Tag Archives: Lyrids

Upstate NY Stargazing In April: The Lyrid Meteor Shower – Posted To syracuse.com And nyup.com

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The April, 2018 UNY Stargazing article is up for your reading and sharing pleasure at syracuse.com and newyorkupstate.com:

Links: newyorkupstate.com & syracuse.com

There are still random listserv mentions of hosted Messier Marathons among some of the local clubs. Be sure to check your local astronomy club to see if any events are being scheduled. I wasn’t sure if the article was going to come out before or after the Tiangong-1 final descent, so kept the opening discussion of potential problems with things “up there” general. On top of some excellent planetary viewing this month, The Lyrids make their yearly return, then we continue to zodiac discussion with Gemini – perfectly placed in the western skies this evening for some strain-free scope and bino observing.

The good, the bad, and the potentially ugly things that fall from space. Micrometeorites (IFLScience.com), a SkyLab fragment (from wikipedia), and the Chelyabinsk meteor trail (Alex Alishevskikh).

When asked to list the contents of our Solar System, some stop at the Sun, planets, and moons. Others will remember comets – a list of objects that grows much longer every year. For those looking for up-to-date info, see minorplanetcenter.net – we have comfortably cleared the 4000 comet mark. Some may add the asteroid belt – a region between Mars and Jupiter which looks less like the chaotic debris field from “The Empire Strikes Back” and more like oases of larger rocks separated by vast, empty deserts of tiny particles. Don’t forget the currently 18,000-long list of NEOs, or Near-Earth Objects.

These are among the more than 18,000 reasons why the late-great Stephen Hawking and others have championed the need for colonization beyond the Earth’s surface.

Changing positions in the sky is one thing – changing elevations is very different. Occasional bright flares make the news when captured on video. Events like Tunguska and Chelyabinsk remind us that there thing in space we might miss that could level cities. We are fortunate that most of the roughly 160 tons of debris from space that hits the Earth *each day* is in the form of micrometeorites that you could start collecting with a strong magnet and a flat rooftop.

The highly-anticipated demise of the Tiangong-1 over the weekend was a reminder that we may not be able to always rely on the “dilution-solution” of handling our garbage. Our planet is large, spherical, mostly covered in water, and largely unpopulated – but the number of satellites going to space will only increase as launches get cheaper. It remains to be seen if nations will opt to address the dangers of space junk before or after something serious – and unavoidable – happens here on the ground.

Read more…

Bob Piekiel Hosts Observing Sessions At Baltimore Woods (And More!) – 2018 Observing Schedule

This event list will be added to as the year progresses. Check back often!

I’m pleased to have obtained the official schedule for Bob Piekiel’s growing observing and lecture programs for the 2018 season. For those who have not had the pleasure of hearing one of his lectures, attending one of his observing sessions, or reading one of his many books on scope optics (or loading the CD containing the massive Celestron: The Early Years), Bob Piekiel is not only an excellent guide but likely the most knowledgeable equipment and operation guru in Central New York.

Notes On Baltimore Woods Sessions:

The Baltimore Woods events calendar is updated monthly. As such, I’ve no direct links to the sessions below. Therefore, as the event date nears, see the official Calendar Page for more information and any updates on the event.

Also…

* Registration for these events are required. Low registration may cause programs to be canceled.
* $5 for members, $15/family; $8 for nonmembers, $25/family.
* To Register By Email: info@baltimorewoods.org
* To Register By Phone: (315) 673-1350

Baltimore Woods:

* January 19 (Fri.)/20 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Winter skies at their finest, The area surrounding the constellation Orion has more bright stars and deep-sky clusters than any other section of the sky. Still good views of Uranus.

* February 16 (Fri.)/17 (Sat. weather alternate), 5:30-8:30 p.m.

This is a good chance to see the elusive planet Mercury, right after sunset, plus the area surrounding Orion, one of the brightest in the sky. We have to start early to catch Mercury. We might still get a good view of Uranus.

* February 24 (Sat.)/25 (Sun. weather alternate), 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Solar viewing program – see our nearest star with specially-equipped solar telescopes, showing sunspots, flares, and eruptions.

* March 16 (Fri.)/17 (Sat. weather alternate), 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Goodbye to winter skies, but still great views of Orion. Maybe a few Lyrid meteors as well.

* April 13 (Fri.)/14 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Hello to Spring skies. Watch as the seasons change both on the ground and the starry night. Orion will be setting, and being replaced by Leo the lion.

* May 11 (Fri.)/12 (Sat. weather alternate), 8:00-10:00 p.m.

Spring skies will be in full view, plus Jupiter is at opposition, meaning it will be its closest, biggest, and brightest for the entire year. Venus will also be visible at the start of the program.

