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

February 2020
  • Saturday, 2/1/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 17:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 2/1/2020 - Mer in W thru 2/17 - Time: 18:00
    • Mercury provides a good evening apparition in the ESE, reaching a maximum altitude 45 minutes after sunset of 9° on 2/10. Begin looking for Mercury around 6:15pm or so. Very bright at first, Mercury will grow dim quickly after about 2/13.
  • Monday, 2/3/2020 - Algol min - Time: 01:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0126.
  • Monday, 2/3/2020 - Occ of Ain - Time: 20:00
    • At about 2014 the mag 3.0 star Ain (epsilon Tau) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 14° from the north cusp and will reappear from behind the bright limb at axis angle 326° (31° from the north cusp) at about 2048. The reappearance requires somewhat larger aperture scopes for precise detection. Ain is a close double star. Tracking scopes can catch the reappearance by tracking from the disappearance. A graze occultation will occur about 100 miles or so north of RFO. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Wednesday, 2/5/2020 - Algol min - Time: 22:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2215.
  • Saturday, 2/8/2020 - Algol min - Time: 19:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 1904.
  • Saturday, 2/8/2020 - "Snow" Moon - Time: 23:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 2/11/2020 - Zod Light in W thru 2/24 - Time: 19:30
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the west for about 45 minutes after twilight. Start looking around 7:15pm. A western horizon free of light pollution is essential.
  • Saturday, 2/15/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 14:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 2/18/2020 - Occ of Mars - Time: 04:30
    • At about 0432 Mars will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 250° (or 69° from the south cusp, or 70° clockwise from the vertex, the point on the limb highest above the horizon). The reappearance of the bright portion of the Martian disk will take about 10 seconds. Note that the moon will be about 8° high in the ESE. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Wednesday, 2/19/2020 - CrMn vnr Jup - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 2/23/2020 - Algol min - Time: 03:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0309.
  • Sunday, 2/23/2020 - New Moon - Time: 07:30
    • -
  • Monday, 2/24/2020 - 2.1% CrMn - Time: 18:30
    • Look for an ultra-thin 2.1% crescent moon 7° high 16° south of due west 30 minutes after sunset (or at 6:28pm calculated for the RFO site). Use binoculars.
  • Tuesday, 2/25/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 04:30
    • Jupiter rises with Io's shadow in transit. Io's transit begins at 0457 when Jupiter is 5° high (calculated for RFO). The shadow transit ends in nautical twilight at 0616.
  • Tuesday, 2/25/2020 - 6% CrMn - Time: 18:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 2/25/2020 - Algol min - Time: 24:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2358.
  • Wednesday, 2/26/2020 - CrMn nr Ven - Time: 19:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 2/26/2020 - Occ of 26 Cet - Time: 19:30
    • At about 1935 the magnitude 5.9 star 26 Ceti will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 23° from the north cusp. 26 Cet is a wide double. The mag 9.5 companion will disappear behind the moon about 27 seconds before the brighter primary, an observing challenge! (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Thursday, 2/27/2020 - CrMn nr Ven - Time: 19:00
    • -
  • Friday, 2/28/2020 - Algol min - Time: 21:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2047.
  • Saturday, 2/29/2020 - Eur Sh Tr - Time: 04:30
    • Europa's shadow will begin to transit Jupiter at 0445, at which time Jupiter is only 5° high in the ESE (calculated for the RFO site). The shadow transit is still in progress at sunrise.

