RFO

What's Up in the Night Sky

Here's a month-by-month listing of astronomical predictions for the year, compiled by
Jack Welch, RFO astronomy instructor.

 

Abbreviations

Astr Twi - Astronomical Twilight
Civ Twi - Civil Twilight
Cr - Crescent
Dbl Tr - Double Tansit
Ex - Exit
Gr El - Greatest Elongation
Jup - Jupiter
Mer - Mercury
Min - Minimum
Naut Twi - Nautical Twilight
Nr - Near
Occ - Occultation
Opp - Opposition
Reap - Reappear
Qtr - Quarter
Sat - Saturn
Sh - Shadow
Stat - Stationary
V Nr - Very Near
Ven - Venus
Zod Lt - Zodiacal Light

 

Observing

2014 Observing Highlights

November 2014
  • Saturday, 11/1/2014 - Cal occ Io - Time: 04:30
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 4:49 to 4:52am Callisto, moving east to west, will partially occult Io. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Cal/Io - Jup(Gan) - Eur
      Ganymede and its shadow are both in transit across Jupiter at this time! Start observing by 4:30am.
  • Saturday, 11/1/2014 - Zod Lt in E thru 11/3 - Time: 05:30
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 5:30 and 6:00am PDT (or 4:30 and 5:00am PST).
  • Saturday, 11/1/2014 - Mer in E thru 11/14 - Time: 06:30
    • This is the best morning apparition of Mercury in 2014. Dim for the first couple of days, it brightens quickly and reaches greatest altitude (9° 45 minutes before sunrise, or 6:42am at RFO) on 11/1. Start looking for Mercury around 6:40am PDT (or around 5:50am PST after 11/1).
  • Sunday, 11/2/2014 - DST Ends - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 11/2/2014 - Cal occ Io - Time: 05:00
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 5:36 to 5:44am Callisto, moving east to west, will totally occult Io. Dimming of the combined light should be noticeable during peak occultation. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Eur - Jup - Cal/Io - Gan
      Start observing before 5:00am.
  • Monday, 11/3/2014 - Cal occ Gan - Time: 04:30
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 4:51 to 4:58am Callisto, moving east to west, will partially occult Ganymede. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Io - Eur - Jup - Cal/Gan
      Europa's shadow is in transit across Jupiter starting at 4:35. Start observing by 4:15.
  • Tuesday, 11/4/2014 - Eur occ Gan - Time: 00:30
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 1:04 to 1:14am Europa, moving east to west, will occult Ganymede. This is an annular occultation. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Jup - Io - Eur/Gan - Cal
      Start observing by 12:30am if possible: Jupiter's altitude is only 6° at this time (in the ENE), and 12° at 1:04am.
  • Tuesday, 11/4/2014 - Occ of 88 Psc - Time: 19:30
    • At about 7:53pm mag 6.0 88 Piscium will disappear behind the dark limb of the 96% moon 59° from the south limb. This event requires a larger aperture scope. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.
  • Wednesday, 11/5/2014 - Io occ Gan - Time: 02:00
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 2:19 to 2:22am Io, moving east to west, will partially occult Ganymede. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Io/Gan - Jup - Cal
      (Europa is eclipsed/occulted by Jupiter during this time.) Start observing by 2:00am.
  • Thursday, 11/6/2014 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 14:30
  • Saturday, 11/8/2014 - Gan occ Io - Time: 02:30
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 2:58 to 3:03am Ganymede, moving east to west, will partially occult Io. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Gan/Io - Jup - Eur - Cal
      Ganymede's shadow is in transit across Jupiter starting at 1:37. Start observing by 2:40.
  • Saturday, 11/8/2014 - Occ of lambda Gem - Time: 20:30
    • At about 8:38pm mag 3.6 lambda Geminorum, an extreme close double, will reappear from behind the dark limb of the 92% moon at axis angle of 236° of 47° from the south cusp. The moon will be 14° high in the east. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Sunday, 11/9/2014 - Gan occ Cal - Time: 01:00
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 1:28 to 1:34am Ganymede, moving east to west, will partially occult Callisto. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Eur - Jup - Io - Gan/Cal
