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Astronomical Observing at Fishcreek - Friday 5/2/2008

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Event report: Heavy cloud cover and high probability of rain prevented this event from taking place.

 

Tonight's event will feature a Moonless sky for us since it sets at 5:20pm this afternoon and won't rise until 4:48am Saturday.  We'll have the beautiful planet Saturn, colorful double stars, open clusters made up of hundreds of stars, globular clusters comprised of hundreds of thousands of stars, planetary nebula formed by dying stars, diffuse nebula and emission nebula where stars are being born, and galaxies galore in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster will all be available to us the entire night.  Springtime is the best time to observe galaxies since the Milky Way, the galaxy in which we live, is not directly overhead.  We're able to look out to the universe and not be blocked by the dust and gas in our own galaxy.  Also, Saturn is beautiful beyond words!  If you've never seen Saturn through a telescope, you owe it to yourself to do so.  It's said that one picture is worth a thousand words, but no picture can match the majesty of the real thing!

Click Here for a list of DeepSky Objects that will be available to us this session.

We hope to see you here for a night under the stars - now in our fourteenth year!

For observing conditions at our site, please click on the link below: 

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

Quick links:
    Inner Solar System     Outer Solar System    General Information about our events

The following Sun, Moon and planet detail
was calculated as it will be on Friday
5/2/08 at 9:31:35pm (nautical twilight)
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

Above Horizon Below Horizon
  Sun
Mercury
(sets at 10:02pm)
 
  Venus
  Moon
(rises at 4:48am Saturday)
Mars  
  Jupiter
Saturn  
  Uranus
  Neptune
  Pluto

 

Sun data
 
Rises: 6: 18am
Transits: 1: 22pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 8: 27pm
Constellation:   Aries
Distance:   1.00818185 AU = 150,821,858 km = 93,716,359 miles = 8.4 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -26.7
Apparent size:   31.73 arcminutes in angular diameter
Twilight ends...    
Civil:   8:55pm - Sun is 6 below the horizon
Nautical:   9:32pm - Sun is 12 below the horizon
Astronomical:   10:12pm - Sun is 18 below the horizon
Summer Solstice:   Friday Jun 20, 2008 at 8:00pm (when summer will officially be here)
Next Solar Eclipses in Stow, Ohio:
    Partial eclipse (>80%) on Monday August 21, 2017 2:30pm EDT
    Total eclipse (an amazing sight!) on Monday April 8, 2024 2:15pm EST (3:15pm EDT)
At 9:32pm the Sun will be 12 below the west-northwest horizon

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Moon data
 
Rises: 4: 24am May 3
Transits: 10: 45am May 3 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 5: 20pm May 3
Constellation:   Taurus
Phase:   9.03% illuminated (waning crescent)
Distance:   0.00247421 AU = 370,136 km = 229,992 miles = 1.24 light-seconds
Magnitude:   -7.3
Apparent size:   32.27 arcminutes in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   34.89 degrees (morning sky)
Age:   26.90 days since last New Moon
Next Phase:   New Moon on Monday May 5, 2008 at 8:18am
Next Lunar eclipse:   Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
At 9:32pm the Moon will be 38.1 below the northwest horizon 
but will look like this after it clears the trees at 5:00am Saturday morning...


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Mercury data
 
Rises: 6: 59am
Transits: 2: 30pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 10: 02pm
Constellation:   Taurus
Phase:   68.98% illuminated
Distance:   1.08595197 AU = 162,456,102 km = 100,945,543 miles = 9.05 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -0.7
Apparent size:   6.19 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   17.52 degrees (evening sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Wednesday, May 14, 2008 (21 47' 34")
Morning:   Tuesday, July 01, 2008 (21 47' 03")
At 9:32pm Mercury will be 3.9 above the west-northwest horizon 

