Saturday, July 26, 2014

Finally a clear evening!

There were just a few wispy clouds in a moonless sky for last evening's observatory night. It was a full house, therefore we didn't get to transition to too many objects. Nevertheless, everyone got a look at Saturn and Mars at different magnifications, the double star Albireo, and Brocchi's Cluster (Collinder 399).

We observed with one of the 14-inch scopes (the partner scope is still in California), an 8-inch scope mounted on the deck, and two sets of binoculars.

Before going to the telescopes, I talked a bit about the constellation Cygnus- in particular the beautiful bright star Deneb. The handout with the information I presented can be found as a pdf here.

Many thanks to everyone who came for the evening. It makes me so happy to see such interest and curiosity about astronomy! And of course special thanks to the bright and brilliant MC Stargazers for their hard work before, during, and after the event.

Albireo A (amber) and Albireo B (blue)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July / August 2014 Starmap

The latest starmap is here: MCAO July / August Starmap.

The weather has been a bit disappointing for the past few observatory guest nights, but I'm feeling optimistic for Friday. is saying conditions will be "good" for stargazing.

I would love for a clear night. There's so much celestial goodness to see this month and next that I could barely fit everything on the latest starmap.

The starmap itself is from the heavens-above website, as are the dates for planetary oppositions, elongations, and conjunctions. The additional sky and planet information is obtained from Stellarium. (I simply set the location to Rockville and look at the sky throughout the relevant months with an eye towards interesting groupings of the Moon and planets.) The meteor shower dates are obtained from EarthSky.