Astronomical Observing at Fishcreek - Friday 8/14/2009

A successful event, despite much-less-than-perfect sky conditions.  How is that possible?  Great people came out to enjoy Jupiter and a few double-stars, even a couple deep-sky objects, between the clouds, that is.  We had several new visitors and quite a few folks that have been to several events this year.  We stayed out until about 1:15am.  Lots of fun was had by all!

Jupiter was a real treat.  The two moons, Io and Europa, were indeed extremely close together.  It was a thrill to see them slowly drift apart as the night progressed.

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Tonight, we have a 36% illuminated waning crescent Moon rising at 40 minutes after midnight.  It won't clear the trees to the east of the observing field until 2:15am, so we'll have a dark night for most of this observing session.  Unfortunately, Saturn is now too low on the horizon to allow quality images to be seen but Jupiter is now with us!  Also, we have the colorful double stars, open clusters made up of hundreds of stars, the 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 we can observe since the light of the Moon won't drown out the dim light of these distant island universes.  Jupiter will clear the trees shortly after 10:00pm and you'll see why it's called the King of the Planets.  Perhaps we'll even catch a glimpse of the scar left by an impact of an unknown object.  If you don't know to what I'm referring, please click HERE for information.  To top it off, Jupiter reached opposition at exactly 1:44:10pm this afternoon, so it will appear closest and largest tonight until Sept 21, 2010.  If you want to get a great look at Jupiter, tonight is the night!

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 08/14/09 at 9:31:
17pm EDT (nautical twilight)
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

Above Horizon Below Horizon Constellation Mag Rises Sets
  Sun Leo -26.7 06:31 20:28
  Mercury Leo 0.1 08:43 21:27
  Venus Gemini -4.0 03:32 18:29
  Mars Taurus 1.0 01:45 16:55
Jupiter   Capricornus -2.9 20:19 06:40
Saturn   Leo 1.1 08:57 21:46
  Uranus Pisces 5.7 21:39 09:33
Neptune   Capricornus 7.8 20:24 06:57
Pluto   Sagittarius 14.2 16:54 02:55
  Moon Taurus -9.5 00:40 16:50

 

Sun data
 
Rises:

6:31am

Transits:

1:30pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

8:28pm

Constellation:

Leo

Distance:

1.01281997 AU = 151,515,711 km = 94,147,499 miles = 8.44 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-26.7

Apparent size:

31.58 arcminutes in angular diameter

Twilight ends...

Civil:

  8:55pm - Sun is   6 below the horizon

Nautical:

  9:31pm - Sun is 12 below the horizon

Astronomical:

10:10pm - Sun is 18 below the horizon

Autumnal Equinox:

Tuesday Sept 22, 2009 at 5:19pm (when Fall officially arrives)

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 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm the Sun will be 12 below the west-northwest horizon

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Moon data
 
Rises:

0:40am - Aug 15

Transits:

8:44am - Aug 15 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)

Sets:

4:50pm - Aug 15

Constellation:

Taurus

Phase:

35.96% illuminated (waning crescent)

Distance:

0.00250018 AU = 374,021 km = 232,406 miles = 1.25 light-seconds

Magnitude:

-9.5

Apparent size:

31.94 arcminutes in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

73.56 (morning sky)

Age:

23d 23h 2m since last New Moon

Next Phase:

New Moon on Thursday Aug 20, 2009 at 6:01am

Next Lunar eclipse:

Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm the Moon will be 21.7 below the north horizon
but will look like this when it clears the north-eastern horizon...

Note: All graphics are correct-image representations.  A telescope will reverse this left-right and possibly invert up-down depending on type of equipment being used.

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Mercury data
 
Rises:

8:43am

Transits:

3:05pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

9:27pm

Constellation:

Leo

Phase:

65.82% illuminated

Distance:

1.05945657 AU = 158,492,447 km = 98,482,642 miles = 8.82 light-minutes

Magnitude:

0.1

Apparent size:

6.35 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

25.57 (evening sky)

Next maximum elongations...
Evening:

Monday, August 24, 2009 (27 21' 57")

Morning:

Morning: Tuesday, October 06, 2009 (17 56' 43")

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Mercury will be 1.9 below the west horizon

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Venus data
 
Rises:

  3:32am

Transits:

11:00am - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  6:29pm

Constellation:

Gemini

Phase:

78.17% illuminated

Distance:

1.22537985 AU = 183,314,217 km = 113,906,175 miles = 10.21 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-4.0 (extremely bright, visible in the morning before sunrise)

Apparent size:

13.62 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

36.11 (morning sky)

Next maximum elongations...
Evening:

Friday, August 20, 2010 (45 57' 59")

Morning:

Saturday, January 08, 2011 (46 57' 24")

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Venus will be 23.8 below the northwest horizon

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Mars data
 
Rises:

1:45am - Aug 15

Transits:

9:20am - Aug 15 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

4:55pm - Aug 15

Constellation:

Taurus

Phase:

90.21% illuminated

Distance:

