Scheduled time for Public Observing: 8pm – 10pm
Solar System Objects:
The Moon: will be 67° high in the South at 9pm, and 83% illuminated (waxing gibbous phase, 11 days old). The photo below was taken at a similar phase, 13 days old, with a 70mm (2.75″) refractor.
Planets: the planet Uranus will be visible, 27° up in West at 9pm.
Listed below are some possibilities of what may be observed tonight, different objects may be chosen by the telescope operators.
Double Stars: a few examples are given below.
Gamma Andromeda is a double star, magnitudes 2.3 and 4.8, with a separation of 9.7 arc seconds. The gold and blue colors can be striking in a telescope. Distance: 350 light years.
Gamma Arietis has two evenly matched white components 4.5 and 4.6 magnitude, 7.4″ separation. Distance: 164 light years.
Castor in Gemini is a bright double, magnitudes 1.9 and 3.0, with a separation of 6 arc seconds. Distance: 51 light years.
Nebula and Star Clusters: with the brightness of the sky in Middletown, and with the moon approaching full, visibility of faint objects is limited.
M42, the Orion Nebula is one of the brightest and most well known nebula in the sky. The central core of this star-forming region should still be visible in the 20″ refractor, even though it will appear fairly close to the moon. It is about 1350 light years away.
M42 photo courtesy Al Johnson Jr, ASGH member.
International Space Station (ISS): During Public Observing, there are no visible flyovers. However, earlier in the evening there is a very good pass; at 6:15 pm the ISS will be nearly straight overhead and very bright. Look for a point of light moving SW to NE, as bright as the planet Venus, and without any flashing lights. It will be visible for about two minutes each side of 6:15.
Iridium Satellites: These satellites can produce bright flares (brighter then Venus) from their antenna arrays. Any visible flares will be added closer to the observing date, as prediction accuracy improves. Update: at this time no flares are predicted to occur this evening.