Skywatch Line for Friday, October 9, through Sunday, October 11

This is Dudley Observatory’s Skywatch Line for Friday, October 9, through Sunday, October 11, written by Alan French.

The Moon was at last quarter this past Sunday and is now moving toward new, so a waning crescent Moon rises during the early morning hours.

Saturday morning’s sky will feature a lovely grouping of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and the old, crescent Moon. Look toward the east at 6:00 am. Brilliant Venus will be highest, with bright Jupiter lower and a bit to its left. Between the pair is fainter, reddish Mars. A lovely Moon will be below this trio. If you have a good view to the east and the horizon is free of haze and clouds, look for Mercury, below and a little left of the Moon, and just three degrees above the horizon.

By Sunday morning the Moon will be a bit lower than Mercury and a little to the planet’s left – requiring clear skies down to the horizon and a good view east.

The Albany Area Amateur Astronomers will take advantage of the dark moonless skies this weekend to hold public star parties at Landis Arboretum in Esperance. The star parties will be at 8:00 pm on Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10. At star parties club members set up telescopes to show guests a variety of celestial sights – galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and double stars. All ages are welcome and there is no admission charge, although we encourage guests to make a modest donation to our fine hosts, Landis Arboretum.

Landis Arboretum is on Lape Road and there are good signs leading there starting at Route 20 and Charleston Street. Turn up Charleston and follow the signs (when driving into Esperance on Route 20 from the east Charleston is the first right after crossing the Schoharie Creek). You can also find directions on their web site. After reaching the farmhouse on the right and parking lot on the left continue up Lape Road for 100 yards. Turn right into the the Meeting House field driveway. It will usually be marked with a “Star Party” sign.

For newcomers there will be a brief introductory talk at 8:30 pm. Gather in the south side of the gravel parking area next to the Meeting House. The talk will include hints about using and enjoying the telescopes and a brief tour of the brighter constellations.

Star parties are canceled if the skies are mostly cloudy or if it’s raining. If in doubt, please call 374-8460 to insure the event is being held. If no one answers the phone, wait for a message.


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