August 11- Double Stars

Albireo

Albireo in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan)

Evening Highlights:
  • Albireo: Appearing as a single star in the constellation Cygnus, through a telescope it resolves to a beautiful double system of gold and blue.
  • Alcor and Mizar: Found in the handle of the Big Dipper/Ursa Major, it’s one of the few naked eye double stars.  Even more interesting – it’s actually a sextuple system!
  • Epsilon Lyrae: Found in Lyra, if looking through binoculars you’ll see two widely separated stars.  Look through a telescope, and you’ll find that each ‘star’ is actually a double!
  • Saturn: With its rings tilted to the maximum 27 degrees this year, will be tonight’s focus for planetary viewing.

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July 28 – Planetary Nebulae

M57 – The Ring Nebula

Evening Highlights:
  • The Ring Nebula (M57) , a planetary nebula nearly 2300 light years from Earth.
  • The Dumbbell Nebula (M27), a planetary nebula, approximately 1360 light years from Earth.
  • Two planets are visible in the sky tonight.  Don’t know which ones or how to find them?  You will after tonight.
  • Video: A video on nebulae will be shown at 8:15 PM (bring a chair!).

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July 14 – Star Clusters

m13

M13 in the constellation Hercules

Evening Highlights:
  • M13 – First discovered by Edmond Halley (of Halley’s Comet fame) in 1714, and one of the oldest and most densely populated globular clusters with nearly one million stars.
  • M15 – 32000 light years distant, may have a 4000 solar mass black hole at its core.
  • M3 – First discovered by Charles Messier in May 1764.  Thought to contain over 500,000 stars, and is 190 light years across.
  • M80 – Several hundred thousand stars, 32000 light years distant, and one of the densest clusters.
  • Three planets are visible in the sky tonight- Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn (Mercury sets very early, shortly after dusk).
  • One iridium flare will be visible.
  • Unlike most deep sky objects, all of the globular clusters listed above are visible through both telescopes and  binoculars.  Please feel free to bring a personal pair of binoculars to tonight’s workshop.
  • HVO opens at 7:30PM, a video on star clusters will be shown at 8:15 and observing will begin by 9PM.  Bring a chair!

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June 30 – Emission/Reflection Nebulae

NGC6960, The Veil Nebula, in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan)

Evening Highlights:
  • The Ring Nebula (M57) , a planetary nebula nearly 2300 light years from Earth.
  • The Veil Nebula (NGC6960), a supernova remnant, approximately 1470 light years from Earth.
  • The Dumbbell Nebula (M27), a planetary nebula, approximately 1360 light years from Earth.
  • The North America Nebula (NGC7000), a very large emission nebula, approximately 1600 light years from Earth.
  • Four planets are visible in the sky tonight.  Don’t know which ones or how to find them?  You will after tonight.
  • One iridium flare will be visible.
  • The observatory will be open at 7:30PM, a video on nebulae will be shown at 8PM.

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June 16 – Galaxies

M81 in the constellation Ursa Major (Big Dipper)

M81 in the constellation Ursa Major (Big Dipper)

Evening Highlights:
  • M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy, which is actually two galaxies colliding – M51A and M51B – is a beautiful grand-design spiral galaxy found in Ursa Major, and is over 23 million light years away.
  • M81: A spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, over 12 million light years away.
  • M82: A starburst galaxy in Ursa Major, over 12 million light years away.  M81 and M82 can often be seen together in a single field of view.
  • M31: The Andromeda Galaxy, a spiral galaxy and only 2.5 million light years from Earth.  M31 is also the only galaxy that can be seen with the naked-eye.
  • Three planets are visible in the sky tonight.  Don’t know which ones or how to find them?  You will after tonight.
  • See the International Space Station cross the night sky, as well as two iridium flares.
  • Frank will give a presentation on the upcoming August 21 solar eclipse, including how to view it safely.  The presentation starts at 8PM.

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June 2 – Moon, Jupiter and Saturn

June 2 – The Moon, Jupiter and Saturn

Evening Highlights:
  • Jupiter is the brightest object in the night sky at magnitude -2.23 (smaller number means brighter), find it in the south-western sky.
  • Ringed Saturn will be magnitude 0.06, and can be seen left and below Antares (the heart of Scorpius the scorpion) in the south-east, and is low on the horizon in the early evening.
  • Mars is the dimmest of the planets tonight at magnitude 1.68, and is directly west and visible only briefly as it sets shortly after the sun.
  • Finally, the setting moon to the west, is a waxing crescent (meaning  expanding in illumination) and will be 66% illuminated.
  • HVO opens at 8PM.

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Member AstroImaging

Member AstroImaging

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June 10 – The Moon and Planets

June 10 – The Moon and Planets

Evening Highlights:
  • Jupiter is the brightest object in the night sky at magnitude -2.0 (smaller number means brighter), find it in the south-western sky.
  • Mars is the second brightest object in the southern sky at magnitude -1.86, and is almost directly south.
  • Ringed Saturn is the dimmest of the planets at magnitude 0.03, and can be seen just left and above Antares (the heart of Scorpius the scorpion) in the south-east.
  • Finally, the setting moon to the west, is a waxing crescent (meaning  expanding in illumination) and will be 32% illuminated.  See the moon first because it sets early!

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June 24 – Constellations

Evening Highlights:
  • Jupiter is still the brightest object in the night sky at magnitude -1.9 (smaller number means brighter), find it in the western sky.
  • Mars is the second brightest object in the southern sky at magnitude -1.54, and is almost directly south.
  • Ringed Saturn is the dimmest of the planets at magnitude 0.12, and can be seen almost directly above Antares (the heart of Scorpius the scorpion) to the south.
  • Learn the major constellations of the night sky, such as the Big Dipper/Ursa Major, Little Dipper/Ursa Minor, Scorpius, Sagittarius and Cassiopeia, and and how to find them.
  • Video: TBD.  Starts at 8:45PM.
  • Presentation: Following the video, Jim will present how to find the common summer constellations using a planisphere, using markers to hop between constellations, and software that can help locate constellations throughout the year.

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