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


















       

            


            

    New Astronomy Course Meeting!

 

Introduction to Astronomy

 

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 meeting will be at a local observatory.

 

No math or science background required!

 

Meets at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 8 Tuesdays: April 4 -  May  23, 2017, 7:45 PM - 9:15 PM.

 

      


           

         Supernova Style Science News

 with Ms. Julie Seven Sage

          

I would like to give a big shout-out to Ms. Julie Seven Sage. She is a 12-year old aspiring astrophysicist; did I say "aspiring"? I think she's most of the way there!

    

She has an unquenchable thirst for all new things in science - not just astronomy, but physics, biology, paleontology, materials science, and, as she puts it, "the people of science". She has been producing, with  the help of her parents, professional-quality videos discussing the latest news and developments in science and engineering. Julie is an amazing, enthusiastic young woman who will go far!

    

I cannot recommend strongly enough her videos and news clip updates.  Please visit her sites and see for yourselves: 

      

Website: www.supernovastylesciencenews.com

   

YouTube: Supernova Style Science News

 

She is also on Twitter, instagram, and Facebook.

   

Email: julie7sage@supernovastylesciencenews.com

 

News Email: news@supernovastylesciencenews.com

 

     


 

 April Astronomy-Related Events in the Boston Area  

                       

           

Thursday, April 13th, 4:15 PM

Radcliffe College

Knafel Center

10 Garden Street

Cambridge, MA

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/event/2017-dava-sobel-lecture

Topic and Speaker: "A Woman's Place at the Harvard Observatory", Dava Sobel

The acclaimed author of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (Walker, 1995), Dava Sobel will be speaking about her new book, The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars (Viking, 2016), which tells the story of the women who worked at the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s.

Soon after he took over as the new director of the observatory in 1877, Professor Edward Pickering forged an important connection with Radcliffe College. A vocal proponent of higher education for women, Pickering instituted astronomy instruction at Radcliffe and invited select alumnae into the observatory. In 1886, with funding from the wealthy New York widow Anna Palmer Draper, he initiated a decades-long, all-night, all-sky photography project that captured the heavens on glass plates and opened a wide new arena for women’s work. 

Fifteen to twenty "ladies" at a time made discoveries by probing this glass universe. Among their most important achievements were the development of a classification system for the stars and a means for measuring distances across space. Pickering’s “harem” attracted special fellowships earmarked for female employees. These funds enabled his successor, Harlow Shapley, to establish a graduate program, which saw Harvard’s first doctoral degree in astronomy awarded, via Radcliffe, to Cecilia Payne in 1925.

Free and open to the public.

Registration is now closed, but walk-in attendees are welcome if seating is available.

Video of the lecture will be available online approximately 4 weeks after the event.

This is a 2016–2017 Kim and Judy Davis Dean's Lecture.

        

         

Thursday, April 13th, 8:00 PM - 10 PM

Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston (ATMoB) Monthly Meeting

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

60 Garden St.

Cambridge, MA 02138

http://www.atmob.org

Topic and Speaker: ‘13” Coulter Odyssey I Turned Ultra Compact Project", Kevin Collins
In 2006 Kevin Collins, a member of the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers Association, undertook a reconstruction of his 13.1" Coulter Odyssey I into an Obsession-style truss tube scope to make it more portable. While that overall goal was achieved, the height of its altitude bearings still meant it would not fit under the cover in the bed of his pickup truck. As a result, it often had to ride shotgun if wet weather was forecast going to and from observing events. In 2014 Kevin again reconstructed his 13.1" scope – this time into an Ultra Compact instrument of his own design that would fit in the bed of his truck.  Join us as he, using pictures and THE TELESCOPE ITSELF, explains the design and construction process.  He will talk about everything from laminating maple veneers for his focuser board to the intricacies of using torque worksheets to get that elusive balance and buttery smooth motion we all strive for!
Kevin is a software developer for ATC Associates in Agawam, MA, the Assistant Winemaker for Mineral Hills Winery in Florence, MA, President of the Pioneer Valley Winemakers Society, and former President of the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers Association.  He is also a member of The Arunah Hill Natural Science Center, and the Springfield STARS Club.  Fifteen years ago he purchased a Coulter 10" Odyssey I for $50 beginning his adventures in amateur astronomy and telescope making.  Over the years Kevin has built a 4.5" f/8 classic dob, restored a 4" f/15 Steinheil refractor found in a dump, reconstructed a 13" Coulter Odyssey I into a truss tube scope, and built a 20" f/5 truss tube scope.  The latter created an incredible opportunity for Kevin, his father, and brother to work together on a project in their adult lives.  Beyond telescope making he enjoys deep sky and visible light solar observing with family and friends.  Kevin is also an avid cyclist, hiker, photographer, and amateur winemaker. He lives with his partner in Northampton Massachusetts.         
   
