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 to access news and information about astronomy and space-related activities of interest to the community and the public.





Astronomy Class Beginning in the Fall!


Meet the Uniiverse


Taught by Dan Winchell and John Sheff


When we look up at the night sky, what do we see? Are we alone in the universe? Will humans someday colonize the moon, Mars or even other solar systems? Come learn more about astronomy and this exciting frontier of discovery. We’ll talk about black holes, the cosmic microwave background, and the search for life in the Universe. You’ll get a chance to use a large telescope at a real observatory and learn how to navigate the night sky on your own.


No math or science experience required! Bring your questions!


Meets 8 Tuesdays (September 29 - November 17), 7:45 PM - 9:15 PM,, at Cambridge Center for Adult Education,


To register orr for more information, visit the CCAE website.




 October Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  


Friday, October 2 - Saturday, October 3, 2015

Seagrave Memorial Observatory,
North Scituate, RI



Thursday, October 8, 2015 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Amateur Telesciope Makers of Boston

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Topic and Speaker: Astro Humor, Glenn Chaple

Our very own Glenn Chaple will be presenting material from his vast collection of astronomy-oriented humor.  As a long-term writer and speaker in the field of astronomy, he's well-positioned to bring us a very entertaining evening!



Thursday, October 15, 2015 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Public Observatory Night

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Cambridge, MA

Topic and Speaker:  Bang Astronomy from the Ends of the Earth , John Kovac, CfA

In the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, temperatures can drop to -100°F and the Sun disappears below the horizon for half the year. Yet the same harsh conditions that make survival so challenging also make the South Pole an ideal location for astronomy. From here, scientists are studying the faint glow of the Big Bang known as the cosmic microwave background. Their goal is nothing less than to tease out the subtle signs of cosmic inflation and open a window onto the birth of the universe. After a roller-coaster ride of discovery and setback, the quest continues. At the helm: John Kovac, who has traveled to the South Pole more than 20 times in his career. John Kovac is an associate professor of astronomy at Harvard and leader of the BICEP2 Collaboration.



Monday, October 19, 2015 7:00 PM  - 9:00 PM (cloud date: October 20, 2015)

Lexington Christian Academy Star Party

48 Bartlett Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420 

Contact: Kathy Oliver 978-866-7158
Grade Level: 7th and 8th
Number of attendees expected:  62 students. 130 including parents and teachers
Power is available
Parking is adjacent to telescopes
Refreshments will be served to volunteers Contact: Kathy Oliver 978-866-7158




Tuesdays (beginning March 31)

Clay Center Observatory

Dexter Southfield School

Brookline, MA

Brookline, MA

617-454-2795 (appoint. required)



Boston University

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



Fridays (beginning March 13): 

Museum of Science  

Boston, MA 

"Astronomy after Hours" public viewing at Guilliland Observatory 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM.




The Sky Report for the Month of October 2015



Current Night Sky: At A Glance


Phases of the Moon:



Last Quarter Moon

October 4

6:06 PM EDT

New Moon

October 12

8:06 PM EDT

First Quarter

October 20

4:31 PM EDT

Full Moon

October 27

8:05 AM EDT


The Moon & Planets:



Planet Visibility:


In Evening (after sunset):

    Saturn, in SW

    Neptune, in SE

    Uranus, in E 


 At Midnight:

    Neptune, in W

    Uranus, in S


 In Morning (before sunrise):

    Uranus, in W

    Venus, in E

    Mars, in E

    Jupiter, in E 



  •     There are no comets visible brighter than magnitude 8.



    The Draconids peak on October 8-9; most years this shower is a fizzle, but has been known to produce memorable displays - in an erratic pattern.


    The Orionid meteor shower peaks on Oct. 21. The waxing gibbous Moon sets around 1:30 AM, which should provide a 4-hour window of dark skies. Expect rates of 15 meteors or so per hour.


 Farewell to Saturn




Saturn sets earlier every day this month. By the end of October, it will be too low in the evening twilight to provide decent views.

 (October 7, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT).





On the morning of October 8, the waning crescent Moon lies among of bevy of bright planets in the pre-dawn sky.

(The size of the Moon is exaggerated for clarity.)

(October 8, at 5:30 AM EDT.)





The following morning, the Moon will have moved closer to Mars and Jupiter.

(The size of the Moon is exaggerated for clarity.)

 (October 9, at 5:30 AM EDT.)




Uranus reaches opposition – being closer, larger, and brighter than any time this year – on October 11.

 Even though the planet is four times the diameter of Earth, it is so distant – 1.76 billion miles away – that it appears as a small featureless disk

 even in large telescopes. Almost all our detailed knowledge of the planet comes from the flyby of the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1986.

