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08/11/2017 – Ephemeris – The Perseid meteors plus a star party wraps up the Port Oneida Fair tomorrow

August 11, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, August 11th. The Sun rises at 6:40. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 12 minutes, setting at 8:53. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:06 this evening.

The most famous meteor shower year in and year out is the Perseid meteor shower of August. There are more active meteor showers, but none in the warm nights of summer. The Perseids will be reaching peak tomorrow afternoon. It’s a bit early for us and the Moon will interfere after rising at 11:36 p.m. There have been some erroneous reports out there that this year’s meteor shower will be super spectacular. It will not. Besides the Moon will be up during the best morning viewing times. The meteors will appear to come from the northeastern part of the sky, but will be visible all over the sky. I like the evening meteor show, with the radiant low in the sky. The meteor trails are long as the meteoroids skim the Earth’s atmosphere.*

It’s a busy weekend for the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society. Members will be on Front Street in Traverse City tonight for Friday Night Live with views of the Sun and later a look at the planet Saturn and its rings, weather permitting. On Saturday, again weather permitting members will be part of Sleeping Bear Dunes Port Oneida Fair with a Sun ‘n Star Party from 4 to 6 p.m. and from 9 to 11 p.m. , though members will still be there informally. The location for that event is the Thoreson Farm on South Thoreson Road off M22, near Port Oneida Road. On tap will be Jupiter, Saturn and some of the Perseid meteors on it’s peak night, and some of the deep sky wonders of the summer Milky Way beyond the solar system.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

* This paragraph is really from the Thursday August 10th program, not what I posted for August 10th (yesterday) as the program transcript.  I double checked it and everything.  I may be getting too old for this.  I think I’ll have a lie down now.

 

08/04/2017 – Ephemeris – View the Moon and planets Jupiter and Saturn tonight

August 4, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, August 4th. The Sun rises at 6:32. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 9:03. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 4:32 tomorrow morning.

Tonight the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold a viewing night at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory starting at 9 p.m. The celestial objects featured will be Jupiter, early, them the Moon and Saturn. Some of the brighter deep sky objects will be also seen as it gets dark. Deep sky objects are dim objects beyond the solar system like star clusters and nebulae, clouds of gas and dust either illuminated by stars or hiding them from view. The observatory’s telescopes are augmented by telescopes set up by members of the society. We also welcome the public to bring their telescopes to learn how to use them. The observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

07/21/2017 – Ephemeris – There’s an astronomy event tomorrow night

July 21, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, July 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 2 minutes, setting at 9:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:18. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:28 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow, Saturday, the 22nd, there, will be viewing of the summer starry skies at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory starting at 9 p.m. While starting before sunset, if it’s clear Jupiter should be spotted before 10 p.m. The planet Saturn and its rings will also be featured. By 10:30 the sky should be dark enough to spot some of the wonders among the stars, like star clusters, and nebulae that are the either the birth places of stars or the expelled remnants of dying stars. The Milky Way takes over the dark sky, it is its wonders that we see. The Observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley road. Take Garfield Road two traffic lights south of South Airport Road to turn right at Birmley Road.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

07/07/2017 – Ephemeris – Tonight’s topic: Dark Matter

July 7, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, July 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:05. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:48 tomorrow morning.

This evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold its monthly meeting at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory at 8 p.m. with a program featuring Dr. David Penney and his talk Dark Matter: What Is It? What Does It Mean? Dark matter, whatever it is appears to be the stuff that holds the universe together. We can’t see it, but we can see its effects in the rotation of galaxies, the motions of galaxies in clusters and their distribution and how it distorts the images of galaxies beyond it. After the talk, at 9 p.m. there will be a star party to view the heavens including the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter. The observatory is located south of Traverse City, on Birmley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Dark matter filament

Dark Matter filament bridge between two galaxy clusters, discovered by Jörg Dietrich and his colleagues at the University of Michigan. The blue color is added to show the presence of dark matter. See the text below. Image from http://www.outerspacecentral.com/dark_matter_page.html.

Dark matter is detected by the distortions it creates in the distant galaxies behind it.  These galaxies are not visible in the scale of the image shown.  The gravitation of dark matter distorts spacetime as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which distorts the shapes of the galaxies behind it.

06/23/2017 – Ephemeris – Astronomy events this weekend

June 23, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, June 23rd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:58. The Moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

Tomorrow afternoon and evening will be what we call a Sun & Star Party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This event will be at the Dune Climb. From 4 to 6 p.m., the Sun will be featured using two types of telescopes, one showing the sun’s photosphere in what we call white light, and another showing the chromosphere above it in the light of hydrogen giving a completely different view. Starting at 9 p.m. will be a star party, actually really a planet party, viewing the planets Jupiter and Saturn, plus other objects visible in the deepening twilight.

Sunday at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. members of the society will be in the parking lot of the NMC Laboratory on Aero Park Drive in Traverse City to view the Sun as part of the Michigan Clean Energy Conference and Fair.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Viewing the transit

Kids viewing the Sun through the society’s Lunt hydrogen alpha solar telescope.

06/16/2017 – Ephemeris – Two astronomy events this weekend

June 16, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, June 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:58 tomorrow morning.

There are two astronomy events in the Grand Traverse region this weekend, starting tonight with a twilight talk and a star party at the Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville. It starts at 9 p.m. with a talk about how to safely view the August 21st eclipse of the Sun from this area and from the path of totality, 600 miles south of here. After which Jupiter and Saturn will be visible. If cloudy, the talk will go on as scheduled, though the observing part will be canceled.

Tomorrow, Saturday there, will be viewing at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory starting at 9 p.m. Jupiter and Saturn will be featured there too. The Observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley road.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

06/02/2017 – Ephemeris – Local astronomy events this weekend

June 2, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, June 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 9:21, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:59. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 3:17 tomorrow morning.

This weekend there are two local astronomical events.

The first is tonight at 8 p.m. at the June meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory. I will be giving an illustrated talk about the Moon, its phases, tides and origin. After which there will be a star party starting at 9 p.m. The observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road.

Saturday, the society will have their telescopes at the Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville. I’ll also give a twilight talk there at 9 p.m. on the Moon with observation to follow. This last event will be postponed if the weather is completely cloudy to Friday, June 16th.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.