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" course field trip to the Observatory will NOT be held on Tuesday, May 21.

           

We will schedule the trip for the fall, when Jupiter and its large moons, Saturn and its rings,

and our own Moon will  be visible, and the sky will get dark early.

                      

Please meet instead at our usual classroom at the Cambridge Center for Adult Ed.

                      


            

Next 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: Sept. 17 - April 2 - Nov. 5, 2019 - 7:45 PM - 9:15 PM.

                

                                                          


                 

 May Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  

                                                      

         

Thursday, May 9, 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: “Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Update”, Dr. George R. Ricker
Dr. George R. Ricker is the principal investigator for NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Sky Survey (TESS) Explorer mission, which was successfully launched in April 2018. He is currently the Director of the Detector Laboratory and Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. Dr. Ricker received his undergraduate degree from MIT in physics, an M.S. in astronomy from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT.
   
  
Saturday, May 11, 2019
New England Sci-Tech Astronomy Day
16 Tech Circle

Natick, MA 01760
https://www.nescitech.org/astronomy-day/
Join the FUN! Pot Luck Dinner, Solar Telescopes, Nighttime Telescopes, Ham Radio Activities, Yard Sale, Maker Activities, Planetarium Shows, Guest Speaker, all in one! Open to the public. Hosted by members of New England Sci-Tech Astronomy (NEST-A), Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society (STARS), New England Amateur Radio (NEAR), and New England Sci-Tech (NEST). Expecting members of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston (ATMoB) to join us.
12:00 pm – Helpers set up.
2:00 pm – Astronomers and exhibitors may begin setting up.
4:00 pm – Doors open to public. Yard Sale begins. Maker space activities begin. Radio activities begin. Planetarium show #1. 
5:00 pm – Pot Luck opens. Planetarium show #2. D&D game #1.
6:00 pm – Introductions and Guest Speaker – TBA. Planetarium show#3.
7:00 pm – Planetarium show#4. D&D game #2. Mars Movie Marathon begins.
8:00 pm – Planetarium show #5. Pot Luck closes. Yard Sale closes. Maker activities close. 
9:00 pm – Planetarium closes. Event winds down. Pack-up/cleanup begins.
10:00 pm – NE SciTech closes.
Yard Sale (4-8 pm)
New England Sci-Tech is grateful for many donations but needs to make room. All sales go to development and enhancement of youth programs and curriculum. You may sell your own items by either (1) placing up to 10 well-labeled items on our tables for 5% consignment fee or (2) rent 5-foot table space for $10 and sell as much as you can put on/under the table. Space is extremely limited. Call Bob to reserve a table. Check out THE LIST of what we will have for sale!
Amateur Radio Activities (4-9 pm)

Open to all licensed amateur radio operators and non-licensed technology enthusiasts. Licensed amateurs may use the radios, demonstrate DX and educate non-hams, and let non-licensed hams make contacts (US only). We may get some fox-hunting in as well (hidden transmitter hunts).
Pot Luck Dinner (5-8 pm)
A fun way to socialize, meet new friends, and help raise funds for youth programs, the Pot Luck is open to all. If attending, please either bring a dish to offer to all (Go to signup list so we don’t all bring the same thing), or please donate $5 for the privilege of eating without bringing food. Pot Luck runs 5 pm to 8 pm, spanning the time when we have introductions and a guest speaker. Helpful tips: no open flames; limited refrigeration; crock pots and warmers ok; keep track of your serving dishes and utensils.
Maker Activities (4-8 pm)
For children of members and visitors, there will be a number of different hands-on activities led by volunteer helpers through the afternoon. Make a meteorite necklace, make an LED constellation night-light, make a LASER-cut art project, and more.
Planetarium Shows (30-min shows on the hour 4-9 pm) 
We have a 5-meter diameter inflatable dome (16 ft diameter by 10 ft high) in a large space down the hall from our maker space. The 1080p digital projector and surround-sound system can present astronomy star shows and multi-media professional shows. Shows usually average 25-min runtime. Children sit on cushions on a carpeted floor. A limited number of chairs are available for adults. Reservations recommended, as priority goes to paid ticket holders. Planned shows are posted, but we reserve the right to substitute a different but similar show if necessary.
Guest Speaker (6:15 to 6:45 pm)
TBA
Mars Movie Marathon (7-9 pm)
Selected publicly available movies (with screening permissions) about the current push to put people on Mars and the technology to get them there. Shows are free and open to all. Special shout-out to Astronaut Abby, and we encourage you to check out her non-profit organization The Mars Generation. Shows currently planned: 7 Minutes of Terror: The Challenges of Getting to Mars – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Tesla, First Roadster in Space – Space X; Novo Mundo – National Geographic.

  

       

Thursday, May 16, 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: "Footprints On Another World: Apollo Plus 50", Dr. Jonathan McDowell (CfA)
Half a century later, Dr. Jonathan McDowell will look back at humanity's first voyages to another world. In December 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first people to enter the gravitational sphere of the Moon, and seven months later, Armstrong and Aldrin headed for the surface in Apollo 11. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union's moon rocket exploded disastrously as its robot probes competed with NASA astronauts in the race to bring home the first moon rocks. Dr. McDowell will explain how the first landing stood at the tip of an immense effort as engineers from California to Cambridge, MA turned the impossible into history.
   

   

  

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

May 4

6:46 PM EDT

First Quarter Moon

May 11

9:12 PM EDT

Full Moon

May 18

5:11 PM EDT

Last Quarter Moon

May 26

12:34 PM EDT

                

Planet Visibility:

    

In Evening (after sunset):

    Mercury, in NW 

    Mars, in W

            

At Midnight:

    Jupiter, in SE 

       

                     

In Morning (before sunrise):

    Jupiter, in S

    Saturn, in SE

    Neptune, in E  

    Venus, in E

    Uranus, in E

    Mercury, in E  

  

        

                 

Comets:

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

Meteors:

       

  •     The Eta Aquariid meteors peak on May 6; this year, there is no moonlight to wash out the fainter trails. The shower is more active in the Southern Hemisphere. In mid-northern latitudes, the radiant – the apparent point from which they appear to stream - never gets very high before dawn, but even there, observers under dark skies may see up to 40 meteors per hour. These meteors are interplanetary debris left over from previous passages of Halley’s Comet.
                            

                                  


       
Major Astronomical Events: May 2019
                   
    

 May 2019

    
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

    


                  

May 15, 2019 - 9:00 PM EDT