    
Friday, April 14th, - Sunday, April 23rd.
Cambridge Science Festival
www.cambridgesciencefestival.org
The annual Cambridge Science Festival hosts numerous events and activities related to science, and some of them are focused on astronomy. Find out what you want to see and learn about on their website or printed program.
    
             
Friday, April 14th, 2017; 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Are We Alone? Exploring the Possibility of other Intelligent Life in the Universe
Sanders Theatre
45 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
What are our chances of making contact with intelligent aliens? In 1961, astronomer Frank Drake wrote his eponymous equation to help answer this question. Today, with the help of new discoveries of earth-like planets and a wealth of other scientific findings, we re-visit one of the most basic questions humanity has ever asked itself: Are We Alone? Guest of Honor: Frank Drake, Emeritus Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California at Santa Cruz, and member of the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute. Co-Chairs: John Durant, Director of The MIT Museum and Founder of the Cambridge Science Festival, and Chris Impey, Associate Dean, College of Science, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona.  Key Speakers: Sara Seager, Professor of Planetary Science and Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dimitar Sasselov, Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University, and Director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative; Jack Szostak, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, and Alex. A. Rich, Distinguished Investigator, Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Lori Marino, Founder and Executive Director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, and former Senior Lecturer at Emory University and Faculty Affiliate at the Emory Center for Ethics. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer for the SETI Institute, and former Director of Center for SETI Research.Martine RothblattCEO of United Therapeutics
      
   
Friday, April 14th, 2017; 9:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Sidewalk Astronomy
The Plaza outside of Harvard Science Center, near the corner of Oxford and Kirkland and adjacent to Harvard Yard.
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
Join Astronomers and amatuer astronomy buffs from greater Boston to view Jupiter, double stars, nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies.  Location:  This is part of Cambridge Science Festival's opening night celebration. Don't miss Are We Alone? Exploring the Possibility of other Intelligent Life in the Universe, at Harvard's Sanders Theater from 7:30-9:30.  Mingle with the event's speakers and guests while star gazing. It's sure to be a stellar evening! Stargazing is weather dependant. Check online for weather-related cancellation. Hosted by Boston Astronomy.
 
    
    
Monday, April 17, 2017; 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Astronomy on Tap
Phoenix Landing
512 Mass. Ave.
Cambridge, MA
Come explore the mysteries of the Universe over a beer. Expect short talks, awe-inspiring visuals, interactions with local astronomers and astronomy-themed games with prizes!
https://www.facebook.com/aotboston
    
       
Thursday, April 20th, 2017; 7:30 PM
CfA Public Observatory Night
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/publicevents
Topic and Speaker; "Mapping the Heavens", Priyamvada Natarajan, Yale University
From time immemorial humans have been charting the night sky and trying to make sense of it, and contemplating their place in the cosmos. Natarajan will recount the evolution of celestial map-making and show how maps literally track our ever-evolving cosmic view, tracing our understanding of the universe, its contents and its evolution. She also will talk about recent developments in our understanding of two invisible entities: dark matter and black holes.
   
