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01/06/2023 – Ephemeris – Telescope Clinic tonight at the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society Meeting tonight

January 6, 2023 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, January 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 5:17, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 4:47 this evening.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold their monthly meeting tonight with their annual Telescope Clinic, at 8 pm at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory. This is a chance to bring in that new Christmas telescope or even that old telescope gathering dust in the attic to learn how to use it. The society telescope experts will help in instruction and, if need be, adjustments to make the telescope work properly. In the past few years, the society has donated telescopes to public libraries in the region for patrons to check out and use. This is another way in which to learn to use a telescope and enjoy the sky at night. The observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road, south of Hammond, and between Garfield and Keystone roads. There will, if it’s clear after the meeting, be a star party or observing period using the observatory telescopes.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT –5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

A Library Telescope

This is the type of telescope that the GTAS is donating to local libraries to lend out. The telescope can be set up on a table. The device on top is a red-dot finder. Looking through it will place a red dot on the object it’s pointed to. It has no magnification of its own. The telescope has a 4.5 inch diameter mirror, which produces a brighter image than the skinny refractor telescopes sold in most stores. The telescope eyepiece is a zoom type, so there is no need to remove it or change eyepieces to change magnification. The magnification range is from approximately 20 to 60 times (power). This is plenty for most objects in the sky, including the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. Mars is a challenge for even the largest of amateur astronomer’s telescopes. Even then it’s best seen for a few months every 26 months.

The GTAS has a library telescope program where they donate small telescopes to local libraries to lend out. These are small tabletop telescopes with a 4.5 inch aperture. The telescope type is that invented by Sir Isaac Newton. In a telescope, magnification is secondary and usually variable. The real power of a telescope is light gathering power, the ability to gather in light to see objects too dim to be seen with the naked eye. Also, a telescope’s ability to see fine detail is tied to the telescope’s aperture or diameter of its primary mirror or lens. That’s not magnification, but the ability to use higher power to produce crisp images, rather than fuzzy ones.

07/02/2021 – Ephemeris – Virtual star party to be held tonight

July 2, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, July 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:02. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:14 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society hold a virtual star party starting at 10 pm tonight via Zoom app on the Internet. Jerry Dobek, professor of astronomy at Northwestern Michigan College, will host the event with the 16-inch telescope and an imager, but only if it’s clear in Traverse City. It should feature a look at Venus to start. There will be other objects visible in the darkening twilight, such as binary stars and a dramatic pair with contrasting colors. As it gets darker, we might spot clusters of stars including the Great Hercules Globular Cluster, a veritable popcorn ball of stars. Also, bright clouds of gas expelled by dying stars. Instructions to join the meeting and a link can be found on the society’s website, www.gtastro.org.

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

01/08/2021 – Ephemeris – There will be a virtual star party tonight

January 8, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, January 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 1 minute, setting at 5:20, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:19. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:31 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a virtual star party at 8 pm tonight. It is via the Zoom app for smartphones, tablets or computers. Instructions and a link can be found on the society’s website gtastro.org. It will be hosted by Dr. Jerry Dobek, astronomy professor at Northwestern Michigan College. During a virtual star party the images are produced real time or near real time using a telescope mounted CCD camera. That is if it’s clear. If cloudy we’ll have a virtual, virtual star party using recently acquired images captured for his astronomy students. A couple of months ago we got a tantalizing look at the Great Orion Nebula as it rose in moonlight. Now it’s higher in the sky with no Moon. It should be spectacular!

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

06/03/2019 – Ephemeris – Two local astronomical events on tap for this weekend

June 3, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, June 3rd.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 24 minutes, setting at 9:23, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:58.  The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 5:56 tomorrow morning.

There are two local astronomical events this weekend, starting this evening with the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society’s meeting tonight starting at 8 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory.   The program will be by Becky Shaw about some current female astronomers.  At 9 p.m. will be a star party.  Tomorrow night, the 4th society members will be in the town of Arcadia for a star party at the ball field starting at 9 p.m.   Turn right from Oak St off M22 to North Ridgewood Drive.  The townships around the Arcadia Dunes are in the process of applying for International Dark Skies Community status.  Though it won’t get dark until late, the planets Jupiter, Mars and Saturn will be featured.

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

02/05/2016 – Ephemeris – Women in astronomy night at the GTAS tonight

February 5, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, February 5th.  The Sun will rise at 7:57.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 5:56.   The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:12 tomorrow morning.

Tonight there will be a meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory, featuring a graduate from NMC and the astronomy program: Becky Shaw who will present a talk Women in Astronomy.  This is a second presentation of more female astronomers, the last was in November I especially recommend this for girls in school interested in the STEM fields, that is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to find out the wonderful contributions these women have made.  Astronomy, by the way encompasses all the STEM fields.  The meeting starts at 8 p.m. and the observatory is located on Birmley Road, south of Traverse City.  At 9 p.m. the will also be star party if it’s clear.

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

Addendum

Appropriate to our speaker’s topic:  In the news now is Smith’s Cloud, discovered by Gail Smith (now Gail Bieger-Smith) in 1963 as an astronomy student at Leiden University in the Netherlands.   In new studies with the Green Bank (Radio) Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope the velocity and composition of the cloud has been measured.  It somehow was ejected from the Milky Way some 70 million years ago, but it’s coming back!  In 30 million years it will crash back in, hitting the Milky Way’s other gas clouds and will probably cause a burst of star formation of maybe 2 million new stars.

