Event Report:

A successful night for our second outing of the season!
We were treated to fabulous views of an extremely thin crescent Venus,
Saturn with its rings and six moons, Mars and lots of deep-sky objects.
We're grateful for the fifty or more fellow star-gazers that attended this event.

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Special thanks to the following ACA members for setting up equipment
or just coming out for moral support and to share the beautiful sky conditions:


Rick Burke
Dave Jessie
Ron Money
Marcus Seifert
John Shulan
Gary Smith
and Rosaelena Villaseņor

We hope to see you for our next planned event
on 6/5/2012 for the VENUS TRANSIT!

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Astronomical Observing at the Fishcreek Observing Site
Friday 5/18/2012
at 9:30 pm

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

Click here for chart of Solar/Lunar/planet availability for tonight. 

Tonight we'll be viewing without the Moon since it will be a tiny 3.5% illuminated waning crescent setting at 6:51pm this evening.  The DSO's (Deep Space Objects) we love to see will be ours for the asking.  Venus is amazingly bright as a tiny thin crescent and headed for an extremely rare transit of the Sun on the afternoon of June 5th.  Saturn, with its beautiful rings and six of its moons will be visible all night.  Mars is visible, but very small and getting smaller every day.  Jupiter is nowhere to be seen since it's a morning object now rising 5 minutes before sunrise.  Uranus and Neptune rise extremely late and won't be available to us.  Colorful double stars and open clusters made up of hundreds of stars that will look beautiful; the globular clusters will be fantastic as will the planetary nebula formed by dying stars.  The diffuse nebula and emission nebula where stars are being born will be visible.  Galaxies will be available to us.

Click here for a list of DeepSky Objects that will be available to us this session.

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

    Sun is obviously unavailable to us, it will be night time after all. 
    Mercury is a morning object now rising 25 minutes before sunrise and is lost in the glare of the Sun.
    Venus is now setting 2 hours and 18 minutes after sunset and is a beautiful thin waning crescent.
    Earth is what you'll be standing on as you look up. 
    Mars is easily visible after sunset and sets at 3:03am tomorrow morning
    Jupiter is a morning object now rising 5 minutes before sunrise and totally lost in the glare of the Sun.
    Saturn is magnificent to see in our telescopes and sets at 4:50am tomorrow morning.
    Uranus rises at 3:54am tomorrow morning and won't be visible this evening.
    Neptune rises at 2:29am tomorrow morning and won't be visible this evening.
 
  Pluto rises at 11:20pm, but so incredibly small and dim that we can't see a thing in our telescopes!  We can show you where it is.  OK, OK...if you want to try to see it, we'll try.  Don't expect to see anything, though!
    Moon will be a tiny 3.5% illuminated waning crescent setting at 6:51pm.
    Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1) is now difficult to see at magnitude 10.1 in the constellation Cancer


Click here for additional information on the planets not listed in the detail below.

Click here for a list of constellations we can see tonight before midnight.

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

- - - - - Click here for map - - - - -

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 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm (nautical twilight)

Source: Guide9 software available from www.projectpluto.com

  Above Horizon Below Horizon Constellation Mag Rises Sets
  Sun Taurus -26.7 06:01 20:37
  Mercury Aries -1.3 05:36 19:05
Venus   Taurus -4.5 07:18 23:33
Mars   Leo 0.3 13:48 03:27
  Jupiter Taurus -2.0 05:55 20:39
Saturn   Virgo 0.4 17:28 05:19
  Uranus Cetus 5.9 03:54 16:46
  Neptune Aquarius 7.9 02:30 13:50
  Pluto Sagittarius 14.2 23:20 09:38
  Moon Aries -5.3 04:31 12:52
Comet Garradd   Cancer 10.1 10:20 02:41
Click here for information on the planets such as orbital and rotational periods, velocities, distances, etc. not listed in the detail provided below.

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Sun data
 
Rises:

6:01am

Transits:

1:22pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

8:44pm

Constellation:

Taurus

Distance:

1.01177907 AU = 151,359,995 km = 94,050,742 miles = 8.43 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-26.7

Apparent size:

31.62 arcminutes in angular diameter

Twilight ends...

Civil:

  9:13pm - Sun is   6° below the horizon

Nautical:

  9:52pm - Sun is 12° below the horizon

Astronomical:

10:37pm - Sun is 18° below the horizon

Spring began:

at the Vernal Equinox which occurred on Tuesday Mar 20, 2012 at 1:15am

Summer begins:

at the Summer Solstice which will occur on Wednesday Jun 20, 2012 at 7:09pm

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 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm the Sun will be 12° below the west-northwest horizon
Below is the current image of the Sun in heavily-filtered white light updated each morning on the SOHO site.
Notice the graphic below the image that shows the relative size of Jupiter and Earth compared to the Sun:
Never EVER point your telescope at the Sun!!!  Instantaneous and permanent eye damage will result!!!
Very special equipment is required to provide an image like this...don't try this at home.


Click here for additional data on the Sun

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Moon data
 
Rises:

  4:31am

Transits:

11:37am (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)

Sets:

  6:51pm

Constellation:

Aries

Phase:

3.45% illuminated (waning crescent)

Distance:

0.00273484 AU = 409,126 km = 254,219 miles = 1.37 light-seconds

Magnitude:

-5.3

Apparent size:

29.20 arcminutes in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

21.36° (morning sky)

Age:

27d 18h 28m since last New Moon

Prior Phase:

Last Quarter on Saturday May 12, 2012 at 5:47pm

Next Phase:

New Moon on Sunday May 20, 2012 at 7:47pm

Next Lunar eclipse:

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


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm the Moon will be 26.5° below the northwest horizon
but would look like this in our telescopes at extremely low power* at 6:00pm if not lost in the glare of the Sun:

*
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')

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Mercury data
 
Rises:

  5:36am

Transits:

12:41pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  7:49pm

Constellation:

Aries

Phase:

92.77% illuminated

Distance:

1.2844402 AU = 192,149,519 km = 119,396,177 miles = 10.7 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-1.3

Apparent size:

5.24 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

9.92° (morning sky)

Next maximum elongations...
Evening:

Sunday, July 1, 2012 (25° 44' 36")

Morning:

Thursday, August 16, 2012 (18° 41' 31")

Conjunctions of Mercury...
Prior:

Inferior Conjunction on Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012 at 6:18:08pm

Next:

Superior Conjunction on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 5:58:49am

Next:

Inferior Conjunction on Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 at 5:06:27pm


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Mercury will be 20.1° below the northwest horizon

Click here for additional data on Mercury

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Venus data
 
Rises:

  7:18am

Transits:

  3:10pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

11:02pm

Constellation:

Taurus

Phase:

10.06% illuminated

Distance:

0.33518186 AU = 50,142,493 km = 31,157,101 miles = 2.79 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-4.5 (extremely bright, but lost in the glare of the Sun)

Apparent size:

49.78 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

25.49° (evening sky)

Next maximum elongations...
Morning:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 (45° 48' 10")

Evening:

Friday, November 1, 2013 (47° 04' 26")

Conjunctions of Venus...
Prior:

Superior Conjunction on Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011 at 1:29:15am

Next:

Inferior Conjunction on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012 at 9:32:09pm

Next:

Superior Conjunction on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:37:10pm


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Venus will be 9.9° above the west-northwest horizon
and will look like this in our telescopes at 9:52:19pm:


Click here for additional data on Venus

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Mars data
 
Rises:

1:48pm

Transits:

8:26pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

3:04am - May 19

Constellation:

Leo

Phase:

89.60% illuminated

Distance:

1.08474538 AU = 162,275,599 km = 100,833,384 miles = 9.04 light-minutes

Magnitude:

0.3

Apparent size:

8.63 arcseconds in angular diameter - less than 1/208th the apparent diameter of the Moon

Elongation from Sun:

101.50° (evening sky)

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

Previous:

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

Next:

Tuesday Apr 8, 2014 at 6:03pm. Distance: 92,875,374 km. Size: 15.07 arcseconds.

Click here:

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


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Mars will be 52.7° above the south-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')

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Jupiter data
 
Rises:

5:55am

Transits:

1:08pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

8:20pm

Constellation:

Taurus

Phase:

99.99% illuminated

Distance:

6.00911254 AU = 898,950,440 km = 558,581,914 miles = 50.05 light-minutes

Magnitude:

-2.0

Apparent size:

32.81 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

4.09° (morning sky)

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

Previous:

Friday Oct 28, 2011 at 9:37pm

Next:

Sunday Dec 2, 2012 at 8:41pm


Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Saturday May 19, 2012 at 3:30am (The Red Spot transits about every 9 hours 56 minutes)
GRS longitude: 175.1°
Jupiter moons activity (during darkness):
        None visible tonight

On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Jupiter will be 15.6° below the west-northwest horizon

