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Astronomical Observing at Fishcreek - Friday 5/16/2008

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Event report: Good conditions early but the 'seeing' deteriorated around midnight.  Overall, a successful event!
Attendees got to see Mercury prior to setting
at 10:30pm.  Saturn was just incredible!
As predicted, the nearly full Moon and slight haze
limited deepsky viewing to a few of the brightest open & globular star clusters.

 

Tonight's event will be somewhat limited by a nearly full Moon setting at 4:27am Saturday morning.  Planet-wise, we'll have a last chance to catch fleeting Mercury in the west before it gets lost in the glare of the Sun.  We'll also see beautiful planet Saturn, colorful double stars, open clusters made up of hundreds of stars, globular clusters comprised of hundreds of thousands of stars.  Unfortunately, the planetary nebula formed by dying stars, diffuse nebula and emission nebula where stars are being born, and galaxies will be rendered invisible to us by the brightness of the full Moon.  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
5/16/08 at 9:49:44pm (nautical twilight)
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

Above Horizon Below Horizon
  Sun
Mercury
(sets at 10:29pm)
 
  Venus
Moon
(sets at 4:27am Saturday)
 
Mars  
  Jupiter
Saturn  
  Uranus
  Neptune
  Pluto

 

Sun data
 
Rises: 6: 02am
Transits: 1: 22pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 8: 42pm
Constellation:   Taurus
Distance:   1.01135204 AU = 151,296,112 km = 94,011,047 miles = 8.42 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -26.7
Apparent size:   31.63 arcminutes in angular diameter
Twilight ends...    
Civil:   9:10pm - Sun is 6 below the horizon
Nautical:   9:50pm - Sun is 12 below the horizon
Astronomical:   10:34pm - 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 9:49:44pm the Sun will be 12 below the west-northwest horizon

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Moon data
 
Rises: 5: 39pm
Transits: 11: 07pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 4: 27am May 17
Constellation:   Virgo
Phase:   91.97% illuminated (waxing gibbous)
Distance:   0.00266578 AU = 398,795 km = 247,800 miles = 1.33 light-seconds
Magnitude:   -11.8
Apparent size:   29.95 arcminutes in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   147.00 degrees (evening sky)
Age:   11.56 days since last New Moon
Next Phase:   Full Moon on Monday May 19, 2008 at 11:11pm
Next Lunar eclipse:   Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
At 9:49:44pm the Moon will be 32.2 above the south-southeast horizon and will look like this...

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Mercury data
 
Rises: 7: 08am
Transits: 2: 51pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 10: 35pm
Constellation:   Taurus
Phase:   29.74% illuminated
Distance:   0.77707691 AU = 116,249,051 km = 72,233,812 miles = 6.47 light-minutes
Magnitude:   0.8
Apparent size:   8.66 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   21.48 degrees (evening sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Morning:   Tuesday, July 01, 2008 (21 47' 03")
Evening:   Thursday, September 11, 2008 (26 52' 17")
At 9:49:44pm Mercury will be 6.2 above the west-northwest horizon

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Venus data
 
Rises: 5: 49am
Transits: 12: 57pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 8: 06pm
Constellation:   Aries
Phase:   99.41% illuminated
Distance:   1.72010277 AU = 257,323,712 km = 159,893,544 miles = 14.33 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -3.9 (bright, but lost in the glare of the rising Sun)
Apparent size:   9.70 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   6.28 degrees (morning sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Wednesday 1/14/2009 (47 07' 21")
Morning:   Friday 6/05/2009 (45 51' 07")
At 9:49:44pm Venus will be 17.4 below the west-northwest horizon

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Mars data
 
Rises: 10: 47am
Transits: 6: 12pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 1: 36am May 17
Constellation:   Cancer
Phase:   91.41% illuminated
Distance:   1.76884324 AU = 264,615,182 km = 164,424,253 miles = 14.73 light-minutes
Magnitude:   1.4 (getting dimmer)
Apparent size:   5.29 arcseconds in angular diameter (getting smaller)
Elongation from Sun:   67.37 degrees (evening sky)
Next close approach:   Friday, Jan 29, 2010
At 9:49:44pm Mars will be 40 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: 12: 35am May 17
Transits: 5: 20am May 17 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 10: 05am May 17
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.35% illuminated
Distance:   4.56039988 AU = 682,226,112 km = 423,915,658 miles = 37.99 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -2.5
Apparent size:   43.23 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   124.27 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:49:44pm Jupiter will be 31 below the east horizon
Next transit of the Great Red Spot:  Saturday May 17, 2008 at 5:14am
GRS longitude: 122.4
Jupiter moons activity:
     None tonight.  Positions of the moons will change very little during the course of the night.
     Jupiter and its four visible moons will look like this at 4:00am Saturday.


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Saturn data
 
Rises: 1: 13pm
Transits: 8: 03pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 2: 53am May 17
Constellation:   Leo
Phase:   99.71% illuminated
Distance:   9.15464907 AU = 1,369,516,008 km = 850,977,805 miles = 1.27 light-hours
Magnitude:   0.6
Apparent size:   18.15 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   95.30 degrees (evening sky)
At 9:49:44pm Saturn will be 53 above the southwest horizon

This is how Saturn and five of its brightest moons will look at 9:50pm.
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: 23am May 17
Transits: 9: 15am May 17 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 3: 06pm May 17
Constellation:   Aquarius
Phase:   99.95% illuminated
Distance:   20.51100154 AU = 3,068,402,156 km = 1,906,616,730 miles = 2.85 light-hours
Magnitude:   5.9
Apparent size:   3.44 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   64.55 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:49:44pm Uranus will be 52 below the north horizon

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Neptune data
 
Rises: 2: 14am May 17
Transits: 7: 30am May 17 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 12: 46pm May 17
Constellation:   Capricornus
Phase:   99.97% illuminated
Distance:   29.98150598 AU = 4,485,169,455 km = 2,786,955,126 miles = 4.16 light-hours
Magnitude:   7.9
Apparent size:   2.28 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   92.32 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:49:44pm Neptune will be 49.4 below the northeast horizon

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Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises: 10: 43pm
Transits: 3: 46am May 17 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 8: 50am May 17
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.99% illuminated
Distance:   30.62476475 AU = 4,581,399,597 km = 2,846,749,765 miles = 4.25 light-hours
Magnitude:   14.1
Apparent size:   0.11 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   145.35 degrees (morning sky)
At 9:49:44pm Pluto will be 10.8 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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