Tag Archives: Venus

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

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The latest article in the Upstate NY Stargazing series, “Upstate NY Stargazing in May: A Meteor Shower and Preparations for the Solar Eclipse,” has just been posted to newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com.

Direct Links: newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com

* With only four articles to go before the great total solar eclipse on August 21st of this year, we’ve shifted gears in the article opener from great nighttime observing to great daytime observing. You’ll be seeing more and more from all kinds of news sources as the data approaches, and CNYO is figuring out what we plan to do for the event (besides a few scheduled eclipses lectures in the CNY area in the weeks before).

For the record, amateur astronomers reserved their rooms years and years ago in all the best places – if you’ve not figured out your flight plans around the 21st already, there is a seriously good chance that you’ll be stick driving to see the best view of totality.

Caption: The transit of Venus across the Sun on June 5/6, 2012. By NASA/SDO, AIA.

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

* This month, we await the Eta Aquariid (or Eta Aquarid, or eta Aquarid… Halley’s Comet doesn’t care what you call it) Meteor Shower, which peaks on the early mornings of May 5/6. In doing the homework for the article, I found it interesting to note that we’re not entirely sure that this meteor shower originates from particles attributable to Halley’s Comet, the object we most associate with this shower. It is possible that Halley’s Comet is indirectly responsible for the particles by being directly responsible for the redirection of the debris from a different object in to the current Eta Aquariid path.

Caption: The Eta Aquariid radiant, complete with Venus, Saturn, the newly returned Summer Triangle, and one perfectly-placed 5 a.m. ISS flyover on the morning of May 6. Image made with Stellarium. Click for a larger view.

Spring Constellations And Planet Observation – CNYO At Beaver Lake Nature Center, 27 April 2017

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

I am pleased to announce that the first official CNYO session for 2017 will be held next week (or the week after, weather-pending) at one of our most regular observing locations. Bob Piekiel and Larry Slosberg will be hosting at Beaver Lake from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the northern tip of the big loop (just aim for the main parking lot).

The event is free with Beaver Lake admission (click HERE for the direct event link), but they do request advanced registration. If interested, please call Beaver Lake Nature Center at 315-638-2519 or send an email to blnc@ongov.net.


View Larger Map

Unfortunately, the event description seems to have been taken from our last Beaver Lake session – Venus won’t be present by event start (having set about three hours before sunset), but a sliver of a crescent moon will be visible for most of the session in close proximity to Mars. Jupiter remains an excellent summer scope target this year and for several years to come.

This outdoor lecture by CNY Observers will describe the history of the spring constellations and offer tips for remembering their relative positions. The moon will be the featured object for the night, with Jupiter and Venus also prominent, making for great views with the telescopes that will be present. (Cloud date is May 4.)

Bob Piekiel Hosts Observing Sessions At Baltimore Woods (And More!) – 2017 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 2017 season and have added them to the CNYO Calendar. 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 20 (Fri.)/21 (Sat. weather alternate), 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Winter Skies at their finest, and great views of a large, crescent Venus. No other area of the sky contains as many bright stars, clusters, and nebulae as the area surrounding the winter constellation Orion!

* February 10 (Fri.)/No weather backup, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

A penumbral eclipse of the moon. This is kind of an odd-ball program, as most penumbral lunar eclipses go unnoticed. The moon passes through the earth’s partial shadow and turns a bit of a dim brown color. Interesting to see IF you know what you’re looking at (plus winter skies, but the faint objects will be obscured by the moon).

* February 18 (Sat.)/19 (Sun. weather alternate), 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Solar viewing program, plus great daytime views of Venus and the moon.

* March 3 (Fri.)/4 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Goodbye to winter skies, Maybe still a peek at Venus, and Jupiter will be rising in the east.

* March 31 (Fri.)/April 1 (Sat. weather alternate), 6:00-9:00 p.m.

This is our best chance to see the elusive planet Mercury, plus Jupiter will be rising as Mercury will be setting. Spring skies will be replacing the Winter constellations.

* May 19 (Fri.)/20 (Sat. weather alternate), 8:30 – 10:30 p.m. (meetup.com event)

Spring skies offer a large number of galaxies to be viewed, plus interesting star clusters, and the giant planet Jupiter will be visible all evening. We may also get a look at Saturn later in the program.

* June 16 (Fri.)/17 (Sat. weather alternate), 9:00 – 11:00 p.m. (meetup.com event)

Just because it gets dark late doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the night sky! Saturn and Jupiter will be easily visible, plus an early look into the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy near the end of the program.

* July 21 (Fri.)/22 (Sat. weather alternate), 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. (meetup.com event)

Summer skies at their finest, looking at the rich star fields near the center of the Milky Way, plus a farewell to Jupiter. Saturn will be visible all evening, and maybe even a peek at Mercury early.

* August 12 (Sat.)/13 (Sun. weather alternate), 8:30 – 11:00 p.m. (meetup.com event)

The annual Perseid meteor shower, one of the year’s finest. Plus great views of the heart of our milky Way galaxy, and the ringed planet Saturn. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit back and watch for meteors while not looking through a telescope. We may also be able to get good views of Neptune.

* August 26 (Sat.)/27 (Sun. weather alternate), 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Solar observing! Using specially-filtered telescopes, come and see our nearest star as you’ve never seen it before. View sunspots, solar flares, and magnetic fields on the sun’s surface.

* September 15 (Fri.)/16 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Goodbye to summer, hello to fall skies and a good view of Uranus and Neptune, our two outermost planets that often go overlooked. Our last chance to see some of the summer Milky Wand its bright clusters.

* October 20 (Fri.)/21 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Fall skies, with their galaxies and clusters, plus great views of Uranus and Neptune, and maybe a few meteors from the Orionids, which peak about this time every year.

* November 17 (Fri.)/18 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Hello to winter skies. A 1st-quarter moon starts the show, and as it gets darker, a first look at the area of the sky preceding Orion, with its many galaxies and brighter star cluster. Still good views of Uranus and Neptune. PLUS the Leonid meteor shower!

* December 13 (Wed.)/14 (Thur. weather alternate), 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

The Geminid meteor shower – “Nuff-Said.” The Geminids are caused by asteroid Phaethon 3200, and unlike most other meteor showers, begin their display much earlier in the evening, so no need to wait til pre-dawn! Also our first views of the area surrounding Orion, with some of the brightest nebulae and clusters visible in the northern hemisphere.

Green Lakes:

* January 14 (Sat.)/15 (Sun. weather alternate), 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Come view our nearest star, the sun, close up in special telescopes that give interesting views of solar flares, eruptions, and sunspots. At the parking lot behind the main office building.

* February 17 (Fri.)/18 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Come see the winter skies at their finest! The area around the constellation of Orion has more bright stars, nebulae, and clusters than any other part of the sky. At the parking lot behind the main office.

* July 7th (Fri.), 7:00-9:00(?)p.m. – CHOOSING AND USING A TELESCOPE Workshop

Got a telescope as a gift but not sure how to make use of it? Thinking about purchasing one and wondering what are the best choices? Have a telescope and want to be able to take great pictures through it? Want to learn more about the night sky? Come to our first telescope workshop (Bring your own scope if you have one!) and let our astronomer Barefoot Bob show you the ins- and outs- of these wonderful pieces of equipment.

– This program will take place rain or shine, clouds or clear skies. It will be at the nature center (Susan – you may want to clarify the location here) if raining and at the field next to the Frisbee golf course if dry.

– Space will be limited, so please pre-register. This program takes place one week prior to our first public astronomy observing program which is scheduled for Friday evening July 14th.

* July 14 (Fri.)/15 (Sat. weather alternate), 7:30-10:30 p.m.

See the summer skies as we look directly into the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, plus the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. We may also get a peek at Mercury just before sunset!

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

Summer skies one more time, and the rich star fields of the core of our Milky Way Galaxy, along with the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.

* November 5 (Sunday), 1:00-3:00 p.m.

A telescope workshop! This will include some outdoor hands-on work, but will start indoors with some explanation of telescope types, eyepieces, mounts, and camera attachments.

Clark Reservation:

* July 28 (Fri.)/29 (Sat. weather alternate)

There is a 1st-quarter moon low in the sky that will set and leave the skies dark for the later half of a program. Mercury, which we hardly ever get a chance to easily see, is at best viewing for the summer, as well as good views of Jupiter and Saturn. This is also the time to see the summer skies at their finest, as we look directly into the heart of the Milky Way.

