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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.
     


















       

            


            

The Next Astronomy Course:

           

Meet the Universe: Spring Semester

 

We sit around our campfires as the ancients did, and ponder. How did the Universe come into existence? How did life begin? Are we alone? But now we see a Universe around us containing black holes, dark matter, and expanding space. What does it all mean? In this course, we’ll sit around our own campfire, and try to piece together the stories that modern astronomy is teaching us. One of our meetings will be at a local observatory, where we’ll be able to use a large telescope to learn about the sky first-hand. No math or science background required! New and former students are welcome!

                  

Meets at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 8 Tuesdays: April 2 - May 21, 2019 - 7:45 PM - 9:15 PM.

           

                                                           


                 

 March / April Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  

     

                                                      

Tuesday, March 5, 2019: 6:00 PM

Free Public Lecture: "Making the Earth and Moon", Rebecca A. Fischer, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

https://hmnh.harvard.edu/event/making-earth-and-moon

Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago in a series of giant collisions between other planetary bodies, the last of which produced the Moon. The fingerprints of this process can be seen in the chemical compositions of Earth and the Moon, which are remarkably similar. Mathematical models of Earth’s growth, the Moon’s formation, and their evolution to form metallic cores with rocky mantles and crusts offer greater understanding of these observations. Rebecca Fischer will look at the hypotheses for how Earth and the Moon came to be geochemical twins and she will present new models that offer insight into why this occurred.

Free event parking at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

  

  

Thursday, March 14, 2019, 8:00 PM

Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston (ATMoB) Monthly Meeting

60 Garden St.

Cambridge, MA 02138

http://www.atmob.org

Topic and Speaker: "Left Brains for the Right Stuff", Hugh Blair-Smith

Blair will speak about his new book, “Left Brains for the Right Stuff”.
What made the Space Race possible? What made it necessary? How close a race was it? And what did it achieve?  Presentation, book purchase, and signing.

Hugh Blair-Smith was at MIT Instrumentation (later Draper) Laboratory from 1959 to 1981, designing guidance and navigation hardware/software for Apollo and fault tolerance software for the Space Shuttle. From 1982 to 2004, he joined a variety of small companies developing touch-screen user interfaces and mainframe performance monitors. Coming out of retirement in 2007, he created design verification and runtime diagnostic software for a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter instrument. From 2008 to 2017, he presented papers at Digital Avionics Systems Conferences, two of which appeared in IEEE/AES. His book, Left Brains for the Right Stuff: Computers, Space, and History was published in 2015. He appeared in a Nova show, Apollo’s Daring Mission, in December 2018, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first to place men in orbit around the Moon. His next book, Minot’s Gifts, is under construction: a science fiction novel about the friendliest extraterrestrials ever to touch down at Area 51.

       

         

Thursday, April 11, 2019, 8:00 PM

Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston (ATMoB) Monthly Meeting

60 Garden St.

Cambridge, MA 02138

http://www.atmob.org

Topic and Speaker: TBA
   
   

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 8:00 PM

Public Observatory Night

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

60 Garden St.

Cambridge, MA 02138

http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/publicevents

Topic and Speaker: "Twenty Years of Science with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory", Dr. Belinda Wilkes, Chandra X-Ray Center

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is celebrating its 20th year of operation in 2019. Chandra, operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, continues to be an indispensable tool for expanding the frontiers of our knowledge in space. No other observatory has Chandra's capability for high-resolution X-ray imaging of cosmic sources on a sub-arcsecond scale, a critical feature for multi-wavelength investigations ranging across astrophysics, from planetary atmospheres to clusters of galaxies. From the discovery of an X-ray jet in its first targeted source, Chandra continues to make discoveries that impact the full range of astrophysics. Chandra uniquely pinpoints the youngest stars buried amongst the gas and dust of star-forming regions, observes the explosions as massive stars run out of fuel and tracks the evolution of the resulting supernova remnants, and measures the complex structure of the hot gas which dominates the baryonic matter in the largest gravitationally bound celestial structures, clusters of galaxies, tracing their turbulent past and present. Dr. Belinda Wilkes will present a tour of Chandra and some of its exciting discoveries, from launch on the shuttle Columbia commanded by Eileen Collins, the first female commander, to current work such as Chandra's first X-ray detection of GW170817, the merging neutron stars detected in gravitational waves by LIGO, which it continues to track its now fading X-ray emission to distinguish between competing models.

