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

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 - GRS Tr - Time: 04:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0358.
  • 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.)
  • Sunday, 12/11/2016 - GRS Tr - Time: 03:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0308.
  • 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 - Lrg Tides thru 12/16 - Time: 00:00
    • Large tides due to the full moon 25hr after perigee.
  • Tuesday, 12/13/2016 - Algol min - Time: 00:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0038.
  • 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 - Io ShTr + Dbl SatTr - Time: 03:30
    • Io's shadow transits Jupiter during a double satellite transit:
      0351 Gan Tr begins (N polar region)
      0408 Io ShTr begins
      0517 Io Tr begins - Start Dbl Tr
      0617 Gan Tr ends - End Dbl Tr
      0621 Io ShTr ends
  • Wednesday, 12/21/2016 - Last Qtr - Time: 18:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/22/2016 - CrMn vnr Jup, nr Spica - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Friday, 12/23/2016 - GRS Tr - Time: 03:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0302.
  • Saturday, 12/24/2016 - Eur Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 02:30
    • Europa and its shadow transit Jupiter's disk:
      0132 Jup rises w/ Sh Tr in progress
      0230 Jup alt 10°
      0335 Eur Tr begins
      0346 Eur ShTr ends
      0602 Eur Tr ends
  • Wednesday, 12/28/2016 - GRS Tr - Time: 02:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0212.
  • Wednesday, 12/28/2016 - Gan Sh Tr - Time: 03:00
    • Ganymede's shadow transits Jupiter's disk. The Great Red Spot is visible during this event.
      0302 Gan ShTr begins in N polar region
      0543 Gan ShTr ends
  • Wednesday, 12/28/2016 - New Moon - Time: 23:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/29/2016 - Ura stat - Time: 08:00
    • Uranus ends retrograde motion.
  • Friday, 12/30/2016 - GRS Tr - Time: 03:30
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0349. (A transit of Io ends at 0353.)
  • Saturday, 12/31/2016 - Eur Sh Tr - Time: 03:30
    • Europa's shadow transits Jupiter's disk, and Europa begins to transit before daylight.
      0348 Eur ShTr begins
      0613 Eur Tr begins
      0619 Eur ShTr ends

