Scheduled time for Public Observing: 8pm – 10pm
Solar System Objects:
The Moon: will be 38° high in the SW at 8pm, and 55% illuminated (First Quarter phase, 8 days old).
Image (c) Virtual Moon Atlas / http://ap-i.net/avl/en/start
Planets: Mars will be 32° up in the SW, with Neptune nearby at 28°. Mars will appear rather small at 8.3 arc seconds apparent diameter. Uranus will be observable at 56° altitude in the South at 9pm.
Double (and multiple) Stars:
Iota Cassopiea, in the eyepiece, is a triple star. The main components have a small separation, but should be easily resolved in the 20″ refractor, and along with the third component make for a very pretty star system. The main star and the third are actually double stars, unresolvable in the telescope, but bringing the total to 5 stars. Not to mention any planets, asteroids, comets, etc…
Nebula and Star Clusters:
In the same area of the sky is the Orion Nebula. Visible to the unaided eye even under somewhat light-polluted skies, it’s the closest major region of star formation to the Earth. Under darker skies, the view even in binoculars can be spectacular.
Open clusters are “young” star clusters concentrated within the spiral arms of the Milky Way. A famous example is M45, the Pleiades, visible to the naked eye in the East. Binoculars or a small telescope give the best view because of their wide angle of view.
M45 courtesy Joe Roberts, an ASGH member. See also Joe’s website.
Another popular open cluster is NGC 457 in Cassiopeia, known as the ET or Owl cluster. Once you see it, you won’t forget it.
International Space Station (ISS): Will not be visible tonight.