* June 22 (Fri.)/23 (Sat. weather alternate), 9:00-11:00 p.m.

It gets dark late this time of year so our best viewing targets will be bright planets and the moon. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will be visible. When it gets dark we will begin to see some of the southern Milky Way.

* July 20 (Fri.)/21 (Sat. weather alternate), 8:00-11:00 p.m.

PLANETS! Venus, Jupiter, Mars (which will be at its biggest, brightest, and closest until 2035!), Saturn, and possibly a quick glimpse of Mercury at the start of the program. Plus, a good view of the first-quarter moon, and then the southern Milky Way as the moon sets and the sky gets dark.

* August 12 (Sun.)/13 (Mon. weather alternate), 8:30-11:00 p.m.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, one of the year’s finest, the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune! There is no moon in the sky so we will have fabulous views of the summer skies and southern Milky Way. Bring a lawn chair to sit and watch for meteors.

* August 25 (Sat.)/26 (Sun. weather alternate), 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Solar program – See our nearest star close-up with special telescopes that reveal flares, sunspots, magnetic storms, and granulation.

* September 7 (Fri.)/8 (Sat. weather alternate), 8:00-10:00 p.m.

Still a good view of the lingering summer skies, and the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune!

Green Lakes:

* May 18 (Fri.)/19 (Sat. weather alternate), 8:00-10:00 p.m.

Spring skies will be in full view, plus Jupiter is at opposition, meaning will be its closest, biggest, and brightest for the entire year. Venus will also be visible at the start of the program.

* July 7 (Sat.), 7:00 p.m.

Telescope Workshop! Tentatively at the reserve shelter, but check with Green Lakes the day of to make sure they don’t move the location depending on the weather.

* July 13 (Fri.)/14 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:00-10:00 p.m.

This is the best view of 5 planets we will get for the summer: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, plus great views of the Milky Way when it gets dark.

* August 6 (Mon.), 7:30-9:00 p.m.

A special additional “telescope workshop” is being hosted due to popular request/demand at the well-attended July 13th event!

* August 17 (Fri.)/18 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:00-10:00 p.m.

The 1st-quarter moon is visible,plus and still great views of the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and maybe a peak at Uranus and Neptune. We will also have great views of the heart of our Milky Way galaxy and the many bright clusters and nebulae visible there.

* September 28 (Fri.)/29 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:00-9:30 p.m.

Still a good view of the lingering summer skies, and the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune!

Chittenango Falls:

* June 15 (Fri.)/16 (Sat. weather alternate), 8:30-10:30 p.m.

Bob Piekiel Returns To Chittenango Falls! Meet at the ball field by the main upper parking lot. It gets dark late this time of year so our best viewing targets will be bright planets Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. We’ll also get to see a skinny crescent moon at the start of the program. When it gets dark we will begin to see some of the southern Milky Way.

Marcellus Library:

* August 14 (Tues.)/15 (Wed. weather-alternate), 7:30-9ish p.m.

This summer we will have a view of all bright major planets in the evening sky at once, and Mars making its closest approach to earth until 2035. The moon will also be visible, along with Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn.

Clark Reservation:

Awaiting 2018 scheduling.

“Upstate NY Stargazing In April” Article Posted To newyorkupstate.com And syracuse.com

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The latest article in the Upstate NY Stargazing series, “Upstate NY Stargazing in April: Comet Hunting and the Lyrid Meteor Shower,” has just been posted to newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com.

Direct Link: newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2017/03/…the_lyrid_meteor_shower.html

Direct Link: syracuse.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2017/03/…the_lyrid_meteor_shower.html

* We extend last month’s discussion of Messier Objects by briefly discussing the objects Messier was most keen on finding – comets. Many thanks to Brad Loperfido for the kind reprint permissions of his excellent Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak et al. catch (below).

Caption: One-hour motion of Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak (left) within Ursa Major, including M108 (the “Surfboard Galaxy”, upper right) and M97 (the Owl Nebula, lower right). (Image by NY photographer Brad Loperfido on March 22, 2017)

* We continue our look north with Ursa Minor, the second of six constellations that are always visible in the nighttime sky from our latitude (readers then can guess where the next four articles are headed).

* This month, we await the Lyrid Meteor Shower, which peaks on the early morning of April 22nd. The Lyrids peak in the presence of a sliver of a waning crescent Moon – this is excellent news for observers annoyed by the many washed-out 2016 meteor showers, as the Moon will not be bright enough to dull bright Lyrid trails.

Caption: The Lyrid Meteor Shower radiant, roughly between the bright star Vega and the southern elbow of Hercules. Pending the skies and brightness, you may even be able to see Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak between the head of Draco and arm of Hercules that night. Click for a larger view.