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09/10/2021 – Ephemeris – Rescheduled virtual Sleeping Bear Dunes/GTAS star party set for tomorrow, Saturday night the 11th

September 10, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, September 10th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 8:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:17. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 10:05 this evening.

Tomorrow night the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) will host an online star party starting around 9 pm via the Zoom app available for Android smartphones, iPhones and computers. This is rescheduled from last week due to clouds. Instructions for joining are on the society’s website, gtastro.org. Images will be captured live from Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H Rogers Observatory. The images will be pretty much what is seen at the telescope eyepiece, and definitely not Hubble Space Telescope quality, which take weeks or months to process. Visible will be the five-day-old Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and the wonders of the Milky Way.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

During the GTAS board meeting, September 3rd, just before the canceled  star party, it was decided to hold off the decision on in person star parties until spring of 2022. We’ll follow the state of the pandemic in our area over the winter and see where we stand. Star parties at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H. Rogers Observatory could start in March. Star parties at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore have in the past started in April.

We may still use imagers on our telescopes to capture celestial objects for display on laptop computers rather than viewing through the eyepiece. The society has two imagers, and the Observatory another. The society’s imagers can be used on society’s and members telescopes. This will solve the problems of having to sanitize telescope eyepieces between observers. At this point, I’m not sure what sanitizing products do to the delicate anti-reflective coatings on eyepieces.

We will also pay more attention to viewing the heavens with the naked eye or binoculars that people may have. Bring your own. Learning the constellations is always the best way to be introduced to astronomy, and the only way, up until 411 years ago. And binoculars are a great first telescope.

04/16/2021 – Ephemeris – Virtual Star Party for the Sleeping Bear Dunes tonight

April 16, 2021 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, April 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 8:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:54. The Moon, 4 days before first quarter, will set at 1:15 tomorrow morning.

Tonight the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold an online star party this evening starting around 9 pm via the Zoom app available for Android smartphones, iPhones and computers. Instructions for joining are on the society’s website http://www.gtastro.org or the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Facebook page. Images will be captured live, if it’s clear, from Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H Rogers Observatory. The images will be pretty much what is seen at the telescope eyepiece, and definitely not Hubble Space Telescope quality, which take days to process. Visible will be the crescent Moon. Then we move out beyond the solar system into our galaxy for star clusters and beyond our galaxy into the distant galaxies of spring skies.

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

Addendum

The Moon tonight. We’ll be looking at the Moon’s dark lava seas and other craters near the sunrise terminator.

We will be looking also at a few star clusters and out the thin side of our Milky Way Galaxy to lots of other galaxies.