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/AT -Astronomical Twilight
Cal - Callisto
Civ Twi/CT - Civil Twilight
Cr - Crescent
Disap - Disappear
Dbl Tr - Double Tansit
E - End/Exit
Ec/Ecl - Eclipse
EcD - Eclipse disappearance
EcR - Eclipse reappearance
Eur - Europa
Ex - Exit
Gan - Ganymede
Gr El - Greatest Elongation
Jup - Jupiter
Lun - Lunar
Max - Maximum
Mer - Mercury
Min - Minimum
Mn - Moon
Naut Twi/NT - Nautical Twilight
Nr - Near
Occ - Occultation
OcD - Occultation disappearance
OcR - Occultation reapparance
Opp - Opposition
Pen - Penumbral
Reap - Reappear
Qtr - Quarter
Sat - Saturn /Satellite
Sh - Shadow
S/St - Start
Stat - Stationary
Tot - Total
Tr - Transit
V Nr - Very Near
Ven - Venus
Zod Lt - Zodiacal Light

 

Observing

Upcoming Observing Highlights

November 2019
  • Friday, 11/1/2019 - Zod Light in E thru 11/9 - Time: 05:30
    • The Zodiacal Light is viewable in the east for about 45 minutes before twilight. Look between 0515 and 0600(PDT) on 10/27 and about 15 minutes later, 0430 to 0515(PST) by 11/9.
  • Friday, 11/1/2019 - CrMn Vnr Sat - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 11/3/2019 - DST ends - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Monday, 11/4/2019 - 1st Qtr - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 11/6/2019 - Algol min - Time: 04:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0407.
  • Friday, 11/8/2019 - Mar nr Spica - Time: 05:30
    • Look for Mars near the bright star Spica low in the SW.
  • Saturday, 11/9/2019 - Algol min - Time: 01:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0056.
  • Monday, 11/11/2019 - Mer Transit - Time: 07:00
    • WARNING: Use ONLY equipment designed for safe solar observing for this event!
      A rare Mercury transit of the sun is in progress at sunrise (6:47am at RFO). The remaining sequence of events is listed below; altitude values are calculated for the RFO site (which is not a good observing site due to the mountains).
      07:19:48 Maximum Transit (Alt=5°)
      10:02:33 Contact III
      10:04:14 Contact IV (Alt=28°)
  • Monday, 11/11/2019 - Algol min - Time: 21:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2145.
  • Tuesday, 11/12/2019 - Vesta opp - Time: 01:00
    • Minor planet Vesta is at opposition in Cetus very near the Taurus border at magnitude 6.5. It is about 0.5° SW of omicron Tauri. RA/Dec: 3h23m15s/+8°52'42"
  • Tuesday, 11/12/2019 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 11/14/2019 - Algol min - Time: 18:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1834.
  • Sunday, 11/17/2019 - Leonids peak - Time: 15:00
    • The sky is dark for Leonid observing from about 6:30pm until 9:40pm, after which a gibbous moon interferes.
  • Monday, 11/18/2019 - Mer in E thru 12/13 - Time: 06:00
    • Mercury has its best morning apparition of 2019, reaching a maximum altitude 45 minutes before sunrise of 10° on 11/27. Mars is above and to the south throughout this period. Mercury is very near the bright wide double star Zubenelgenubi on 11/28.
  • Tuesday, 11/19/2019 - Last Qtr - Time: 13:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 11/21/2019 - Alpha Monocerotids peak - Time: 19:00 - 20:00
  • Saturday, 11/23/2019 - Ven Vnr Jup - Time: 17:00
    • Use binoculars to spot Venus VERY near Jupiter. The pair will be about 10° high in the SW 30 minutes after sunset (or at 5:22pm calculated for RFO). Saturn is above this pair and to the south.
  • Sunday, 11/24/2019 - CrMn vnr Mar - Time: 05:30
    • Continue watching the east for Mercury to rise near the wide double star Zubenelgenubi. This pair will be about 9° high 45 minutes before sunrise (or at 0616 calculated for RFO).
  • Sunday, 11/24/2019 - Ven Vnr Jup - Time: 17:00
    • Use binoculars to spot Venus VERY near Jupiter. The pair will be about 10° high in the SW 30 minutes after sunset (or at 5:22pm calculated for RFO). Saturn is above this pair and to the south.
  • Monday, 11/25/2019 - 1.5% CrMn nr Mer - Time: 06:00
    • Look 45 minutes before sunrise (or at 0617 calculated for RFO). Mercury, about 25° south of east, can help you spot the ultra-thin crescent moon which will only be 4° high and slightly to the north. Mercury is near the star Zubenelgenubi and between the moon and Mars.
  • Tuesday, 11/26/2019 - Algol min - Time: 06:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0550.
  • Tuesday, 11/26/2019 - New Moon - Time: 07:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 11/27/2019 - Nep stat - Time: 12:00
    • Neptune ends retrograde motion.
  • Wednesday, 11/27/2019 - 2.5% CrMn - Time: 17:00
    • Look for the ultra-thin crescent moon 6° high and 36° south of west 30 minutes after sunset (or at 5:21pm calculated for RFO). Use binoculars.
  • Thursday, 11/28/2019 - Mer Vnr Zubenelgenubi - Time: 06:00
    • Mercury is very near the wide double star Zubenelgenubi. Use binoculars to split the double star and enjoy this conjunction. Look about 45 minutes before sunrise (or at 0620 calculated for RFO), when Mercury will be 10° high 27° south of east.
  • Thursday, 11/28/2019 - CrMn vnr Ven - Time: 17:30
    • Look for the pair in the SW. Jupiter will be below and to the north; Saturn above and to the south. Use binoculars.
  • Friday, 11/29/2019 - Algol min - Time: 02:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0239.
  • Friday, 11/29/2019 - Occ of 49 Sgr - Time: 17:30
    • Note: This twilight event requires at least 4 or 5" of scope aperture. Begin observing about 30 minutes early.
      At about 1735 the mag 5.5 star disappears behind the moon's dark limb 31° from the south cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Friday, 11/29/2019 - CrMn Vnr Sat - Time: 18:00
    • -

