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Astronomical Observing at Fishcreek - Friday 7/04/2008

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Event report...


The sky cleared, we set up equipment, people started to arrive and we had beautiful views for about an hour - then the sky totally clouded over.  We waited for it to clear but finally decided to try another time.
If amateur astronomy teaches anything, it's patience!
 

 

Tonight's event will feature a moonless sky for us all night since it sets at 10:35pm this evening.  We'll be able to see 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 will be available to us until the Moon rises above the trees around 2:15am.  Saturn is beautiful beyond words!  If you've never seen Saturn through a telescope, you owe it to yourself to do so.  See it now while the rings are still visible - it is heading into the west earlier and earlier in the evening and in 2009, the rings will be edge-on and almost totally invisible.  It's said that one picture is worth a thousand words, but no picture can match the majesty of the real thing!  Jupiter will be visible, if you stay after 11:00pm or so when it will be high enough to clear the trees to the east of our observing field.

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
7/04/08 at 10:17:31pm (nautical twilight)
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

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

 

Sun data
 
Rises: 5: 55am
Transits: 1: 30pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 9: 05pm
Constellation:   Gemini
Distance:   1.01676058 AU = 152,105,218 km = 94,513,802 miles = 8.47 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -26.7
Apparent size:   31.46 arcminutes in angular diameter
Twilight ends...    
Civil:   9:35pm - Sun is 6 below the horizon
Nautical:   10:18pm - Sun is 12 below the horizon
Astronomical:   11:08pm - Sun is 18 below the horizon
Fall Equinox:   Monday Sept 22, 2008 at 11:45am (when Fall 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)
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm the Sun will be 12 below the northwest horizon

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Moon data
 
Rises: 7: 31am
Transits: 3: 10pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 10: 35pm
Constellation:   Cancer
Phase:   5.44% illuminated (waxing crescent)
Distance:   0.00245913 AU = 367,880 km = 228,590 miles = 1.23 light-seconds
Magnitude:   -6.4
Apparent size:   32.47 arcminutes in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   26.90 degrees (evening sky)
Age:   2.00 days since last New Moon
Next Phase:   First Quarter Moon on Thursday July 10, 2008 at 0:35am
Next Lunar eclipse:   Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm the Moon will be just 1.7 above the west horizon
but will look like this at 10:00pm...


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Mercury data
 
Rises: 4: 34am
Transits: 11: 58am - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 7: 22pm
Constellation:   Taurus
Phase:   45.21% illuminated
Distance:   0.91101763 AU = 136,286,298 km = 84,684,381 miles = 7.59 light-minutes
Magnitude:   0.1
Apparent size:   7.38 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   21.39 degrees (morning sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Thursday, September 11, 2008 (26 52' 17")
Morning:   Wednesday, October 22, 2008 (18 19' 05")
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Mercury will be 23.8 below the northwest horizon

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Venus data
 
Rises: 6: 26am
Transits: 2: 01pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 9: 35pm
Constellation:   Gemini
Phase:   99.21% illuminated
Distance:   1.71598499 AU = 256,707,701 km = 159,510,772 miles = 14.29 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -3.9 (bright, but lost in the glare of the rising Sun)
Apparent size:   9.72 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   7.18 degrees (evening sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Wednesday 1/14/2009 (47 07' 21")
Morning:   Friday 6/05/2009 (45 51' 07")
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Venus will be 7.6 below the west-northwest horizon

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Mars data
 
Rises: 10: 01am
Transits: 4: 50pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 11: 37pm
Constellation:   Leo
Phase:   94.35% illuminated
Distance:   2.13791767 AU = 319,827,931 km = 198,731,865 miles = 17.81 light-minutes
Magnitude:   1.7 (getting dimmer)
Apparent size:   4.38 arcseconds in angular diameter (getting smaller)
Elongation from Sun:   48.60 degrees (evening sky)
Next close approach:   Friday, Jan 29, 2010
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Mars will be 13.7 above the west 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: 9: 07pm
Transits: 1: 49am July 5 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 6: 31am July 5
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.99% illuminated
Distance:   4.16527795 AU = 623,116,712 km = 387,186,779 miles = 34.69 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -2.7
Apparent size:   47.33 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   175.44 degrees (morning sky)
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Jupiter will be 9.6 above the east-southeast horizon
Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Saturday July 5, 2008 0:36am
GRS longitude: 123.7
Jupiter moons activity:
      None tonight
Jupiter and its four visible moons will look like this at 10:17:31pm tonight...


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Saturn data
 
Rises: 10: 16am
Transits: 5: 02pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 11: 47pm
Constellation:   Leo
Phase:   99.82% illuminated
Distance:   9.91568556 AU = 1,483,365,446 km = 921,720,567 miles = 1.38 light-hours
Magnitude:   0.8
Apparent size:   16.76 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   51.46 degrees (evening sky)
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Saturn will be 15.6 above the west horizon

This is how Saturn and five of its brightest moons will look at 10:17:31pm.
This image is neither inverted nor reversed - Saturn would look like this in a non-inverting telescope.
 

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Uranus data
 
Rises: 0: 12am July 5
Transits: 6: 04am July 5 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 11: 57am July 5
Constellation:   Aquarius
Phase:   99.94% illuminated
Distance:   19.71388423 AU = 2,949,155,104 km = 1,832,520,046 miles = 2.74 light-hours
Magnitude:   5.8
Apparent size:   3.58 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   110.82 degrees (morning sky)
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Uranus will be 22.6 below the east-northeast horizon

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Neptune data
 
Rises: 11: 00pm
Transits: 4: 16am July 5 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 9: 31am July 5
Constellation:   Capricornus
Phase:   99.99% illuminated
Distance:   29.25684607 AU = 4,376,761,875 km = 2,719,593,778 miles = 4.06 light-hours
Magnitude:   7.8
Apparent size:   2.33 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   139.59 degrees (morning sky)
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Neptune will be 9 below the east horizon

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Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises: 7: 25pm
Transits: 0: 29am July 5 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 5: 32am July 5
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   100.00% illuminated
Distance:   30.50469005 AU = 4,563,436,678 km = 2,835,588,125 miles = 4.23 light-hours
Magnitude:   14.1
Apparent size:   0.11 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   164.66 degrees (evening sky)
On 7/4/2008 at 10:17:31pm Pluto will be 24.2 above the southeast 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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