March 2020
  • Monday, 3/2/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 12:00
    • -
  • Friday, 3/6/2020 - Occ of mu Cnc - Time: 01:30
    • At about 0140 the magnitude 5.0 star mu Cancri will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 58° from the south cusp. This star is a very close (0.5") double and the magnitude 7.8 companion will disappear about 1.1 second before the primary. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Sunday, 3/8/2020 - DST begins - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Monday, 3/9/2020 - "Worm" Moon - Time: 11:00
    • This is the largest full moon (33.1') of 2020.
  • Tuesday, 3/10/2020 - Large Tides thru 3/12 - Time: 00:00
    • Large tides due to full moon 12 hours before perigee.
  • Tuesday, 3/10/2020 - Gan ShTr - Time: 05:30
    • Jupiter rises around 0438 with Ganymede's shadow in transit. By 0530, Jupiter's altitude will be 8°, calculated for the RFO site. The shadow transit ends at 0655 in nautical twilight.
  • Wednesday, 3/11/2020 - Io EcD - Time: 06:00
    • Io will disappear into Jupiter's shadow at about 0608, during astronomical twilight.
  • Thursday, 3/12/2020 - Zod Light in W thru 3/25 - Time: 21:00
    • The Zodiacal Light is visible in the west for about 45 minutes after twilight. Start looking around 8:50pm. A western horizon free of light pollution is essential.
  • Saturday, 3/14/2020 - Algol min - Time: 06:00
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0552.
  • Monday, 3/16/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Monday, 3/16/2020 - Eur EcD - Time: 05:00
    • Europa disappears into Jupiter's shadow at about 0504, at which time Jupiter will be 7° high, calculated for the RFO site.
  • Tuesday, 3/17/2020 - Algol min - Time: 02:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 0241.
  • Wednesday, 3/18/2020 - CrMn Vnr Jup/Mar & nr Sat - Time: 05:30
    • A very nice close grouping in the morning sky of the crescent moon VERY near both Jupiter and Mars, with Saturn nearby lower and to the north.
  • Thursday, 3/19/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 05:00
    • Io's shadow begins transiting Jupiter at 0511, followed by Io itself starting at 0621 (in nautical twilight). The shadow transit ends at sunrise (in RFO region).
  • Thursday, 3/19/2020 - Vernal Equinox - Time: 21:00
    • The equinox occurs at 8:50pm.
  • Thursday, 3/19/2020 - Algol min - Time: 23:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2330.
  • Friday, 3/20/2020 - Mar Vnr Jup - Time: 05:30
    • Mars and Jupiter are only 0.6° apart! They will be 13° high in the SE (calculated for the RFO site). Jupiter is much brighter (mag -2.1) than Mars (mag 0.9). The planet diameters at this time are: Mar=6.0"; Jup=35.8". Note that Saturn is below this pair and to the north.
  • Saturday, 3/21/2020 - Gan OcR - Time: 06:00
    • Ganymede emerges from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0604, during astronomical twilight.
  • Sunday, 3/22/2020 - Algol min - Time: 20:30
    • Algol eclipse minimum is at 2019.
  • Tuesday, 3/24/2020 - New Moon - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 3/25/2020 - Eur Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 04:30
    • Europa's shadow is in transit when Jupiter rises. By 0430 Jupiter is 6° high in the SE (calculated for RFO site). The shadow transit ends at 0527. Europa itself begins transit at 0511, ending after sunrise.
  • Wednesday, 3/25/2020 - 2.8% CrMn - Time: 19:30
    • Look for an ultra-thin 2.8% crescent moon 10° high and 2° south of due west 30 minutes after sunset (or at 1957 calculated for the RFO site). Use binoculars.
  • Friday, 3/27/2020 - CrMn nr Ven - Time: 20:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 3/28/2020 - Mar Vnr Sat - Time: 05:30
    • Mars and Saturn are just 0.9° apart and almost exactly equal in brightness: Mar(mag 0.8); Sat(mag 0.7). This combination of factors is very rare in planetary conjunctions. They will be 15° high in the SE, with much brighter Jupiter above and to the south. The diameters at this time are: Mar=6.4"; Sat=16.1".
  • Saturday, 3/28/2020 - CrMn nr Ven & nr Pleiades - Time: 20:30
    • The crescent moon is near both Venus and the Pleiades (above Venus, north of the moon). Use binoculars to help with viewing the Pleiades in late twilight and glare from the moon and Venus.

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 - Summer Solstice - Time: 14:30
    • The solstice occurs at 2:44pm.
  • 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
    • -
  • Tuesday, 9/22/2020 - Autumnal Equinox - Time: 06:30
    • The equinox occurs at 6:31am.
  • 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 - Winter Solstice - Time: 02:00
    • The solstice occurs at 2:02am.
  • Monday, 12/21/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 15:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 12/29/2020 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -

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