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.
     


















       

            


                     

  The Meet the Universe trip to the Observatory on Feb. 12 is cancelled

due to predicted clouds and snow.

  

In addition, the Cambridge Center for Adult Education has cancelled all evening classes due to the snowstorm.

 

Our trip will be rescheduled for Feb. 19 (weather permitting).

     


      

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.

           

                                                           


          

 February / March Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  

     

                                                      

Thursday, February 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: TBA      

    

   

Thursday, February 21, 2019; 7:30 PM
Monthly Observatory Night - Public Talk followed by observing (weather permitting)
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA
https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/publicevents
Topic and Speaker: "Weather on Other Worlds: Studying the Atmospheres of Exoplanets"
Munazza Alam, Graduate Student, Harvard University

In the past two decades, we have discovered thousands of planets outside of the Solar System, many of which are nothing like our own. We can learn a great deal about the properties of these planets if we observe them when they pass in front of (transit) their host stars. During transit, a small fraction of starlight filters through the planet's atmosphere. By precisely measuring the spectrum of this filtered starlight, we can learn about the makeup of the planet's atmosphere. Observing planets with this technique allows us to understand the composition of their atmospheres as well as how they formed and evolved. Munazza Alam uses data from the Hubble Space Telescope to detect and characterize the atmospheres of hot, giant planets. With extremely large telescopes like the Giant Magellan Telescope coming online in the next decade, we will be able to measure the atmospheres of smaller, cooler planets in the search of Earth-like planets elsewhere in the universe.

  

  

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: TBA     

     

        

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/  

            

                 

The Sky at a Glance: February 2019

                                                                                    

            Phases of the Moon:

                    

New Moon

February 4

4:04 PM EST

First Quarter Moon

February 12

5:26 PM EST

Full Moon

February 19

10:54 AM EST

Last Quarter Moon

February 26

6:28 AM EST

 

                  

Planet Visibility:

    

In Evening (after sunset):

    Neptune, in W

    Mercury, in W

    Uranus, in SW 

    Mars, in SW

            

At Midnight:

       

                     

In Morning (before sunrise):

    Jupiter, in SE

    Venus, in SE

    Saturn, in SE  

        

                 

Comets:

   
  •   Comet 46P Wirtanen stays within the boundaries of Ursa Major, so remains circumpolar to observers in mid-northern latitudes On the 18th, it passes within a quarter-degree of 3rd-magnitude Theta Ursae Majoris. By then, however, the comet may have faded  to 9th magnitude.  
    •   

Meteors:

       

  •     There are no significant meteor showers in February.
                               

                                                                                      

               

                  
                                                  

                        

        


       
Major Astronomical Events: February 2019
                   
    

 February 2019

    
Feb. 1 Fri. 2:45 PM EST Moon @ max. dec. S (-21.146°); lowest southernmost position of year and of next 10 years
Feb. 2 Sat. 2:00 AM EST Moon 0.6° N of Saturn; 28° from Sun in morning sky
Feb. 2 Sat. 3:00 PM EST Moon 0.6° N of Pluto
Feb. 3 Sun. 2:00 PM EST Moon @ descending node
Feb. 4 Mon. 4:04 PM EST New Moon (farthest of the last 10 years, farthest of year, farthest of decade)
Feb. 5 Tue. 4:29 AM EST Moon @ apogee (406,556 km / 252,622 mi) (farthest apogee of year)
Feb. 5 Tue. 4:01 PM Ariane 5 launches Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1, and India's GSAT 31
Feb. 6 Wed. 3:00 AM EST Moon 1.1° N of Vesta
Feb. 7 Thur. 1:00 AM EST Moon 3° S of Neptune; 27° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 7 Thur. 11:47 AM EST Russian Soyuz launches EgyptSat-A Earth observation satellite   
Feb. 10 Sun. 11:00 AM EST Moon 6° S of Mars; 66° E of Sun in evening sky
Feb. 10 Sun. 3:00 PM EST Moon 5° S of Uranus; 68° and 67° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 10 Sun. 3:00 PM EST Moon, Mars, and Uranus within circle 5.68° in diameter; 66° E of Sun
Feb. 11 Mon. 6:53 PM EST Equation of time @ minimum (-14.23 min.); latest Sun culmination of year
Feb. 12 Tue. 5:26 PM EST First Quarter Moon
Feb. 13 Wed. 5:00 AM EST Moon 8.4° SSE of Pleiades; 96° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 13 Wed. 3:00 PM EST Mars 1.1° N of Uranus; 65° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 13 Wed. 11:00 PM EST Moon 1.7° N of Aldebaran 105° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 15 Fri.   Galileo born 450 years ago (1564)
Feb. 15 Fri. 11:56 PM EST Moon @ max. decl. N (+21.588°) lowest northernmost moon position of the next 10 years, and the 2nd lowest of the year
Feb. 16 Sat. 4:00 PM EST Sun enters Aquarius
Feb. 17 Sun. 1:00 AM EST Moon 7° S of Pollux; 146° and 144° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 17 Sun. 5:00 AM EST Moon @ ascending node
Feb. 17 Sun. 11:00 PM EST Moon 0.6° S of Beehive (M44)
Feb. 18 Mon.   Hayabusa2 attempts sample collection from asteroid Ryugu.
Feb. 18 Mon. 9:00 AM EST Venus 1.1° N of Saturn; 43° from Sun in morning sky
Feb. 18 Tue. 9:00 PM EST Launch of Israeli non-profit SpaceIL Beresheet to Mare Serentatis
Feb. 19 Tue. 1:00 AM EST Mercury 0.67° NNW of Neptune, 15° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 19 Tue. 4:03 AM EST Moon @ perigee (356,761 km / 221,681 mi) (nearest of year)
Feb. 19 Tue. 10:00 AM EST Moon 2.41° NNE of Regulus, 177° and 179° from Sun in midnight sky
Feb. 19 Tue. 10:54 AM EST Full Moon ("Full Snow Moon") (biggest of year, 3rd biggest of next 10 years) ("Supermoon")
Feb. 19 Tue. 4:37 PM EST Arianespace Soyuz rocket launches 10 broadband communications satellites for OneWeb.   
Feb. 21 Thur. 6:00 PM EST Hayabusa2 touches down on Ryugu for sample return
Feb. 23 Sat. 1:00 AM EST Moon 7.2° NNE of Spica; 130° from Sun in morning sky
Feb. 25 Mon.   Mercury @ perihelion
Feb. 26 Tue. 6:28 AM EST Last Quarter Moon
Feb. 26 Tue. 10:57 AM EST Mercury @ dichotomy
Feb. 26 Tue. 12:00 PM EST Moon 8.3° NNE of Antares; 87° and 88° from Sun in evening sky
Feb. 26 Tue. 8:00 PM EST Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (18° E of Sun), evening sky
Feb. 27 Wed. 9:00 AM EST Moon 2° S of Jupiter; 77° from Sun in morning sky
Feb. 28 Thur. 7:42 PM EST NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Hammock Koch and Alexey Ovchinin of the Russian space agency launch to ISS.

   


             

     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

    


                  

February 15, 2019 - 9:00 PM EST