Spring 2015 Schedule
Jan 26, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public event. "Asteroid Close Encounter"
Join the ONU Astronomy Club for a special event on Monday,
January 26, from 8-10 pm. Normally we meet on Fridays, but
on this day, a small asteroid (0.3 miles across)
will fly safely past the Earth close enough to be seen through our
telescopes. The closest approach is about three times the distance
to the Moon. Asteroid 2004 BL86 is scheduled to pass through the
constellation Cancer during the evening, so its motion should be
detectable to the eye (unlike most asteroids).
But wait, there's more!! Comet Lovejoy will still be an easy target
to see through the telescopes and binoculars. We'll help you
see glimpses of this comet, Jupiter, the close-call asteroid, and
the Moon as well.
This event is free to the public but it is contingent on
mostly clear skies, temperatures above 15 F, and no snow build-up.
Check here for cancelations on Monday after 2 pm.
Friday, Feb 6, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "The Opposition of Jupiter"
ONU Physics and Astronomy welcomes you to the ONU Observatory
on Friday, February 6, 8:00-10:00 pm for "The Opposition of Jupiter".
The biggest planet of our solar system, the gas giant Jupiter, will be
in opposition on February 6, meaning that it will be at its closest
approach to the Earth. That makes it particularly easy to see features
like the Great Red Spot, the Galilean Moons, and the shadows the
moons cast on the planet. Jupiter
will be well placed for observing with our telescopes
throughout the event. We will also target the spectacular Comet Lovejoy
as it recedes from the Earth in Andromeda.
The moon will rise at 8:50 pm presenting still another target.
Check here for cancelations on Friday after 2 pm.
Mar 20, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Spring Equinox
and a New Moon"
The ONU Observatory will be open to the public from
9 - 11 pm on Friday, March 20 to celebrate the Spring Equinox
and a New Moon. The spring, or vernal equinox is the start
of spring and it is marked by the northward passage of the Sun
across the celestial equator. There also happens to be a total
solar eclipse on this day, but it will not be visible from
the United States. Since the Moon is lined up with
the Sun, it's phase will be the New Moon, and that means that
the light of the Moon will not interfere with our dark
sky. Targets for our telescopes will include Venus, Jupiter,
Comet Lovejoy, and deep sky objects.
The event is contingent on the weather and will be
cancelled if the expected cloudcover is over 50%.
Check this web page after 2 pm on Friday for
Note: There will be a
total lunar eclipse
on April 4th, but the middle of the eclipse occurs at 7 am EST and the
Moon sets in the West around 7:19 am. No public
event will be held this early, but those who rise a few hours before
the Sun might see about half of the event by looking west.
Friday, Apr 10, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Galaxies of
The ONU Astronomy Club is hosting a free, public viewing event called
"The Galaxies of Spring" on Friday, April 10. The ONU Observatory will
be open from 9:00-11:00 PM. The Moon will be below the horizon allowing
us to view faint objects, like galaxies. The months of April and May
are especially good for finding galaxies since the North Galactic Pole (NGP)
is high in the sky by midnight. Many nearby groupings of galaxies are
concentrated near the NGP in constellations like Leo, Virgo and
Coma Berenices. When we look at stars in our sky, we are looking
hundreds to thousands of years into the past. But when you look at even
the nearest of galaxies, you are looking several million years into the
past. So come and look through ONU's ``time machines" and intercept some
very old photons with your eye.
Other prime targets will be the planet Jupiter and several globular
Friday, Apr 24, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public event. "Craters
and Maria; Observing the Moon"
Come to the ONU Observatory on Friday evening, Apr 24, anytime between
9 and 11 pm for our event "Craters and Maria".
The Moon will be high in the sky for easy viewing
tonight. It will be in the crescent, or first quarter, phase,
(40% illumination) which is a good time to explore the Moon's
treasures with a telescope. These include the sites of ancient
meteor impacts called craters and maria. We will keep a live image of the
Moon on our flat panel TV. We can also observe Jupiter and
Venus tonight, as well as double stars and star clusters.
Friday, May 8, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.
"Spot Mercury and Venus"
Come to the ONU Observatory on Friday evening, May 8, any time
between 9 and 11 pm to "Spot Mercury and Venus". Venus has
been impressive lately as the brightest dot in the western sky
and now Mercury is coming to join it. Mercury only reaches a
maximum angular distance of 28 degrees from the Sun, and this
means that it is usually too close to the horizon to view at night.
On May 8, Mercury will be relatively easy to view: it will be
15 degrees above the horizon at 9 pm. Mercury will set around
10 pm so don't arrive too late if you want to scratch it off of
your celestial "bucket" list. If you do miss Mercury, we will
also be targeting Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and assorted deep
sky objects with our telescopes. This event celebrates not only
Mercury's greatest eastern elongation, but also the successful
Messenger mission to Mercury that ended last week with a (planned)
crash onto its dark, hot surface.
Check this spot for cancellations due to weather by 2pm on
Maps to the ONU Observatory: http://www2.onu.edu/~j-pinkney/astro/ONUObservatory.html
For weather cancelations see: