Boston

Astronomy
Welcome to the Boston Astronomy website ...

This website has been created by and is supported by a group of Boston, MA - area amateur astronomers.
It is intended to be a convenient site for access to news and information about astronomy and space-related activities
of interest to the community and the public.
     


















       

           

    


      

 Astronomy Course:

           

Mysteries of the Universe: Black Holes, Dark Energy, and More: Fall Semester

        

Fifty years ago, humans landed on the Moon. We’ve since discovered countless planets orbiting other suns, and potentially habitable environments in our own solar system. We know how big the universe is, how old it is, and what’s it’s made of. But we also face mysteries: black holes, dark matter, and dark energy. We’ll cover everything you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask. No math or science background required. You’ll also get to use a large telescope at a local observatory.

                        

Meets at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 8 Tuesdays: January 14, 2020 - March 3, 2020 - 7:45 PM - 9:15 PM.

                

                                                          


                 

 January Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  

                                                      

        

Thursday, January 9, 2020, 8:00 PM

Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston (ATMoB) Monthly Meeting

60 Garden St.

Cambridge, MA 02138

http://www.atmob.org

Topic and Speaker: Sal LaRiccia, Glen Chaple

Our first speaker is Sal LaRiccia who will talk about his ATMoB Club photo history project and will give us an update.

 

Sal has been an amateur astronomer since he was 11 years old. In 1967 he entered his homebuilt 6-inch Newtonian reflector telescope in his high school science fair. He went on to the state science fair at MIT and met some life long friends (some still in ATMoB). He joined ATMoB in 1967 and attended Stellafane that same year. Sal was shop chairman from 1971-1973 when our Club shop was at the old Schwamb Mill in Arlington, MA. Most of Sal’s photography is not of objects in the sky but of the astronomers who study such objects.

 Sal spent most his career as a Mechanical Engineer and a Quality Systems professional. He is currently retired. Sal resides in Somerville, MA with his wife Ellen. They have many children and grandchildren. They both work as church volunteers in addiction recovery programs. Sal also plays keyboards and is active in his church’s worship band.


Our second speaker will be Glenn Chaple who will provide and an update on the Astronomical League's Variable Star Observing Program. Glenn has been an avid amateur astronomer since the summer of 1963 when a high school friend showed him Saturn through his telescope. He received a BS degree in astronomy from the University of Massachusetts in 1969, and then worked for two years at the Alice G. Wallace Planetarium in Fitchburg, Mass. After that, he spent 30 years as a middle school science teacher in the Fitchburg and Groton-Dunstable school systems. He currently writes the monthly “Observing Basics” column for Astronomy Magazine and is a former esteemed ATMoB President of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston and member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers.

      

   

Plus (ongoing):        

   

          

Wednesdays:

Boston University

Boston, MA.
Open Night at Coit Observatory most Wednesdays 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM. 

617-353-2630
http://www.bu.edu/astronomy/events/public-open-night-at-the-observatory/  

           

                   

                       

The Sky at a Glance: January 2020

  

  

Earth reaches perihelion – its closest distance to the Sun – at 3:00 AM EST on January 5, when the two bodies are separated by 91.4 million miles (147.1 million km).

     

There is a penumbral lunar eclipse on January 20, visible from Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

 

                                                                                       

            Phases of the Moon:

  

First Quarter Moon

January 2

11:45 PM EST

Full Moon

January 10

2:21 PM EST

Last Quarter Moon

January 17

      7:58 AM EST

New Moon

January 24

4:42 PM EST

                    

Planet Visibility:

             

 In Evening (after sunset):

    Mercury, in SW

    Venus, in SW

    Neptune, in SW

    Uranus, in S

            

At Midnight:

    Uranus, in W 

                      

In Morning (before sunrise):

    Jupiter, in SE

    Saturn, in SE

    Mercury, in SE 

         

Comets:

   
  •     There are no comets brighter than magnitude 8 currently visible.
    •   

Meteors:

  •   
    •     The Quadrantid meteors peak on January 4. The Moon will not be in the sky, and rates under ideal circumstances may reach 120 meteors per hour.

