Monday, October 28, 2013

Cloudy This Week, Then Friday Night---Dark Skies

It is sad when we get cooler nights and the clouds hide the stars. But, we can use the rain! Most of this week’s forecast calls for cloudy skies with chance of rain. The last event at the TPML was held indoors, no scopes outside! As we move into a dark, last quarter moon week, we will have to wait for the weather to clear before putting a star in our eyepiece. Seems the end of the week may give us that chance!

Did you know, the large Jupiter Satellite Juno photographed the Earth? October was the return of Juno to our neighborhood before heading out to Jupiter with a slingshot maneuver.

When the sky clears Friday night: Comet ISON is below Mars, in the hind feet of Leo, before the first light of dawn, still a telescopic target at 9th or 10th magnitude. Use the finder chart for it in the November Sky & Telescope, page 50. Check for news atskypub.com/ISON.

Prepare for a weekend of comet bonanza

Monday, October 21, 2013

More cloudy nights this week

Another forecast for rain and cloudy nights the first and last part of the week. There are a couple of clear nights thrown in this week, but you have to put up with moon light! We will miss the ORIONID METEOR SHOWER Monday night! Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Monday, Oct. 21st, with about 20 meteors per hour. The best time to look is during the hours before local sunrise when the constellation Orion is high in the sky. [sky map]. Amateur photos of Orionds are available in the spaceweather.com gallery. Lunar interference will be a problem during the peak. All but the brightest Orionids will be wiped out by glare from the waning full Moon. Fortunately there are some bright ones.

Saturday is the Last-quarter Moon (exactly so at 7:40 p.m. EDT). The Moon rises around midnight or 1 a.m. local time tonight, in dim Cancer below Jupiter and Gemini. There is an event scheduled at the TPML hill top Saturday evening. Sky does not look good for using the scopes, but maybe?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Full Moon, Cloudy Skies

The forecast this week is Cloudy nights, with a chance of rain! This leaves us inside and not looking for the current constellations that dominate our night sky. I did see the quarter moon last Saturday night after coming home in late evening. A bright quarter moon between some clouds. The Stars are there, behind the clouds. This is the week the moon gets brighter. By Friday our moon is full. This October Hunter’s Moon becomes full 6:39 p.m. Friday evening, the 18th.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Three Planets and a Comet

With the first cold front through our area over the weekend, we may have a few good clear and cooler nights ahead this week. Mars is still visible before dawn. Venus is in sight after sunset and appears below the crescent moon this week. Put the cross hairs on this red planet and you might get a glimpse of Comet ISON! To find the comet use these Sky Maps from Spaceweather.com: Oct. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

In the evening this week look west for Venus after sunset. Wednesday lower right of the Moon during and after twilight. Just 3/4° above Venus is 2nd-magnitude star Delta Scorpii.

By the end of the week, Friday, the First-quarter Moon shines (exact at 7:02 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). The Moon, half lit, shines above the pouring Sagittarius Teapot in early evening.

If it is clear Friday, a chance to catch a Triple shadow transit on Jupiter. A rare case of three moons — Io, Europa, and Callisto — casting their tiny black shadows onto Jupiter at the same time happens late tonight, from 4:32 to 5:37 Universal Time October 12th (12:32 to 1:37 a.m. Saturday morning Eastern Daylight Time). Jupiter will be high and best placed for telescope users low in the east.

News from the Net: