Friday, May 12, 2017

Observatory Night for Friday 12-May-2017 Cancelled due to weather

For folks who have registered for the event tonight: Cloudy skies and rain are predicted for this evening and it's extremely unlikely conditions will be acceptable for observing. I'm going to make an early no-go call and cancel the event for tonight.

Sincere apologies for not being able to hold the event.

Summer 2017 dates are now available. The event schedule can be found here.

As always, thank you so much for your interest in astronomy and our observatory!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Event Schedule for Summer 2017

Summer 2017 dates for Observatory Guest Nights are below.

Friday 2 June 2017 : 9 - 10 PM
Friday 30 June 2017 : 9 - 10 PM

Friday 7 July 2017 : 9 - 10 PM
Friday 21 July 2017 : 9 - 10 PM

Friday 4 August 2017 : 9 - 10 PM
Friday 18 August 2017 : 9 - 10 PM

Because of occupancy limitations on the roof, we require guests to make reservations via Eventbrite (https://mcobservatory-summer2017.eventbrite.com).

Please note:

Events will be cancelled for bad weather. I will make the call at least 2 hours prior to the event start time. An announcement will be sent to the email address you registered with Eventbrite, and I will post the status on this website.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Observatory Night for Friday 5-May-2017 Cancelled due to weather

For folks who have registered for the event tonight: The weather forecast is for cloudy skies and possible thunderstorms. I'm therefore going to make a no-go call and cancel this evening's observatory night.

Summer 2017 dates are now available. The event schedule can be found here.

I also have available the MC Observatory starmap for May/June 2017 here.

Thank you so much for your interest in astronomy and our observatory!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Observatory Night for Friday 28-Apr-2017 is on!

For folks who have reservations for the observatory night this evening, we are a go!

My usual caveat holds- the sky is mostly clear right now, but accuweather.com is predicting partly cloudy skies. Nevertheless, I think we still have a good chance of seeing a few celestial objects before more clouds roll in later this evening. If it does cloud up early, I won't be able to show you anything through the telescopes.

We'll get started at 9 PM on the fourth floor of the Science Center in room SC 406. Signs will be posted directing you. We'll go up to the observatory together, see what we can see, and finish up at 10 PM.

I'm looking forward to seeing folks this evening, or at another event. Thank you so much for your interest in astronomy and our observatory!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Observing Log for 14 April 2017

Last night we had mainly clear skies with just a bit of haze. We observed the following objects:

  • Jupiter (planet) : Jupiter was at opposition on Friday 7 April 2017 and will therefore be well-placed for observing throughout the summer months. We were able to make out cloud bands on the planet and the four Galilean satellites- Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
  • M42 (Orion Nebula) : At 1300 light-years distant, the Orion Nebula is one of the closest regions of star formation to us. Because the constellations set a little bit earlier each evening, Orion and the Orion Nebula won't be visible in the night sky too much longer.
  • M35 (open cluster) : We were also able to see M35 in the constellation Gemini. Like Orion, Gemini is not visible in the night sky during the summer months, so I'm glad we were able to catch this object as well. M35 is an example of an open star cluster and is about 2800 light-years from Earth.
  • M81 (galaxy): The last deep sky object we saw was M81 in the constellation Ursa Major. M81 is a spiral galaxy (like our own Milky Way) and is about 12 million light-years distant. Last night we saw it as a faint fuzzy through both the 8-inch and 14-inch scopes.
  • Castor (α Gemini) : Castor is a multiple star system in the constellation of Gemini. Though our telescopes we could resolve two of the stars in this sextuple (six star!) system.
We also tried (and failed!) to find Comet 41P Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak. Comet 41P is currently in the constellation Draco with an apparent magnitude of 7.5. It should be visible through a small telescope, but unfortunately part of the Science Center roof blocked its location. We'll try again next time.

Thank you everyone for attending the event last night, and for your interest in the Montgomery College Observatory.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Observatory Night for Friday 14-Apr-2017 is on!

For folks who have reservations for the observatory night this evening, we are a go!

Just a quick caveat- the sky is absolutely beautiful right now, but accuweather.com is predicting cloudy skies for this evening. Nevertheless, I think we still have a good chance of seeing a few celestial objects before those pesky clouds roll in.

We'll get started at 9 PM on the fourth floor of the Science Center in room SC 406. Signs will be posted directing you. We'll go up to the observatory together, see what we can see, and finish up at 10 PM.

I'm looking forward to seeing folks this evening, or at another event. Thank you so much for your interest in astronomy and our observatory!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Observatory night status for Friday 7 April 2017

It's another frustrating evening in Rockville. It's completely overcast now, and the forecast is calling for clouds. I'm going to stay at the observatory tonight in the hopes that we get a hole big enough to peek at the Moon. That being said, I don't think tonight will be good for observing. If there are clouds we can't see anything through the telescopes. Also, there is a hypothermia alert on, so it is very cold on the roof. If you live nearby and want to come to MC, I will be here, but the doors to the Science Center will lock after 9:30 PM.

I am working on scheduling additional dates for the summer. The weather has been extremely disappointing thus far!