     
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017; 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM  
March for Science (Boston event)
Boston Common, Boston, MA
Music on the Main Stage: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Main Rally with Speakers and Music on the Main Stage: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Throughout there will be booths, chants, and a general rally/festival atmosphere.
https://www.marchforscienceboston.com/
There will also be Community Marches: https://www.marchforscienceboston.com/community-events
This Rally for Science celebrates the discovery, understanding, and sharing of scientific knowledge as crucial to the success, health, and safety of the human race. We join together to champion not only science itself, but also publicly funded and publicly communicated scientific knowledge as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse and nonpartisan group to celebrate Boston as a space for scientists and scientific research.
   
      
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017; 8:30 PM - 10:30 PM
Astronomy Day Star Party
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02128
Join the Astronomy Day Star Party! Rooftop viewing through telescopes. See Jupiter, double stars, star clusters, galaxies, and more! Star party is weather dependent. Call 617-495-7461 to check for cancellation. Cost: Free. Drop-In.
 
   
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017, 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Cambridge Explores the Universe
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02128
Become an astronomer for a day! Enjoy exploration stations that include hands-on activities, telescope tours, ask an astronomer booths and solar observing. Find out the latest discoveries about the sun, exoplanets, and black holes and take your own telescope images using our robotic telescopes. Go on a virtual tour of space using the World Wide Telescope visualization lab. It's out of this world! Cost: Free. Drop-in.
    
   
     
Plus (ongoing):
      
    
Tuesdays:
Clay Center
Dexter Southfield School
20 Newton Street
Brookline, MA 02445
617-454-2718
Public telescope nights most Tuesdays in Spring and Fall
http://www.dextersouthfield.org/about/clay-center/public-telescope-nights.cfm

  

   

Wednesdays:

Boston University

Boston, MA.
Open Night at Coit Observatory most Wednesdays 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM. (Register in advance.)

617-353-2630
http://www.bu.edu/astronomy/events/public-open-night-at-the-observatory/  

    

     

Thursdays (every 3rd Thursday), 8:30 PM:

CfA Public Observatory Night

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street

Cambridge, MA 02138
https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/publicevents

          

      

Fridays (every week), 8:30 PM

Guilliland Observatory

Museum of Science

1 Science Park

Boston, MA 02114

617-589-0267

https://www.mos.org/public-events/astronomy-after-hours

       

          

 

The Sky Report for the Month of April 2017      

                   

Current Night Sky: At A Glance

                        

The Moon & Planets: 

                   

Phases of the Moon: 

    

First Quarter

April 3

2:39 PM EDT

Full Moon

April 11

2:08 AM EDT

Last Quarter Moon

April 19

5:57 AM EDT

New Moon

April 26

8:16 AM EDT

                                                                          

         

Planet Visibility:

    

In Evening (after sunset):

    Mercury, in W 

    Mars, in W

    Jupiter, in SE

             

 At Midnight:

    Jupiter, in S

     

 In Morning (before sunrise):

    Jupiter, in W

    Saturn, in S

    Neptune, in E

    Venus, in E 

              

          

Comets:

    

    •     Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak is circumpolar for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. On April 1st, when it makes its closest approach to Earth, it may reach magnitude 6 – the threshold of naked-eye visibility. After the first week of April, the Moon will have brightened enough to overwhelm the comet’s fainter light.
  •          

Meteors:      

  •     
    •     The Lyrid meteors peak on the evening April 22. Moonlight won’t interfere, and viewers under dark skies may see as many as 18 meteors per hour.
  •       
            

                                                            

                             

                    

                                         

Twenty minutes after sunset on April 1st, Mercury, Mars, the crescent Moon, and a handful of first-magnitude stars are visible in the west.

Mercury is at its “greatest eastern elongation” from the Sun; this is the planet’s best evening appearance of the year. 

(April 1, 2017, 7:30 PM EDT).