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Venus data
 
Rises: 5: 59am
Transits: 12: 45am - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 7: 32pm
Constellation:   Aries
Phase:   98.52% illuminated
Distance:   1.69663303 AU = 253,812,689 km = 157,711,895 miles = 14.13 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -3.9 (bright, but lost in the glare of the rising Sun)
Apparent size:   9.83 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   10.00 degrees (morning sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Wednesday 1/14/2009 (47 07' 21")
Morning:   Friday 6/05/2009 (45 51' 07")
At 9:32pm Venus will be 21 below the west-northwest horizon

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Mars data
 
Rises: 11: 03am
Transits: 6: 35pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 2: 08am May 3
Constellation:   Gemini
Phase:   90.73% illuminated
Distance:   1.64431335 AU = 245,985,776 km = 152,848,477 miles = 13.7 light-minutes
Magnitude:   1.2 (getting dimmer)
Apparent size:   5.69 arcseconds in angular diameter (getting smaller)
Elongation from Sun:   73.41 degrees (evening sky)
Next close approach:   Friday, Jan 29, 2010
At 9:32pm Mars will be 48.9 above the west-southwest horizon

No, Mars was *not* "...as big as a Full Moon on August 27!"
Please see the following links for more information about this annual 'Mars Hoax'
    Sky & Telescope article
    Snopes.com article
    Hoax-slayer article
    Universe Today article

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Jupiter data
 
Rises: 1: 30am May 3
Transits: 6: 15am May 3 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 11: 00am May 3
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.17% illuminated
Distance:   4.76014313 AU = 712,107,276 km = 442,482,953 miles = 39.65 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -2.4
Apparent size:   41.42 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   110.70 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:32pm Jupiter will be 44.8 below the east-northeast horizon
Next transit of the Great Red Spot:  Saturday May 3, 2008 at 3:42am
GRS longitude: 122.0
Jupiter moons activity:
     None tonight.  Positions of the moons will change very little during the course of the night.


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Saturn data
 
Rises: 2: 07pm
Transits: 8: 57pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 3: 48am May 3
Constellation:   Leo
Phase:   99.74% illuminated
Distance:   8.92709194 AU = 1,335,473,945 km = 829,825,048 miles = 1.24 light-hours
Magnitude:   0.6
Apparent size:   18.62 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   108.67 degrees (evening sky)
At 9:32pm Saturn will be 60.4 above the south horizon

Below is an animation of Saturn and six of its brightest moons.  It begins at 9:00:00pm EDT and
runs until 3:00am Saturday.  You can read the altitude and azimuth in the caption below Saturn.
This image is neither inverted nor reversed - Saturn would look like this in a non-inverting telescope.
Frames are 15 minutes apart. 
'Alt' means number of degrees above the horizon,
'Az' means number of degrees of azimuth where 0 is north, 90 is east, 180 is south and 270 is west



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Uranus data
 
Rises: 4: 21am
Transits: 10: 12am - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 4: 03pm
Constellation:   Aquarius
Phase:   99.96% illuminated
Distance:   20.70896234 AU = 3,098,016,670 km = 1,925,018,336 miles = 2.87 light-hourss
Magnitude:   5.9
Apparent size:   3.40 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   51.52 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:32pm Uranus will be 51.9 below the north-northwest horizon

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Neptune data
 
Rises: 3: 08am May 3
Transits: 8: 24am May 3 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 1: 40pm May 3
Constellation:   Capricornus
Phase:   99.97% illuminated
Distance:   30.21755925 AU = 4,520,482,521 km = 2,808,897,649 miles = 4.19 light-hours
Magnitude:   7.9
Apparent size:   2.26 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   78.90 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:32pm Neptune will be 59.2 below the north-northeast horizon

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Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises: 11: 39pm
Transits: 4: 42am May 3 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 9: 36am May 3
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.99% illuminated
Distance:   30.77459521 AU = 4,603,813,914 km = 2,860,677,376 miles = 4.27 light-hours
Magnitude:   14.1
Apparent size:   0.11 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   131.77 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:32pm Pluto will be 24.6 below the east horizon

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Inner Solar System - the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Earth
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)

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Outer Solar System - the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)

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General Information you should know about our events - 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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