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

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The latest article in the series, “Upstate NY stargazing in October: Prominent constellations of summer and winter visible on Autumn nights,” has just been posted to newyorkupstate.com and syracuse.com. This month, we look for globular clusters in Hercules, and follow the recent progress of Mars, Saturn, and Venus – all while getting early sights of the very best of winter – Orion, Taurus, and the Pleiades.

Direct Link: newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/2016/10/…nights_offer_some_of_the_best.html

Direct Link: http://www.syracuse.com/outdoors/index.ssf/…nights_offer_some_of_the_best.html

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Caption: This photo, taken by a stationary camera at Mount Megantic National Park in Quebec, captured a fireball that shot over Montreal Wednesday night. The “bolide,” a rock entering Earth’s atmosphere, was seen across the Northeast. The Summer Triangle is shown as a red overlay. (ASTROLab du parc national du Mont-Megantic)

This article also marks the third official mention of our upcoming MOST/TACNY/CNYO hosting of International Observe The Moon Night on Saturday, October 8th. Additional details to follow, but expect the observing to happen somewhere around The MOST itself.

We’ll update the website and social media as we get a better idea on what the weather is supposed to do Saturday night (else we stay inside The MOST the entire time).

NASA Space Place – Venus And Jupiter Prepare For Their Close-Up This August

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in July, 2016.

By Dr. Ethan Siegel

2013february2_spaceplaceAs Earth speeds along in its annual journey around the Sun, it consistently overtakes the slower-orbiting outer planets, while the inner worlds catch up to and pass Earth periodically. Sometime after an outer world—particularly a slow-moving gas giant—gets passed by Earth, it appears to migrate closer and closer to the Sun, eventually appearing to slip behind it from our perspective. If you’ve been watching Jupiter this year, it’s been doing exactly that, moving consistently from east to west and closer to the Sun ever since May 9th.

On the other hand, the inner worlds pass by Earth. They speed away from us, then slip behind the Sun from west to east, re-emerging in Earth’s evening skies to the east of the Sun. Of all the planets visible from Earth, the two brightest are Venus and Jupiter, which experience a conjunction from our perspective only about once per year. Normally, Venus and Jupiter will appear separated by approximately 0.5º to 3º at closest approach. This is due to the fact that the Solar System’s planets don’t all orbit in the same perfect, two-dimensional plane.

But this summer, as Venus emerges from behind the Sun and begins catching up to Earth, Jupiter falls back toward the Sun, from Earth’s perspective, at the same time. On August 27th, all three planets—Earth, Venus and Jupiter—will make nearly a perfectly straight line.

As a result, Venus and Jupiter, at 9:48 PM Universal time, will appear separated by only 4 arc-minutes, the closest conjunction of naked eye planets since the Venus/Saturn conjunction in 2006. Seen right next to one another, it’s startling how much brighter Venus appears than Jupiter; at magnitude -3.80, Venus appears some eight times brighter than Jupiter, which is at magnitude -1.53.

Look to the western skies immediately after sunset on August 27th, and the two brightest planets of all—brighter than all the stars—will make a dazzling duo in the twilight sky. As soon as the sun is below the horizon, the pair will be about two fists (at arm’s length) to the left of the sun’s disappearance and about one fist above a flat horizon. You may need binoculars to find them initially and to separate them. Through a telescope, a large, gibbous Venus will appear no more distant from Jupiter than Callisto, its farthest Galilean satellite.

As a bonus, Mercury is nearby as well. At just 5º below and left of the Venus/Jupiter pair, Mercury achieved a distant conjunction with Venus less than 24 hours prior. In 2065, Venus will actually occult Jupiter, passing in front of the planet’s disk. Until then, the only comparably close conjunctions between these two worlds occur in 2039 and 2056, meaning this one is worth some special effort—including traveling to get clear skies and a good horizon—to see!

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Caption: E. Siegel, created with Stellarium, of a small section of the western skies as they will appear this August 27th just after sunset from the United States, with Venus and Jupiter separated by less than 6 arc-minutes as shown. Inset shows Venus and Jupiter as they’ll appear through a very good amateur telescope, in the same field of view.

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With articles, activities, crafts, games, and lesson plans, NASA Space Place encourages everyone to get excited about science and technology. Visit spaceplace.nasa.gov (facebook|twitter) to explore space and Earth science!