Greetings, fellow astrophiles!
We are following the forecast for the first public observing session in CNY this year, courtesy of Bob Piekiel and Green Lakes State Park. At present, Saturday night looks like the better night, but we won’t make an official call until Friday afternoon (by 4:00 p.m.).
It will be cold, but it will be worth it! Some of the very best the night sky has to offer is available to us in the winter months, including the beautiful quartet of of Canis Major, Orion, Taurus, and the Pleiades. Even better, Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) is presently making it a quintet! Lovejoy is currently just off of Orion’s shield and racing towards the Pleiades over the next few days. If the sky’s dark and clear, this is a naked eye object – the first of 6 comets this year (so far!) to grace our nighttime skies. For those willing to brave their driveways but not Green Lakes, the image below from Sky & Telescope shows you where to look.
From Sky & Telescope: Finder chart for Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, during January 2015. The dates are in Universal Time; the ticks are at 0:00 UT (7:00 p.m. on the previous date Eastern Standard Time). Click here for larger, print-friendly black-on-white PDF.
Again, we’ll post an update tomorrow afternoon about Friday night being a go/no go, then will announce any possible Saturday session by 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. We hope you can join us!