                                        

                                    

                                                    

        

                            

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak makes its closest approach to Earth (13.2 million miles) on April 1st.  As the month begins, it is passing through Draco,

close to the stars 10 Draconis and Thuban (Alpha Draconis). On the evening of the 2nd, it lies less than a degree from Thuban. (The yellow reference circle

in the lower right is ½° in diameter – about the width of the Full Moon). Under the best of dark-sky viewing conditions, the comet may be just on the

threshold of naked-eye visibility; urban or suburban viewers will need binoculars or a small telescope to spot it. However, the brightness and appearance

(such as the presence or length of a tail, for example) of comets are notoriously difficult to predict; the view above is merely a simulation.   

(April 2, 2017, 8:00 PM EDT).

                     

                                                

                                                  

  

                  

On the evening of April 7th, Jupiter reaches opposition. It rises at sunset, reaches its highest point at midnight, and sets at sunrise.

It is also the time when the planet is at its closest to Earth (414 million miles), is at its brightest (magnitude – 2.5),

and presents its largest apparent diameter (44.3 arc-seconds). NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting and studying Jupiter since July of 2016;

its radio signals, travelling at the speed of light, take 37 minutes to reach Earth.

(April 7, 2017, 7:30 PM EDT).

       

       

               

     

                 

The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks on the night of April 22nd. Without the Moon visible in the sky, there will be no interference from its light.

Though the shower’s radiant – the apparent direction the meteors come from - lies in Lyra, the meteors can appear just about anywhere.

Under dark skies, you can expect to see about 18 meteors per hour.

(April 22, 2017, 10:00 PM EDT).

                        

                                                      


                                          

 The Harvard Observatory "Computers"              

     

Although many today presume that nineteenth-century astronomy was an exclusively male profession, in the late 1800s a small group of women at the Harvard Observatory painstakingly measured the positions - and, later, the spectra - of stars on photographic plates taken by the observatory's telescopes. Their job involved measurement, calculation, and recording of the data, and they were thus referred to, in the archaic sense of the word, as "computers."

    

Among the first to be introduced to this position was Williamina Fleming. She had originally been hired as a maid for the Observatory's fourth director, Edward Pickering. It was said that Pickering had become unhappy with the work produced by his male assistants, and declared that even his maid could do a better job. Apparently, she did, and when the observatory was on a firm enough financial footing, he hired more female staff and put Fleming in charge. She held the position from 1881 until 1911.

   

Antonia Maury joined the staff in 1888. Unlike the earlier women, she was well-educated as a graduate of Vassar College with honors in physics, astronomy, and philosophy. Maury improved upon the stellar classification system introduced by Fleming; her work was published in 1897, but went largely unrecognized. She retired in 1935, but continued her interests in astronomy – as well as botany and conservation - until her death in 1952.

    

In 1895, Pickering hired Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a graduate of Radcliffe College, to make detailed measurements of the brightness of stars – particularly variable stars. Leavitt mapped thousands of variables in the Magellanic Clouds, and discovered that a particular type – Cepheid variables – seemed to exhibit a correlation between their luminosity and period of variability. Those with greater luminosity had longer periods. Since their periods were easily observed, and those in each Magellanic Cloud could be assumed to be at approximately the same distance from us, it would be possible to deduce their intrinsic brightness, and hence their true distance. Leavitt's discovery became known as the "period-luminosity relationship," and was used as the first "cosmic yardstick" enabling the determination of the distance scale of the universe. She died of cancer in 1921.

    

A year after Leavitt came to observatory, Pickering hired another Radcliffe graduate: Annie Jump Cannon. Cannon wound up classifying the spectra of more stars in a lifetime than anyone else – 350,000. She came up with a classification system that superseded those of Leavitt and Maury, and it is her arrangement of spectral classes that, with a few modifications, is in use today. It was not known at the time that the spectral sequence – O, B, A, F, G, K, and M – was actually a temperature scale, with profound implications for understanding stellar origins and evolution. Cannon retired in 1940, at age 76, and passed away a year later. She had received numerous honors, and to this day, the American Astronomical Society presents the Annie Jump Cannon Award annually to female astronomers for distinguished work in astronomy.

