
     Constellation: Leo
     Phase: 19.09% illuminated (waning crescent)
     Elongation from Sun: 34.24 degrees (evening sky)
     Distance: 0.39019464 AU = 58,372,288 km = 36,270,859 miles
     Magnitude: mag -4.5 (VERY bright!)
     Apparent size: 42.76 arcseconds in angular diameter
At 10:06pm Venus will be at an altitude of 1 and look like this in the telescopes:
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Mars data:
     Rise: 1:32am Jul 21
     Transit 8:37am Jul 21 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Set: 3:42pm Jul 21
     Constellation: Aries
     Phase: 86.60% illuminated
     Distance: 1.37879175 AU = 206,264,311 km = 128,166,702 miles
     Magnitude: mag 0.6
     Apparent size: 6.79 arcseconds in angular diameter (getting larger)
     Elongation from Sun: 69.47 degrees (morning sky)
     Next close approach of Mars is on Monday, Dec 24, 2007
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Jupiter data:
     Rise: 5:21pm
     Transit 10:07pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Set: 2:53am Jul 21
     Constellation: Ophiuchus (pronounced oh-fee-oo'-cuss)
     Phase: 99.50% illuminated
     Distance: 4.56625600 AU = 683,102,174 km = 424,460,018 miles
     Magnitude: mag -2.4
     Elongation from Sun: 132.38 degrees (evening sky)
     Apparent size: 43.17 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Saturday July 21, 2007 at 0:26am
At 10:06pm Jupiter and its four moons will be at an altitude of 27 and look like this in the telescopes
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Saturn data:
     Rise: 8:24am
     Transit 3:22pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Set: 10:19pm
     Constellation: Leo
     Phase: 99.94% illuminated
     Distance: 10.12188252 AU = 1,514,212,072 km = 940,887,772 miles
     Magnitude: mag 0.6
     Elongation from Sun: 26.62 degrees (evening sky)
     Apparent size: 16.42 arcseconds in angular diameter
At 10:06pm Saturn and three of its moons will be at an altitude of 1 and look like this in the telescopes
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Uranus data:
     Rise: 11:02pm
     Transit 4:49am Jul 21 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Set: 10:35am Jul 21
     Constellation: Aquarius
     Phase: 99.96% illuminated
     Distance: 19.42953715 AU = 2,906,617,387 km = 1,806,088,334 miles
     Magnitude: mag 5.8
     Elongation from Sun: 129.58 degrees (morning sky)
     Apparent size: 3.63 arcseconds in angular diameter
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Neptune data:
     Rise: 9:53pm
     Transit: 3:05am Jul 21 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Set: 8:18am Jul 21
     Constellation: Capricornus
     Phase: 100.00% illuminated
     Distance: 29.10992448 AU = 4,354,782,718 km = 2,705,936,563 miles
     Magnitude: mag 7.8
     Elongation from Sun: 156.73 degrees (morning sky)
     Apparent size: 2.35 arcseconds in angular diameter
     (back to 'Quick Links')

Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data:
     Rise: 6:12pm
     Transit 11:18pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Set: 4:24am Jul 21
     Constellation: Sagittarius
     Phase: 99.99% illuminated
     Distance: 30.44760650 AU = 4,554,897,100 km = 2,830,281,877 miles
     Magnitude: mag 14.1
     Elongation from Sun: 148.19 degrees (evening sky)
     Apparent size: 0.11 arcseconds in angular diameter
     (back to 'Quick Links')

General Information - Q&A of Where, When and What 

Very sincerely yours,
Dave Jessie
"Time spent observing the heavens is not deducted from your life span"

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