Scheduled time for Public Observing: 8pm – 10pm
Solar System Objects:
The Moon will be 47° high in the SW at 8pm, and 49% illuminated (first quarter phase, 7 days old). The Western side of Mare Imbrium is an interesting area, in particular the crater Aristullis and the lunar Appenine Mountains.
Image (c) Virtual Moon Atlas / http://ap-i.net/avl/en/start
Aristillus is 34 miles in diameter and 2.2 miles deep with a ray system extending over 370 miles, and is paired with the smaller crater Autolycus just to the south. A litter further south are the lunar Appenine Mountains, named after a mountain range in Italy, their highest elevation is 17,700 feet. This is also the landing site of the Apollo 15 mission.
Planets: Similar to last month, the only planet that could be observed is Uranus. Once again it appears fairly close to the moon in the sky, but would be visible only with the use of a telescope.
Due South is the constellation Orion. Even without a telescope interesting observations can be made. The stars Betelgeuse and Rigel are on diagonal corners of the constellation, with Betelgeuse at the upper left and Rigel at the lower right. Both are many times larger and brighter then the Sun, but show different colors with only the naked eye. Try looking back and forth between the two and you’ll see that Betelgeuse is red and Rigel is blue-white, this 3-minute online video will show where to locate them, along with some other interesting facts.
Star Charts and other Information:
A very useful monthly star chart can be downloaded here from SkyMaps.com, giving information on objects visible with the unaided eye, binoculars, or telescope.
For current astronomical events see Sky and Telescope Magazine’s “This Week’s Sky at a Glance”.