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

July 2016
  • Friday, 7/1/2016 - Gan Tr - Time: 21:30
    • Ganymede is transiting Jupiter's north polar region as Jupiter becomes visible in twilight. The transit ends at 2307.
  • Saturday, 7/2/2016 - Cr Mn nr Aldebaran - Time: 05:00
    • The 5% crescent moon is about 6° high in the ENE near the bright orange-red star Aldebaran about 1hr before sunrise.
  • Monday, 7/4/2016 - New Moon - Time: 04:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 7/5/2016 - 3.8% Cr Mn - Time: 21:00
    • A very thin 3.8% crescent moon is 5° high 15° north of due west 30 minutes after sunset (or 2107 calculated for the RFO site). Use binoculars.
  • Thursday, 7/7/2016 - Plu opp - Time: 15:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 7/7/2016 - Io Sh Tr - Time: 21:30
    • Io and its shadow are in transit at sunset. Io's transit ends at 2132 and the shadow transit ends at 2237.
  • Thursday, 7/7/2016 - Cr Mn v nr Regulus - Time: 22:00
    • The crescent moon is very near the bright blue star Regulus in Leo. Use binoculars.
  • Friday, 7/8/2016 - Mn v nr Jup - Time: 22:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 7/9/2016 - Occ of Zavijah - Time: 20:30
    • At about 2033 the mag 3.6 star Zavijah (beta Virginis) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 32° from the north cusp. Then, at about 2111 it will reappear from behind the bright limb at axis angle 330° (or 28° from the north cusp). The reappearance is challenging and requires larger aperture scopes. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Monday, 7/11/2016 - 1st Qtr - Time: 18:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 7/12/2016 - Gan EcR - Time: 21:30
    • Ganymede will reappear from Jupiter's shadow about 1.1 Jupiter disk width east of Jupiter at 2152.
  • Friday, 7/15/2016 - Io EcR - Time: 21:30
    • Io will reappear from Jupiter's shadow about 0.5 Jupiter disk width east of Jupiter at 2154.
  • Saturday, 7/16/2016 - Occ of 24 Oph - Time: 01:00
    • At about 0120 the mag 4.9 star 24 Ophiuchi will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 69° from the north cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Tuesday, 7/19/2016 - "Buck" Moon - Time: 16:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 7/26/2016 - Last Qtr - Time: 16:00
    • -
  • Friday, 7/29/2016 - Cr Mn v nr Aldebaran - Time: 04:00
    • The crescent moon will be VERY near the bright orange-red star Aldebaran in Leo. Use binoculars.
  • Friday, 7/29/2016 - Ura stat - Time: 19:00
    • Uranus begins retrograde motion.

August 2016
  • Tuesday, 8/2/2016 - New Moon - Time: 13:30
    • -
  • Friday, 8/5/2016 - Cr Mn v nr Jup - Time: 21:00
    • Jupiter will be VERY near the crescent moon during twilight. This is a great photo opportunity for a low power scope.
  • Wednesday, 8/10/2016 - 1st Qtr - Time: 11:30
    • -
  • Friday, 8/12/2016 - Perseids peak - Time: 07:00
    • Peak rates of about 150 meteors per hour are expected this year, though the timing of the peak is uncertain, as always. A waxing gibbous moon interferes until after setting around 1:20am on 8/12. Meteor viewing should then be good until twilight begins around 4:45am or so. Meteor watchers should try the morning hours of the days preceding 8/12 since the moon will set earlier and be less of a problem.
  • Saturday, 8/13/2016 - Sat stat - Time: 11:00
    • Saturn ends retrograde motion.
  • Thursday, 8/18/2016 - "Sturgeon" Moon - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 8/20/2016 - Pallas opp - Time: 05:00
    • The minor planet Pallas is at opposition near the Pegasus-Equuleus border at mag 9.2. A finder's chart is essential.
  • Tuesday, 8/23/2016 - Mar v nr Antares & nr Sat - Time: 21:30
    • Mars is very near its "rival," the orange-red supergiant star Antares in Scorpius, with Saturn also nearby.
  • Wednesday, 8/24/2016 - Last Qtr - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 8/25/2016 - Occ of Hyadum-I - Time: 02:00
    • At about 0209 the mag 3.7 extremely close double star Hyadum-I (gamma Tauri) will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 308° (or 52° from the north cusp). This is the first of a sequence of lunar occultation events of Hyades clusters stars this morning. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Thursday, 8/25/2016 - Occ of Hyades - Time: 05:00
    • This occultation of Hyades cluster stars runs from twilight into early daylight. Events marked * are challenging and require larger aperture scopes. Abbreviations: AA = Axis Angle; N or S = angle from North or South cusp.
      0501 m4.5 71 Tau reap dark limb AA191° (11°S)
      *0513 m6.6 70 Tau reap dark limb AA284° (75°N)
      Note: 70 Tau is an extr close equal dbl
      *0538 m3.8 theta-1 Tau disap bright limb 80°S
      *0544 m3.4 theta-2 Tau disap bright limb 58°S
      Note: theta-2 Tau is an extr close dbl
      0558 Start of civil twilight
      0626 Sunrise
      0649 theta-2 Tau reap dark limb AA227° (47°S)
      *0656 theta-1 Tau reap dark limb AA249° (69°S)
      Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ and distance from RFO increases.
  • Thursday, 8/25/2016 - Occ of Aldebaran - Time: 10:00
    • IMPORTANT: Take caution to avoid viewing the sun for this daylight event. It is best to select an observing location shaded from the sun.
      At about 1017 the very bright mag 0.9 red-orange star Aldebaran will disappear behind the moon's bright limb 56° from the north cusp. Then at about 1114 the star reappears from behind the dark limb at axis angle 311° (or 48° from the north cusp). (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Saturday, 8/27/2016 - Ven v nr Jup - Time: 20:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 8/30/2016 - Zod Lt in E thru 9/12 - Time: 04:30
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 4:30 and 5:00am.
  • Tuesday, 8/30/2016 - Zod Lt in E thru 10/12 - Time: 05:00
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 5:00 and 5:40am.

