Astronomical Observing at the Fishcreek Observing Site
Friday - 9/17/2010  8:00 pm

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HERE for a printer-friendly version of the information on this page.

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Tonight, we've got a bright 76% illuminated waxing gibbous Moon with us for the entire session.  You know the drill by now - the faint deep-sky objects will be obscured by this bright Moon and won't be too impressive.  However, we'll still have the colorful double stars and open clusters made up of hundreds of stars that will look beautiful, but the globular clusters won't be the preferred objects, the brighter planetary nebula formed by dying stars will look good, but the diffuse nebula and emission nebula where stars are being born won't be visible.  Galaxies, won't be the objects of choice, either.  Bring binoculars if you have a pair and we'll show you how to find the beautiful "Coat Hanger" cluster which is actually best seen in binoculars.

How about the planets...which ones can we see tonight? 

    Sun is obviously unavailable to us, it IS night time after all. ;^)
    Mercury is no longer visible in the evening. It is now a morning object and visible before sunrise.
    Venus, with a waning crescent phase, is sinking lower and lower in the west. Still extremely bright!
    Earth is what you'll be standing on as you look up. ;^)
    Mars is 7.0 to Venus' upper right. Note that Mars appears far dimmer than Venus.
    Jupiter is now rising early enough for us and will be visible after 9:30pm.  It's HUGE and BRIGHT!
    Saturn is no longer visible before sunset.  It's gone for the year as an evening object.
    Uranus is now rising early enough for us and will be visible after 9:30pm less than 1 above Jupiter
    Neptune is now easily visible after dark and for the entire night  30 to the west of Jupiter
 
  Pluto is up tonight, but so incredibly small and dim that we can't see a thing in our telescopes!  We can show you where it is, though.  OK, OK...if you want to try to see it, we'll try!
    Moon is up until it sets at 2:37am Saturday morning.  Detail visible on the terminator will be fantastic!

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 sixteenth year!

- - - - - - Our location - - - - - -

Longitude:

W 81 25' 38.4"
Latitude: N 41 11' 11.1"
Altitude:

 337m

Note: All times are shown in EDT (Eastern Daylight Time (UT-4)) as seen from Stow, Ohio
.
 

The following Sun, Moon and planet detail was calculated as it will be
on Friday 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm (nautical twilight)

Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

Above Horizon Below Horizon Constellation Mag Rises Sets
  Sun Virgo -26.7 07:05 19:34
  Mercury Leo -0.1 05:36 18:53
Venus   Virgo -4.5 10:49 20:46
Mars   Virgo 1.5 10:15 20:59
Jupiter   Pisces -2.9 19:37 07:33
  Saturn Virgo 0.9 08:01 20:08
Uranus   Pisces 5.7 19:33 07:34
Neptune   Capricornus 7.8 18:15 04:52
Pluto   Sagittarius 14.2 14:52 00:47
Moon   Sagittarius -11.1 16:34 02:37
Click HERE for information on the planets such as orbital and rotational periods, velocities, distances, etc. not listed in the detail provided below.

Quick links:
    Inner Solar System     Outer Solar System

.

Sun data
 
Rises:

7:05am

Transits:

1:20pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

7:34pm

Constellation:

Virgo

Distance:

1.00493519 AU = 150,336,164 km = 93,414,563 miles = 8.37 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-26.7

Apparent size:

31.83 arcminutes in angular diameter

Twilight ends...

Civil:

7:59pm - Sun is   6 below the horizon

Nautical:

8:32pm - Sun is 12 below the horizon

Astronomical:

9:05pm - Sun is 18 below the horizon

Summer began:

at the Summer Solstice which occurred on Monday Jun 21, 2010 at 7:29am

Fall begins:

at the Autumnal Equinox which will occur on Wednesday Sep 22, 2010 at 11:10pm

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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm the Sun will be 12 below the west horizon

Click
HERE for additional data on the Sun

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Moon data
 
Rises:

4:34pm

Transits:

9:33pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)

Sets:

2:37am - Sep 18

Constellation:

Sagittarius

Phase:

76.21% illuminated (waxing gibbous)

Distance:

0.00266393 AU = 398,519 km = 247,628 miles = 1.33 light-seconds

Magnitude:

-11.1

Apparent size:

29.97 arcminutes in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

121.49 (evening sky)

Age:

9d 13h 55m since last New Moon

Prior Phase:

First Quarter on Wednesday Sep 15, 2010 at 1:50am

Next Phase:

Full Moon on Thursday Sep 23, 2010 at 5:17am

Next Lunar eclipse:

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


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm the Moon will be 27.1 above the south-southeast horizon
and will look like this in our telescopes at very low power*:

*How do we change the "power" (magnification) of our telescopes?
Simple!  By changing the eyepiece to one of a longer or shorter focal length.
If the eyepiece is of shorter focal length, the "power" (magnification) is higher,
If he eyepiece is of longer focal length, the "power" (magnification) is lower.
By how much?  Here's the formula:

Magnification =F focal length of telescope objective lens (or mirror)
focal length of eyepiece being used      

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.

Click HERE for additional data on the Moon

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Mercury data
 
Rises:

  5:36am

Transits:

12:15pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

6:53pm

Constellation:

Leo

Phase:

40.37% illuminated

Distance:

0.89753074 AU = 134,268,688 km = 83,430,696 miles = 7.48 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-0.1

Apparent size:

7.49 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

17.69 (morning sky)

Next maximum elongations...
Morning:

Sunday, September 19, 2010 (17 52' 13")

Evening:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 (21 27' 14")


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Mercury will be 18.2
below the west-northwest horizon

Click HERE for additional data on Mercury

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Venus data
 
Rises:

10:49am

Transits:

  3:48pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  8:46pm

Constellation:

Virgo

Phase:

30.21% illuminated

Distance:

0.46220449 AU = 69,144,807 km = 42,964,592 miles = 3.85 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-4.5 (extremely bright, the brightest thing in the evening sky except for the Moon)

Apparent size:

36.10 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

41.70 (evening sky)

Next maximum elongations...
Morning:

Saturday, January 8, 2011 (46 57' 24")

Evening:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 (46 02' 27")


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Venus will be 1.4 above the southwest horizon
and will look like this in our telescopes at high power at the time of Civil Twilight...



Click HERE for additional data on Venus

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Mars data
 
Rises:

10:15am

Transits:

  3:38pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  8:59pm

Constellation:

Virgo

Phase:

95.96% illuminated

Distance:

2.21569214 AU = 331,462,826 km = 205,961,454 miles = 18.46 light-minutes

Magnitude:

1.5

Apparent size:

4.22 arcseconds in angular diameter - about 1/500th the apparent diameter of the Moon!

Elongation from Sun:

37.05 (evening sky)

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

Previous:

Friday Jan 29, 2010 at 2:21pm. Distance: 99,400,435 km. Size: 14.08 arcseconds.

Next:

Saturday Mar 3, 2012 at 3:52pm. Distance: 100,839,728 km. Size: 13.88 arcseconds.

Click HERE:

For a table of close encounters with Mars from 1969 to 2052


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Mars will be 4 above the west-southwest horizon

Question: Will Mars be "as big as a Full Moon on August 27!" ???
 Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

Question: Will there be "Two Full Moons in the Sky!" ???
 Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

Mars was the closest in recorded history on August 27, but that was only in 2003, not every year!
At that time, it appeared to be 1/75
th the apparent diameter of the Moon!  NOT the "same size as the Full Moon".

