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

July 2014
  • Wednesday, 7/2/2014 - Ven nr Aldebaran - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Friday, 7/4/2014 - Plu opp - Time: 01:00
    • Pluto is at opposition in Sagittarius at magnitude 14.1.
  • Saturday, 7/5/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 7/5/2014 - Mn v nr Mars - Time: 18:00
    • Use binoculars to view Mars very near the moon during daylight.
  • Monday, 7/7/2014 - Mn v nr Sat - Time: 19:00
    • Use binoculars or a scope to view Saturn very near the moon during daylight.
  • Monday, 7/7/2014 - Occ of nu Lib - Time: 22:30
    • At about 2248 the mag 5.2 star nu Librae will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 83° from the south cusp. Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Time and position will differ as distance from RFO increases. No occultation may occur for those far from RFO.
  • Saturday, 7/12/2014 - Lrg Tides thru 7/15 - Time: 00:00
    • Perigee occurs 21 hours after full moon.
  • Saturday, 7/12/2014 - "Buck" Moon - Time: 04:30
  • Saturday, 7/12/2014 - Mar v nr Spica - Time: 22:00
    • -
  • Friday, 7/18/2014 - Last Qtr - Time: 19:00
    • -
  • Monday, 7/21/2014 - Sat stat - Time: 08:00
    • Saturn ends retrograde motion.
  • Tuesday, 7/22/2014 - Ura stat - Time: 02:00
    • Uranus, in Pisces, begins retrograde motion.
  • Tuesday, 7/22/2014 - Cr Mn v nr Aldebaran - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 7/24/2014 - 6% Cr Mn nr Ven - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 7/26/2014 - New Moon - Time: 15:30
    • -

August 2014
  • Saturday, 8/2/2014 - Mn nr Mars - Time: 22:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 8/3/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 18:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 8/3/2014 - Mn nr Sat - Time: 23:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 8/9/2014 - Very Lrg Tides thru 8/12 - Time: 00:00
    • Full moon occurs at perigee.
  • Sunday, 8/10/2014 - "Sturgeon" Moon - Time: 11:00
    • This is the largest full moon of 2014.
  • Tuesday, 8/12/2014 - Perseids peak - Time: 18:30
    • The waning gibbous moon is highly unfavorable for Perseid meteor viewing this year. The peak is predicted for sometime between 5 and 8pm, but could be any time between noon and 1am (on 8/13). Some predict a peak as early as 5am on 8/12.
  • Sunday, 8/17/2014 - Last Qtr - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Monday, 8/18/2014 - Occ of del-1 & del-2 Tau - Time: 03:30
    • These are challenging events. The first requires larger aperture and the reappearance events require locating the lunar limb location by axis angle.

      Delta-1 Tauri, aka Hyadum-II, mag 3.8, is a close double (0.7"). Delta-2 Tauri, mag 4.8, is an extremely close equal double.

      At about 3:47am del-1 will disappear behind the bright limb 35° from the north cusp.
      At about 4:32am del-1 will reappear from behind the dark limb at axis angle 318° (42° from north cusp).
      At about 5:24am del-2 will reappear from behind the dark limb at axis angle 275° (85° from north cusp).

      Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Time and position values will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Monday, 8/18/2014 - Ven v nr Jup - Time: 09:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 8/23/2014 - Cr Mn nr Jup - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Monday, 8/25/2014 - New Moon - Time: 07:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 8/26/2014 - Mar nr Sat - Time: 21:30
    • Mars is near Saturn and both are near the star Zubenelgenubi in Libra. This grouping will be viewable throughout the last two weeks of August. Use binoculars.
  • Friday, 8/29/2014 - Nep opp - Time: 08:00
    • Neptune is at opposition in Aquarius at magnitude 7.8 and a disk size of 2.4".
  • Sunday, 8/31/2014 - Mn nr Mars - Time: 21:30
    • -

September 2014
  • Tuesday, 9/2/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 04:00
    • -
  • Friday, 9/5/2014 - Occ of Dabih - Time: 24:00
    • Mag 3.1 Dabih (beta Cap) is an extremely close double. It is preceded by the mag 6.1 very close double ZC2968. The first and third events require large aperture scopes. All events are on the morning of 9/6.