  

   

Plus (ongoing):        

   

          

Wednesdays:

Boston University

Boston, MA.
Open Night at Coit Observatory most Wednesdays 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM. 

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

  

   

Fridays, 8:00 PM EDT - 10:00 PM EDT (startiing April 5, 2019):

Astronomy After Hours

Guilliland Observatory

Museum of Science

Boston, MA.
617-589-0267

https://mos.org/drop-in-activities/astronomy-after-hours
    
 

              

                 

The Sky at a Glance: March 2019

                                         

    

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 10 for most areas of the U.S. and Canada. In accordance with the adage, “spring forward, fall back”, move your clocks ahead one hour; the minute after 1:59 AM begins as 3:00 AM.

             

The March Equinox occurs at 5:58 PM EDT on March 20. This represents the instant the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north. By convention, it is considered the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and of fall in the southern hemisphere.

      

                                     

            Phases of the Moon:

     

New Moon

March 6

11:04 AM EST

First Quarter Moon

March 14

6:27 AM EDT

Full Moon

March 20

9:43 PM EDT

Last Quarter Moon

March 28

12:10 AM EDT

 

                    

 

                  

Planet Visibility:

    

In Evening (after sunset):

    Mercury, in W

    Uranus, in W 

    Mars, in W

            

At Midnight:

       

                     

In Morning (before sunrise):

    Jupiter, in S

    Saturn, in SE

    Venus, in SE

    Mercury, in E  

  

        

                 

Comets:

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

Meteors:

       

  •     There are no significant meteor showers in March.
                               

                                  


       
Major Astronomical Events: March / April 2019
                   
    

 March / April 2019

    
Mar. 1 Fri. 1:00 PM EST Moon 0.3° N of Saturn
Mar. 1 Fri. 11:00 PM EST Moon 0.5° N of Pluto
Mar. 2 Sat. 2:48 AM EST Launch of SpaceX Demo-1 flight
Mar. 2 Sat. 6:04 AM EST Moon @ descending node
Mar. 2 Sat. 4:00 PM EST Moon 1.2° S of Venus
 
Mar. 3 Sun. 11:00 AM EST 50th Anniversary of Apollo 9 launch
Mar. 4 Mon.   Hayabusa2 second attempt at sample collection
Mar. 4 Mon. 6:26 AM EST Moon @ apogee (406,390 km / 252,519 mi)
Mar. 5 Tue.   40th Anniversary of Voyager 1 Jupiter flyby (1979)
Mar. 6 Wed. 11:04 AM EST New Moon
Mar. 6 Wed. 4:07 PM EST Sun's South Pole points toward us (Earth's heliocentric latitude: - 7.3°)
Mar. 6 Wed. 8:00PM EST Neptune @ solar conjunction
Mar. 7 Thur.   Neptune furthest from Earth (30.93 AU  / 4.627 billion km / 2.875 billion mi)
May 7 Thur. 2:00 PM EST Moon 8° SSE of Mercury
Mar. 7 Thur. 5:00 PM EST Vesta @ solar conjunction
Mar. 8 Fri.   Alvan Clark born 215 years ago (1804)
Mar. 9 Sat.   Yuri Gagarin born 85 years ago (1934)
Mar. 9 Sat. 11:00 PM EST Moon 5° S of Uranus
 

Mar. 10

Sun.

2:00 AM EST / 3:00 AM EDT

Daylight Saving Time begins

Mar. 11 Mon. 8:00 AM EDT Moon 6° S of Mars
Mar. 12 Tue. 6:00 AM EDT Sun enters Pisces
Mar. 12 Tue. 9:00 PM EDT Moon in same phase as during Apollo 11 landing
Mar. 12 Tue. 12:00 PM EDT Moon 8.2° SSE of Pleiades
       
Mar. 13 Wed. 6:00 AM EDT Moon 1.86° N of Aldebaran
Mar. 13 Wed. 9:00 PM EDT Jupiter @ west quadrature
Mar. 14 Thur.   Albert Einstein born 140 years ago (1879)
Mar. 14 Thur. 5:57 AM EDT  - 6:03 AM EDT Bright ISS pass (mag. -3.8)
Mar. 14 Thur. 6:27 AM EDT First Quarter Moon
Mar. 14 Thur. 3:14 PM EDT NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Hammock Koch and Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency launch to ISS on Expedition 59.
Mar. 14 Thur. 9:48 PM EDT Mercury @ inferior conjunction
Mar. 16 Sat. 11:00 AM EDT Moon 6.8° S of Pollux
Mar. 16 Sat. 12:23 PM EDT Moon @ ascending node
  

Mar. 17

Sun.