      Start observing by 1:00.
  • Tuesday, 11/11/2014 - Eur occ Gan - Time: 04:30
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 4:37 to 4:48am Europa, moving east to west, will occult Ganymede. This is an annular occultation. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Cal - Jup - Io - Eur/Gan
      Start observing by 4:00am.
  • Wednesday, 11/12/2014 - Io occ Gan - Time: 05:00
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 5:09 to 5:15am Io, moving east to west, will partially occult Ganymede. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Cal - Io/Gan - Jup
      (Europa is eclipsed/occulted by Jupiter during this time.) Start observing by 4:40am.
  • Friday, 11/14/2014 - Algol min - Time: 05:00
    • Algol minimum is at 4:57am.
  • Friday, 11/14/2014 - Mn nr Jup - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Friday, 11/14/2014 - Last Qtr - Time: 17:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 11/15/2014 - Gan occ Io - Time: 05:30
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 5:45 to 5:50am Ganymede, moving east to west, will partially (almost totally) occult Io. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Cal - Gan/Io - Jup - Eur
      Ganymede's shadow is in transit across Jupiter starting at 5:35. Start observing by 5:20.
  • Monday, 11/17/2014 - Algol min - Time: 02:00
    • Algol minimum is at 1:46am.
  • Monday, 11/17/2014 - Leonids peak - Time: 14:00
    • This is expected to be a poor year for Leonid meteors, with a rate of 10 to 15 per hour at peak predicted. The peak time of 2pm is also unfavorable. Some predict the peak as early as 8am, which is not much better. Local observing windows are between midnight and 2am or so on 11/17 or midnight and 3am or so on 11/18, limited by waning crescent moon rise.
  • Tuesday, 11/18/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 22:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 11/18/2014 - Cal occ Eur - Time: 23:30
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 11:34 to 11:41pm Callisto, moving east to west, will partially (almost totally) occult Europa. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Io - Jup - Gan - Cal/Eur
      Jupiter will be only 5° high in the ENE (calculated for the RFO site) during this event so observation will be very challenging.
  • Wednesday, 11/19/2014 - Algol min - Time: 22:30
    • Algol minimum is at 10:35pm.
  • Saturday, 11/22/2014 - New Moon - Time: 04:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 11/22/2014 - Algol min - Time: 19:30
    • Algol minimum is at 7:24pm.
  • Sunday, 11/23/2014 - 3.1% Cr Mn - Time: 17:30
    • An ultra-thin 3.1% crescent moon is 8° high 33° south of due west at 5:30pm. Use binoculars.
  • Monday, 11/24/2014 - Occ of Y Sgr - Time: 18:00
    • At about 6:19pm mag 5.8 Y Sagittarii will disappear behind the dark limb of an 8% crescent moon 66° from the north cusp. The moon will be at an altitued of 9° in the WSW. Y Sgr is an extreme close equal double and also a delta Cepheid variable (from mag 5.3 to 6.2 with a period of 5.8 days). Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Tuesday, 11/25/2014 - Occ Miss of rho Sgr - Time: 19:00
    • At about 7:07pm the south end of the 15% crescent moon will just miss occulting the mag 3.9 star rho Sagittarii. The moon will be 11° high in the WSW. This should be very nice to watch with binoculars. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.
  • Wednesday, 11/26/2014 - Occ of Dabih - Time: 19:30
    • This is an interesting multi-part event. Dabih (beta Capricorni) is a wide double star. Beta-A is mag 3.1; beta-B is mag 6.1. At about 7:29pm beta-B will disappear behind the dark limb of the crescent moon 33° from the north cusp. At about 7:33pm beta-A will disappear behind the dark limb 39° from the north cusp. At about 8:17pm beta-A will reappear from behind the bright limb at axis angle 312° or 46° from north cusp. This last event requires a larger aperture scope. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.
  • Saturday, 11/29/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 02:00
    • -