                               


       
Major Astronomical Events: January 2020  
                   
    

 January 2020

    
Jan. 1 Wed. 8:30 PM EST Moon @ apogee (404,579 km / 251,394 mi)
Jan. 2 Thur. 11:45 PM EST First Quarter Moon
Jan. 3 Fri. 3:00 AM EST Quadrantid meteors peak. (Excellent.)
Jan. 4 Sat. 7:14 AM EST Latest sunrise of year (7:13:47 AM EST)
Jan. 4 Sat. 1:00  PM EST Moon 4° S of Uranus, 109° from Sun in evening sky
 
Jan. 5 Sun. 3:00 AM EST Earth @ perihelion (0.98324 AU / 147,091,144 km / 91,398,200 mi)
Jan. 5 Sun. 6:41 AM EST Latest beginning of morning Civil Twilight (Sun 6° below horizon)
Jan. 6 Mon. 6:06 AM EST Latest beginning of morning Nautical Twilight (Sun 12° below horizin)
Jan. 6 Mon. 11:00 PM EST Moon 7° SE of Pleiades, 135° and 134° from Sun in evening sky
Jan. 7 Tue. 5:32 AM EST Latest beginning of morning Astronomical Twilight (Sun 18° below horizon)
Jan. 7 Tue. 4:00 PM EST Moon 3° N of Aldebaran, 143° from Sun in evening sky
Jan. 9 Thur. 9:00 AM EST Moon 1.5° N of M35 cluster, 164° from Sun in evening sky
Jan. 10 Fri. 10:00 AM EST Mercury @ superior conjunction
Jan. 10 Fri. 12:07 PM EST Penumbral Lunar Eclipse begins *
Jan. 10 Fri. 2:10 PM EST Penumbral Lunar Eclipse - greatest eclipse *
Jan. 10 Fri. 2:21 PM EST Full Moon ("Full Wolf Moon")
Jan. 10 Fri. 4:12 PM EST Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ends *
Jan. 10 Fri. 5:00 PM EST Moon 9° S of Castor, 178° and 170° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 10 Fri. 10:00 PM EST Moon 5° S of Pollux, 176° and 173° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 11 Sat. 9:00 PM EST Moon 1.3° NNE of Beehive Cluster, 163° and 164° from Sun in morning sky
 
Jan. 13 Mon. 10:00 AM EST Moon 3.7° NNE of Regulus, 142° and 143° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 13 Mon. 10:00 AM EST Saturn @ solar conjunction
Jan. 13 Mon. 3:21 PM EST Moon @ perigee (365,968 km / 227,396 mi)
Jan. 16 Thur. 11:00 PM EST Mars 5° N of Antares
Jan. 17 Fri. 4:00 AM EST Moon 7° NNE of Spica, 92° and 93° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 17 Fri. 7:58 AM EST Last Quarter Moon
Jan. 18 Sat. 4:00 AM EST Mars 5° N of Antares, 48° from Sun in morning sky
 
Jan. 20 Mon.   Buzz Aldrin's 90th Birthday
Jan. 20 Mon. 4:00 AM  EST Sun enters Capricornus
Jan. 20 Mon. 1:00 PM EST Moon 7° NNE of Antares, 49° and 50° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 20 Mon. 2:00 PM EST Moon 2° N of Mars, 48° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 22 Wed. 10:00 PM EST Moon 0.4° S of Jupiter, 21° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 23 Thur. 10:00 PM EST Moon 1.5° SE of Saturn, 9° from Sun in morning sky
Jan. 24 Fri. 4:42 PM EST New Moon
 
