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

April 2020
  • Wednesday, 4/1/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 4/1/2020 - Eur Sh Tr - Time: 05:00
    • Europa's shadow begins transiting Jupiter at 0520, continuing to sunrise.
  • Thursday, 4/2/2020 - Juno opp - Time: 13:00
    • The minor planet Juno is at opposition in Virgo at magnitude 9.5. (RA13h2.4m/Dec-1°10.6') A finder's chart is essential.
  • Friday, 4/3/2020 - Eur OcR - Time: 04:30
    • Europa reappears from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0457.
  • Saturday, 4/4/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr & Gan EcD - Time: 03:00
    • Note that this event begins shortly after Jupiter rises (RFO region) so Io's shadow will already be in transit by the time Jupiter is observable for most.
      0327 Io's shadow transit begins
      0443 Io begins transit
      0542 Io's shadow transit ends
      0556 Ganymede disappears into Jupiter's shadow, at which time Io's transit as about half-way and continues to sunrise.
  • Sunday, 4/5/2020 - Io OcR - Time: 04:00
    • Io appears from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0419, at which time Jupiter will be 11° high in the SE (RFO region).
  • Tuesday, 4/7/2020 - "Pink" Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 4/8/2020 - Very large tides thru 4/10 - Time: 00:00
    • There will be very large tides from about 4/8 to 4/10 due to the full moon occurring 9 hours before perigee.
  • Saturday, 4/11/2020 - Occ of psi Oph - Time: 02:00
    • At about 0203 the magnitude 4.0 star psi Ophiuchi will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle of about 319° (or about 42° from the north cusp). Details will differ as distance from RFO increases and site-specific calculations may be required. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site.)
  • Tuesday, 4/14/2020 - Mn nr Jup - Time: 04:00
    • The moon joins three planets in the SE morning sky. Rising in altitude from north to south: Mars - Saturn - Jupiter - Moon.
  • Tuesday, 4/14/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 16:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 4/15/2020 - Gan Tr - Time: 04:30
    • Ganymede begins transiting Jupiter at 0459 (start of astro twilight), continuing into sunrise.
  • Wednesday, 4/15/2020 - Mn vnr Sat - Time: 04:30
    • The moon continues visiting the planets in the SE morning sky. Rising in altitude north to south: Mars - Saturn & Moon - Jupiter.
  • Thursday, 4/16/2020 - Mn vnr Mars - Time: 05:00
    • Rising in altitude north to south in the SE: Mars & Moon - Saturn - Jupiter.
  • Friday, 4/17/2020 - Eur EcD - Time: 04:30
    • Europa disappears into Jupiter's shadow at 0444.
  • Sunday, 4/19/2020 - Eur Tr - Time: 03:30
    • In progress when Jupiter rises, Europa's transit of Jupiter is at about 40% at 0330 (Jupiter 11° high at RFO site) and ends at 0503.
  • Monday, 4/20/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 03:00
    • Jupiter will be 7° high (in RFO region) at 0300 when Io begins to transit; Io's shadow transit is already in progress. The shadow transit ends at 0358 and Io's transit ends at 0516 in astro twilight.
  • Tuesday, 4/21/2020 - Lyrid Meteors Peak - Time: 23:30
    • Conditions are excellent (no moonlight) this year for the Lyrid Meteor Shower. The peak activity is around 18 meteors per hour and the peak is predicted for about 2340 but may occur any time between about 1540 and 0240 (4/22).
  • Wednesday, 4/22/2020 - Gan Sh Tr - Time: 03:30
    • Ganymede's shadow begins transiting Jupiter at 0342, continuing into sunrise.
  • Wednesday, 4/22/2020 - New Moon - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 4/23/2020 - 1.1% CrMn - Time: 20:00
    • We have a chance to spot an ultra-thin 1.1% crescent moon. It will be 4° high 13° north of due west 20 minutes after sunset (or at 2015 calculated for RFO site). Use binoculars!
  • Friday, 4/24/2020 - 3.9% CrMn - Time: 20:30
    • Look for the thin 3.9% crescent moon in the west.
  • Saturday, 4/25/2020 - Cal OcD - Time: 04:00
    • At 0418 Callisto will disappear behind Jupiter's SW limb.
  • Saturday, 4/25/2020 - CrMn vnr Aldebaran & nr Ven - Time: 20:30
    • The crescent moon is very near the bright orange-red star Aldebaran and near Venus. Use binoculars.
