Astronomical Observing from Fishcreek Observing Site
            on Friday 9/17/2010 at 8:00pm

                    Sunset:  7:34pm
       Civil twilight ends:  7:59pm
    Nautical twilight ends:  8:32pm
Astronomical twilight ends:  9:05pm

Moon Phase: 76.21% illuminated (waxing gibbous)
      Rise: 4:34pm
       Age: 9d 13h 55m since last New Moon
Tonight, we've got a bright 76% illuminated waxing gibbous Moon with us for the entire session.  You know the drill by now - the faint deep-sky objects will be obscured by this bright Moon and won't be too impressive.  However, we'll still have the colorful double stars and open clusters made up of hundreds of stars that will look beautiful, but the globular clusters won't be the preferred objects, the brighter planetary nebula formed by dying stars will look good, but the diffuse nebula and emission nebula where stars are being born won't be visible.  Galaxies, won't be the objects of choice, either.  Bring binoculars if you have a pair and we'll show you how to find the beautiful "Coat Hanger" cluster which is actually best seen in binoculars.

How about the planets...which ones can we see tonight? 

    Sun is obviously unavailable to us, it IS night time after all. ;^)
    Mercury is no longer visible in the evening. It is now a morning object and visible before sunrise.
    Venus, with a waning crescent phase, is sinking lower and lower in the west. Still extremely bright!
    Earth is what you'll be standing on as you look up. ;^)
    Mars is 7.0 to Venus' upper right. Note that Mars appears far dimmer than Venus.
    Jupiter is now rising early enough for us and will be visible after 9:30pm.  It's HUGE and BRIGHT!
    Saturn is no longer visible before sunset.  It's gone for the year as an evening object.
    Uranus is now rising early enough for us and will be visible after 9:30pm less than 1 above Jupiter
    Neptune is now easily visible after dark and for the entire night  30 to the west of Jupiter
 
  Pluto is up tonight, but so incredibly small and dim that we can't see a thing in our telescopes!  We can show you where it is, though.  OK, OK...if you want to try to see it, we'll try!
    Moon is up until it sets at 2:37am. Detail visible on the terminator will be fantastic!

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 sixteenth year!

All times are shown in EDT (Eastern Daylight Time (UT-4)) as seen from Stow, Ohio
Longitude: W 81 25' 38.3"
 Latitude: N41 11' 11.1"
 Altitude: 337m

The following Sun, Moon and planet detail was calculated as it will be on
Friday 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm (nautical twilight)
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

ABOVE HORIZON:
Object       Mag    Const     Rise     Set
Venus       -4.5     Vir     10:49   20:46
Mars         1.5     Vir     10:15   20:59
Jupiter     -2.9     Psc     19:37   07:33
Uranus       5.7     Psc     19:33   07:34
Neptune      7.8     Cap     18:15   04:52
Pluto       14.2     Sgr     14:52   00:47
Moon       -11.1     Sgr     16:34   02:37

BELOW HORIZON:
Object       Mag    Const     Rise     Set
Sun        -26.7     Vir     07:05   19:34
Mercury     -0.1     Leo     05:36   18:53
Saturn       0.9     Vir     08:01   20:08
Sun data:
     Rise: 7:05am
     Transit: 1:20pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 7:34pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Distance: 1.00493519 AU = 150,336,164 km = 93,414,563 miles = 8.37 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -26.7
     Apparent size: 31.83 arcminutes in angular diameter

     Civil twilight ends at: 7:59pm ( When the Sun is 6 below the horizon )
     Nautical twilight ends at: 8:32pm ( When the Sun is 12 below the horizon )
     Astronomical twilight ends at: 9:05pm ( 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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm the Sun will be 12 below the west horizon

Moon data:
     Rise: 4:34pm
     Transit: 9:33pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 2:37am - Sep 18
     Constellation: Sagittarius
     Phase:  76.21% illuminated (waxing gibbous)
     Distance: 0.00266393 AU = 398,519 km = 247,628 miles = 1.33 light-seconds
     Magnitude: -11.1
     Apparent size: 29.97 arcminutes in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 121.49 (evening sky)
     Age: 9d 13h 55m since last New Moon
     Prior Phase: First Quarter on Wednesday Sep 15, 2010 at 1:50am
      Next Phase: Full Moon on Thursday Sep 23, 2010 at 5:17am
     Next Lunar eclipse: Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
     On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm the Moon will be 27.1 above the south-southeast horizon