January 2017
  • Sunday, 1/1/2017 - Occ of ZC3196 - Time: 18:30
    • At about 1836 the mag 6.3 star ZC3196 will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 73° from the north cusp. Note that the moon will be 20° high in the SW. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Monday, 1/2/2017 - Algol min - Time: 02:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0215.
  • Monday, 1/2/2017 - CrMn vnr Ven nr Mar - Time: 18:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 1/3/2017 - Quadrantids Peak - Time: 06:00
    • Conditions for the Quadrantid Meteor Shower are highly favorable this year with no moonlight interference after 10pm on 1/2. Rates of about 50 to 200 meteors per hour are possible at the peak with the greatest activity in morning hours before 6am, after which twilight will begin to interfere. The peak activity is short-lived so some luck is necessary to catch such an outburst. Lesser rates occur for more than a week before and after the peak.
  • Tuesday, 1/3/2017 - CrMn vnr Mar nr Ven - Time: 18:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 1/4/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 03:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0258.
  • Wednesday, 1/4/2017 - Algol min - Time: 23:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2304.
  • Thursday, 1/5/2017 - Mer in E thru 1/29 - Time: 06:30
    • A moderately good morning apparition of Mercury. Maximum altitude 45 minutes before sunrise is 8° on 1/15 (GEW 1/19).
  • Thursday, 1/5/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 1/5/2017 - Occ of 89 Psc - Time: 18:00
    • At about 1825 the mag 5.1 star 86 Piscium will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 66° from the south cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Friday, 1/6/2017 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 02:00
    • Io's shadow transits Jupiter from 0223 to 0436 followed by Io itself from 0336 to 0548.
  • Saturday, 1/7/2017 - Algol min - Time: 20:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1953.
  • Monday, 1/9/2017 - Occ of Hyadum-I - Time: 00:30
    • At about 0054 the mag 3.7 star Hyadum-I (gamma Tauri) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 24° from the south cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Monday, 1/9/2017 - Eur EcD - Time: 01:00
    • Europa disappears into Jupiter's shadow 0.8 Jupiter disk width west of Jupiter at 0125. Note that Jupiter is 8° high in the east. (The GRS is in the SE of Jupiter's disk.)
  • Monday, 1/9/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 02:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0209.
  • Monday, 1/9/2017 - Mn nr Aldebaran - Time: 02:00
    • The moon is near the very bright red-orange star Aldebaran. Use binoculars.
  • Thursday, 1/12/2017 - "Wolf" Moon - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 1/14/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 01:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0114.
  • Saturday, 1/14/2017 - Io EcD - Time: 01:00
    • Io disappears into Jupiter's shadow 0.5 Jupiter disk width west of Jupiter at 0123. Note that Jupiter is 11° high in the east. (The GRS is visible during this event.)
  • Saturday, 1/14/2017 - Mn Vnr Regulus - Time: 21:00
    • The moon is VERY near the very bright blue star Regulus in Leo. Use binoculars.
  • Monday, 1/16/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 03:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0252.
  • Tuesday, 1/17/2017 - Vesta opp - Time: 17:00
    • The minor planet Vesta is at opposition at mag 6.2 in Cancer near the Gemini border and the star 9 Cnc.
  • Thursday, 1/19/2017 - Mn nr Jup - Time: 01:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 1/19/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 14:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 1/21/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 02:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0200.
  • Sunday, 1/22/2017 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 00:30
    • Io's shadow transits Jupiter from 0038 to 0250 followed by Io itself from 0150 to 0401. Note: Jupiter's altitude is 8° at 0038.
  • Sunday, 1/22/2017 - Algol min - Time: 04:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0359.
  • Monday, 1/23/2017 - Io OcR - Time: 01:00
    • Io reappears from behind the east edge of Jupiter's disk at 0109.
  • Tuesday, 1/24/2017 - CrMn nr Sat - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 1/25/2017 - Eur Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 00:30
    • Europa's shadow transits Jupiter from 0045 to 0316 followed by Europa itself from 0312 to 0534.
  • Wednesday, 1/25/2017 - Algol min - Time: 04:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0049.
  • Thursday, 1/26/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 01:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0106.
  • Thursday, 1/26/2017 - 2% CrMn nr Mer - Time: 06:30
    • The crescent moon is north of Mercury. Start watching at 0630. A clear low SE horizon is necessary.
  • Friday, 1/27/2017 - New Moon - Time: 16:00
    • -
  • Friday, 1/27/2017 - Algol min - Time: 21:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2138.
  • Saturday, 1/28/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 02:30
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0246.
  • Saturday, 1/28/2017 - 1.3% CrMn - Time: 18:00
    • An ultra-thin 1.3% crescent moon is 5° high 22° south of due west 30 minutes after sunset (or at 1758 calculated for RFO). Use binoculars.
  • Sunday, 1/29/2017 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 02:30
    • Io's shadow transits Jupiter from 0231 to 0444 followed by Io itself from 0342 to 0552.
  • Sunday, 1/29/2017 - 5% CrMn - Time: 18:30
    • A thin 5% crescent moon is in the west.
  • Monday, 1/30/2017 - Algol min - Time: 18:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1827.
  • Monday, 1/30/2017 - CrMn nr Ven & Mar - Time: 18:30
    • -
  • Monday, 1/30/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 24:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0016 on 1/31.
  • Tuesday, 1/31/2017 - Cr Mn vnr Mar & nr Ven - Time: 18:30
    • Use binoculars to view this very nice close grouping!

February 2017
  • Thursday, 2/2/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 24:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0154.
  • Friday, 2/3/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 2/4/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 03:30
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0332.
  • Monday, 2/6/2017 - Jup stat - Time: 11:00
    • Jupiter begins retrograde motion.
  • Tuesday, 2/7/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 01:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0102.
  • Friday, 2/10/2017 - "Snow" Moon - Time: 16:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 2/11/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 04:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0418.
  • Tuesday, 2/14/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 01:30
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0147.
  • Thursday, 2/16/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 03:30
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0325.
  • Saturday, 2/18/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 11:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 2/21/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 02:30
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0233.
  • Thursday, 2/23/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 04:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0411.
  • Sunday, 2/26/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 01:30
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 0140.
  • Sunday, 2/26/2017 - New Moon - Time: 07:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 2/28/2017 - GRS Tr - Time: 23:00
    • The Great Red Spot transits the center of Jupiter's disk at 2309.