Please check these respected sites for their stories on the "Mars hoax" by clicking on the links below:

    Sky & Telescope

   
Snopes.com

    Hoax-slayer

    Universe Today

Click HERE for additional data on Mars

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Jupiter data
 
Rises:

7:37pm

Transits:

1:35am - Sep 18 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

7:33am - Sep 18

Constellation:

Pisces

Phase:

99.99% illuminated

Distance:

3.95516079 AU = 591,683,633 km = 367,655,169 miles = 32.94 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-2.9

Apparent size:

49.85 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

175.85 (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


Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at 2:56am (The Red Spot transits about every 9 hours 56 minutes)
GRS longitude: 146.4
Jupiter moons activity (during darkness):
          Ganymede shadow transit begins on Friday Sep 17, 2010 at 11:54pm when Jupiter is 41 above the horizon
          Ganymede transit begins on Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at 0:23am when Jupiter is 43.8 above the horizon
          Ganymede shadow transit ends on Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at 2:59am when Jupiter is 42.9 above the horizon
          Ganymede transit ends on Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at 3:12am when Jupiter is 41.6 above the horizon

On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Jupiter will be 9 above the east horizon
but will look like this with its four moons at 9:05:00pm when it clears the trees to the east of the observing field:


Click HERE for additional data on Jupiter

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Saturn data
 
Rises:

8:01am

Transits:

2:05pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

8:08pm

Constellation:

Virgo

Phase:

99.99% illuminated

Distance:

10.53679264 AU = 1,576,281,743 km = 979,456,078 miles = 1.46 light-hours

Magnitude:

0.9

Apparent size:

15.77 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

11.34 (evening sky)

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

Previous:

Sunday Mar 21, 2010 at 8:28pm

Next:

Sunday Apr 3, 2011 at 7:48pm


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Saturn will be 5.4 below the west horizon

Click HERE for additional data on Saturn

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Uranus data
 
Rises:

7:33pm

Transits:

1:34am - Sep 18 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

7:34am - Sep 18

Constellation:

Pisces

Phase:

100.00% illuminated

Distance:

19.08935592 AU = 2,855,726,999 km = 1,774,466,512 miles = 2.65 light-hours

Magnitude:

5.7

Apparent size:

3.69 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

176.18 (morning sky)

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

Previous:

Thursday Sep 17, 2009 at 5:34am

Next:

Tuesday Sep 21, 2010 at 12:51pm


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Uranus will be 9.8 above the east horizon

Click HERE for additional data on Uranus

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Neptune data
 
Rises:

  6:15pm

Transits:

11:33pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

4:52am - Sep 18

Constellation:

Capricornus

Phase:

99.99% illuminated

Distance:

29.12979805 AU = 4,357,755,762 km = 2,707,783,927 miles = 4.04 light-hours

Magnitude:

7.8

Apparent size:

2.34 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

151.53 (evening sky)

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

Previous:

Friday Aug 20, 2010 at 5:59am

Next:

Monday Aug 22, 2011 at 7:18pm


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Neptune will be 21.3 above the east-southeast horizon

Click HERE for additional data on Neptune

(back to 'Quick Links')

.

Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises:

2:52pm

Transits:

7:50pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

0:47am - Sep 18

Constellation:

Sagittarius

Phase:

99.98% illuminated

Distance:

31.74826451 AU = 4,749,472,768 km = 2,951,185,593 miles = 4.41 light-hours

Magnitude:

14.2

Apparent size:

0.10 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

97.75 (evening sky)

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

Previous:

Friday Jun 25, 2010 at 2:59pm

Next:

Tuesday Jun 28, 2011 at 1:23am


On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Pluto will be 29.5 above the south horizon

Click HERE for additional data on Pluto

(back to 'Quick Links')


Inner Solar System - the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)
You can see that Mercury has now become a morning object and that Venus has passed greatest eastern elongation (on August 20, 2010)
Also, see how far away Mars is - and getting farther and smaller all the time!
(back to 'Quick Links')

Outer Solar System - the Sun, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)
You can see that both Jupiter and Uranus are approaching opposition which will occur on September 21, 2010

(back to 'Quick Links')


Click
HERE for event status

Click
HERE for a printer-friendly version of the information on this page.

Click
HERE for general Information you should know about our events - Q&A of Where, When and What.

Click
HERE for satellite passes this evening

Very sincerely yours,
Dave Jessie
"Time spent observing the heavens is not deducted from your life span"

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