September 2016
  • Thursday, 9/1/2016 - New Moon - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 9/1/2016 - Zod Lt in E thru 9/12 - Time: 04:30
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 4:30 and 5:00am.
  • Friday, 9/2/2016 - Nep opp - Time: 10:00
    • Neptune is at opposition in Aquarius at mag 7.8 and a disk size of 2.4".
  • Friday, 9/9/2016 - 1st Qtr - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Friday, 9/16/2016 - Occ of phi Aqr - Time: 00:30
    • At about 0033 the mag 4.2 star phi Aquarii will disappear behind the dark limb of a nearly full moon 86° from the south cusp. Start watching around midnight. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Friday, 9/16/2016 - "Harvest" Moon - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 9/22/2016 - Autumnal Equinox - Time: 07:30
    • The equinox is at 7:21am.
  • Friday, 9/23/2016 - Last Qtr - Time: 03:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 9/25/2016 - Occ of ZC1198 - Time: 03:00
    • At about 0311 the mag 6.1 star ZC1198 will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 278° (or 79° from the north cusp). Note that the moon's altitude will be 14° slightly north of east. This star is an extreme close double so may be non-instantaneous for those with suitable equipment. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Sunday, 9/25/2016 - Occ of 5 Cnc - Time: 04:30
    • At about 0439 the mag 6.0 star 5 Cancri will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 270° (or 86° from the north cusp). This star is an extreme close double so may be non-instantaneous for those with suitable equipment. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Tuesday, 9/27/2016 - CrMn nr Regulus - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 9/29/2016 - Zod Lt in E thru 10/12 - Time: 05:00
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 5:00 and 5:40am.
  • Friday, 9/30/2016 - New Moon - Time: 17:00
    • -

October 2016
  • Saturday, 10/1/2016 - Zod Lt in E thru 10/12 - Time: 05:00
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the east before astronomical twilight. Look for it between 5:00 and 5:40am.
  • Sunday, 10/2/2016 - 4% CrMn nr Ven - Time: 19:00
    • Look for the thin crescent moon north of Venus. Both are 8° high in the west 30 minutes after sunset (or at 1920 for the RFO site).
  • Monday, 10/3/2016 - CrMn nr Ven - Time: 19:30
    • Ven is below the crescent moon near the horizon.
  • Saturday, 10/8/2016 - 1st Qtr - Time: 21:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 10/13/2016 - Occ of lambda Aqr - Time: 03:00
    • At about 0303 the mag 3.7 star lambda Aquarii will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 81° from the south cusp. Note that the moon's altitude will be 13° in the west. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Saturday, 10/15/2016 - Ura Opp - Time: 04:00
    • Uranus is at opposition in Pisces at mag 5.7 and a disk size of 3.7".
  • Saturday, 10/15/2016 - "Hunter's" Moon - Time: 21:30
  • Monday, 10/17/2016 - Lrg Tides thru 10/20 - Time: 00:00
    • Large tides due to the full moon 20hr before perigee.
  • Tuesday, 10/18/2016 - Mn vnr Aldebaran - Time: 24:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 10/20/2016 - Ceres opp - Time: 22:00
    • The dwarf planet Ceres is at opposition in Cetus at mag 7.4. It is about 4° south of Alrisha (alpha Psc). Use a finder's chart.
  • Saturday, 10/22/2016 - Last Qtr - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 10/25/2016 - CrMn nr Regulus - Time: 06:00
    • -
  • Friday, 10/28/2016 - Algol min - Time: 04:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0435.
  • Friday, 10/28/2016 - 4% CrMn vnr Jup - Time: 06:30
    • A thin crescent moon is very near Jupiter this morning.
  • Sunday, 10/30/2016 - New Moon - Time: 10:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 10/30/2016 - Ven vnr Sat & nr Antares - Time: 18:30
    • Use binoculars to spot Saturn slightly above and north of bright Venus. The bright red star Antares is below this pair nearer the horizon.
  • Monday, 10/31/2016 - Algol min - Time: 01:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0124.