6:53 AM EDT - 6:53 PM EDT

Equilux (day and night of equal length)

Mar. 18

Mon.

2:48 AM EDT

Mercury closest to Earth (0.609 AU / 91.1 million km / 56.6 million mi)

Mar. 18

Mon.

10:00 PM EDT

Moon 2.5° NNE of Regulus

Mar. 19

Tue.

3:48 PM EDT

Moon @ perigee (359,378 km / 223,307 mi)

Mar. 20

Wed.

5:58 PM EDT

March Equinox

Mar. 20 Wed. 9:43 PM EDT Full Moon ("Full Worm Moon")
Mar. 22 Fri. 1:00 PM EDT Moon 7.1° NNE of Spica
Mar. 22 Fri.   Mercury 3.4° from Neptune
Mar. 23 Sat. 7:36 AM EDT Spring Equinox, N. Hemisphere of Mars
Mar. 23 Sat. 7:57 PM EDT - 8:03 PM EDT Bright ISS pass (mag. -3.9)
 
Mar. 24 Sun. 8:52:43 PM EDT Iridium flare (mag. - 8.1)
Mar. 25 Mon. 4:06 AM EDT - 6:10 AM EDT Double shadow transit on Jupiter (Europa, Ganymede)
Mar. 25 Mon.   Launch of India's the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter/lander/rover (near South Pole)
Mar. 25 Mon. 10:00 PM EDT Moon 8.1° NNE of Antares
Mar. 26 Tue. 10:00 PM EDT Moon 1.9° N of Jupiter
Mar. 27 Wed. 8:39:35 PM EDT Iridium flare (mag. -3.7)
Mar. 28 Thur. 12:10 AM EDT Last Quarter Moon
Mar. 29 Fri.   45th anniversary of 1st Mercury flyby (Mariner 10, 1974)
Mar. 29 Fri. 1:00 AM EDT Moon 0.25° E of Saturn
Mar. 29 Fri. 3:43 AM EDT Asteroid 2 Pallas closest (1.59 AU / 287.8 million km / 147.8 million mi)
Mar. 29 Fri. 8:00 AM EDT Moon 0.3° N of Pluto
Mar. 29 Fri. 9:09 AM EDT Moon @ descending node
Mar. 30 Sat. 8:26:28 PM EDT Iridium flare (mag. -3.0)
Mar. 30 Sat. 8:30 PM EDT - 9:30 PM EDT Earth Hour
 
Mar. 31 Sun. 3:00 AM EDT Mars 3.1° SSE of Pleiades
Mar. 31 Sun. 8:14 PM EDT Moon @ apogee (405,577 km / 252,014 mi)
Apr. 1 Mon. 12:00 AM EDT Moon 3° S of Venus (35° and 34° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 2 Tue. 3:00 PM EDT Mercury 0.4° N of Neptune (25° and 26° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 2 Tue. 7:00 PM EDT Moon 3° S of Neptune (26° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 2 Tue. 8:00 PM EDT Moon 4° S of Mercury (26° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 2 tue. 9:00 PM EDT Moon, Mercury, and Neptune within circle 3.4° across (26° W of Sun)
Apr. 4 Thur.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #2
Apr. 4 Thur. 9:02 PM EDT - 9:05 PM EDT Bright ISS pass (-3.9)
Apr. 5 Fri. 4:50 AM EDT New Moon
Apr. 5 Fri. 8:10 PM EDT - 8:15 PM EDT Bright ISS pass (-3.4)
Apr. 6 Sat. 9:00 AM EDT Moon 5° S of Uranus (16° and 15° from Sun in evening sky)
 