December 2019
  • Sunday, 12/1/2019 - Mer in E thru 12/13 - Time: 06:30
    • Mercury has its best morning apparition of 2019, reaching a maximum altitude 45 minutes before sunrise of 10° on 11/27. Mars is above and to the south throughout this period. On 12/11, Mercury is very near Graffias and Mars is very near the wide double star Zubenelgenubi.
  • Sunday, 12/1/2019 - Algol min - Time: 23:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2338.
  • Tuesday, 12/3/2019 - 1st Qtr - Time: 23:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 12/4/2019 - Algol min - Time: 20:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2017.
  • Saturday, 12/7/2019 - Algol min - Time: 17:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1706.
  • Tuesday, 12/10/2019 - Ven Vnr Sat - Time: 17:30
    • Use binoculars to help spot this pairing in the SW twilight.
  • Wednesday, 12/11/2019 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/12/2019 - Occ of Propus - Time: 21:00
    • This is a more challenging reappearance event, listed here because Propus (eta Geminorum) is a wide double and there should be a 3 second delay between the component reappearances. The star's RA/Dec is 6°14'53"/+22h30m24s, for those with go-to scopes.
      At about 2119 the mag 3.5 star reappears from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 256°. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Friday, 12/13/2019 - Geminids peak - Time: 18:00
    • The Geminid meteor shower peaks sometime between about 6pm 12/13 and 3pm 12/14. While this is a very active shower, the nearly full moon interferes all night so only the brightest meteors (or about 20/hr) will be viewable.
  • Wednesday, 12/18/2019 - Last Qtr - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/19/2019 - Algol min - Time: 04:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0422.
  • Saturday, 12/21/2019 - Winter Solstice - Time: 20:30
    • The solstice occurs at 8:19pm.
  • Sunday, 12/22/2019 - Algol min - Time: 01:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0111.
  • Sunday, 12/22/2019 - Ursids peak - Time: 19:00
    • Conditions are very favorable (dark sky) for the Ursid meteors, which have about 10/hr at peak but sometimes have outbursts.
  • Tuesday, 12/24/2019 - Algol min - Time: 22:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2200.
  • Wednesday, 12/25/2019 - New Moon - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Friday, 12/27/2019 - Algol min - Time: 19:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1849.
  • Saturday, 12/28/2019 - CrMn Vnr Ven - Time: 18:00
    • -

January 2020
  • Thursday, 1/2/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:30
    • -
  • Friday, 1/10/2020 - "Wolf" Moon - Time: 11:30
    • -
  • Friday, 1/17/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Friday, 1/24/2020 - New Moon - Time: 13:30
    • -

February 2020
  • Saturday, 2/1/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 17:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 2/8/2020 - "Snow" Moon - Time: 23:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 2/15/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 14:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 2/23/2020 - New Moon - Time: 07:30
    • -

March 2020
  • Monday, 3/2/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Monday, 3/9/2020 - "Worm" Moon - Time: 11:00
    • -
  • Monday, 3/16/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 3/24/2020 - New Moon - Time: 02:30
    • -

April 2020
  • Wednesday, 4/1/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 4/7/2020 - "Pink" Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 4/14/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 16:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 4/22/2020 - New Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 4/30/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 13:30
    • -

May 2020
  • Thursday, 5/7/2020 - "Flower" Moon - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 5/14/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 07:00
    • -
  • Friday, 5/22/2020 - New Moon - Time: 10:30
    • -
  • Friday, 5/29/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:30
    • -

June 2020
  • Friday, 6/5/2020 - "Strawberry" Moon - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Friday, 6/12/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 23:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 6/20/2020 - New Moon - Time: 23:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 6/28/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 13:00
    • -

July 2020
  • Saturday, 7/4/2020 - "Buck" Moon - Time: 21:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 7/12/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 16:30
    • -
  • Monday, 7/20/2020 - New Moon - Time: 10:30
    • -
  • Monday, 7/27/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 05:30
    • -

August 2020
  • Monday, 8/3/2020 - "Sturgeon" Moon - Time: 09:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 8/11/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 09:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 8/20/2020 - New Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 8/25/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 11:00
    • -

September 2020
  • Tuesday, 9/1/2020 - "Harvest" Moon - Time: 22:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 9/10/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 9/17/2020 - New Moon - Time: 04:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 9/23/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 19:00
    • -

October 2020
  • Thursday, 10/1/2020 - "Hunter's" Moon - Time: 14:00
    • -
  • Friday, 10/9/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 17:30
    • -
  • Friday, 10/16/2020 - New Moon - Time: 12:30
    • -
  • Friday, 10/23/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 06:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 10/31/2020 - "Blue" Moon - Time: 08:00
    • -

November 2020
  • Sunday, 11/8/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 11/14/2020 - New Moon - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 11/21/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:30
    • -
  • Monday, 11/30/2020 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 01:30
    • -

December 2020
  • Monday, 12/7/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 16:30
    • -
  • Monday, 12/14/2020 - New Moon - Time: 08:30
    • -
  • Monday, 12/21/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 15:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 12/29/2020 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -

Back to top of page