  

  

     

Harvard Computers at work, circa 1890, including Henrietta Swan Levitt (seated, third from left, with magnifying glass),

Annie Jump Cannon, Williamina Fleming (standing, at center), and Antonia Maury (Harvard College Observatory photo).

  

    

These Harvard Observatory "computers" pioneered the role of women in astronomy. Their dedication and passion laid the groundwork for the immense contributions by women in astronomy that continues to this day.

 

  
  
         
A Schedule of Events - April / May 2017
      

Apr. 1 Sat. 5:00 AM EDT Moon 0.3° N of Aldebaran
Apr. 1 Sat. 6:00 AM EDT Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (19.0° E); Evening "Star"
Apr. 3 Mon. 2:39 PM EDT First Quarter Moon
Apr. 5 Wed.   Distant Flyby of Atlas, Pandora & Epimetheus
Apr. 7 Fri. 1:00 AM EDT Moon 0.7° S of Regulus
Apr. 7 Fri. 6:00 PM EDT Jupiter @ opposition
Apr. 8 Sat. 5:26 PM EDT Jupiter closest to  Earth (4.455 AU / 666, 459,000 km / 414,118,202 mi)
Apr. 10 Mon. 5:00 PM EDT Moon 2° N of Jupiter
Apr. 11 Tue. 2:08 AM EDT Full Moon ("Full Pink Moon")
Apr. 12 Wed. 2:00 PM EDT Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak @ perihelion (mag. 6.7?)
Apr. 14 Fri. 2:00 PM EDT Uranus @ solar conjunction
Apr. 15 Sat. 6:05 AM EDT Moon @ apogee (405,474 km / 251,950 mi)
Apr. 16 Sun. 2:00 PM EDT Moon 3° N of Saturn
Apr. 19 Wed. 5:57 AM EDT Last Quarter Moon
Apr. 19 Wed. 5:00 PM EDT Sun enters Taurus
Apr. 20 Thur. 2:00 AM EDT Mercury @ inferior conjunction
Apr. 22 Sat.   March for Science
Apr. 22 Sat.   Cassini Titan flyby begins Proximal Orbit Phase ("Grand Finale")
Apr. 22 Sat.   Lyrid meteors peak (good; up to 18 meteors / hour)
Apr. 22 Sat. 4:00 PM EDT Moon 0.2° S of Neptune
Apr. 23 Sun. 2:00 PM EDT Moon 5° S of Venus
Apr. 24 Mon. 12:00 PM EDT Moon 0.8° N of Pallas
Apr. 26 Wed.   Cassini Distant Flyby of Janus, Atlas, Daphnis & Epimetheus
Apr. 26 Wed. 8:16 AM EDT New Moon
Apr. 27 Thur. 12:15 PM EDT Moon @ perigee (359,326 km / 223,275 mi)
Apr. 28 Fri. 4:00 AM EDT Moon 6° S of Mars
Apr. 28 Fri. 2:00 PM EDT Moon 0.5° N of Aldebaran
Apr. 29 Sat.   National Astronomy Day (spring)
Apr. 29 Sat. 5:00 PM EDT Venus @ greatest brilliancy (magnitude - 4.7)
May 2 Tue. 10:47 PM EDT First Quarter Moon
May 4 Thur.   Star Wars Day
May 5 Fri. 8:00 AM EDT Spring Equinox in N Hemisphere of Mars
May 7 Sun. 5:00 PM EDT Moon 2° N of Jupiter
May 7 Sun. 8:25 PM EDT Eta Aquariid meteors peak (20 - 50 meteors / hour)
May 10 Wed. 5:42 PM EDT Full Moon ("Full Flower Moon")
May 11 Thur. 9:59 PM EDT - 10:05 PM EDT Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter (Io, Europa)
May 12 Fri. 3:51 PM EDT Moon @ apogee (406,210 km / 252,407 mi)
May 13 Mon. 7:00 PM EDT Moon 3° N of Saturn
May 13 Sat. 9:00 PM EDT Sun enters Taurus
May 17 Wed. 7:00 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest western elongation (26° W); Morning "Star"
May 18 Thur. 8:33 PM EDT Last Quarter Moon
May 18 / 19 Thur. / Fri. 11:54 PM EDT - 12:42 AM EDT Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter (Io, Europa)
May 20 Sat. 2:00 AM EDT Moon 0.5° S of Neptune
May 22 Mon. 9:00 AM EDT Moon 2° S of Venus
May 23 Tue. 1:00 AM EDT Moon 4° S of Uranus
May 23 Tue. 9:21 PM EDT Moon 1.6° S of Mercury
May 25 Thur. 3:44 PM EDT New Moon
May 25 Thur. 9:21 PM EDT Moon @ perigee (357,207 km / 221,958 mi)
May 26 Fri. 1:47 AM EDT - 3:19 AM EDT Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter (Io, Europa) (Jupiter sets @ 3:06 AM EDT)
May 26 Fri. 10:00 PM EDT Moon 5° S of Mars
May 27 Sat. 8:16 PM EDT - 8:40 PM EDT Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter (Io, Ganymede)

  
   (bold = cool or important)   
   

          
 An Overview of Major 2017 Astronomical Events
     
2017
Jan. 3 Tue. 7:14:38 AM EST Latest sunrise of year in Boston
Jan. 3 Tue. 9:00 AM EST Quadrantid meteors
Jan. 4 Wed. 9:00 AM EST Earth @ perihelion (0.98331 AU / 147,101,111 km / 91,404,393 mi)
Jan. 12 Thur. 8:00 AM EST Venus @ greatest eastern elongation (47.1° E); Evening "Star"
Jan. 12 Thur. 6:00 PM EST Venus 0.4° N of Neptune (21' 57" in Boston)
Jan. 17 Tue. 8:00 PM EST Vesta @ opposition (mag. 6.3)
Jan. 19 Thur. 1:00 AM EST Jupiter 2.7° S of Moon
Jan. 19 Thur. 5:00 AM EST Mercury @ greatest western elongation (24.1° W); Morning "Star"
Jan. 31 Tue. 6:00 PM EST Mars, Venus, and waxing crescent Moon fit into circle 6° in diameter
Feb. 11 Sat. 5:34 PM EST - 9:53 PM EST Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
Feb. 17 Fri. 2:00 AM EST Venus @ greatest illuminated extent
Feb. 26 Sun. 7:10 AM EST - 12:38 PM EST Annular Solar Eclipse (SW Africa. S. Atlantic, South America)
Feb. 26 Sun. 8:15 PM EST Mars 34' N of Uranus
Mar. 1 Wed. 10:00 PM EST Neptune @ solar conjunction
Mar. 12 Sun. 2:00 AM EST Daylight Saving Time begins
Mar. 17 Fri. 6:53 AM EDT and 6:53 PM EDT Equilux - times of daylight and night are equal in Boston
Mar. 20 Mon. 6:29 AM EDT March Equinox
Mar. 25 Sat. 6:00 AM EDT Venus @ inferior conjunction
Apr. 1 Sat. 6:00 AM EDT Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (19.0° E); Evening "Star"
Apr. 7 Fri. 5:00 PM EDT Jupiter @ opposition
Apr. 12 Wed. 2:00 PM EDT Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak @ perihelion (mag. 5?)
Apr. 14 Fri. 2:00 AM EDT Uranus @ solar conjunction
Apr. 22 Sat. 8:00 AM EDT Lyrid meteors
Apr. 22 Sat.   Cassini Titan flyby begins Proximal Orbit Phase ("Grand Finale")
Apr.29 Sat. All day National Astronomy Day (spring)
Apr. 30 Sun. 12:00 AM EDT Venus @ greatest illuminated extent
May 4 Thur. 9:00 AM EDT Eta Aquarid meteors
May 17 Wed. 7:00 PM EDT Mercury @ greatest western elongation (25.8° W); Morning "Star"
Jun. 2 Fri. 10:00 AM EDT Venus 2° S of Uranus
Jun. 3 Sat. 7:00 AM EDT Venus @ greatest western elongation (45.9° W); Morning "Star"
Jun. 3 Sat. 8:00 PM EST Moon 2° N  of Jupiter
Jun. 3 Sat. 10:24 PM EDT - 12:21 AM EDT Double shadow transit on Jupiter (Io, Ganymede)
Jun. 12 Wed. 4:00 AM EDT Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) @ perihelion (mag. 6?)
