Scheduled time for Public Observing: 9pm-11pm

Solar System Objects:

The Moon: will be 27° high in the SW at 9pm, and 23% illuminated (Waxing Crescent phase). An interesting formation near the terminator tonight is the ancient crater Janssen, see below.

Image copyright (c) Virtual Moon Atlas / 

It’s very large at about 120 miles in diameter, the state of Connecticut would just fit inside of it. Janssen appears “worn” however, due to smaller impact craters forming on top of it, micrometeorite impacts, and billions of years of solar radiation.

Planets: Jupiter will be 20° high in the SE at 9pm. By 10:30pm Saturn will be 17° high in the SE, still low in the sky, but it’s rings would be visible with a telescope set up outside of the observatory. The position of Jupiter’s major satellites at 10pm are shown below.

Image courtesy of Starry Night (R) Orion Special Edition, Version: 6.2.3 kcEW, Imaginova (R) Corp.

Deep Sky: As the moon gets lower in the West, some deep-sky objects such as globular clusters and planetary nebulae will become visible. The globular cluster M3 is shown below, imaged with a specialized video camera attached to a telescope.

This camera is often set up outside of Van Vleck Observatory on public observing nights, and live images such as this may be viewed on a monitor.

Star Charts and other Information:

A very useful monthly star chart can be downloaded here from, 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”.