Smith's cloud

Smith’s cloud superimposed on the Milky Way. Smith’s Cloud is only visible at radio wavelengths, while the Milky Way shown is a visible photograph. Credit: Saxton/Lockman/NRAO/AUI/NSF/Mellinger.

11/06/2015 – Ephemeris – A program about the contributions of women astronomers

November 6, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, November 6th.  The Sun will rise at 7:27.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 5:25.   The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:21 tomorrow morning.

The Moon will be close to the planet Jupiter this morning and closer to Venus tomorrow morning.  Check them out if it’s clear.  Tonight however, there is a meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society featuring a graduate from Northwestern Michigan College and the astronomy program: Becky Shaw who will present a talk Women in Astronomy.  I especially recommend this for girls interested in the STEM fields, that is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to find out the wonderful contributions these women have made.  Astronomy, by the way encompasses all the STEM fields.  The meeting starts at 8 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory on Birmley Road, south of Traverse City.  At 9 p.m. the will also be star party if it’s clear.

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

Addendum

From yesterday’s post a reminder of the Moon’s procession past the morning planets starting this a.m.

Moon and morning planets

Animation of the Moon passing Jupiter this morning ans Mars and Venus tomorrow morning. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

What’s with the 5:59:59 time for the 7th?  This is what happens when you store and compute time as a binary computer value (base 2) and display it as a sexagesimal (base 60) number.  Thanks Sumerians.

08/20/2015 – Ephemeris – Library Lending Telescopes

August 20, 2015 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, August 20th.  The Sun rises at 6:50.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 50 minutes, setting at 8:40.   The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 11:30 this evening.

The Moon has always been a favorite target for binoculars and telescopes.  Tonight is no exception.  The trouble is that most inexpensive telescopes are overly complicated and hard to use.  One way to help the prospective telescope buyer is to try one and get used to a telescope before plunking down money for it.  In that regard The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) and Enerdyne of Suttons Bay have donated a telescope to the Traverse Area District Library and The Betsie Valley District Library.  The library’s themselves will determine how the telescopes will be lent out.  The first two telescopes are Orion StarMax 90mm TableTop telescopes, suitable for viewing the Moon and planets Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Mars.

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

Addendum

StarMax TableTop telescope

A youngster trying to see where the telescope is pointing at the star party at The Betsie Valley District Library, Thompsonville, MI. Credit: Library staff.

The Traverse Area District Library will host an event inaugurating the use of their telescope on Wednesday night August 26th starting at 8 p.m.

05/16/2014 – Ephemeris – A busy weekend for astronomy in the Grand Traverse Region

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 16th.  Today the sun will be up for 14 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 9:04.   The moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 11:10 this evening.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:12.

This will be a busy weekend for the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society.   Tonight the society will host a star party to celebrate the grand opening of the new Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville.  It starts at 8:30 p.m.  There will be a program inside by yours truly if it’s cloudy.  Saturday night we’ll be observing the heavens with the students of the Interlochen Arts Academy.  And on Sunday the society will have members with their telescopes showing the Sun if clear and have two rooms of exhibits in the Health and Science building for the Northwestern Michigan College’s annual Barbecue on the main campus.  One of the society telescopes is a special solar telescope to view solar prominences.

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

Addendum

Viewing the sun

Observing the sun through GTAS members telescopes at the NMC Barbecue in 2012. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

Joe Brooks

Joe Brooks, the GTAS “Meteorite Man” talks meteorites with Barbecue patrons. He has a video and meteorite samples. Photo credit: Eileen Carlisle.

GTAS Classroom

Astronomical photographs line the walls and tables of a classroom plus a series of astronomy videos are displayed at the NMC Barbecue. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

04/03/2014 – Ephemeris – Astronomy events in the Grand Traverse Region

April 3, 2014 2 comments

Ephemeris for Thursday, April 3rd.  The sun will rise at 7:19.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 52 minutes, setting at 8:12.   The Moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 12:39 tomorrow morning.

This evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society or GTAS will be at the Boardman River Nature Center for “A Night at the Nature Center”.  This is a closed event sponsored by the Grand Traverse Conservation District, but it reminds me that the society hosts these types of events for schools, scouts and other youth groups along with other non-profit organizations.  We’re now lining up some summer reading clubs at at least two area libraries.  In the daytime we have that one great star the sun.  At night we have the rest of them including the Moon and planets.  If its cloudy we have hands on activities.  Contact the society at info@gtastro.org for more information.  The GTAS may also pop up at a summer festival near you.

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

Addendum

Solar Eclipse

A partial solar eclipse projected for all to see. Credit: Eileen Carlisle

SBDNL

The start of a Star Party at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Credit: Eileen Carlisle

Transit of Venus

Looking at the Transit of Venus through a solar telescope. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

 

09/27/2013 – Ephemeris – The GTAS will be at the Acme Fall Festival tomorrow

September 27, 2013 3 comments

Ephemeris for Friday, September 27th.  The sun will rise at 7:35.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 7:30.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:11 tomorrow morning.  |  The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will be at the Acme Fall Festival tomorrow, that’s Saturday September 28th from 10 to 5 p.m.  It will be held at Flintfields on Bates Road, north of M72.  The society members will bring their telescopes which will be used to view the sun if it’s clear.  There will also be exhibits of astronomical photos from NASA, professional and our own amateur astronomers.  As the festival year winds down and the school year begins members of the society can bring astronomy and space to the classroom.  Plus the society is beginning to plan for next year.  Contact the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society via email at info@gtastro.org for information or to set up a date and topic.

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