(October 11, 2015, 12 midnight EDT).



A Harvest  of Conjunctions



Astronomy educators and amateur astronomers at public events are typically delighted to show planets to visitors. But it’s depressingly common to get the question, “What else can we see? Can we see Mars, or Jupiter, or Mercury?” This October, the answer, in short, is, “No”.


Once Saturn sets in the early evening, there are no bright planets visible. True, Uranus and Neptune are up, but they are dim, barely-discernable dots even in large telescopes. The others – Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury – are all crowded in the morning sky before dawn. And when we say “crowded”, we mean crowded!


A close approach between two or more planets is called a “conjunction”, and there are several that occur in the October predawn sky. On the 4th, the Moon passes just 0.7° (about 1.4 “Moon-widths”) to the south of Venus.  On the 26th, Venus passes within 1.1° south of Jupiter. The closest, however, is the near approach (0.4°) between Mars and Jupiter on October 17th.





A conjunction between Mars and Jupiter. The planets approach 0.4° of each other on the morning of October 17.

The yellow circle represents a view through typical 10x50 binoculars. Venus and the bright star Regulus are also nearby.

(October 17, 2015 – 4:30 AM EDT).





    The Mars-Jupiter conjunction as seen through a telescope at low magnification; the yellow circle is 1° across.

Some of Jupiter’s moons are visible.

(October 17, 2015 – 4:30 AM EDT).




A Schedule of Events: October  2015



Oct. 4 Sun. 5:06 PM EDT Last Quarter Moon
Oct. 8 Thur. 5:00 PM EDT Moon 0.7° SSE of Venus
Oct. 9 Fri. 2:00 PM EDT Draconid meteors
Oct. 9 Fri. 1:00 PM EDT Moon 3° SSW of Mars
Oct. 9 Fri. 2:00 PM EDT Moon, Mars, Jupiter within circle 3.99° in diameter
Oct. 9 Fri. 8:00 PM EDT Moon 3° S of Jupiter
Oct. 11 Sun. 8:00 AM EDT Moon 0.9° S of Mercury
Oct. 11 Sun. 9:18 AM EDT Moon @ apogee (406,388 km  / 252,518 mi)
Oct. 12 Mon. 12:00 AM EDT Uranus @ opposition
Oct. 12 Mon. 8:06 PM EDT New Moon
Oct. 15 Thur. 11:00 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest elongation - 18° west of Sun (morning "star")
Oct. 16 Fri. 9:00 AM EDT Moon 3° N of Saturn
Oct. 17 Sat. 10:00 AM EDT Mars 0.4° N of Jupiter
Oct. 20 Tue. 4:31 PM EDT First Quarter Moon
Oct. 21 Wed. Orionid meteor shower peaks (goodt)
Oct. 23 Fri. 3:00 PM EDT Moon 3° N of Neptune
Oct. 25 Sun. 2:00 AM EDT Venus @ theoretical dichotomy
Oct. 25 Sun.. 8:00 PM EDT Venus 1.1° S of Jupiter
Oct. 25 Sun. 11:00 PM EDT Venus, Mars, Jupiter within circle 3.35° in diameter
Oct. 26 Mon. 3:00 AM EDT Venus @ greatest elongation - 46° west of Sun (morning "star")
Oct. 26 Mon. 6:00 AM EDT Moon 0.9° S of Uranus
Oct. 26 Mon. 9:01 AM EDT Moon @ perigee (358,468 km  / 222,739 mi)
Oct. 27 Tue. 8:05 AM EDT Full Moon ("Full Hunter's Moon")
Oct. 31 Sat. 8:00 AM EDT Sun enters Libra


  * bold = cool or important!

   `    `


A Preview of 2015 Events
Nov. 3 Venus 40' to lower right of Mars
Nov. 5 - 6 S. Taurid meteors peak (poor)
Nov. 12 N. Taurid meteors peak
Nov. 17 - 18 Leonid meteors peak (excellent)
Nov. 26 Moon occults Aldebaran
Nov. 30 Saturn @ solar conjunction
Dec. 7 Waning crescent Moon occults Venus (daytime event)
Dec. 8 Dawn spacecraft enters Low Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO) (375 km)
Dec. 8 - 9 Earliest sunset (4:12 PM)
Dec. 13 - 14 Geminid meteors peak (excellent)
Dec. 21 December Solstice
Dec. 22 - 23 Ursid meteors peak (poor)
Dec. 29 Mercury @ greatest elongation east (evening "star")
October 2015 Star Chart
 October 15, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT