Friday, August 12, 2016

August / September Starmap

Last night I had a couple of requests for an electronic version of the August / September starmap. You can find it here: MCAO August / September Starmap.

And here is the handout on Getting Oriented in the Night Sky.

We were able to see the following before the sky clouded up:

  • Saturn: The ringed planet will be easy to find in the in the southwest until mid September.
  • Mars: Mars was at opposition on 22 May 2016, making it very well-placed for observing this summer.
  • Albireo: Albireo is a double star system in Cygnus. The two stars (one blue, one gold) can't be resolved with the naked eye, but through our telescopes we are able to see the pair.
  • International Space Station: We watched the ISS pass overhead just before 10 PM. Heavens Above has timetables and maps for ISS visible passes.

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.