Sunday, May 22, 2011

Events for the Week 5/23 to 5/28

Events for 5/23

The big Dipper is high in the northwest tonight and you'll be able to see it 'hanging down by its handle.' Something amazing to notice: the big Dipper was just horizontal in the last weeks."That sort of quick change happens to star patterns passing near the zenith...Can you figure out why?" challenged Sky&Telescope last week. They put out the answer finally: "...Star patterns appear to change orientation fast when they pass near the zenith. The reason for this? When you're looking near the zenith, the directions toward "up" and "down" (toward and away from the zenith) differ a lot over short distances." 

The keystone might be something you would wish to like to see as well. This link has what you need to know.

Events for 5/24
Tonight at exactly 2:52 pm EDT, the moon will shine at last quarter, rising in the 'water-jar' asterism. Also look for Messier 13 (a globular star cluster) in the center of the top bar in the keystone. It's extremely hard to view even in the darkest of nights, but with a telescope, you'll see a grand masterpiece of stars as seen below: 

Events for 5/25 

The Arch of Spring starts to sink lower each night, but after astronomical twilight each night: our four famous members take their places. In the west-northwest sky, Castor and Pollux are lined horizontal to each other, with Procyon to their lower-left and on the opposite side, farther, Capella.

Events for 5/26
Heading back to viewing at dawn, the crescent moon (almost new) hangs high where Jupiter is in the far lower-left. 15 degrees the lower left of Jupiter sits Venus, not high at all. Tiny, faint Mars will be 2° upper right of Venus and Mercury will be 4° lower left of Venus. 
Events for 5/27
 The summer triangle makes another great shot tonight. First Vega will shine in the east, then Deneb, the brightest star, while 'farther to the lower right of Vega is Altair, the last of the three Summer Triangle stars to rise' Sky&Telescope remarks. [It will rise around 10/11pm EDT in your location.]
Dawn view 
Events for 5/28
Under Events for 5/26, you'll see pictures of what's happening with the planets this weekend. They're putting on a wonderful show. This is next Monday's sky: 

Also tonight (around 6:30 UT = 2:30 am EDT Sunday morning), a star located in the constellation of Ophiuchus (seven mag.) will be occulted by asteroid 217 Eudora as seen from (first) Florida through Oklahoma, then Colorado to Oregon. See map, finder charts, and full information. Extended information.

Solar System Calendar

23 May 2011 08:25:30 Conjunction of Venus and Mars, 59.6'
23 May 2011 09:20:09 Conjunction of Vesta with the Moon, 5.1°
23 May 2011 09:24:37 Venus apparently closest to Mars, 59.6'
23 May 2011 11:24:03 Conjunction of Pallas with the Moon, 30.4°
24 May 2011 13:48:04 Conjunction of Neptune with the Moon, 5.4°
24 May 2011 18:52:11 Last Quarter of Moon
26 May 2011 07:12:23 Conjunction of Ceres with the Moon, 14.9°
26 May 2011 11:41:14 Max. South Latitude of the Moon, 5.2°
27 May 2011 01:54:11 Max. North Declination of Vesta, -16.7°
27 May 2011 08:30:49 Conjunction of Uranus with the Moon, 5.9°
27 May 2011 09:57:32 Moon at Apogee, 405003 km from Earth
Plant Positions for the week of 5/23 to 5/28
Mercury- lowest planet in the sky at dawn
Venus- brightest planet at dawn closest to the horizon
Mars- to the upper-left of Venus at dawn
Jupiter- Highest of all the dawn planets; second brightest
Saturn- magnitude 0.6 in Virgo; only planet really visible at night, the others are all around the time of dawn.
Uranus- mag 5.9 in western Pisces; very low in the east before dawn
Neptune- mag 7.9 in Aquarius, southeast before dawn
NEW! Pluto- mag 14 in Sagittarius, highest in the south before dawn  
Have a great viewing this week! 

1 comment:

  1. For those who would like to know what happened during the occultation, this text (in "") was written by Terrence R. Redding, Ph.D. who witnessed the occultation. Sorry for the lack of pictures.

    "Good morning.

    "This message is a general call to other observers not normally involved in occultations to consider participating in this world class
    event. The path of the shadows crosses the USA from Florida to Oregon. IOTA has asked for observers either side of the center line
    plus or minus 700 km to observe this event in an effort to identify possible moons of (217) Eudora. Thus much of the US can be involved.

    I stayed up late last night practicing acquiring (217) Eudora and its associated pre-point stars with my 70mm occultation scopes.

    My skies cleared about 10 PM and steadily improved through the night. Using Arcturus as a starting point I found it easy to star hop to the target. Just for the practice, to become more familiar with using my camera tripod mounted 70mm scopes, I also did the star hope from Spica and Antares.

    The target star is located with in a instinctive star pattern, is the brightest of those stars and once found is easy to find again and again. But I emphasize the need to practice.

    There are now 38 stations coordinated for this event, making this occultation effort the largest I can personally remember. Normally,
    during an international IOTA conference, we are able to deploy about 20 stations. This effort could easily involve 40 or more stations as
    IOTA not only seeks to determine the precise location and shape of asteroid (217) Eudora, but also discover and identify any moons of the

    If you wish to participate in this event, please do so. I can add you to the list of coordinated stations and aid you in filing a report, should you have a positive occultation. It is also important to file "misses" should you know that you were on the target and observing a the time of the event. The mis ses set the right and left boundary when determining the size of the asteroid.

    IOTA has widen the observation area plus or minus 700 KM in an effort to look for companion moons of this asteroid. That also means
    multiples Ds and Rs may be observed by any of us. If you are using a tape recorder and or video recorder please consider starting as much
    as five minutes before and continue until five minutes after the center time of the event. The center time for Redding South Observatory and the South Florida Science Museum is 02:35:34 Sunday morning local time. The error in time is plus or minus 7 seconds. The link below to detailed information contains an image of the path that will allow you to estimate your center time at your location.
    Detailed information about this event can be found here:

    The mosquitos and "no-see-ums were out last night. So remember to bring repellent. Also, past midnight into the early morning hours dew
    becomes more of a problem. If you don't already have one I suggest building a paper dew shield for your scope. I make mine out of black
    construction paper and attach them with rubber bands. The following is the current list of stations: Distance (Occult) Prob. Cloudy Station
    info Submitted by..."

    Thank you, obtained from