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Astronomical Observing at Fishcreek - Friday 5/9/2008

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

 

Tonight's event will feature a nearly first-quarter Moon setting at 1:35am Saturday morning.  Planet-wise, we'll have a chance to see fleeting Mercury in the west before it sets and 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
5/9/08 at 9:40:48pm (nautical twilight)
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

Above Horizon Below Horizon
  Sun
Mercury
(sets at 10:29pm)
 
  Venus
Moon
(sets at 1:35am Saturday)
 
Mars  
  Jupiter
Saturn  
  Uranus
  Neptune
  Pluto

 

Sun data
 
Rises: 6: 09am
Transits: 1: 22pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 8: 35pm
Constellation:   Aries
Distance:   1.00985303 AU = 151,071,862 km = 93,871,704 miles = 8.41 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -26.7
Apparent size:   31.68 arcminutes in angular diameter
Twilight ends...    
Civil:   9:03pm - Sun is 6 below the horizon
Nautical:   9:41pm - Sun is 12 below the horizon
Astronomical:   10:23pm - 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 9:41pm the Sun will be 12 below the west-northwest horizon

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Moon data
 
Rises: 9: 45am
Transits: 5: 46pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 1: 35am May 10
Constellation:   Gemini
Phase:   27.39% illuminated (waxing crescent)
Distance:   0.00247421 AU = 370,136 km = 229,992 miles = 1.24 light-seconds
Magnitude:   -9.0
Apparent size:   32.63 arcminutes in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   62.99 degrees (evening sky)
Age:   4.56 days since last New Moon
Next Phase:   First Quarter on Sunday May 11, 2008 at 11:47pm
Next Lunar eclipse:   Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
At 9:41pm the Moon will be 39.6 above the west-southwest horizon and will look like this...


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Mercury data
 
Rises: 7: 06am
Transits: 2: 47pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 10: 29pm
Constellation:   Taurus
Phase:   47.79% illuminated
Distance:   0.92546689 AU = 138,447,876 km = 86,027,523 miles = 7.71 light-minutes
Magnitude:   0.0
Apparent size:   7.27 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   21.19 degrees (evening sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Wednesday, May 14, 2008 (21 47' 34")
Morning:   Tuesday, July 01, 2008 (21 47' 03")
At 9:41pm Mercury will be 6.8 above the west-northwest horizon

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Venus data
 
Rises: 5: 53am
Transits: 12: 50pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 7: 49pm
Constellation:   Aries
Phase:   99.01% illuminated
Distance:   1.70964844 AU = 255,759,767 km = 158,921,753 miles = 14.24 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -3.9 (bright, but lost in the glare of the rising Sun)
Apparent size:   9.76 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   8.15 degrees (morning sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Wednesday 1/14/2009 (47 07' 21")
Morning:   Friday 6/05/2009 (45 51' 07")
At 9:41pm Venus will be 19.2 below the west-northwest horizon

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Mars data
 
Rises: 10: 55am
Transits: 6: 23pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 1: 52am May 10
Constellation:   Cancer
Phase:   91.05% illuminated
Distance:   1.70749471 AU = 255,437,573 km = 158,721,551 miles = 14.22 light-minutes
Magnitude:   1.3 (getting dimmer)
Apparent size:   5.48 arcseconds in angular diameter (getting smaller)
Elongation from Sun:   70.34 degrees (evening sky)
Next close approach:   Friday, Jan 29, 2010
At 9:41pm Mars will be 44.5 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: 03am May 10
Transits: 5: 48am May 10 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 10: 33am May 10
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.25% illuminated
Distance:   4.65722109 AU = 696,710,359 km = 432,915,752 miles = 38.79 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -2.4
Apparent size:   42.33 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   117.42 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:41pm Jupiter will be 38 below the east-northeast horizon
Next transit of the Great Red Spot:  Saturday May 10, 2008 at 4:28am
GRS longitude: 122.2
Jupiter moons activity:
     None tonight.  Positions of the moons will change very little during the course of the night.
     Jupiter and it's four visible moons will look like this at 4:00am.  Notice the Great Red Spot.


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Saturn data
 
Rises: 1: 40pm
Transits: 8: 30pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 3: 20am May 10
Constellation:   Leo
Phase:   99.72% illuminated
Distance:   9.0394961 AU = 1,352,289,369 km = 840,273,668 miles = 1.25 light-hours
Magnitude:   0.6
Apparent size:   18.39 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   101.93 degrees (evening sky)
At 9:41pm Saturn will be 57.5 above the south-southwest horizon

This is how Saturn and five of its brightest moons will look at 9:41pm.
This image is neither inverted nor reversed - Saturn would look like this in a non-inverting telescope.


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Uranus data
 
Rises: 3: 54am
Transits: 9: 45am - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 3: 36pm
Constellation:   Aquarius
Phase:   99.95% illuminated
Distance:   20.61354994 AU = 3,083,743,178 km = 1,916,149,199 miles = 2.86 light-hours
Magnitude:   5.9
Apparent size:   3.42 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   58.03 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:41pm Uranus will be 52.8 below the north-northwest horizon

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Neptune data
 
Rises: 2: 41am May 10
Transits: 7: 57am May 10 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 1: 13pm May 10
Constellation:   Capricornus
Phase:   99.97% illuminated
Distance:   30.10003838 AU = 4,502,901,649 km = 2,797,973,401 miles = 4.18 light-hours
Magnitude:   7.9
Apparent size:   2.27 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   85.61 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:41pm Neptune will be 54.8 below the northeast horizon

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Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises: 11: 11pm
Transits: 4: 15am May 10 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 9: 18am May 10
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:   138.59 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:41pm Pluto will be 17.7 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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