Friday, June 30, 2017

UPDATE Observatory Night Friday 30 June - sky is clouding up

Apologies for the late notice but the sky is becoming significantly cloudier and now there is a chance of a thunderstorm. We will be open, but we will not be able to to up to the observatory if there is a thunderstorm.

Observatory Night for Friday 30 June is on (but we may have a few clouds)

For folks who have reservations for the observatory night this evening, we are a go! Both accuweather.com and Clear Sky Chart are predicting partly cloudy skies tonight.

With light clouds and haze we can still see the Moon and planets, but we may not be able to view deep sky objects. I'm going to open up tonight in the hopes that we'll have more clear sky than clouds, and with the caveat that the seeing might not be good.

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.

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

Saturday, June 3, 2017

June / July Starmap

The starmap for June and July is here: MCAO June / July Starmap.

I create these maps using the wonderful http://www.heavens-above.com/ website and Stellarium software. (Stellarium is a free planetarium software program. If you'd like to know what's up in the sky, I highly recommend it!)

Observing Log for 2 June 2017

Skies were clear and beautiful last night! We observed the following objects:

  • Jupiter (planet) : Jupiter was easy to find between the Moon and the bright star Spica. It will be even closer to the Moon tonight (Saturday 3 June). We were able to make out cloud bands on the planet and the four Galilean satellites- Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
  • M13, (the Hercules cluster): We also looked at the globular cluster, M13. M13 can be found in the constellation of Hercules and is about 25,000 light-years from Earth.
  • M57 (the Ring Nebula): Next up was M57, a planetary nebula. M57 can be found in the constellation of Lyra and is located about 2,300 light-years from Earth. Planetary nebulae are the remnants of lower mass stars after they've used up their nuclear fuel. The Ring Nebula is a particularly beautiful example.
  • M3 (globular cluster) : We also looked at a second globular cluster, M3. This cluster can be found in the constellation Canes Venatici (the hunting dogs), and is about 33,900 light-years from Earth.
  • Mizar (double star) : With the smaller telescope, we split the double star Mizar in the constellation Ursa Major.
  • ε Lyrae (double star) : We also looked at the "double double" star in the constellation Lyra.
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Thank you everyone for attending the event last night, and for your interest in the Montgomery College Observatory.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Observatory Night for Friday 2-Jun-2017 is on!

For folks who have reservations for the observatory night this evening, we are a go! Both accuweather.com and Clear Sky Chart are predicting good conditions for astronomy tonight.

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!