  • Saturday, 4/25/2020 - Occ of ZC691 - Time: 21:30
    • At about 2156 the magnitude 5.9 star ZC691 (an extremely close double star) will disappear behind the dark limb of the 9% crescent moon 81° from the north cusp. Note that the moon will be 7° high in the WNW. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Sunday, 4/26/2020 - Eur Sh/Sat Tr & Gan OcR - Time: 02:00
    • Note that Jupiter will be very low in the SE for the first two events.
      0217 Europa's shadow transit begins (3° altitude at RFO)
      0222 Ganymede appears from behind Jupiter's ESE limb
      0449 Europa begins to transit (continuing into sunrise)
      0500 Europa's shadow transit ends (in astro twilight)
  • Sunday, 4/26/2020 - CrMn nr Ven - Time: 20:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 4/26/2020 - Occ of 114 Tau - Time: 21:30
    • At about 2150 the magnitude 5.0 star 114 Tauri (an extremely close double) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 33° from the south cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Monday, 4/27/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 03:30
    • Io's shadow transits Jupiter from 0336 to 0552 (ending in civil twilight) and Io's transit begins at 0453 (in astro twilight), continuing into sunrise.
  • Monday, 4/27/2020 - Ven brightest - Time: 20:30
    • Venus is at its brightest at magnitude -4.7. Its large crescent phase can be seen in binoculars or by naked eye for the very sharp-sighted.
  • Monday, 4/27/2020 - Occ of ZC983 - Time: 22:30
    • At about 2256 the magnitude 6.0 star ZC983 (an extremely close double) will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 90° from the south cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Tuesday, 4/28/2020 - Io OcR - Time: 04:00
    • Io will reappear from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0426.
  • Thursday, 4/30/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 13:30
    • -

May 2020
  • Sunday, 5/3/2020 - Cal Sh Tr & Gan OcD - Time: 02:00
    • Callisto's shadow is in transit when Jupiter rises. Jupiter is 5° high at 2am (RFO region) and the shadow transit ends at 0259. At 0252, Ganymede disappears behind Jupiter.
  • Tuesday, 5/5/2020 - Io EcD - Time: 02:30
    • Io disappears into Jupiter's shadow at 0246.
  • Tuesday, 5/5/2020 - Eur OcR - Time: 04:30
    • Europa emerges from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0436 (in astro twilight).
  • Wednesday, 5/6/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 02:00
    • The transits are in progress as Jupiter gets high enough to observe. Try to get it into a scope before 0200, by which time it will be 7° high (RFO region). Io's shadow transit ends at 0214 and Io's transit ends at 0329.
  • Thursday, 5/7/2020 - "Flower" Moon - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 5/10/2020 - Gan Ec - Time: 01:30
    • Note that Jupiter will be 7° high in the SE when this event begins. Ganymede disappears into Jupiter's shadow at 0147 then emerges from the shadow 0.4 Jupiter diameter west of Jupiter at 0500, in early nautical twilight.
  • Monday, 5/11/2020 - Sat stat - Time: 02:00
    • Saturn, in Sagittarius, begins retrograde motion.
  • Tuesday, 5/12/2020 - Eur EcD - Time: 01:30
    • Europa disappears into Jupiter's shadow at 0150.
  • Tuesday, 5/12/2020 - Mn Vnr Jup & vnr Sat - Time: 02:30
    • The moon will be VERY near Jupiter, with Saturn also very nearby. This should be a lovely sight. Use binoculars.
  • Tuesday, 5/12/2020 - Io EcD - Time: 04:30
    • Io disappears into Jupiter's shadow at 0440, in astro twilight.
  • Wednesday, 5/13/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 01:30
    • Io's shadow transits Jupiter from 0152 to 0408, followed by Io itself from 0303 to 0519, ending in nautical twilight.
  • Wednesday, 5/13/2020 - Mn betw Jup/Sat & Mar - Time: 04:00
    • In the east, the moon is between the pair of Jupiter and Saturn (higher and to the south) and Mars (lower and to the north).
  • Thursday, 5/14/2020 - Io OcR - Time: 02:30
    • Io appears from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0235.
  • Thursday, 5/14/2020 - Mn nr Mar - Time: 04:00
    • The moon is near Mars. The planets Jupiter and Saturn are near each other higher and to the south.