Jan. 27 Mon. 1:00 AM EST Venus 0.08° S of Neptune, 40° from Sun in evening sky
Jan. 28 Tue. 5:00 AM EST Moon, Venus, and Neptune within 4° across, 39° from Sun in evening sky
Jan. 28 Tue. 5:00 AM EST Moon 4° SE of Neptune, 39° from Sun in evening sky
Jan. 28 Tue. 6:00 AM EST Moon 4° SE of Venus, 40° from Sun in evening sky
Jan. 29 Wed.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #4
Jan. 29 Wed. 4:00 PM EST Moon @ apogee (403,987 km / 251,026 mi)
Jan. 31 Fri. 10:00 PM EST Moon 5° S of Uranus, 81° from Sun in evening sky

Bold = cool or important
* = not visible from Boston

   


             

     An Overview of Major Astronomical Events in 2020

        

  

2020
Jan. 3 Fri. 3:00 AM EST Quadrantid meteors peak (Excellent)
Jan. 4 Sat. 7:13 AM EDT Latest sunrise of year (7:13:47 AM EST)
Jan. 5 Sun. 2:48 AM EST Earth @ perihelion (0.98324 AU / 147,091,144 km / 91,398,200 mi)
Jan. 10 Fri. 12:07 PM EST - 4:12 PM EST Penumbral Lunar Eclipse *
Jan. 29 Wed.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #4
Feb. 6 Thur.   ESA Solar Orbiter launched
Feb. 10 Mon. 10:00 AM EST Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (18° E of Sun)
Feb. 18 Tue. 7:44 AM EST - 9:09 AM EST Moon occults Mars  (daytime in Boston)
Feb. 27 Thur.   Juno perijove #25

Mar. 8

Sun.

2:00 AM EST / 3:00 AM EDT

Daylight Saving Time begins

Mar. 17

Sun.

6:53 AM EDT - 6:53 PM EDT

Equilux (day and night of equal length)

Mar. 19

Thur.

11:50 PM EDT

March Equinox

Mar. 23 Mon. 10:00 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest western elongation (28° W of Sun)
Mar. 24 Tue. 6:00 PM EDT Venus @ greatest eastern elongation (46.1° E of Sun)
Apr. 3 Fri. 8:45 PM EDT Venus passes through Pleiades (closest to Alcyone)
Apr. 8 Wed. 2:00 PM EDT Closest Moon perigee of year (356,907 km / 221,772 mi)  ("Super Moon")
Apr. 10 Fri.   Juno perijove #26
Apr. 11 Sat. 3:13 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13 launch (Lovell, Swigert, Haise)
Apr. 13 Mon.   BepiColombo Earth Gravity Assist
Apr. 13 Mon. 11:08 AM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13 oxygen tank explosion
Apr. 15 Wed. 5:00 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13 closest approach to Moon
Apr. 17 Fri. 2:08 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13 splashdown
Apr. 22 Mon. 4:00 AM EDT Lyrid meteors peak (fair)
Apr. 27 Mon. 9:00 PM EDT Venus @ greatest illuminated extent (mag. -4.7)

May 2

Sat.

All day

Astronomy Day (Spring)

May 7

Sun.

3:00 AM EDT

Eta Aquariid meteors peak. (Good.)

June 2 Tue.   Juno perijove #27
June 3 Wed. 1:37 PM EDT Venus @ inferior conjunction
June 4 Thur. 9:00 AM EDT Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (24° E of Sun)
June 7 Sun.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #5
June 14 Sun. 5:07 AM EDT Earliest sunrise of year (5:06:59 AM EDT)

June 20

Fri.

5:44 PM EDT

June (Summer) Solstice

June 21 Sat. 12:48 AM EDT - 4:32 AM EDT) Annular solar eclipse (Equatorial Africa - western Pacific)

June 26

Fri.

8:25 PM EDT

Latest sunset of year (8:25:24 PM)

July 4

Sat.