Apr. 8 Mon. 7:00 PM EDT Moon 8° SSE of Pleiades (42° and 41° from Sun in evening sky)
Apr. 9 Tue. 3:00 AM EDT Moon 5° S of Mars (48° and 47° from Sun in evening sky)
Apr. 9 Tue. 12:00 PM EDT Moon 2.1° N of Aldebaran (51° from Sun in evening sky)
Apr. 9 Tue. 5:00 PM EDT Jupiter @ southernmost declination (-22.68°
Apr. 9 Tue. 9:00 PM EDT Asteroid 2 Pallas @ opposition
Apr. 10 Wed. 12:00 AM EDT Venus 0.3° S of Neptune (33° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 10 Wed. 1:00 AM EDT Mercury, Venus, and Neptune within circle 5.15° across (31° W of Sun)
Apr. 10 Wed. 4:00 AM EDT Mercury @ aphelion (0.4667 AU / 69.8 million km / 43.4 million mi)
Apr. 10 Wed. 5:00 AM EDT Saturn @ western quadrature (90° from Sun)
Apr. 10 Wed. 9:00 PM EDT Asteroid 2 Pallas near η Boötis
Apr. 11 Thur. 4:00 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest western elongation (28°)
Apr. 12 Fri.   Yuri's Night
Apr. 12 Fri. 2:00 PM EDT Moon @ ascending node (longitude 112°)
Apr. 12 Fri. 3:06 PM EDT First Quarter Moon
Apr. 12 Fri. 6:00 PM EDT Moon 6.6° S of Pollux (91° from Sun in evening sky)
 
Apr. 14 Sun.   Christiaan Huygens born 390 years ago (1629)
Apr. 15 Mon. 6:00 AM EDT Moon 2.63° NNE of Regulus (125° from Sun in evening sky)
Apr. 15 Mon. 6:00 PM EDT Equation of time is 0
Apr. 16 Tue. 4:00 PM EDT Mercury 4.3° E of Venus (27° and 31° from Sun  in morning sky)
Apr. 16 Tue. 6:00 PM EDT Mars 7° N of Aldebaran (45° from Sun in evening sky)
Apr. 16 Tue. 6:05 PM EDT Moon @ perigee (364,204 km / 226,306 mi)
Apr. 18 Thur. 11:00 PM EDT Moon 7.1° NNE of Spica (173° and 175° from Sun in midnight sky)
Apr. 19 Fri. 7:00 AM EDT Sun enters Aries
Apr. 19 Fri. 7:12 AM EDT Full Moon ("Full Pink Moon")
 
Apr. 22 Mon.   Earth Day
Apr. 22 Mon. 7:00 AM EDT Moon 7.9° NNE of Antares (141° and 142° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 22 Mon. 7:00 PM EDT Uranus @ solar conjunction
Apr. 22 Mon. 8:00 PM EDT Lyrid meteors peak
Apr. 23 Tue. 9:00 AM EDT Moon 1.6° N of Jupiter (129° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 25 Thur. 10:00 AM EDT Moon 0.4° S of Saturn (104° and 105° from Sun in morning sky)
Apr. 25 Thur. 11:00 AM EDT Moon @ descending node (longitude 290.7°)
Apr. 26 Fri. 6:18 PM EDT Last Quarter Moon
 
Apr. 28 Sun. 2:20 PM EDT Moon @ apogee (404,583 km / 251,396 mi)
Apr. 30 Tue. 4:00 AM EDT Moon 3° S of Neptune (52° from Sun in morning sky)Bright
Apr.30 Tue. 5:11 AM EDT - 5:17 AM EDT) Bright ISS pass (-3.8)

   


             

     An Overview of Major Astronomical Events in 2019

      

 

2019
Jan. 1 Tue. 12:33 AM EST New Horizons @ closest approach: 3,500 km (2,175 miles)

Jan. 1

Tue.

11:53 PM EST

Saturn @ superior conjunction

Jan. 3

Thur.

4:59 AM EST

Earth @ perihelion (0.98328 AU / 147,097,233 km / 91,401,983 mi)

Jan. 3

Thur.

9:28 PM EST

Quadrantid meteors peak. (Good.)

Jan. 4 Fri. 7:14 AM EST Latest sunrise of year (7:13:48 AM EST)

Jan. 5

Sat.

11:54 PM EST

Venus @ greatest elongation west (47°)

Jan. 20

Sun.

11:41 PM EST

Total lunar eclipse begins

Jan. 21 Mon. 12:44 AM EST Total lunar eclipse ends
Jan. 25 Fri.   Dust storm season on Mars ends
Feb. 18 Mon.   Hayabusa2 attempts sample collection from asteroid Ryugu.