Jun. 14 Wed. 5:07:00 AM EDT Earliest sunrise of year in Boston
Jun. 15 Thur. 5:00 AM EDT Saturn @ opposition
Jun. 19 Mon. 10:06 PM EDT - 10:38 PM EDT Double shadow transit on Jupiter (Io, Europa)
Jun. 21 Wed. 12:25 AM EDT June Solstice
Jun. 27 Tue. 8:25:22 PM EDT Latest sunset of year in Boston
Jul. 3 Mon. 4:00 AM EDT Earth @ aphelion (1.01668 AU / 152,093,193 km / 94,506,329 mi)
Jul. 10 Mon. 12:10 AM EDT Pluto @ opposition
Jul. 26 Wed. 9:00 PM EDT Mars @ superior comjunction
Jul. 28 Fri. 9:00 PM EDT Moon 2° N of Jupiter
Jul. 30 Sun. 12:00 AM EDT Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (27.2° E); Evening "Star"
Aug. 7 Mon. 11:50 AM EDT - 4:50  PM EDT Partial Lunar Eclipse (Eastern Hemisphere)
Aug. 12 Sat. 3:00 PM EDT Perseid meteors
Aug. 21 Mon. 11:46 AM EDT - 5:04 PM EDT Total Solar Eclipse (Partial 9:28 AM EDT - 11:59 PM EDT in Boston)
Sept. 5 Tue. 12:00 AM EDT Neptune @ opposition
Sept. 12 Tue. 6:00 AM EDT Mercury @ greatest western elongation (17.9° W); Morning "Star
Sept. 15 Fri. 8:07 AM EDT Cassini enters atmosphere of Saturn, burns up
Sept. 16 Sat. 2:00 PM EDT Mercury 0.03° N of Mars (3.2' in Pacific, 18' in Boston)
Sept. 22 Fri. 4:02 PM EDT September Equinox
Sept. 23 Sat.   OSIRIS_REx Earth flyby
Sept. 25 Mon. 6:35 AM EDT and 6:35 PM EDT Equilux - length of daylight and night are equal in Boston
Sept. 30 Sat. All day Astronomy Day (fall)
Oct. 5 Thur. 9:00 AM EDT Venus 0.2° N of Mars
Oct. 7 Sat.   Mars @ aphelion
Oct. 19 Thur. 1:00 PM EDT Uranus @ opposition
Oct. 26 Thur. 2:12 PM EDT Jupiter @ solar conjunction
Nov. 5 Sun. 2:00 AM EDT Daylight Saving Time ends
Nov. 5 Sun. 9:03 PM EST - 9:59 PM EST Moon occults Aldebaran
Nov. 13 Mon. 1:00 AM EST Venus 0.3° N of Jupiter
Nov. 17 Fri. 12:00 PM EST Leonid meteors
Nov. 23 Thur. 7:00 PM EST Mercury @ greatest eastern elongation (22.0° E); Evening "Star"
Nov. 28 Tue. 5:00 AM EST Mercury 3° S of Saturn
Dec. 8 Fri. 4:11:42 PM EST Earliest sunset of year in Boston
Dec. 14 Thur. 1:00 AM EST Geminid meteors
Dec. 21 Thur. 11:29 PM EST December Solstice
Dec. 21 Thur. 6:00 PM EST Saturn @ solar conjunction
Dec. 22 Fri. 10:00 AM EST Ursid meteors
Dec. 30 Sat. 7:28 PM EST - 8:21 PM EST Moon occults Aldebaran
            
     
  
   April 15, 2017    
           
  

                         

 

the era of “extremely large telescopes”.