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.
     


















       

          


      

        


            

Current 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.

           

                                                           


                 

 April Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  

     

                                                      

         

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: "Testing Quantum Mechanics with Cosmic Photons on the Canary Islands", Calvin Leung
Calvin is a graduate student in physics at MIT. He was a physics and math major at Harvey Mudd College, where for his undergraduate thesis he developed a unique astronomical instrument which uses photons from quasars to generate random bits. He was a crucial member of a team, led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and David Kaiser at MIT, that used some of the world's largest optical telescopes on the Canary Islands to conduct rigorous tests of quantum entanglement. He is passionate about science communication, and enjoys teaching. In his spare time he likes to play the cello and watch silly Youtube videos.
    
   
Friday, April 12 - Sunday, April 21
Cambridge Science Festival
https://www.cambridgesciencefestival.org/
The Cambridge Science Festival, the first of its kind in the United States, is a celebration showcasing the leading edge in science, technollogy, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). A multifaceted, multicultural event, the Festival makes science accessible, interactive, and fun, highlighting the impact of STEAM in all our lives. Modeled on art, music, and movie festivals, the Cambridge Science Festival offers activities, demonstrations, workshops, tours, debates, contests, talks, and behind-the-scene glimpses to illuminate the richness of scientific inquiry and the excitement of discovery. Lots of astronomy-related activities! (See the schedule).

     
     

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.

   

  

Friday, April 19, 2019, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

April Popscope at Boston Children's Museum

Boston, MA 02210

https://www.facebook.com/bostonpopscope/

Join us for our monthly session at the Museum! We'll be using a telescope to look at sights both terrestrial and celestial. $1 admission at the Museum so perfect for families. Rescheduled in case of rain or poor weather.

    

    

Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 5:00 PM

Radcliff Institute for Advanced Studies

Knafel Center

10 Garden St.

Cambridge, MA 02138

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/event/2019-robert-kirshner-lecture

Topic and Speaker: "The Undiscovery of Cosmic Deceleration", Robert P. Kirschner

Astronomers have known about the expansion of the universe for nearly a hundred years. Twenty years ago, we set out to use exploding stars to measure gravity's predicted effect: the slowing down of cosmic expansion. Amazingly, when we actually made the measurement, the expansion of the universe turned out to be speeding up! The astonishing (un)discovery of cosmic accelaration has now been confirmed from many directions. We attrribute it to a "dark energy" that dominates the universe, whose nature is a deep mystery at the heart of physics.

Free and open to the public. Please register.  

      

   

       

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: April 2019

                                             

            

                                       

            Phases of the Moon:

       

             

New Moon

April 5

4:50 AM EDT

First Quarter Moon

April 12

3:06 PM EDT

Full Moon

April 19

7:12 AM EDT

Last Quarter Moon

April 26

6:18 PM EDT

          

Planet Visibility:

    

In Evening (after sunset):

    Uranus, in W 

    Mars, in W

            

At Midnight:

       

                     

In Morning (before sunrise):

    Jupiter, in S

    Saturn, in SE

    Neptune, in E  

    Venus, in E

    Mercury, in E  

  

        

                 

Comets:

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

Meteors:

       

  •     The Lyrid meteors peak on April 22, but are poor this year. The waning gibbous Moon visible after midnight will drown out the fainter meteors.
                               

                                  


       
Major Astronomical Events: April 2019
                   
    

