Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 26th, and Thursday, October 27th, 2016

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, October 26th, and Thursday, October 27th, written by Louis Suarato.

The 13% illuminated, waning crescent Moon sets at 4:02 p.m.,Wednesday. Venus can be found about 12 degrees above the southwestern horizon after sunset. Saturn will be 4.5 degrees to Venus’ upper left. Mars continues to move eastward, and is now 20 degrees over the southern horizon at twilight. There are three globular clusters near Mars in the constellation Sagittarius. . Look about 7 degrees below the red planet for 7th magnitudeglobular cluster, M55. Move 10 degrees to the right of M55 for globular cluster, M54. Look 8 degrees to the upper right of M54 for 5th magnitude M22. Pan down 4 degrees to the lower right of M22 for globular cluster M28. Jupiter is the only morning planet, as it rises about an hour after the crescent Moon Thursday. The 4.6% illuminated, thin crescent Moon joins Jupiter for a close celestial conjunction Friday morning. The two will be side by side, above the eastern horizon before 6 a.m., separated by only 1 degree. Mercury reaches superior conjunction, on the opposite side of the Sun than Earth, Thursday, so the innermost planet will be hidden from view.

October 26th is the birth date of Lewis Boss, director of the Dudley Observatory from 1876 to 1912. Born in 1846, Boss mapped the stars of the northern hemisphere, compiled information about the orbits of comets, and, in 1882, led an expedition to Santiago, Chile, to observe the transit of Venus. In 1910, Boss published the Preliminary General Catalogue of 6188 Stars for the Epoch 1900, which was the most comprehensive source of accurate proper motions of stars for decades.

The Albany Area Amateur Astronomers invite you to join them for star parties this weekend at the Landis Arboretum in Esperance, NY. Weather permitting, the star parties will be held this Friday and Saturday nights in the field by the Meeting House at the top of Lape Road. Look for the sign at the gate.

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