December 2014
  • Friday, 12/5/2014 - Cal occ Eur - Time: 23:00
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 11:03 to 11:51pm Callisto, moving east to west, will partially occult Europa. The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Gan - Jup - Io - Cal/Eur
      Jupiter will be 11° high in the ENE (calculated for the RFO site) at the start of this event. Both Callisto and Europa are moving E to W so the occultation lasts a long time, with Jupiter 20° high by the end of occultation. Separation of the two satellites will occur slowly as Jupiter rises higher.
  • Saturday, 12/6/2014 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 04:30
  • Sunday, 12/7/2014 - Algol min - Time: 03:30
    • Algol minimum is at 3:29am.
  • Monday, 12/8/2014 - Occ of lambda Gem - Time: 20:30
    • At about 8:38pm mag 3.6 lambda Geminorum, an extreme close double, will reappear from behind the dark limb of the 92% moon at axis angle of 236° of 47° from the south cusp. The moon will be 14° high in the east. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Wednesday, 12/10/2014 - Algol min - Time: 00:30
    • Algol minimum is at 12:18am.
  • Friday, 12/12/2014 - Algol min - Time: 21:00
    • Algol minimum is at 9:07pm.
  • Saturday, 12/13/2014 - Geminid Meteors - Time: 22:00
    • Consistently one of the year's best meteor showers, more than 100 per hour are possible near the peak, which might occur any time from 11am 12/13 to 9am 12/14. Best local observing window is 7:30pm to midnight on 12/13. (There is also a possibility of a second peak on the morning of 12/15. Best local window for this is 7:30pm 12/14 to 1am 12/15.)
  • Sunday, 12/14/2014 - Last Qtr - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Monday, 12/15/2014 - Dbl Sh Tr / Dbl Tr of Jup - Time: 22:00
    • Europa's shadow will be in transit when Jupiter rises at about 9:30pm. Jupiter will be 9° high when the next event occurs and rise higher thereafter:
      10:12p Sh Tr Beg Io - Start Dbl Sh Tr
      10:18p Tr Beg Europa
      11:02p Sh Tr End Europa - End Dbl Sh Tr
      11:15p Tr Beg Io - Start Dbl Tr
      12:29a Sh Tr End Io
      01:12a Tr End Europa - End Dbl Tr
      01:32a Tr End Io
  • Tuesday, 12/16/2014 - Eur occ Io - Time: 02:00
    • This is a Jovian mutual satellite event. From 2:36 to 3:04am Europa, moving east to west, will partially occult Io, which is moving even more quickly E to W such that it will be Io that appears to approach and then separate (from behind Europa). The E to W Jovian arrangement just before occultation is:
      Cal - Jup - Io/Eur - Gan
      From 23:15 on 12/15 to 1:12am, both of these satellites are transiting Jupiter's disk. So you may wish to start observing during the transits, but should start watching by about 1:40am in any case.
  • Sunday, 12/21/2014 - Solstice - Time: 09:00
    • The Winter Solstice occurs at 3:03pm PST.
  • Sunday, 12/21/2014 - New Moon - Time: 17:30
    • -
  • Monday, 12/22/2014 - 1.5% Cr Mn nr Ven - Time: 17:00
    • An ultra-thin 1.5% crescent moon is 9° high 31° south of due west at 5:15pm. Venus is 3° lower and slightly to the south (left). Use binoculars.
  • Wednesday, 12/24/2014 - Occ of 8 Aqr - Time: 18:00
    • At about 6:23pm mag 6.6 8 Aquarii will disappear behind the crescent moon's dark limb 71° from the south cusp. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Saturday, 12/27/2014 - Algol min - Time: 05:00
    • Algol minimum is at 5:13am.
  • Sunday, 12/28/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 10:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 12/30/2014 - Occ of Torcularis Septentrionalis - Time: 00:30
    • At about 12:35am the mag 4.3 beautifully named star Torcularis Septentrionalis (omicron Piscium) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 39° from the south cusp. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Tuesday, 12/30/2014 - Algol min - Time: 02:00
    • Algol minimum is at 2:03am.
  • Tuesday, 12/30/2014 - Occ of 31 Ari - Time: 23:30
    • At about 11:31pm the mag 5.6 extreme close equal double star 31 Arietis will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 23° from the south cusp. This event requires a larger aperture scope. Calculated with Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.

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