Mercury data:
     Rise: 5:36am
     Transit: 12:15pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 6:53pm
     Constellation: Leo
     Phase:  40.37% illuminated
     Distance: .89753074 AU = 134,268,688 km = 83,430,696 miles = 7.48 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -0.1
     Apparent size: 7.49 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 17.69 (morning sky)
     Next maximum elongations...
          Morning: Sunday, September 19, 2010 (17 52' 13")
          Evening: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 (21 27' 14")
     On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Mercury will be 18.2 below the west-northwest horizon

Venus data:
     Rise: 10:49am
     Transit: 3:48pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 8:46pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  30.21% illuminated
     Distance: .46220449 AU = 69,144,807 km = 42,964,592 miles = 3.85 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -4.5
     Apparent size: 36.10 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 41.70 (evening sky)
     Next maximum elongations...
          Morning: Saturday, January 8, 2011 (46 57' 24")
          Evening: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 (46 02' 27")
     On 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Venus will be 1.4 above the southwest horizon

Mars data:
     Rise: 10:15am
     Transit: 3:38pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 8:59pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  95.96% illuminated
     Distance: 2.21569214 AU = 331,462,826 km = 205,961,454 miles = 18.46 light-minutes
     Magnitude: 1.5
     Apparent size: 4.22 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 37.05 (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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Mars will be 4 above the west-southwest horizon

     Question: Will Mars be "as big as a Full Moon on August 27!" ???
       Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

     Question: Will there be "Two Full Moons in the Sky!" ???
       Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

     Mars was the closest in recorded history on August 27, but that was only in 2003, not every year!
     At that time, it appeared to be 1/75th the apparent diameter of the Moon!  NOT the "same size as the Full Moon".

     Please check these respected sites for their stories on the "Mars hoax" by clicking on the links below:
         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: 7:37pm
     Transit: 1:35am - Sep 18 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 7:33am - Sep 18
     Constellation: Pisces
     Phase:  99.99% illuminated
     Distance: 3.95516079 AU = 591,683,633 km = 367,655,169 miles = 32.94 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -2.9
     Apparent size: 49.85 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 175.85 (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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Jupiter will be 9 above the east horizon
 
     Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at  2:56am (The Red Spot transits about every 9 hours 56 minutes)
     GRS longitude: 146.4
     Jupiter satellite events (during darkness):
          Ganymede shadow transit begins on Friday Sep 17, 2010 at 11:54pm when Jupiter is 41 above the horizon
          Ganymede transit begins on Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at 0:23am when Jupiter is 43.8 above the horizon
          Ganymede shadow transit ends on Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at 2:59am when Jupiter is 42.9 above the horizon
          Ganymede transit ends on Saturday Sep 18, 2010 at 3:12am when Jupiter is 41.6 above the horizon

Saturn data:
     Rise: 8:01am
     Transit: 2:05pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 8:08pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  99.99% illuminated
     Distance: 10.53679264 AU = 1,576,281,743 km = 979,456,078 miles = 1.46 light-hours
     Magnitude: 0.9
     Apparent size: 15.77 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 11.34 (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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Saturn will be 5.4 below the west horizon

Uranus data:
     Rise: 7:33pm
     Transit: 1:34am - Sep 18 (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 7:34am - Sep 18
     Constellation: Pisces
     Phase:  100.00% illuminated
     Distance: 19.08935592 AU = 2,855,726,999 km = 1,774,466,512 miles = 2.65 light-hours
     Magnitude: 5.7
     Apparent size: 3.69 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 176.18 (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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Uranus will be 9.8 above the east horizon

Neptune data:
     Rise: 6:15pm
     Transit: 11:33pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 4:52am - Sep 18
     Constellation: Capricornus
     Phase:  99.99% illuminated
     Distance: 29.12979805 AU = 4,357,755,762 km = 2,707,783,927 miles = 4.04 light-hours
     Magnitude: 7.8
     Apparent size: 2.34 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 151.53 (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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Neptune will be 21.3 above the east-southeast horizon

Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data:
     Rise: 2:52pm
     Transit: 7:50pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 0:47am - Sep 18
     Constellation: Sagittarius
     Phase:  99.98% illuminated
     Distance: 31.74826451 AU = 4,749,472,768 km = 2,951,185,593 miles = 4.41 light-hours
     Magnitude: 14.2
     Apparent size: 0.10 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 97.75 (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 9/17/2010 at 8:31:32pm Pluto will be 29.5 above the south horizon
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