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 at 6:10 p.m., followed by Venus at 6:54 p.m., and Mercury at 6:58 p.m.. Jupiter sets in the west-southwest at 9:05 p.m., leading Saturn by an hour and 46 minutes. Mars rises at 5:52 a.m., Thursday, an hour and 18 minutes before sunrise.
With the bright Moon blanching celestial objects in its path across the sky, if you are observing during these nights, you may want to concrete on the brightest targets. The Andromeda Galaxy, M31, is close to the zenith, or directly overhead, around midnight. M31 shines at magnitude 3.44. The constellation Cygnus is high above the southwestern horizon around 9 p.m.. One of the features within this constellation is the double star Albireo, comprised of one gold star and one blue star. The Swan faces downward these nights, with Albireo, at the head, leading the way. M13 is one of the most spectacular globular clusters in the sky. Shining at magnitude 5.80, this cluster of over three hundred thousand stars, can be found in the constellation Hercules, along one of the sides making up its Keystone asterism. You’ll find M13 in Hercules 33 degrees above the west-northwestern around 9 p.m..
The Albany Area Amateur Astronomers invite you to join them for their monthly meeting to be held Thursday beginning at 7:30 p.m. at miSci in Schenectady. This month’s speaker will be Dr. Luca Marinelli, who will give a presentation on the “Introduction to Deep-Space Astrophotography”. Dr. Marinelli is a Principal Scientist at GE Global Research, where his work has focused on neuroimaging and advanced technologies for quantitative MRI since 2005. Dr. Marinelli graduated from Università degli Studi di Genova with a degree in physics in 1995 and earned his Ph.D. in Physics at Harvard University in 2002. He studied low-temperature thermodynamic and transport properties of high-temperature superconductors in a strong magnetic field. He also collaborated with Schlumberger-Doll Research to develop a magnetic resonance tool for exploration of geological reservoirs. After leaving Harvard, Dr. Marinelli joined Bell Laboratories-Lucent Technologies as a postdoctoral member of the technical staff in the theoretical physics group, where he worked on problems in information theory and wireless telecommunications. Dr. Marinelli holds 30 patents and is a coauthor on over 100 journal publications, book chapters, and conference proceedings.