Scheduled time for Public Observing: 8pm – 10pm

Solar System Objects:

The Moon: will be 78% illuminated. The major maria or “seas” are labeled on the image below. The Apollo 15 landing site is on the edge of Mare Imbrium, but anything left behind is far too small to be seen in any telescope. It has been imaged by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, however, click here to see the picture. It was the first mission to use the Lunar Rover.

Image copyright (c) Virtual Moon Atlas / http://ap-i.net/avl/en/start

Planets:

Mars will be the only planet visible tonight. The switch to Daylight Saving Time does us a favor by keeping Mars above the 20 degree limit for observation with the 20″ refractor until 9:40 pm. Mars is quite distant from us now at 177 million miles, 1.9 times farther than the sun, and will appear only 4.9 arc seconds in diameter.

Deep-Sky Objects:

Nebula and Star Clusters: The visibility of deep-sky objects is limited by the brightness of the moon and light pollution in Middletown. There are a few open clusters (M35, 36, 37, and 38), and a planetary nebula (NGC 2392, the Eskimo Nebula) that could still be observable. M42, the Orion Nebula, is a star-forming region that’s visible under all but the worst circumstances.

Double Stars: Are not affected as much by light pollution. A couple of the brightest this time of year are Castor in Gemini and Gamma Leonis.