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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.

                

                                                          


                 

 December Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  

                                                      

        

Thursday, December 12, 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 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: Dcecember 2019

  

  

The December Solstice occurs at 11:19 PM EST on December 21st. The Sun reaches its southernmost celestial latitude of the year; this day brings the year’s shortest period of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. By convention, winter officially begins in the North and summer begins in the South.

There is an annular (also known as a “ring of fire”) eclipse of the Sun on December 26, visible inside a narrow track that begins in Saudi Arabia and runs through the United Arab Emirates and Oman, southern India and Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, to end in the western Pacific.

 

                                                                                       

            Phases of the Moon:

              

First Quarter Moon

December 4

1:58 AM EST

Full Moon

December 12

12:12 AM EST

Last Quarter Moon

December 18

11:57 PM EST

New Moon

December 26

12:13 AM EST

     

             

   Planet Visibility:

             

 In Evening (after sunset):

    Jupiter, in SW

    Saturn, in SW

    Neptune, in S

    Uranus, in SE

            

At Midnight:

    Uranus, in W 

                      

In Morning (before sunrise):

    Mars, in SE 

    Mercury, in SE 

         

                   

Comets:

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

Meteors:

       

  •    
    •      The Geminid meteor shower, often the most prolific of the year, peaks on December 14. This year, though, the Full Moon occurs two days earlier; by the 14th, in fact, the waning gibbous Moon lies in Gemini itself, not far from the meteors’ radiant. The number of meteors visible will be drastically reduced from its typical 120 meteors per hour.
      •      December’s second meteor shower, the Ursids, peaks on the 22nd/23rd. Typically, the rate for this shower is about 10 meteors per hour.

                                 


       
Major Astronomical Events: December 2019  
                   
    

 December 2019

    
 
Dec. 4 Wed. 1:58 AM EST First Quarter Moon
Dec. 4 Wed. 7:00 AM EST Moon 4° S of Neptune; 94° from Sun in evening sky
Dec. 4 Wed. 11:08 PM EST Moon @ apogee (406,055 km / 252,311 mi)
 
Dec. 8 Sun. 6:00 AM EST Moon 5° S of Uranus; 137° from Sun in evening sky
Dec. 8 Sun. 8:34 AM EST Comet 2I/Borisov at perihelion (2.00 AU / 300 million km / 186.5 million miles)
Dec. 9 Mon. 4:11 PM EST Earliest sunset of year (4:11:48 PM EST)
Dec. 10 Tue. 2:00 PM EST Moon 7.3° SE of Pleiades; 161° and 162° from Sun in evening sky
Dec. 10 Tue. 12:00 AM EST Venus 1.8° S of Saturn; 30° from Sun in evening sky (mags. -4.0 and 0.6)
Dec. 11 Wed. 7:00 AM EST Moon 3° N of Aldebaran; 171° and 169° from Sun in evening sky
Dec. 12 Thur. 12:12 AM EST Full Moon ("Full Cold Moon")
Dec. 12 Thur. 11:00 PM EST Moon 1.5° SE of M35 cluster; 168° and 169° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 14 Sat.   Geminid meteor shower peaks (poor)
Dec. 14 Sat. 9:00 AM EST Moon 9° S of Castor; 151° and 150° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 14 Sat. 1:00 PM EST Moon 5° S of Pollux; 148° from Sun in morning sky
    
Dec. 15 Sun. 1:00 PM EST Moon 1.3° NE of Beehive Cluster; 136° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 16 Mon. 1:00 AM EST Mercury 5° N of Antares; 14° and 15° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 17 Tue. 3:00 AM EST Moon 4° NE of Regulus; 115° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 18 Wed. 3:00 PM EST Sun enters Sagittarius
Dec. 18 Wed. 3:25 PM EST Moon @ perigee (370,265 km / 230,072 mi)
Dec. 18 Wed. 11:57 PM EST Last Quarter Moon
Dec. 19 Thur. 6:59 AM EST Launch of unmanned ULA/Boeing CST-100 Starliner
Dec. 20 Fri. 11:00 PM EST Moon 7° NE of Spica; 65° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 21 Sat. 11:19 PM EST Winter Solstice
 
Dec. 22 Sun. 9:00 PM EST Moon 4° N  of Mars; 38° and 39° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 22 Sun. 10:00 PM EST Ursid meteors peak (fair)
Dec. 24 Tue. 7:00 AM EST Moon 7° NE of Antares; 22° and 23° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 25 Wed. 7:00 AM EST Moon 2° NE of Mercury; 9° from Sun in morning sky
Dec. 25 Wed. 9:29:53 PM EST Annular solar eclipse begins (Indian Ocean, Indonesia)
Dec. 26 Thur.   Parker Solar Probe Venus flyby #2
Dec. 26 Thur. 12:13 AM EST New Moon
Dec. 26 Thur. 3:05 AM EST Annular solar eclipse ends
Dec. 27 Fri. 7:00 AM EST Moon 1.2° S of Saturn; 16° and 15° from Sun in evening sky
Dec. 27 Fri. 10:00 AM EST Moon 0.6° S of Pluto
Dec. 27 Fri. 1:00 PM EST Jupiter in solar conjunction
Dec. 28 Sat. 9:00 PM EST Moon 1° S of Venus; 34° from Sun in evening sky
 
Dec. 31 Tue. 4:00 PM EST Moon 4° S of Neptune

   


             

     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.

1:00 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
Jul. 22 Mon. 5:22 AM EDT India's Chandrayaan-2 soft-lander / rover mission launches to Moon
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. (Poor.)

Sept. 1 Sun.   Parker Solar Probe perihelion #3
Sept. 3 Tue. 6:38 PM EDT 43rd Anniversary of Viking 2 Mars landing
Sept. 6 Fri.   India's India's Vikram spacecraft soft-lands on Moon

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°)

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. (Poor.)

Dec. 21

Sat.

11:19 PM EST

December (Winter) Solstice

Dec. 22

Sun.

10:00 PM EST

Ursid meteors peak (fair)

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

   

 

2020

Jan. 3

Thur.

10:00 PM EST

Quadrantid meteors peak. (Good.)

Jan. 4 Sat. 7:14 AM EST Latest sunrise of year (7:13:47AM EST)

Jan. 5

Sun.

3:00 AM EST

Earth @ perihelion (0.98324 AU / 147,091,144 km / 91,398,200 mi)

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. 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 EST 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. 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. 8:00 PM EDT Lyrid meteors peak (fair)

May 5

Sun.

9:12 AM EDT

Eta Aquariid meteors peak. (Good.)

May 2

Sat.

All day

Astronomy Day (Spring)

June 2 Tue.   Juno perijove #27
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 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 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 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. 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
Oct. 1 Thur. 12:00 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (26° E of Sun)
Oct. 13 Tue. 7:00 PM EDT Mars @ opposition
Oct. 16 Fri.   BepiColombo Venus Gravity Assist #1

Oct. 22

Sun.

10:00 AM EDT

Orionid meteors peak. (Poor.)

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. 18

Mon.

12:15 AM EST

Leonid meteors peak. (Poor.)

Dec. 8

Thur.

4:11 PM EST

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

Dec. 14

Sat.

1:25 PM EST

Geminid meteors peak. (Poor.)

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. 22

Sun.

10:00 PM EST

Ursid meteors peak (fair)

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

     


   

    Supernova Style Science News  with Ms. Julie Seven Sage

    


                    

December 15, 2019 - 9:00 PM EST