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"Star Parties"

Update on Great Conjunction

Well, the weather forecast for Monday evening to view the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction looks miserable.  Windy, cold, chance of rain and 90% cloud cover.  The winds are forecast to be between 10 to 15 MPH which is outside the upper wind limit for the observatory, which is 10MPH, for safety reasons.

Accordingly, there will be no WC Parks/WCAS "conjunction star party" tomorrow evening to catch out the conjunction.  Sorry.

However, Tuesday evening right now looks a whole lot better with about 25% cloud cover, and low winds, so give Tuesday evening a try.  If you can, plan to be out at Hisey starting around 5:00 Tuesday.   The two planets won't be quite as close together but still plenty close to provide a striking view.

 

 

Once in a Lifetime Conjunction Between Jupiter and Saturn

You may have already seen articles about this so this is a reminder to some and new stuff for others. 

On the evening of December 21, the planets Jupiter and Saturn will be so close to each other that they will appear as one star to the naked eye.  This type of visual close approach to each other in the sky is called a conjunction. 

This particular conjunction is really, "a once in a life time event", not to be repeated for hundreds of years.  

But don't wait until the 21st to start looking, about haf an hour after sunset, even if it's partially clear.  Start now and watch them slowly merge with each other over the next 9 days, then slowly part ways.  

Start looking about a half hour after sunset, low in the southwest.  You will spot Jupiter first, then as the skies darken, you'll be able to pick out Saturn at about the "11 o'clock" position relative to Jupiter.

On the 21st, they will be about 1/10 of a degree away from each other.  To put that into perspective, the Moon covers about 1/2 of a degree.  They are going to be close!

Any telescope or binoculars that can comfortable stuff the entire Moon into the field of view at low powers, say 70x to 75X and, preferably lower, should frame them nicely together and give great views over a few days before, at, and after closest approach on the 21st.

Both Hisey and Gulley Parks are ideal locations to catch them out as both parks have a clear horizon spanning the entire western horizon.

So don't miss this once in a lifetime Christmas present for all humanity to see.

 

Jeff



     
   
 
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