Astronomical Observing from Fishcreek Observing Site - Friday 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm (nautical twilight).
                    Sunset: 7:58pm
       Civil twilight ends: 8:23pm
    Nautical twilight ends: 8:57pm
Astronomical twilight ends: 9:32pm
Moon Phase: 25.84% illuminated (waning crescent)
      Rise: 0:55am
       Age: 24d 21h 50m since last New Moon
Tonight, we're essentially Moon-free for nearly the entire session.  We have a 22% illuminated (waning crescent) Moon that won't rise until 2:03am Saturday morning.  This is one of those nights we wait for since all the faint DSOs (Deep Space Objects) will be visible due to the absence of the Moon.  We have the colorful double stars, open clusters made up of hundreds of stars, the globular clusters comprised of hundreds of thousands of stars, planetary nebula formed by dying stars, diffuse nebula and emission nebula where stars are being born.  Galaxies, including M31 - the Andromeda Galaxy - our closest neighboring island universe - will be ours for the asking if you stay late enough.  Bring binoculars if you have a pair and we'll show you how to find the Andromeda Galaxy with them!  Also, we'll show you how to find the beautiful "Coat Hanger" cluster which is best seen in binoculars.

How about the planets...which ones can we see tonight?
    Sun is obviously unavailable for us, it IS nighttime after all.
    Mercury is no longer visible in the evening. It will soon be a morning object.
    Venus, with a waning crescent phase, is sinking lower and lower in the west. Still bright!
    Earth is what you'll be standing upon as you look up.
    Mars is 5.0 to Venus' upper right. Note that Mars appears far dimmer than Venus.
    Jupiter is now rising early enough for us and will be visible just after 10:00pm.
    Saturn is very low in the west now and just about gone for the year as an evening object.
    Uranus is now rising early enough for us and will be visible just after 10:00pm.
    Neptune is now easily visible after dark and for the entire night.
    Pluto is up tonight, but so incredibly small and dim that we can't see a thing in our telescopes!
    Moon is not visible tonight, unless you wait until 3:30am

Click HERE for a list of DeepSky Objects that will be available to us this session.
We hope to see you here for a night under the stars - now in our fifteenth year!
All times are shown in EDT (Eastern Daylight Time (UT-4)) as seen from Stow, Ohio
Longitude: W 81 25' 38.3"
 Latitude: N 41 11' 11.1"
 Altitude: 337m
The following Sun, Moon and planet detail was calculated as it will be on Friday 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm (nautical twilight).
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com
ABOVE HORIZON:
Object       Mag    Const     Rise     Set
Venus       -4.4     Vir     10:47   21:24
Mars         1.5     Vir     10:23   21:32
Jupiter     -2.9     Psc     20:36   08:38
Uranus       5.7     Psc     20:29   08:32
Neptune      7.8     Cap     19:11   05:48
Pluto       14.2     Sgr     15:47   01:43
BELOW HORIZON:
Object       Mag    Const     Rise     Set
Sun        -26.7     Leo     06:51   19:58
Mercury      4.8     Sex     07:00   19:36
Saturn       1.0     Vir     08:48   21:00
Moon        -8.9     Gem     00:55   16:40
Sun data:
     Rise: 6:51am
     Transit: 1:25pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 7:58pm
     Constellation: Leo
     Distance: 1.00859697 AU = 150,883,959 km = 93,754,947 miles = 8.4 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -26.7
     Apparent size: 31.72 arcminutes in angular diameter
     Civil twilight ends at: 8:23pm ( When the Sun is 6 below the horizon )
     Nautical twilight ends at: 8:57pm ( When the Sun is 12 below the horizon )
     Astronomical twilight ends at: 9:32pm ( When the Sun is 18 below the horizon )
     Summer began at the Summer Solstice which occurred on Monday Jun 21, 2010 at 7:29am
     Fall begins at the Autumnal Equinox which will occur on Wednesday Sep 22, 2010 at 11:10pm
     Next Solar Eclipse: Partial eclipse (>80%) on Monday August 21, 2017 2:30pm EDT
     Next TOTAL Solar Eclipse: Monday April 8, 2024 at 3:15pm
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm the Sun will be 12 below the west horizon
Moon data:
     Rise: 0:55am
     Transit: 8:50am (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 4:40pm
     Constellation: Gemini
     Phase:  25.84% illuminated (waning crescent)
     Distance: 0.00250041 AU = 374,056 km = 232,428 miles = 1.25 light-seconds
     Magnitude: -8.9
     Apparent size: 31.93 arcminutes in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 60.98 (morning sky)
     Age: 24d 21h 50m since last New Moon
     Prior Phase: Last Quarter on Wednesday Sep 1, 2010 at 1:22pm
      Next Phase: New Moon on Wednesday Sep 8, 2010 at 6:30am
     Next Lunar eclipse: Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm the Moon will be 26.5 below the north-northwest horizon
Mercury data:
     Rise: 7:00am
     Transit: 1:17pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 7:36pm
     Constellation: Sextans
     Phase:  0.84% illuminated
     Distance: .6354726 AU = 95,065,348 km = 59,070,869 miles = 5.29 light-minutes
     Magnitude: 4.8
     Apparent size: 10.58 arcseconds in  angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 3.90 (morning sky)
     Next maximum elongations...
          Morning: Sunday, September 19, 2010 (17 52' 13")
          Evening: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 (21 27' 14")
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Mercury will be 15.9 below the west horizon
Venus data:
     Rise: 10:47am
     Transit: 4:06pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 9:24pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  39.97% illuminated
     Distance: .56686509 AU = 84,801,810 km = 52,693,402 miles = 4.72 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -4.4
     Apparent size: 29.44 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 45.02 (evening sky)
     Next maximum elongations...
          Morning: Saturday, January 8, 2011 (46 57' 24")
          Evening: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 (46 02' 27")
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Venus will be 3.8 above the west-southwest horizon
Mars data:
     Rise: 10:23am
     Transit: 3:58pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 9:32pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  95.17% illuminated
     Distance: 2.16220602 AU = 323,461,417 km = 200,989,609 miles = 18.01 light-minutes
     Magnitude: 1.5
     Apparent size: 4.33 arcseconds inangular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 41.38 (evening sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Mars is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Friday Jan 29, 2010 at 2:21pm.  Distance: 99,400,435 km.  Size: 14.08 arcseconds.
            Next: Saturday Mar 3, 2012 at 3:52pm.  Distance: 100,839,728 km.  Size: 13.88 arcseconds.
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Mars will be 5.4 above the west-southwest horizon
     No, Mars was *not* "...as big as a Full Moon on August 27!"
     Please see the following links for more information about this annual 'Mars Hoax'
         http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/8708182.html
         http://www.snopes.com/science/astronomy/brightmars.asp
         http://www.hoax-slayer.com/mars-earth-close.html
         http://www.universetoday.com/2007/07/25/will-the-mars-look-as-big-as-the-moon-on-august-27-nope/
Jupiter data:
     Rise: 8:36pm
     Transit: 2:37am - Sep 4 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 8:38am - Sep 4
     Constellation: Pisces
     Phase:  99.89% illuminated
     Distance: 3.99627369 AU = 597,834,035 km = 371,476,852 miles = 33.29 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -2.9
     Apparent size: 49.33 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 160.73 (morning sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Jupiter is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Friday Aug 14, 2009 at 1:44pm
            Next: Tuesday Sep 21, 2010 at 7:28am
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Jupiter will be 2.7 above the east horizon
 
     Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Saturday Sep 04, 2010 at  1:26am (The Red Spot transits about every 9 hours 56 minutes)
     GRS longitude: 146.2
     Jupiter satellite events (during darkness):
          None before 3:30am tomorrow morning
Saturn data:
     Rise: 8:48am
     Transit: 2:54pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 9:00pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  99.96% illuminated
     Distance: 10.46840737 AU = 1,566,051,452 km = 973,099,270 miles = 1.45 light-hours
     Magnitude: 1.0
     Apparent size: 15.88 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 23.16 (evening sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Saturn is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Sunday Mar 21, 2010 at 8:28pm
            Next: Sunday Apr 3, 2011 at 7:48pm
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Saturn will be 0.5 below the west horizon
Uranus data:
     Rise: 8:29pm
     Transit: 2:31am - Sep 4 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 8:32am - Sep 4
     Constellation: Pisces
     Phase:  99.99% illuminated
     Distance: 19.13031687 AU = 2,861,854,670 km = 1,778,274,071 miles = 2.66 light-hours
     Magnitude: 5.7
     Apparent size: 3.68 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 162.10 (morning sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Uranus is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Thursday Sep 17, 2009 at 5:34am
            Next: Tuesday Sep 21, 2010 at 12:51pm
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Uranus will be 4 above the east horizon
Neptune data:
     Rise: 7:11pm
     Transit: 0:30am - Sep 4 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 5:48am - Sep 4
     Constellation: Capricornus
     Phase:  100.00% illuminated
     Distance: 29.04005031 AU = 4,344,329,691 km = 2,699,441,353 miles = 4.03 light-hours
     Magnitude: 7.8
     Apparent size: 2.35 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 165.48 (evening sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Neptune is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Friday Aug 20, 2010 at 5:59am
            Next: Monday Aug 22, 2011 at 7:18pm
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Neptune will be 16.8 above the east-southeast horizon
Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data:
     Rise: 3:47pm
     Transit: 8:45pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 1:43am - Sep 4
     Constellation: Sagittarius
     Phase:  99.98% illuminated
     Distance: 31.51144077 AU = 4,714,044,442 km = 2,929,171,452 miles = 4.37 light-hours
     Magnitude: 14.2
     Apparent size: 0.10 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 111.32 (evening sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Pluto is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Friday Jun 25, 2010 at 2:59pm
            Next: Tuesday Jun 28, 2011 at 1:23am
     On 9/3/2010 at 8:56:52pm Pluto will be 30.2 above the south horizon
   
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