 April 2019

    
Mar. 31 -
Apr. 7

Sun. --

Sun.
  International Dark Sky Week
Apr. 1 Mon.   LIGO gravitational wave detectors resume operations after upgrade
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. 1:57 PM EDT Beresheet enters lunar orbit
Apr. 4 Thur. 9:08 PM EDT - 9:10 PM EDT Bright ISS pass (-3.9)
Apr. 5 Fri. 4:50 AM EDT New Moon
Apr. 5 Fri. 8:17 PM EDT - 8:22 PM EDT Bright ISS pass (-3.4)
Apr. 6 Sat.   Juno perijove 19
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
April 11 Thur.   Beresheet attempts lunar landing on Mare Serenitatus
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)
Apr.30 Tue. 5:11 AM EDT - 5:17 AM EDT) Bright ISS pass (-3.8)
May 2 Thur. 8:00 AM EDT Moon 4° S of Venus (28° & 27° from Sun in morning sky)
May 2 Thur. 9:00 AM EDT Moon 0.2° N of Vesta
May 3 Fri. 2:00 AM EDT Moon 3° S of Mercury (19° from Sun in morning sky)
May 4 Sat. 6:46 PM EDT New Moon
 
May 6 Mon. 1:00 AM EDT Moon 8° SSE of Pleiades (16° & 15° from Sun in evening sky)
May 6 Mon. 9:12 AM EDT Eta Aquariid meteors peak (good) (ZHR ~ 50)
May 6 Mon. 6:00  PM EDT Moon 2° N of Aldebaran (24° from Sun in evening sky)
May 7 Tue. 8:00 PM EDT Moon 3° S of Mars (38° from Sun in evening sky)
May 9 Thur. 3:00 PM EDT Moon @ ascending node
May 9 Thur. 11:00 PM EDT Moon 6° S of Pollux (65° & 64° from Sun in evening sky)
May 11 Sat. All day Astronomy Day (spring)
May 11 Sat. 12:25 PM EDT Lunar X visible
May 11 Sat. 9:12 PM EDT First Quarter Moon
 
May 12 Sun. 1:00 PM EDT Moon 3° NNE of Regulus (98° from Sun in evening sky)
May 13 Mon. 5:53 PM EDT Moon @ perigee (369,008 km / 229,291 mi)
May 14 Tue. 5:00 AM EDT Equation of time @ maximum (3.65 min.)
May 14 Tue. 9:00 AM EDT Sun enters Taurus
May 16 Thur. 8:00 AM EDT Moon 7° NNE of Spica (148° from Sun in evening sky)
May 18 Sat. 4:00 AM EDT Venus 1.2° S of Uranus (23° from Sun in morning sky)
May 18 Sat. 12:49 PM EDT 50th Anniversary of Apollo 10 launch
May 18 Sat. 5:11 PM  EDT Full Moon ("Full Flower Moon") ("Blue Moon" - 3rd in season)
 
May 19 Sun. 2:00 PM EDT Moon 1.2° S of Ceres
May 19 Sun. 5:00 PM EDT Moon 8° NNE of Antares (167° & 168° from Sun in morning sky)
May 20 Mon. 1:00 PM EDT Moon 1.7° N of Jupiter (157° from Sun in morning sky)
May 21 Tue. 9:00 AM EDT Mercury @ superior conjunction
May 22 Wed. 3:00 PM EDT Moon @ descending node
May 22 Wed. 6:00 PM EDT Moon 0.5° S of Saturn (131° from Sun in morning sky)
May 23 Thur. 12:00 AM EDT Moon 0.07° S of Pluto
       
May 26 Sun. 9:27 AM EDT Moon @ apogee (404,137 km / 251,119 mi)
May 26 Sun. 12:34 PM EDT Last Quarter Moon
May 26 Sun. 11:25 PM EDT Ceres closest to Earth (1.75 AU / 261 million km / 163 million miles)
May 27 Mon. 1:00 PM EDT Moon 4° S of Neptune (78° from Sun in morning sky)
May 28 Tue. 7:00 PM EDT Ceres @ opposition
May 29 Wed.   Juno perijove 20
May 30 Thur. 6:00 PM EDT Moon 0.6° N of Vesta
May 31 Fri. 6:00 AM EDT Moon 5° S of Uranus (35° from Sun in morning sky)

   


             

     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 5

Sun.

9:12 AM EDT

Eta Aquariid meteors peak. (Good.)

May 11

Sat.

All day

Astronomy Day (Spring)

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

    


                  

April 15, 2019 - 9:00 PM EDT