Friday, April 29, 2011

7 Iris Occults star TYC 0808-00566-1 mag 10.3

Tonight (4:57 UT; if 8:00 = 1 UT, then 4:57 UT = 12.57 UT am: the 30th) asteroid 7 Iris will occult the star TYC 0808-00566-1 with a magnitude of  10.3 (you'll need a telescope to view this one). To read more about this visit this post. Visibility chart is given below. For more information, visit these as well: large visibility chart, main page.


Events for the Week 4/29 to 5/6

Can you link astronomy with the royal wedding of Kate and Prince William? Of course you can! Observe:
"So you think the royal wedding was a spectacle? Hah. Late tonight the 10.3-magnitude asteroid 7 Iris will occult an identically bright star in Cancer for up to 13 seconds as seen from a track running from northern Washington State through Iowa and Illinois to Virginia and North Carolina."
The magnificence of the royal wedding can't compare to measly little 7 Iris, but who knows. 7 Iris occulting will be a great sight as well as the royal wedding that occurred today!

Events for the week of April 29th (Friday) to May 6th (Friday).

April 30, 2011 Events

If you can see the star cluster Coma Berenices that is often hidden by life pollution, if will be a great sight tonight. If you can also find Denebola (which is a third of a way to from Coma Berenices) located in the constellation Leo: at the end of the Big Dipper's handle. Below is a helpful picture to find this dim star cluster. Its forty stars are magnitude five to ten, hard to view with the naked eye.

May 1, 2011 Events

After dark in the east, Arcturus is the brightest star in the sky. Saturn shines above Spica (star) in the southeast. "Look lower right of Saturn and Spica (looks like one star but is actually a system with 3+ stars) for the four-star springtime pattern of Corvus, the Crow." remarks Sky and Telescope. Venus is the only planet able to be viewed at dawn. Sirius is also especially bright, and you can 'star-hop' to it. [Below: picture of Venus in the morning, two below: 'star-hop' to Sirius, three below: Arcturus]

May 2, 2011 Events

Depending on your location, Vega rises in the northeast extremely near the horizon, but nevertheless, you can see it.  Draco lies gracefully above Vega with its nose facing "Vega-ward" as Sky and Telescope writes. This can be viewed after sunset.

May 3, 2011 Events

The moon is new tonight at exactly 2:51am EDT, while Sirius has its comeback. It lies low in the southwestern skies and you should be able to follow it's path throughout the summer.

May 4, 2011 Events

After the new moon yesterday, the moon is starting to wax again: a small sliver of light peeks from behind the sullen, black moon. The Pleiades visits the moon again after astronomical twilight. Aldebaran is to the moon's left and is a grand orange. [The moon regularly visits stars, but two is rare!]

May 5, 2011 Events

"The Moon at dusk poses (for North America) midway between Aldebaran below it and Beta Tauri above it." (Sky and Telescope). Along with this, the eta Aquarid meteor shower starts to peak at this time. They will peak May 6th at dawn, this will be best for southern-hemisphere watchers, but not as great for the US and the rest of the northern hemisphere.

Twilight view

May 6, 2011 Events

Capella graciously dangles as if on a string above the crescent moon (actually north-west) and lower, Orion's Betelgeuse sinks to the horizon. Mercury also is put in the spotlight from April 30 to May 15. Mercury is still in conjunction with Jupiter and Venus (and don't forget our friend the moon!). Mercury will be 1.5 degrees lower-right  from Venus and Jupiter will be less than five degrees away. To view Mercury, "The farther north you live, the closer Mercury rises to sunrise. The farther south you live, the greater the period of time between the rising of Mercury and the sun. For instance, at mid-northern latitudes, Mercury comes up about 45 minutes before sunrise. Yet, at temperate latitudes in the southern hemisphere – like in southern Australia – Mercury rises two hours or more before the sun," Earth-Sky tells us.

May 7, 2011 Events

Below Castor and Pollux, the moon shines in the great constellation Gemini: the twins. Left of our gracious moon lies Procyon and farther right lies Capella. "These four stars form an enormous arch over the lunar crescent at dusk. This is an archetypal springtime scene, repeated when the Moon is a waxing crescent each April and May," states Sky and Telescope. The summer triangle is also viewed, see picture below.  [Read more about the summer triangle] As well, all four planets are starting to 'dance' again. See two pictures below.

View in bright dawn, very low
Planet Positions for the week of April 30 - May 7 2011

Mercury- at horizon at dawn
Venus- at horizon at dawn (only planet able to be seen w/o help such as a pair of binoculars at dawn)
Mars- at horizon at dawn
Jupiter- at horizon at dawn
Saturn- magnitude 0.5 in Virgo at night. Only planet in good view now.
Uranus- deep at dawn (extremely hard to view)
Neptune- magnitude 7.9 in Aquarius, east-southeast, low, before dawn

Solar System Calendar

(Date; time; event; position)
30 Apr 2011 17:19:20 Conjunction of Venus with the Moon, 6.5°
01 May 2011 00:33:39 Conjunction of Mercury with the Moon, 7.3°
01 May 2011 04:08:42 Mars apparently closest to Jupiter, 21.7'
01 May 2011 04:25:50 Conjunction of Mars and Jupiter, 21.7'
01 May 2011 11:05:10 Conjunction of Mars and Jupiter in Right Ascension, 23.6'
01 May 2011 15:20:49 Conjunction of Jupiter with the Moon, 5.6°
01 May 2011 15:51:38 Conjunction of Mars with the Moon, 5.2°
03 May 2011 06:50:42 New Moon, lunation 1093 begins
04 May 2011 13:04:58 Descending Knot Passage of Vesta
06 May 2011 03:54:16 Max. South Declination of the Moon, 23.4°
06 May 2011 12:40:23 Min. North Latitude of Venus, -1.6°
06 May 2011 14:54:01 Descending Knot Passage of the Moon
07 May 2011 19:02:53 Max. Western Elongation of Mercury, 26.6°
08 May 2011 05:35:58 Mercury apparently closest to Venus, 1° 26'

Have a great viewing this week!