Skywatch Line Archive

Skywatch Line for Friday, October 18, through Sunday, October 20, 2019

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, October 18, through Sunday, October 20, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 7:12am and sets at 6:09pm; the waning gibbous Moon rises at 9:18pm and sets at 11:48am. Saturn, at magnitude 0.5, resides among the background stars of constellation Sagittarius the Archer, 25 degrees high in the south-southwest as twilight fades to darkness. It appears significantly brighter than any of its host constellation’s stars. Even a small telescope shows Saturn’s disk and spectacular ring system, which spans 37 arc-seconds and tilts 25 degrees to our line of sight. Saturn… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 16th, and Thursday, October 17th, 2019

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 16th, and Thursday, October 17th, written by Louis Suarato. The 93% illuminated, waning gibbous Moon rises at 7:58 p.m. Wednesday. The Moon rises between the horns of Taurus, the bull, with its red eye, Aldebaran, below, and the Pleiades above. Aldebaran is a red giant star about 65 light years from the Sun. It is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, and the 14th brightest in our sky. Aldebaran shines between magnitude 0.75 and 0.95. Thursday night, Aldebaran will be 3 degrees to the Moon’s right. The Sun sets… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, October 14th and 15th, 2019

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, October 14th and 15th, written by Joe Slomka. The Sun sets at 6:15 PM; night falls at 7:49. Dawn begins at 5:34 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 7:08. Jupiter and Saturn are no longer the only planets visible in the evening sky. Mercury and Venus, both in Virgo, rise shortly before Sunset, can be found low in the Southwest, separated by about 8. Venus is brightest, blazing with minus 4th magnitude and appearing about 96% illuminated, 6degrees above the horizon. Mars is a bit dimmer and about 71%… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, October 11, through Sunday, October 13, 2019

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, October 11, through Sunday, October 13, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 7:04am and sets at 6:20pm; the waxing gibbous Moon rises at 5:52pm and sets at 4:37am. Full Moon occurs on Sunday at 5:08pm. October’s Full Moon is the “Hunter’s Moon”. In early autumn, the Full Moon rises about half an hour later each night compared with a normal lag close to fifty minutes. The added early evening illumination helps hunters track down their prey. Look above the nearly full Moon, on Saturday evening, for the Great Square… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 9th, and Thursday, October 10th, 2019

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 9th, and Thursday, October 10th, written by Louis Suarato. The 86% illuminated, waxing gibbous Moon rises at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Look 17 degrees below the Moon for Fomalhaut, the Autumn Star. The Moon will reach apogee, its furthest distance from Earth during this lunar cycle, at 2:29 p.m. Thursday, at the distance of 252,214 miles. The Moon’s orbit around Earth is elliptical. An elliptical orbit is defined as an orbit with an eccentricity of less than, or greater than 0. An eccentricity of 0 would be a perfectly circular orbit.… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, October 7th and 8th, 2019

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, October 7th and 8th, written by Joe Slomka. The Sun sets at 6:26 PM; night falls at 8. Dawn breaks at 5:26 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 7. The Moon dominates the evening sky, in Capricornus on both nights. On Monday, the 9-day-old Moon is already up and blazing with minus 10th magnitude and appearing about 70% illuminated. It is best observed at 8:44 PM, when it is about 21 high; it sets at 1:17 AM, Tuesday. Tuesday evening sees it about 80% lit and a bit brighter.… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, October 4, through Sunday, October 6, 2019

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, October 4, through Sunday, October 6, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:56am and sets at 6:32pm; the waxing crescent Moon rises at 1:33pm and sets at 10:51pm. The waxing Moon shines between Jupiter and Saturn on Friday. The waxing crescent Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Antares follow a gentle arc about 35 degrees long in the southwestern sky after sunset. On Saturday, first-quarter Moon occurs at 12:47pm. The first-quarter Moon shines with Saturn, only about 2 degrees to its right or upper right at dusk in eastern Sagittarius, near… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 2nd, and Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 2nd, and Thursday, October 3rd, written by Louis Suarato. The 22% illuminated, waxing crescent Moon leads Jupiter and Saturn across the sky and sets at 9:21 p.m. Wednesday. Scorpius’ brightest star, Antares shines at magnitude 1.05 below, and forms a triangle with the Moon and Jupiter. Jupiter remains in the sky until 9:52 p.m., ahead of Saturn by about 2 hours. Mercury and Venus are side by side in the civil twilight sky, and set a half hour after sunset. Look low over the west-southwest horizon for the two innermost… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, September 30th and October 1st, 2019

This is the Skywatch Line for Monday and Tuesday, September 30th and October 1st, written by Joe Slomka. The Sun sets at 6:39 PM; night falls at 8:13. Dawn breaks at 5:18 AM and ends with the Sun rising at 6:52. Mercury and Venus are challenge objects just after sunset, southward of the Sun; Mercury is about 12 to the Moon’s lower right. Mercury is about 85% lit and shines with minus 2nd magnitude. Venus blazes with minus 4th magnitude, but much closer to the horizon. Since both are within the setting sun’s glare, binoculars are recommended; but observers are… Continue reading

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Skywatch Line for Friday, September 27, through Sunday, September 29, 2019

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, September 27, through Sunday, September 29, written by Sam Salem. On Friday, Sun rises at 6:48am and sets at 6:45pm; the waning crescent Moon rises at 5:03am and sets at 6:37pm. On Friday, the Moon reaches perigee, the closest point in its orbit around Earth, at 10:24pm. It lies 222,328 miles away from Earth. New Moon occurs at 2:26pm on Saturday. Because the Moon reached its closest point to Earth Friday evening, residents in coastal areas can expect higher than normal tides for the next few days. The Moon’s absence from the… Continue reading

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