Click here for additional data on Jupiter

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Saturn data
 
Rises:

  5:28pm

Transits:

11:09pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  4:51am - May 19

Constellation:

Virgo

Phase:

99.91% illuminated

Distance:

8.88282245 AU = 1,328,851,324 km = 825,709,942 miles = 1.23 light-hours

Magnitude:

0.4

Apparent size:

18.71 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

145.26° (evening sky)

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

Previous:

Sunday Apr 15, 2012 at 2:19pm

Next:

Sunday Apr 28, 2013 at 4:20am


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Saturn will be 38.9° above the southeast horizon
and will look like this in our telescopes:


Click here for additional data on Saturn

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Uranus data
 
Rises:

  3:54am

Transits:

10:07am - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  4:20pm

Constellation:

Cetus

Phase:

99.96% illuminated

Distance:

20.68907343 AU = 3,095,041,332 km = 1,923,169,547 miles = 2.87 light-hours

Magnitude:

5.9

Apparent size:

3.41 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

51.14° (morning sky)

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

Previous:

Sunday Sep 25, 2011 at 8:07pm

Next:

Saturday Sep 29, 2012 at 3:07am


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Uranus will be 46.4° below the north-northwest horizon

Click here for additional data on Uranus

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Neptune data
 
Rises:

2:30am - May 19

Transits:

7:56am - May 19 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

1:23pm - May 19

Constellation:

Aquarius

Phase:

99.97% illuminated

Distance:

30.06164988 AU = 4,497,158,812 km = 2,794,404,968 miles = 4.17 light-hours

Magnitude:

7.9

Apparent size:

2.27 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

85.43° (morning sky)

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

Previous:

Monday Aug 22, 2011 at 7:18pm

Next:

Friday Aug 24, 2012 at 8:24am


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Neptune will be 50.7° below the northeast horizon

Click here for additional data on Neptune

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data
 
Rises:

11:20pm

Transits:

  4:15am - May 19 - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  9:10am - May 19

Constellation:

Sagittarius

Phase:

99.99% illuminated

Distance:

31.45938653 AU = 4,706,257,238 km = 2,924,332,707 miles = 4.37 light-hours

Magnitude:

14.2

Apparent size:

0.10 arcseconds in angular diameter

Elongation from Sun:

139.15° (morning sky)

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

Previous:

Tuesday Jun 28, 2011 at 1:23am

Next:

Friday Jun 29, 2012 at 11:03am


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Pluto will be 16.9° below the east horizon

Click here for additional data on Pluto

(back to 'Quick Links')

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Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1) data
 
Rises:

10:20am

Transits:

  6:30pm - Time of highest position in the sky, due South

Sets:

  2:41am - May 19

Constellation:

Cancer

RA:

08h 52m 25.612s

DEC:

+30° 23' 38.03"

Phase:

96.23% illuminated

Distance:

2.65339795 AU = 396,942,684 km = 246,648,752 miles = 22.1 light-minutes

Magnitude:

10.1

Elongation from Sun:

69.13° (evening sky)

Apparent motion

Speed:

54.331"/hour at position angle 169.3

Motion is:

-0.07°/day in RA, -0.36°/day in DEC


On 5/18/2012 at 9:52:19pm Garradd (C/2009 P1) will be 48.1° above the west horizon

(back to 'Quick Links')


Inner Solar System - the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars on 10/07/2011
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)
Mercury & Mars orbits can be seen to be rather eccentric (non-circular) and Mercury's orbit tilted significantly to the plane of the ecliptic
Mercury will reach superior conjunction on May 27, 2012
Venus, on the "inside track" from the Earth, will reach inferior conjunction on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 and will transit of the Sun - an extremely rare event
that won't happen again until 12/11/2117, 105 years from now!
Mars was last at opposition on March 3, 2012 and keeps getting further away.  It will reach conjunction on 4/17/2013 at which time it will be over 226 million miles away

(back to 'Quick Links')

Outer Solar System - the Sun, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto on 10/07/2011
(Created using Software Bisque's
TheSky software)
Jupiter reached conjunction (directly on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth) a few days ago, on May 13, 2012
Saturn last reached opposition on April 15, 2012
Uranus will reach opposition on September 29, 2012
Neptune will reach opposition on August 24, 2012
Pluto's orbit can be seen to be extremely eccentric (non-circular) and severely tilted to the plane of the ecliptic.  It will be at opposition on June 29, 2012

(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

Click here for chart of Solar/Lunar/planet availability for tonight. 

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

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