Thursday, July 14, 2016

Event dates for August and September

August and September dates for Observatory Guest Nights are below. (Note we've added Thursday evenings!)

Friday 5 August 2016 : 9 - 10 PM
Thursday 11 August 2016 : 9 - 10 PM
Friday 19 August 2016 : 9 - 10 PM
Thursday 25 August 2016 : 9 - 10 PM

Friday 2 September 2016 : 8 - 9 PM
Thursday 8 September 2016 : 8 - 9 PM
Friday 16 September 2016 : 8 - 9 PM
Thursday 22 September 2016 : 8 - 9 PM

Because of occupancy limitations on the roof, we require guests to make reservations via Eventbrite (

New for August and September:

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.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Observing log for 1 July 2016

The thunderstorms cleared out before 9 PM. We had a few clouds, but also some clear sky, particularly by the end of the evening.

Here is a recap of what we observed last night:

  • Jupiter and the Galilean satellites (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) : As mentioned, NASA's Juno Mission arrives Jupiter on Monday 4 July.
  • Mars: Mars was at opposition on 22 May 2016, making it very well-placed for observing this summer.
  • Saturn: The ringed planet will be visible until mid-September. On 24 August, look to see Saturn near in sky to both Mars and the beautiful red supergiant star, Antares.
  • M13, (the Hercules cluster): M13 is an example of a globular cluster and is about 25,000 light-years from Earth.
  • M57 (the Ring Nebula): M57 is an example of planetary nebula and is about 2,000 light-years from Earth.

More information about all of the planets can be found on NASA's Solar System Exploration page.

Last night I recommended 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.

Thank you everyone for attending, and for your interest in the Montgomery College Observatory! Event dates for August, September, and October will be posted soon.