  • Thursday, 5/14/2020 - Last Qtr - Time: 07:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 5/14/2020 - Jup stat - Time: 11:00
    • Jupiter, in Sagittarius, begins retrograde motion.
  • Friday, 5/15/2020 - Mn vnr Mars - Time: 04:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 5/16/2020 - Mer in W thru 6/16 - Time: 21:00
    • Mercury has a good evening apparition from about 5/16 to 6/16, though it fades during June. It reaches a maximum altitude 45 minutes after sunset of 11° on 5/30, with greatest elongation east on 6/4. Note that it will be near Venus from 5/20-24.
  • Tuesday, 5/19/2020 - Eur EcD - Time: 04:00
    • Europa disappears into Jupiter's shadow at 0426, in astro twilight.
  • Wednesday, 5/20/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr & Cal Tr - Time: 03:30
    • 0346 Io's shadow transit of Jupiter begins
      0351 Callisto begins to transit
      0452 Io begins to transit (early nautical twilight)
      All of these transits are in progress at sunrise.
  • Thursday, 5/21/2020 - Io EcD/OcR & Eur Sh/Sat Tr & Gan Tr - Time: 01:00
    • Note that Jupiter will be 7° high in the SE (RFO region) when the first event below occurs. Also, Europa's shadow transit and Ganymede's transit are already in progress.
      0101 Io disappears into Jupiter's shadow
      0123 Europa begins to transit - Start of Double Transit
      0158 Europa's shadow transit ends
      0323 Ganymede's transit ends - End of Double Transit
      0409 Europa's transit ends (astro twilight)
      0423 Io appears from behind Jupiter's east limb
  • Thursday, 5/21/2020 - Mer Vnr Ven - Time: 21:00
    • Mercury is VERY near brighter Venus in the west. Start looking about 30 minutes after sunset or so.
  • Friday, 5/22/2020 - Io Tr - Time: 01:00
    • Io is in transit as Jupiter rises. By 0100, Jupiter is 7° high (RFO region). Io's transit ends at 0136.
  • Friday, 5/22/2020 - New Moon - Time: 10:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 5/23/2020 - 2.0% CrMn vnr Ven & Mer - Time: 20:30
    • Look for the ultra-thin 2.0% crescent moon 7° high 22° north of due west 30 minutes after sunset (or at 2052 calculated for RFO site). It forms a triangle with Mercury (about 4° above the moon) and Venus (between the two and to the north). Use binoculars!
  • Sunday, 5/24/2020 - 6% CrMn - Time: 21:00
    • Venus will be very low and a bit north of the moon, with Mercury between the two. Use binoculars.
  • Sunday, 5/24/2020 - Occ of 3 Gem - Time: 21:30
    • At about 2144 the magnitude 5.8 star 3 Geminorum (a very close double) will disappear behind the crescent moon's dark limb 77° from the south cusp. Note that the moon will be 7° high. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Thursday, 5/28/2020 - Dbl Sh Tr of Jup & more - Time: 00:30
    • Jupiter rises with Ganymede's shadow in transit. By 0030, Jupiter is 6° high (RFO region).
      0147 Europa's shadow transit begins - Start Dbl Sh Tr
      0250 Ganymede's shadow transit ends - End Dbl Sh Tr
      0254 Io disappears into Jupiter's shadow
      0337 Ganymede's transit begins
      0345 Europa's transit begins - Start Dbl Transit
      (Gan and Eur transit near each other)
      0415 Callisto disappears into Jupiter's shadow (astro twilight)
      0431 Europa's shadow transit ends
      The double transit is about 25% of the way across Jupiter by this time and continues past sunrise.
  • Friday, 5/29/2020 - Io Sh/Sat Tr - Time: 00:30
    • Io's shadow transit begins near Jupiter rise. By 0030, Jupiter is 7° high (RFO region).
      0107 Io's transit begins
      0224 shadow transit ends
      0324 transit ends
  • Friday, 5/29/2020 - 1st Qtr - Time: 20:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 5/30/2020 - Io OcR - Time: 00:30
    • Io reappears from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0038.
  • Saturday, 5/30/2020 - Eur OcR - Time: 01:00
    • Europa reappears from behind Jupiter's east limb at 0111.
  • Saturday, 5/30/2020 - Occ of nu Vir - Time: 22:00
    • At about 2202 the magnitude 3.3 star nu Virginis will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 85° from the south cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)

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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