Astronomical Observing from Fishcreek Observing Site
Friday 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm (nautical twilight)

                    Sunset: 6:47pm
       Civil twilight ends: 7:13pm
    Nautical twilight ends: 7:45pm
Astronomical twilight ends: 8:17pm

Moon Phase: 60.58% illuminated (waxing gibbous)
      Rise: 3:06pm
       Age: 8d 5h 2m since last New Moon
Tonight, we have a bright 61% illuminated gibbous Moon with us the entire session. This is one of those nights when the Moon will show lots of detail on the terminator, the line separating lunar night from day, but will prevent us from seeing the faint DSOs (Deep Space Objects) due to its brightness.  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 - and now it's rising early enough to see without having to wait.  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 to us, it IS night time after all. ;^)
    Mercury is no longer visible in the mornning. It is now on the far side of the Sun.
    Venus is lost in the glare of the Sun at sunset.
    Earth is what you'll be standing on as you look up. ;^)
    Mars is still visible in the west immediately after sunset, but is setting shortly after the Sun.
    Jupiter is with us all night now and It's HUGE and BRIGHT. Truly the King of the planets!
    Saturn is now a morning object and is visible before sunrise.
    Uranus is with us all night and 2 to Jupiter's east.
    Neptune is now easily visible in our telescopes 30 to Jupiter's west.
 
  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 61% waxing gibbous and will be with us until it sets at 1:29am Saturday morning.

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: N 41 11' 11.1"
 Altitude: 337m

The following Sun, Moon and planet detail was calculated as it will be on
Friday 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm (nautical twilight).
Source: Guide8 software available from www.projectpluto.com

ABOVE HORIZON:
Object       Mag    Const     Rise     Set
Mars         1.5     Lib     10:04   20:01
Jupiter     -2.9     Aqr     17:39   05:26
Uranus       5.7     Psc     17:40   05:39
Neptune      7.9     Cap     16:23   02:59
Pluto       14.3     Sgr     13:04   22:58
Moon       -10.5     Cap     15:06   01:29

BELOW HORIZON:
Object       Mag    Const     Rise     Set
Sun        -26.7     Vir     07:34   18:47
Mercury     -1.5     Vir     07:28   18:49
Venus       -4.4     Lib     09:36   18:59
Saturn       0.9     Vir     06:28   18:26

Sun data:
     Rise: 7:34am
     Transit: 1:11pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 6:47pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Distance: .99702338 AU = 149,152,574 km = 92,679,114 miles = 8.3 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -26.7
     Apparent size: 32.08 arcminutes in angular diameter

     Civil twilight ends at: 7:13pm ( When the Sun is 6 below the horizon )
     Nautical twilight ends at: 7:45pm ( When the Sun is 12 below the horizon )
     Astronomical twilight ends at: 8:17pm ( When the Sun is 18 below the horizon )

     Fall began at the Autumnal Equinox which occurred on Wednesday Sep 22, 2010 at 11:10pm
     Winter begins at the Winter Solstice which will occur on Tuesday Dec 21, 2010 at 6:39pm

     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 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm the Sun will be 12 below the west-southwest horizon

Moon data:
     Rise: 3:06pm
     Transit: 8:14pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 1:29am - Oct 16
     Constellation: Capricornus
     Phase:  60.58% illuminated (waxing gibbous)
     Distance: 0.00265949 AU = 397,854 km = 247,215 miles = 1.33 light-seconds
     Magnitude: -10.5
     Apparent size: 30.02 arcminutes in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 102.06 (evening sky)
     Age: 8d 5h 2m since last New Moon
     Prior Phase: First Quarter on Thursday Oct 14, 2010 at 5:27pm
      Next Phase: Full Moon on Friday Oct 22, 2010 at 9:36pm
     Next Lunar eclipse: Total eclipse (100%) on Sunday Sept 27, 2015 at 10:10pm EDT
     On 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm the Moon will be 30.9 above the south-southeast horizon

Mercury data:
     Rise: 7:28am
     Transit: 1:09pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 6:49pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  99.93% illuminated
     Distance: 1.41253258 AU = 211,311,866 km = 131,303,108 miles = 11.77 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -1.5
     Apparent size: 4.76 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 1.24 (morning sky)
     Next maximum elongations...
          Evening: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 (21 27' 14")
          Morning: Sunday, January 9, 2011 (23 16' 55")
     On 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Mercury will be 11.5 below the west horizon

Venus data:
     Rise: 9:36am
     Transit: 2:18pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 6:59pm
     Constellation: Libra
     Phase:  6.36% illuminated
     Distance: .29876786 AU = 44,695,036 km = 27,772,208 miles = 2.49 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -4.4
     Apparent size: 55.85 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 20.81 (evening sky)
     Next maximum elongations...
          Morning: Saturday, January 8, 2011 (46 57' 24")
          Evening: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 (46 02' 27")
     On 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Venus will be 8.8 below the west-southwest horizon

Mars data:
     Rise: 10:04am
     Transit: 3:03pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 8:01pm
     Constellation: Libra
     Phase:  97.38% illuminated
     Distance: 2.29681726 AU = 343,598,972 km = 213,502,506 miles = 19.13 light-minutes
     Magnitude: 1.5
     Apparent size: 4.07 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 28.76 (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 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Mars will be 1.7 above the 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: 5:39pm
     Transit: 11:32pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 5:26am - Oct 16
     Constellation: Aquarius
     Phase:  99.79% illuminated
     Distance: 4.04754516 AU = 605,504,138 km = 376,242,833 miles = 33.71 light-minutes
     Magnitude: -2.9
     Apparent size: 48.71 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 152.79 (evening sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Jupiter is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Tuesday Sep 21, 2010 at 7:28am
            Next: Friday Oct 28, 2011 at 9:37pm
     On 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Jupiter will be 21.7 above the east-southeast horizon
 
     Next transit of the Great Red Spot: Friday Oct 15, 2010 at 8:03pm (The Red Spot transits about every 9 hours 56 minutes)
     GRS longitude: 147.0
     Jupiter satellite events (during darkness):
          Io transit begins on Friday Oct 15, 2010 at 10:47pm when Jupiter is 44.3 above the horizon
          Io shadow transit begins on Friday Oct 15, 2010 at 11:25pm when Jupiter is 45.5 above the horizon
          Io transit ends on Saturday Oct 16, 2010 at 1:01am when Jupiter is 41.2 above the horizon
          Io shadow transit ends on Saturday Oct 16, 2010 at 1:39am when Jupiter is 37 above the horizon

Saturn data:
     Rise: 6:28am
     Transit: 12:27pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 6:26pm
     Constellation: Virgo
     Phase:  99.99% illuminated
     Distance: 10.53030383 AU = 1,575,311,030 km = 978,852,905 miles = 1.46 light-hours
     Magnitude: 0.9
     Apparent size: 15.78 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 13.11 (morning 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 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Saturn will be 15.8 below the west horizon

Uranus data:
     Rise: 5:40pm
     Transit: 11:40pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 5:39am - Oct 16
     Constellation: Pisces
     Phase:  99.99% illuminated
     Distance: 19.18250954 AU = 2,869,662,582 km = 1,783,125,682 miles = 2.66 light-hours
     Magnitude: 5.7
     Apparent size: 3.67 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 155.14 (evening sky)
     Dates of Opposition (when Uranus is closest to Earth)
        Previous: Tuesday Sep 21, 2010 at 12:51pm
            Next: Sunday Sep 25, 2011 at 8:07pm
     On 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Uranus will be 21.6 above the east-southeast horizon

Neptune data:
     Rise: 4:23pm
     Transit: 9:41pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 2:59am - Oct 16
     Constellation: Capricornus
     Phase:  99.98% illuminated
     Distance: 29.45404719 AU = 4,406,262,743 km = 2,737,924,768 miles = 4.09 light-hours
     Magnitude: 7.9
     Apparent size: 2.32 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 123.53 (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 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Neptune will be 29.2 above the southeast horizon

Pluto (Dwarf Planet aka Asteroid 134340) data:
     Rise: 1:04pm
     Transit: 6:01pm (Time of highest position in the sky, due South)
     Sets: 10:58pm
     Constellation: Sagittarius
     Phase:  99.98% illuminated
     Distance: 32.23150076 AU = 4,821,763,882 km = 2,996,105,209 miles = 4.47 light-hours
     Magnitude: 14.3
     Apparent size: 0.10 arcseconds in angular diameter
     Elongation from Sun: 70.60 (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 10/15/2010 at 7:44:44pm Pluto will be 25.5 above the south-southwest horizon


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