November 2016
  • Wednesday, 11/2/2016 - CrMn nr Ven & Sat - Time: 19:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 11/2/2016 - Algol min - Time: 22:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2213.
  • Saturday, 11/5/2016 - Algol min - Time: 19:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1902.
  • Sunday, 11/6/2016 - DST Ends - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Monday, 11/7/2016 - 1st Qtr - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 11/9/2016 - Occ of phi Aqr - Time: 20:30
    • At about 2036 the mag 4.2 star phi Aquarii will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 48° from the north cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Sunday, 11/13/2016 - Occ of xi-1 Cet - Time: 01:30
    • At about 0156 the mag 4.4 star x-1i Ceti will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 67° from the north cusp.
      EARLIER this same night (on 7/12) there is a sequence of occultations requiring larger aperture scopes (at least 4 or 5") to observe:
      At about 2050 mag 6.4 ZC303 disappears behind the dark limb 66° from the south cusp. ZC303 is and extreme close double so this event might be non-instantaneous for those with suitable equipment.
      At about 2214 mag 6.3 WZ Piscium will disappear behind the dark limb 40° from the north cusp.
      At about 0049 mag 5.6 64 Ceti will disappear behind the dark limb 67° from the north cusp.
      (All of the above calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Monday, 11/14/2016 - Lrg Tides thru 11/17 - Time: 00:00
    • Large tides due to the full moon 3hr before perigee.
  • Monday, 11/14/2016 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 06:00
  • Thursday, 11/17/2016 - Leonids Peak - Time: 03:00
    • This is a very unfavorable year for viewing the Leonid meteor shower since a gibbous moon is up all night when the meteors will be active and no special outburst is expected
  • Thursday, 11/17/2016 - Algol min - Time: 05:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0517.
  • Sunday, 11/20/2016 - Algol min - Time: 02:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0206.
  • Sunday, 11/20/2016 - Nep stat - Time: 02:00
    • Neptune ends retrograde motion.
  • Monday, 11/21/2016 - Last Qtr - Time: 00:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 11/22/2016 - Algol min - Time: 23:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2255.
  • Friday, 11/25/2016 - CrMn nr Jup - Time: 04:30
    • -
  • Friday, 11/25/2016 - Algol min - Time: 19:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1944.
  • Tuesday, 11/29/2016 - New Moon - Time: 04:30
    • -

December 2016
  • Friday, 12/2/2016 - CrMn nr Ven - Time: 18:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 12/3/2016 - CrMn nr Ven - Time: 18:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 12/6/2016 - Mer in W thru 12/19 - Time: 17:30
    • This is a poor evening apparition of Mercury, reaching a maximum altitude 45 minutes after sunset of just 6° on 12/14.
  • Wednesday, 12/7/2016 - 1st Qtr - Time: 01:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 12/7/2016 - Occ of 24 Psc - Time: 22:30
    • At about 2240 the mag 5.9 star 24 Piscium will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 73° from the south cusp. This event requires larger aperture scopes (at least 4 or 5") to observe. 24 Psc is an extremely close double so the event may be non-instantaneous for those with suitable equipment. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Saturday, 12/10/2016 - Algol min - Time: 04:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0349.
  • Saturday, 12/10/2016 - Occ of 85 Cet - Time: 24:00
    • At about 0025 (on 12/11) the mag 6.3 star 85 Ceti (which is actually in Aries) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 75° from the north cusp. This event requires larger aperture scopes (at least 4 or 5") to observe. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Monday, 12/12/2016 - Occ of Aldebaran - Time: 19:00
    • This is the third occultation of this famous bright star viewable locally this year! At about 1907 the mag 0.9 red-orange star Aldebaran (alpha Tauri) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 85° from the north cusp.
      Then, at about 2006, it will reappear from behind the bright limb at axis angle 285°, or 49° from the north cusp. Tracking scopes can remain tracking from the disappearance to capture the reappearance. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Tuesday, 12/13/2016 - Algol min - Time: 00:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0038.
  • Tuesday, 12/13/2016 - Lrg Tides thru 12/16 - Time: 00:00
    • Large tides due to the full moon 25hr after perigee.
  • Tuesday, 12/13/2016 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 16:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/15/2016 - Algol min - Time: 21:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2127.
  • Sunday, 12/18/2016 - Algol min - Time: 18:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1816.
  • Wednesday, 12/21/2016 - Winter Solstice - Time: 02:30
    • The winter solstice is at 2:44am.
  • Wednesday, 12/21/2016 - Last Qtr - Time: 18:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/22/2016 - CrMn vnr Jup, nr Spica - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 12/28/2016 - New Moon - Time: 23:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/29/2016 - Ura stat - Time: 08:00
    • Uranus ends retrograde motion.

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