      At about 12:28am ZC2968 will disappear behind the dark limb 18° from the north cusp.
      At about 12:32am Dabih will disappear behind the dark limb 24° from the north cusp.
      At about 1:14am Dabih will reappear from behind the bright limb 49° from the north cusp.

      Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Times and positions will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Sunday, 9/7/2014 - Lrg Tides thru 9/10 - Time: 00:00
    • Full moon occurs 22 hours after perigee.
  • Sunday, 9/7/2014 - Occ of Ancha - Time: 21:30
    • At about 9:39pm mag 4.2 Ancha (theta Aquarii) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 49° from the south cusp.
      Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Time and position will differ as distance from RFO increases.
  • Monday, 9/8/2014 - "Harvest" Moon - Time: 18:30
  • Monday, 9/15/2014 - Last Qtr - Time: 19:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 9/17/2014 - Occ of 26 Gem - Time: 03:30
    • At about 3:51am the mag 5.2 extremely close equal double 26 Geminorum will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 304° (55° from the north cusp).
      Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Time and position will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Thursday, 9/18/2014 - Occ of 68 Gem - Time: 04:00
    • At about 4:27am the mag 5.3 extremely close double 68 Geminorum will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 211° (34° from the south cusp).
      Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Time and position will vary as distance from RFO increases.
  • Saturday, 9/20/2014 - Cr Mn nr Jup - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 9/21/2014 - Zod Lt in E thru 10/4 - Time: 05:00
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 5:00 and 5:30am.
  • Monday, 9/22/2014 - Equinox - Time: 19:30
    • The Autumnal Equinox occurs at 7:29pm PDT.
  • Tuesday, 9/23/2014 - New Moon - Time: 23:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 9/27/2014 - Mars nr Antares - Time: 20:30
    • For many days around late September Mars is near its "rival" the bright red supergiant star Antares in Scorpius. Use binoculars to compare these two objects.
  • Saturday, 9/27/2014 - Cr Mn v nr Sat - Time: 20:30
    • -

October 2014
  • Wednesday, 10/1/2014 - Zod Lt in E thru 10/4 - Time: 05:00
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 5:00 and 5:30am.
  • Wednesday, 10/1/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 12:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 10/8/2014 - Total Lunar Eclipse - Time: 02:00
    • 01:16 Moon enters penumbra
      02:15 Moon enters umbra
      03:25 Start of totality
      04:23 End of totality
      05:33 Moon exits umbra
      05:45 Astro twilight starts
      06:32 Moon exits penumbra
      NOTE: The planet Uranus will be very close to the moon moon (just slightly to the south) during the eclipse.
  • Wednesday, 10/8/2014 - "Hunter's" Moon - Time: 04:00
  • Wednesday, 10/15/2014 - Last Qtr - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 10/23/2014 - Partial Solar Eclipse - Time: 13:30
    • Partial solar eclipse occurs from 1:50pm until 4:31pm. Eclipse maximum is 51% at 3:14pm. These details were calculated for the RFO site and will vary as distance from RFO increases. RFO will be open to the public for this event. CAUTION: Use approved safe techniques to observe the eclipse!
  • Thursday, 10/23/2014 - New Moon - Time: 15:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 10/30/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:00
    • -

November 2014
  • Sunday, 11/2/2014 - DST Ends - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 11/6/2014 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 14:30
  • Friday, 11/14/2014 - Last Qtr - Time: 17:30
    • -
  • 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.
  • Saturday, 11/22/2014 - New Moon - Time: 04:30
    • -
  • 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.
  • Saturday, 11/29/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 02:00
    • -

December 2014
  • Saturday, 12/6/2014 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 04:30
  • 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
    • -
  • 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 - 1.6% Cr Mn - Time: 17:30
    • An ultra-thin 1.6% crescent moon is 6° high 29° south of due west at 5:30pm. Use binoculars.
  • Sunday, 12/28/2014 - 1st Qtr - Time: 10:30
    • -

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