1.69537691 AU = 253,624,775 km = 157,595,131 miles = 14.12 light-minutes

Magnitude:

1.0

Apparent size:

5.52 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

59.27 (morning sky)

Dates of Opposition (when Mars is closest to the Earth)

Previous:

Monday Dec 24, 2007 at 2:29pm

Next:

Friday Jan 29, 2010 at 3:21pm

Next close approach:

Friday Jan 29, 2010

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Mars will be 25.6 below the north horizon

No, Mars will *not* be "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:

8:19pm

Transits:

1:29am - Aug 15 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

6:40am - Aug 15

Constellation:

Capricornus

Phase:

100.00% illuminated

Distance:

4.02781931 AU = 602,553,193 km = 374,409,201 miles = 33.55 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-2.9

Apparent size:

48.95 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

178.86 (morning sky)

Dates of Opposition (when Jupiter is closest to the Earth)

Previous:

Friday Aug 14, 2009 at 1:44pm

Next:

Tuesday Sep 21, 2010 at 7:28am

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Jupiter will be 11.1 above the east-southeast horizon
and will look like this when it clears the trees to the east of the observing field at 10:00pm.
Notice that the GRS (Great Red Spot) is headed for Jupiter's eastern limb and that Io and Europa appear to be nearly touching at only 4.8 arcseconds apart.
The apparent distance between them will grow larger as the night progresses.

Note: All graphics are correct-image representations.  A telescope will reverse this left-right and possibly invert up-down depending on type of equipment being used.

Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Saturday Aug 15, 2009 at 7:05am
GRS longitude: 135.3
Jupiter moons activity (during darkness):
      Ganymede occultation begins on Sunday Aug 16, 2009 at 4:25am when Jupiter is 19.8 above the horizon


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Saturn data
 
Rises:

8:57am

Transits:

3:21pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

9:46pm

Constellation:

Leo

Phase:

99.93% illuminated

Distance:

10.31034229 AU = 1,542,405,253 km = 958,406,203 miles = 1.43 light-hours

Magnitude:

1.1

Apparent size:

16.12 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

28.59 (evening sky)

Dates of Opposition (when Saturn is closest to the Earth)

Previous:

Sunday Mar 8, 2009 at 3:44pm

Next:

Sunday Mar 21, 2010 at 8:28pm

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Saturn will be 1.6 above the west horizon
and would look like this IF we could see it.  Unfortunately, it will be too low on the horizon to see.
Notice how incredibly thin the rings now appear.  They will disappear completely the first week of September as they do every 14 years or so.

Note: All graphics are correct-image representations.  A telescope will reverse this left-right and possibly invert up-down depending on type of equipment being used.

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Uranus data
 
Rises:

9:39pm

Transits:

3:36am - Aug 15 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

9:33am - Aug 15

Constellation:

Pisces

Phase:

99.98% illuminated

Distance:

19.24590355 AU = 2,879,146,190 km = 1,789,018,523 miles = 2.67 light-hours

Magnitude:

5.7

Apparent size:

3.66 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

146.50 (morning sky)

Dates of Opposition (when Uranus is closest to the Earth)

Previous:

Friday Sep 12, 2008 at 10:14pm

Next:

Thursday Sep 17, 2009 at 5:34am

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Uranus will be 2.7 below the east horizon

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Neptune data
 
Rises:

8:24pm

Transits:

1:40am - Aug 15 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

6:57am - Aug 15

Constellation:

Capricornus

Phase:

100.00% illuminated

Distance:

29.01660214 AU = 4,340,821,894 km = 2,697,261,709 miles = 4.03 light-hours

Magnitude:

7.8

Apparent size:

2.35 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

177.20 (morning sky)

Dates of Opposition (when Neptune is closest to the Earth)

Previous:

Friday Aug 15, 2008 at 3:35am

Next:

Monday Aug 17, 2009 at 4:47pm

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Neptune will be 10.5 above the east-southeast horizon

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Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises:

4:54pm

Transits:

9:54pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

2:55am - Aug 15

Constellation:

Sagittarius

Phase:

99.98% illuminated

Distance:

31.05407269 AU = 4,645,623,151 km = 2,886,656,432 miles = 4.31 light-hours

Magnitude:

14.2

Apparent size:

0.11 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

128.25 (evening sky)

Dates of Opposition (when Pluto is closest to the Earth)

Previous:

Tuesday Jun 23, 2009 at 3:49am

Next:

Friday Jun 25, 2010 at 2:59pm

On 8/14/2009 at 9:31:17pm Pluto will be 30.7 above the south-southeast horizon

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Inner Solar System - the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Earth
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)
Notice that Mercury is very nearly at maximum eastern elongation (visible in the evening) which occurs on Monday, August 24th, and that
Venus is now past its maximum western elongation (visible in the morning) which occurred on Friday, June 5th.


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Outer Solar System - the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)
Notice that Neptune will reach opposition in 3 days on Aug 17, 2009 and that Jupiter is exactly at opposition tonight!



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Click HERE for 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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