March 2017
  • Sunday, 3/5/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 3/12/2017 - DST begins - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 3/12/2017 - "Worm" Moon - Time: 08:00
    • -
  • Monday, 3/20/2017 - Vernal Equinox - Time: 03:30
    • The vernal equinox occurs at 3:28am.
  • Monday, 3/20/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 09:00
    • -
  • Monday, 3/27/2017 - New Moon - Time: 20:00
    • -

April 2017
  • Monday, 4/3/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 11:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 4/5/2017 - Sat stat - Time: 22:00
    • Saturn begins retrograde motion.
  • Friday, 4/7/2017 - Jup opp - Time: 14:00
    • -
  • Monday, 4/10/2017 - "Pink" Moon - Time: 23:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 4/19/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 03:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 4/22/2017 - Lyrids Peak - Time: 05:00
    • The Lyrid Meteor Shower is expected to peak sometime this night, probably within a few hours of 5am. Meteor viewing is favorable from about 10pm until crescent moonrise at 0418. About 18 meteors per hour may occur at peak, but activity can vary greatly.
  • Wednesday, 4/26/2017 - New Moon - Time: 05:00
    • -

May 2017
  • Tuesday, 5/2/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 5/10/2017 - "Flower" Moon - Time: 14:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 5/18/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 17:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 5/25/2017 - New Moon - Time: 12:30
    • -

June 2017
  • Thursday, 6/1/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Friday, 6/9/2017 - "Strawberry" Moon - Time: 06:00
    • -
  • Friday, 6/9/2017 - Jup stat - Time: 22:00
    • Jupiter ends retrograde motion.
  • Thursday, 6/15/2017 - Sat opp - Time: 03:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 6/17/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 04:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 6/20/2017 - Summer Solstice - Time: 21:30
    • The summer solstice occurs at 9:24pm.
  • Friday, 6/23/2017 - New Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Friday, 6/30/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 17:30
    • -

July 2017
  • Saturday, 7/8/2017 - "Buck" Moon - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 7/9/2017 - Plu opp - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 7/16/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 12:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 7/23/2017 - New Moon - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 7/30/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 08:30
    • -

August 2017
  • Thursday, 8/3/2017 - Ura stat - Time: 02:00
    • Uranus begins retrograde motion.
  • Monday, 8/7/2017 - "Sturgeon" Moon - Time: 11:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 8/12/2017 - Perseids Peak - Time: 12:00
    • This is a very unfavorable year for Perseid meteor viewing with a gibbous moon during morning hours and the peak predicted during daylight hours locally.
  • Monday, 8/14/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 18:00
    • -
  • Monday, 8/21/2017 - New Moon - Time: 11:30
    • -
  • Friday, 8/25/2017 - Sat stat - Time: 07:00
    • Saturn ends retrograde motion.
  • Tuesday, 8/29/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 01:00
    • -

September 2017
  • Monday, 9/4/2017 - Nep opp - Time: 22:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 9/6/2017 - "Harvest" Moon - Time: 00:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 9/12/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 23:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 9/19/2017 - Ura Opp - Time: 10:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 9/19/2017 - New Moon - Time: 22:30
    • -
  • Friday, 9/22/2017 - Autumnal Equinox - Time: 13:00
    • The autumnal equinox occurs at 1:02pm.
  • Wednesday, 9/27/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:00
    • -

October 2017
  • Thursday, 10/5/2017 - "Hunter's" Moon - Time: 11:30
  • Thursday, 10/12/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 10/19/2017 - New Moon - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 10/21/2017 - Orionids Peak - Time: 04:00
    • Conditions are very favorable for the Orionid Meteor Shower. Rates of about 20 meteors per hour are expected at the peak and off-peak outbursts are possible.
  • Friday, 10/27/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 15:30
    • -

November 2017
  • Friday, 11/3/2017 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 10:30
  • Sunday, 11/5/2017 - DST Ends - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Friday, 11/10/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 12:30
    • -
  • Friday, 11/17/2017 - Leonids Peak - Time: 08:30
    • While moon conditions are very favorable, meteor activity is expected to be low this year with only about 10 per hour at the peak, which is likely in daylight hours locally. But unexpected activity is always possible. Meteors are viewable after midnight until about 0530.
  • Saturday, 11/18/2017 - New Moon - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 11/26/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 09:00
    • -

December 2017
  • Sunday, 12/3/2017 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 08:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 12/9/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 24:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 12/13/2017 - Geminids Peak - Time: 22:30
    • Conditions are highly favorable for this strong meteor shower with rates of about 120 meteors per hour lasting for a long time around the peak. The meteors are viewable all night. The crescent moon rises at about 4am on 12/14, interfering somewhat.
  • Sunday, 12/17/2017 - New Moon - Time: 22:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 12/21/2017 - Winter Solstice - Time: 08:30
    • The winter solstice occurs at 8:28am.
  • Friday, 12/22/2017 - Ursids Peak - Time: 07:00
    • Conditions are very favorable for this modest meteor shower with about 10 per hour at peak, though there have been rare outbursts of up to 50. The meteors are viewable all night until after twilight starts around 6am.
  • Tuesday, 12/26/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 01:30
    • -

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