Feb. 26

Tue.

10:00 AM EDT

Mercury @ greatest elongation east (18°)

Mar. 2 Sat.   Launch of SpaceX Demo-1 flight
Mar. 3 Sun. 11:00 AM EST 50th Anniversary of Apollo 9 launch
Mar. 4 Mon.   Hayabusa2 second attempt at sample collection

Mar. 10

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. 20

Wed.

5:58 PM EDT

March Equinox

Mar. 23 Sat. 7:36 AM EDT Spring Equinox, N. Hemisphere of Mars
Apr. 4 Thur.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #2
Apr. 11 Thur. 3:42 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest elongation west (18°)
Apr. 22 Mon. 8:00 PM EDT Lyrid meteors peak

May 11

Sat.

All day

Astronomy Day (Spring)

May 5

Sun.

9:12 AM EDT

Eta Aquariid meteors peak. (Good.)

May 18 Sat. 12:49 PM EDT 50th  Anniversary of Apollo 10 launch

June 10

Sun.

11:11 AM EDT

Jupiter @ opposition

June 15

Sat.

5:07 AM EDT

Earliest sunrise

June 21

Fri.

11:54 AM EDT

June (Summer) Solstice

June 23 Sun. 7:18 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest elongation east (25.2°)

June 27

Thur.

8:25 PM EDT

Latest sunset of year (8:25:22 PM)

July 4

Thur.

6:11 PM EDT

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

July 9

Wed.

612:12 PM EDT

Saturn @ opposition

July 16 Tue. 9:32 AM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 launch (Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins)
July 20 Sat. 7:53 AM EDT 43rd Anniversary of first Mars landing (Viking 1, 1976)
July 20 Sat. 4:17 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of first Moon landing (Apollo 11, 1969)
July 20 Sat. 10:56 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of first step on Moon (Neil Armstrong, 1969)
July 21 Sun. 1:54 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 leaving lunar surface
July 24 Wed. 12:51 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 splashdown
Aug. 9 Fri. 7:06 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest elongation west (18°)

Aug. 13

Tue.

8:00 AM EDT

Perseid meteors peak. (Very good.)

Sept. 1 Sun.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #3
Sept. 3 Tue. 6:38 PM EDT 43rd Anniversary of Viking 2 Mars landing

Sept. 10

Tue.

2:00 PM EDT

Neptune @ opposition

Sept. 23

Mon.

3:49 AM EDT

September (Fall) Equinox

Sept. 26

Thur.

6:35 AM EDT / 6:36 PM EDT

Equilux (day and night of equal length)

Oct. 5

Sat.

All day

Astronomy Day (Fall)

Oct. 7 Mon. 9:08 PM EDT Summer Solstice, N. Hemisphere of Mars
Oct. 15 Tue.   Launch window for ESA Cheops exoplanet mission opens
Oct. 20 Sun. 12:00 AM EDT Mercury @ greatest elongation east (24.6°)

Oct. 22

Sun.

10:00 AM EDT

Orionid meteors peak. (Poor.)

Oct. 28

Mon.

3:17 AM EDT

Uranus @ opposition

Nov. 3

Sun.

1:00 AM EST / 2:00 AM EDT

Daylight Saving Time ends

Nov. 8/9   11:25 PM EST - 12:27 AM EST Beginning of Callisto eclipse series (61 eclipses)
Nov. 11 Mon. 7:36 AM EST - 1:04 PM EST Transit of Mercury

Nov. 18

Mon.

12:15 AM EST

Leonid meteors peak. (Poor.)

Nov. 24 Sun. 3:58 PM  EST 50th Anniversary of Apollo 12 Moon Landing
Nov. 29 Thur. 5:30 AM EST Mercury @ greatest elongation west (20.1°)

Dec. 9

Thur.

4:11 PM EST

Earliest sunset of year (4:11:48 PM EST)

Dec. 14

Sat.

1:25 PM EST

Geminid meteors peak. (Excellent.)

Dec. 21

Sat.

11:19 PM EST

December (Winter) Solstice

Dec. 22

Sun.

10:00 PM EST

Ursid meteors peak (poor)

Dec. 26 Thur.   Parker Solar Probe Venus flyby #2

   

     


   

    Supernova Style Science News  with Ms. Julie Seven Sage

    


                  

March 15, 2019 - 8:00 PM EDT