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Astronomical Observing at Fishcreek - Friday 10/17/2008

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Event report...


We had a great night of observing and several new visitors.
The clouds cleared at 7:00pm and stayed clear until
11:30pm allowing us to see many wonderful objects.
 

 

Tonight's event will be somewhat limited by the nearly full Moon rising at 8:16pm.  Despite the brightness of the moon, we will be able to see Jupiter, 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.  Jupiter, the King of the planets, is a beautiful sight.  With a high-power view through the telescopes, details in the cloud bands is possible, and the four Galilean moons actually appear as disks instead of just point light sources.  Uranus and Neptune are visible now as well and appear as small bluish-green 'large' stars in our telescopes. 

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 10/17/08 at 7:41:00pm (nautical twilight)
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

Above Horizon Below Horizon Constellation Mag Rises Sets
  Sun Virgo -26.7 07:37 18:44
  Mercury Virgo 0.1 06:12 18:09
Venus   Libra -4.0 10:35 20:13
  Mars Libra 1.6 08:52 19:20
Jupiter   Sagittarius -2.2 14:04 23:23
  Saturn Leo 1.0 04:26 17:24
Uranus   Aquarius 5.8 17:12 04:47
Neptune   Capricornus 7.9 16:01 02:26
Pluto   Sagittarius 14.2 12:32 22:35
  Moon Taurus -11.7 20:16 12:33

 

Sun data
 
Rises: 7: 37am
Transits: 1: 10pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 6: 44pm
Constellation:   Virgo
Distance:   0.99628334 AU = 149,041,867 km = 92,610,324 miles = 8.3 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -26.7
Apparent size:   32.11 arcminutes in angular diameter
Twilight ends...  
Civil:  

7:

09pm  - Sun is   6 below the horizon
Nautical:  

7:

41pm  - Sun is 12 below the horizon
Astronomical:  

8:

13pm  - Sun is 18 below the horizon
Winter Solstice:   Sunday Dec 21, 2008 at 8:04am (when Winter 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 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm the Sun will be 12 below the west-southwest horizon

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Moon data
 
Rises: 8: 16pm
Transits: 4: 22am Oct 18 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 12: 32pm Oct 18
Constellation:   Taurus
Phase:   86.16% illuminated (waning gibbous)
Distance:   0.00243866 AU = 364,819 km = 226,688 miles = 1.22 light-seconds
Magnitude:   -11.7
Apparent size:   32.74 arcminutes in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   136.22 degrees (morning sky)
Age:   18.64 days since last New Moon
Next Phase:   Last Quarter on Tuesday Oct 21, 2008 at 7:55am
Next Lunar eclipse:   Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm the Moon will be 6.4 below the northeast horizon
but will look like this at 9:00pm when it's 5 above the horizon...

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Mercury data
 
Rises: 6: 12am
Transits: 12: 10pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 6: 09pm
Constellation:   Virgo
Phase:   34.25% illuminated
Distance:   0.85569487 AU = 128,010,130 km = 79,541,808 miles = 7.13 light-minutes
Magnitude:   0.1
Apparent size:   7.86 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   17.04 degrees (morning sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Morning:   Wednesday, October 22, 2008 (18 19' 05")
Evening:   Sunday, January 4, 2009 (19 20' 36")
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Mercury will be 18.3 below the west horizon

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Venus data
 
Rises: 10: 35am
Transits: 3: 24pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 8: 13pm
Constellation:   Libra
Phase:   82.07% illuminated
Distance:   1.29181811 AU = 193,253,238 km = 120,081,996 miles = 10.76 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -4.0 (extremely bright, but difficult in the glare of the setting Sun)
Apparent size:   12.92 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   34.09 degrees (evening sky)
Next maximum elongations...
Evening:   Wednesday 1/14/2009 (47 07' 21")
Morning:   Friday 6/05/2009 (45 51' 07")
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Venus will be 4.1 above the southwest horizon
and will appear to be a featureless gibbous Moon something like this...

Remember that we're not really seeing the surface of Venus, but rather the extremely dense clouds composed chiefly of carbon dioxide, which generates a surface pressure 90 times greater than that on Earth. This massive blanket of carbon dioxide is also responsible for a runaway greenhouse effect that heats the planet's surface to an average temperature of nearly 900F - hot enough to melt lead. Venus' atmosphere consists almost entirely (97%) of carbon dioxide, with clouds containing sulfuric acid along with chlorine and fluorine. These clouds produce an acid rain which evaporates before it has a chance to reach the surface. In the upper part of the atmosphere, fierce winds drive clouds at nearly 200mph.  Not a very hospitable place.  Let's take care of our planet!

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Mars data
 
Rises: 8: 52am
Transits: 2: 06pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 7: 20pm
Constellation:   Libra
Phase:   99.36% illuminated
Distance:   2.49920804 AU = 373,876,201 km = 232,315,904 miles = 20.82 light-minutes
Magnitude:   1.6
Apparent size:   3.74 arcseconds in angular diameter (getting smaller)
Elongation from Sun:   14.44 degrees (evening sky)
Next close approach:   Friday, Jan 29, 2010
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Mars will be 4.9 below 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: 2: 04pm
Transits: 6: 43pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 11: 23pm
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.08% illuminated
Distance:   5.21969905 AU = 780,855,863 km = 485,201,345 miles = 43.48 light-minutes
Magnitude:   -2.2
Apparent size:   37.77 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   79.99 degrees (evening sky)
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Jupiter will be 24.5 above the south horizon

Next transit of the Great Red Spot: None before it sets
GRS longitude: 126.0
Jupiter moons activity:
       None tonight

Jupiter and its four visible moons will look like this...

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Saturn data
 
Rises: 4: 26am
Transits: 10: 55am - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 5: 23pm
Constellation:   Leo
Phase:   99.89% illuminated
Distance:   10.11282434 AU = 1,512,856,988 km = 940,045,762 miles = 1.40 light-hours
Magnitude:   1.0
Apparent size:   16.43 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   37.81 degrees (morning sky)
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Saturn will be 24.9 below the west-northwest horizon

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Uranus data
 
Rises: 5: 12pm
Transits: 11: 00pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 4: 47am Oct 18
Constellation:   Aquarius
Phase:   99.98% illuminated
Distance:   19.27995451 AU = 2,884,240,141 km = 1,792,183,758 miles = 2.68 light-hours
Magnitude:   5.8
Apparent size:   3.66 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   144.41 degrees (evening sky)
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Uranus will be 25.2 above the east-southeast horizon

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Neptune data
 
Rises: 4: 01pm
Transits: 9: 14pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 2: 26am Oct 18
Constellation:   Capricornus
Phase:   99.98% illuminated
Distance:   29.57715669 AU = 4,424,679,661 km = 2,749,368,511 miles = 4.11 light-hours
Magnitude:   7.9
Apparent size:   2.31 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   116.56 degrees (evening sky)
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Neptune will be 30.1 above the southeast horizon

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Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises: 12: 32pm
Transits: 5: 34pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South
Sets: 10: 35pm
Constellation:   Sagittarius
Phase:   99.98% illuminated
Distance:   31.96151658 AU = 4,781,374,824 km = 2,971,008,612 miles = 4.44 light-hours
Magnitude:   14.2
Apparent size:   0.10 arcseconds in angular diameter
Elongation from Sun:   64.07 degrees (evening sky)
On 10/17/2008 at 7:41:00pm Pluto will be 24.3 above the south-southwest 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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