8:00 AM EDT

Earth @ aphelion (1.017 AU / 152.1 milion km / 94.5 million miles)

July 8 Wed. 7:51 AM EDT Venus @ greatest illuminated extent
July 11 Sat.   Parker Solar Probe Venus Gravity Assist #3
July 14 Tue. 4:00 AM EDT Jupiter @ opposition
July 17 Fri. 9:00 AM EDT Launch window for Mars 2020 opens
July 19 Sun. 3:21 AM  EDT - 4:08 AM EDT Moon occults Venus
July 20 Mon. 6:00 PM EDT Saturn @ opposition
July 22 Wed. 11:00 AM EDT Mercury @ greatest western elongation (20° W of Sun)
July 23 Thur.   China launches orbiter, lander, and small rover to Mars
July 25 Sat.   ESA/RSA lauches ExoMars 2020 lander and Rosalind Frankin rover to Mars
July 25 Sat.   Juno perijove #28
Aug. 5 Wed.   Launch window for Mars 2020 closes
Aug. 12 Wed. 2:00 PM EDT Perseid meteors peak (fair)
Aug. 12 Wed. 8:00 PM EDT Venus @ greatest western elongation (46° W of Sun)
Sept. 11 Fri. 4:00 PM EDT Neptune @ opposition
Sept. 16 Wed.   Juno perijove #29
Sept. 22 Tue. 10:31 AM EDT September (Fall) Equinox

Sept. 25

Fri.

6:35 AM EDT / 6:36 PM EDT

Equilux (day and night of equal length)

Sept. 26

Sat.

All day

Astronomy Day (Fall)

Sept. 27 Sun.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #6
Sept. 29 Tue.   Mars becomes brighter than Jupiter
Oct. 1 Thur. 12:00 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (26° E of Sun)
Oct. 2 Fri. 6:43 PM EDT Venus 5 arc-minutes from Regulus *
Oct. 6 Tue. 10:18 AM EDT Mars @ closest approach (0.415 AU / 62.06 million km / 38.57 million mi)
Oct. 13 Tue. 7:00 PM EDT Mars @ opposition
Oct. 16 Fri.   BepiColombo Venus Gravity Assist #1

Oct. 21

Sat.

4:00 PM EDT

Orionid meteors peak. (Poor.)

Oct. 28 Wed.   Mars becomes dimmer than Jupiter
Oct. 31 Sat. 12:00 PM EDT Uranus @ opposition

Nov. 1

Sun.

1:00 AM EST / 2:00 AM EDT

Daylight Saving Time ends

Nov. 8 Sun.   Juno perijove #30
Nov. 10 Tue. 12:00 PM EST Mercury @ greatest western elongation (19° W of Sun)

Nov. 17

Tue.

6:00 AM EST

Leonid meteors peak. (Poor.)

Dec. 8

Thur.

4:11 PM EST

Earliest sunset of year (4:11:41 PM EST)

Dec. 13

Fri.

5:00 PM EST

Geminid meteors peak. (Excellent)

Dec. 14 Sat. 10:32 AM EDT Beginning of Total Solar Eclipse (umbra)
Dec. 14 Sat. 12:13 PM EDT Total Solar Eclipse (maximum eclipse)
Dec. 14 Sat. 1:54 PM EDT End of Total Solar Eclipse (umbra)

Dec. 21

Sat.

5:02 AM EST

December (Winter) Solstice

Dec. 21 Sat. 12:45 PM EST Jupiter and Saturn just 0.1° apart (closest since 1623 AD!)

Dec. 22

Sun.

11:00 AM EST

Ursid meteors peak (fair)

Dec. 26 Sat.   ESA Solar Orbiter Venus Gravity Assist #1
Dec. 30 Wed.   Juno perijove #31

Bold = cool or important
* = not visible from Boston

              

                   


   

    Supernova Style Science News  with Ms. Julie Seven Sage

    


                    

January 15, 2020 - 7:00 PM EST