Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 24th, and Thursday, May 25th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 24th, and Thursday, May 25th, written by Louis Suarato. Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) is well placed for viewing as it travels east to south through the constellation Boötes. Discovered by Astronomer Jess Johnson using the Catalina Sky Survey on November 3rd, 2015, Comet Johnson is now at 6.9 magnitude. The comet will peak in brightness in late June. Look about 30 degrees to the east of Arcturus for this binocular-visible comet. Look further south, and lower, for Jupiter. At magnitude -2.29, Jupiter will be the brightest object in the night … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, May 22nd and 23rd, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, May 22nd and 23rd. The Sun sets at 8:18 PM; night falls at 10:23. Dawn begins at 3:20 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 5:25. The evening sky continues to show Mars and Jupiter. Mars, still in Taurus, shines at first magnitude, appears as a tiny red dot about 10 degrees high and sets at 9:56 PM. Jupiter, still in Virgo, is moderately high in the southern sky. It shines at minus 2 magnitude, is 41 minutes in size, is best observed at 9:44 PM and sets at 3:31 … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:29am and sets at 8:16pm; the Waning Crescent Moon rises at 2:04am and sets at 1:05pm. Sunday before sunrise, and for the next few mornings, get up early and look east to see the waning crescent Moon and Venus. Mercury is also up before dawn now, less easy to see, closer to the sunrise, but still possible for those with clear skies all the way to the eastern horizon at dawn. The Moon will sweep two degrees … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 17th, and Thursday, May 18th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 17th, and Thursday, May 18th, written by Louis Suarato. You can begin Wednesday’s moonless night by observing Jupiter high above the south-southwestern horizon at twilight. The solar system’s largest planet will be about 40 degrees high around 9 p.m. in the constellation Virgo. Thursday night, at 11:53, Io’s shadow joins Europa’s shadow for a double transit across the face of the planet. Virgo’s brightest star, Spica, shines brightly to Jupiter’s lower left. Look about 15 degrees to the south, or right, of Spica with a telescope for M104, also known … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, May 15th and 16th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, May 15th and 16th. The Sun sets at 8:11 PM; night falls at 10:11. Dawn breaks at 3:31 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 5:31. The evening sky contains two planets. First magnitude Mars in Taurus, is moderately low in the western sky, appearing as a tiny red dot, and setting at 10 PM. Much brighter Jupiter makes its presence known at minus 2 magnitude in Virgo in between the stars Spica and Porrima. In our telescopes and binoculars, it appears as a 42 arc-second ball moderately high in … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 14, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 14, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:36am and sets at 8:09pm; the Waxing Gibbous Moon rises at 9:44pm, reaches transit altitude at 1:57am, and sets at 7:00am. Venus, at magnitude –4.7, rises due east at 3:52am, on Saturday morning. The “morning star” is bright enough to be seen even after the Sun rises if you know where to look. Jupiter is up before sunset, shining at magnitude -2.4, and reaches the meridian around 10:27pm, on Friday. About 15 minutes later, Saturn, at 0.2 … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 10th, and Thursday, May 11th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 10th, and Thursday, May 11th, written by Louis Suarato. May’s Full Flower Moon occurs at 5:42 p.m., Wednesday. Look for the Moon to rise at 7:52 p.m. in the constellation Libra. Above, and south, of the Moon is Jupiter in the constellation Virgo. Thursday, Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa will cast their shadows on the planet from 9:59 to 10:05 p.m. EDT. The bright star, about 40 degrees above the Moon, is Arcturus. Between the Moon and Arcturus is the globular cluster M5 in the constellation Serpens. Discovered by German … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, May 8th and 9th, 2017

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, May 8th and 9th. The Sun sets at 8:04 PM; night falls at 10. Dawn begins at 3:43 AM and ends with sunrise at 5:39. The Moon and two planets are in this evening’s sky. The nearly full Moon is high in the southeast after sunset. The Moon blazes at minus 12th magnitude on both nights. The Moon is best observed at 11:42 PM on Monday and at 12:26 AM on Wednesday. It remains up past sunrise on both days. Jupiter, in Virgo, is high in the South and continues a … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, May 5, through Sunday, May 7, 2017

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, May 5, through Sunday, May 7, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 5:44am and sets at 8:01pm; the Waxing Gibbous Moon reaches transit altitude at 9:30pm and sets at 3:26am the following day. On Friday night, watch for Eta Aquariid meteors to streak the nighttime from about 3 am until dawn. From our latitude, this is a modest display owing to the meteors radiant low altitude. In addition, this year the bright waxing gibbous Moon will limit the number of meteors you’ll see. Ten in an hour would be … Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 3rd, and Thursday, May 4th, 2017

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, May 3rd, and Thursday, May 4th, written by Louis Suarato. The 56 % illuminated, waxing gibbous Moon rises at 12:48 p.m. in the constellation Leo. As the sky darkens, look for Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, 8 degrees to the left of the Moon. At magnitude +1.35, Regulus is the 21st brightest star in the sky. Of all the brightest stars, at .46 degree, Leo is closest to the ecliptic, and frequently occulted by the Moon, and occasionally occulted by Mercury or Venus. Also known as Alpha Leonis, Regulus is a multiple … Continue reading

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