Saturday, October 17, 2015

Upcoming events, guest night recap, and some links

Yesterday evening was our last official observatory guest night of the season, but there are a couple of other upcoming events that we'll be participating in:

This coming Monday 19 October, we'll be hosting a satellite event for the 2015 White House Astronomy Night at the Montgomery College Planetarium on the Takoma Park / Silver Spring campus. Details are here. Dr. Harold Williams and I will be there with students from MC's Engineering and Science Adventure Club and the MC Stargazers.

On Saturday 14 November we will be bringing a couple of our telescopes to the Croydon Creek Nature Center for a star party. To register, go to events (menu on the right-hand side of the screen), and then scroll through the dates until you get to 14 November.

Here is a recap of what we observed last night:

Through the 14-inch scope

  • Albireo (double star in Cygnus)
  • M57 (planetary nebula in Lyra)
  • M31 (Andromeda Galaxy)
  • NCG 6826 (The "blinking planetary" in Cygnus)

Through the 8-inch scope

  • Waxing crescent Moon
  • M13 (Hercules globular cluster)
  • Epsilon Lyrae (a multiple star system in Lyra)

Last night I recommended several astronomical links to different folks. First, here's the link to the planetarium software package Stellarium. Stellarium is free and operates on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I've used it on all three platforms without issue. There is a mobile version ($2.49, last time I checked) as well.

I also use the website Heavens Above for astronomical and satellite data.

Finally, the US Naval Observatory's Data Services page is a fantastic resource and one I use frequently.