9pm – 11pm       Planetary and Deep Sky observing

The moon will be below the horizon this evening.

Jupiter and Saturn will both be visible tonight, Jupiter will be better earlier and then Saturn later on. The position of Jupiter’s major satellites at 9pm is shown below:

The Great Red Spot might be observable at 9pm, although it will be approaching the edge of Jupiter’s disc. It transits the center of the disc at 7:30pm, but Jupiter rotates rapidly, in only 9 hours and 50 minutes, so 1/4 turn only takes about 2-1/2 hours.

Saturn will be gaining altitude in the SE, and rings are tilted towards us for a good view. Saturn’s moons, except for Titan, are much fainter than Jupiter’s four brightest satellites. Nevertheless, several of them are not difficult to see in the 20″ refractor, positions below at 10pm.

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

Some examples of different types of deep-sky objects that can be seen follow below. Not as much detail will be seen through the eyepiece, but a “live” view has qualities that no photo can reproduce.

M13 – Globular Cluster

Photo above by Al Johnson, ASGH member.

M57 – Planetary Nebula

M57 by Joe Roberts, ASGH member. See more at his website.

Some interesting double (or binary) stars may be observed as well, such as Albireo (Beta Cygni), and Epsilon Lyra.