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

October 2017
  • Monday, 10/2/2017 - Occ of mu Cap - Time: 00:30
    • At about 0054 mag 5.1 mu Capricorni 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.)
  • Thursday, 10/5/2017 - Ven Vnr Mar - Time: 06:00
    • Venus will be VERY close (0.2°) to Mars in the east. Note that Venus will be about 200x brighter than Mars.
  • Thursday, 10/5/2017 - "Hunter's" Moon - Time: 11:30
  • Tuesday, 10/10/2017 - Algol min - Time: 03:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 0308.
  • Wednesday, 10/11/2017 - Occ of 71 Ori - Time: 02:00
    • At about 0217 mag 5.2 71 Orionis will reappear from behind the moon's dark limb at axis angle 281° (or 69° from the north cusp). (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases. Observers should calculate reappearance details for their own locations.)
  • Thursday, 10/12/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Friday, 10/13/2017 - Algol min - Time: 24:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 2357.
  • Sunday, 10/15/2017 - CrMn Vnr Regulus - Time: 04:00
    • The crescent moon will be VERY near the bright blue star Regulus in Leo. Use binoculars.
  • Sunday, 10/15/2017 - Algol min - Time: 20:30
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 2046.
  • Tuesday, 10/17/2017 - CrMn nr Mar & Ven - Time: 06:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 10/18/2017 - Zod Light in E thru 11/1 - Time: 04:30
    • Look for the Zodiacal Light in the east, a tall tapering triangle glow akin to that of the Milky Way that follows the line of the Ecliptic, in the east just before twilight. Look for it between 5:10 and 5:55am on 10/18 and about 15 minutes later by 11/1. A location known to be free of eastern light pollution is necessary. It is easily viewed from Sugarloaf park.
  • Thursday, 10/19/2017 - Ura Opp - Time: 11:00
    • Uranus it at opposition in Pisces at mag 5.7 and a disk size of 3.7". It is located less than 2° WNW of the star Torcularis Septentrionalis (omicron Piscium).
  • 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. The meteors are observable from about 11pm (10/20) until about 6am.
  • Monday, 10/23/2017 - CrMn nr Sat - Time: 20:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 10/24/2017 - CrMn nr Sat - Time: 20:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 10/26/2017 - Occ of 56 Sgr - Time: 20:30
    • At about 2055 mag 4.9 56 Sagittarii will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 53° from the south cusp. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Friday, 10/27/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 15:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 10/28/2017 - Pallas opp - Time: 17:00
    • The minor planet Pallas is at opposition near the Eridanus-Fornax border, ESE of the star tau-3 Eridani at mag 8.2. Consult a finder's chart.
  • Monday, 10/30/2017 - Algol min - Time: 05:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 0450.

November 2017
  • Thursday, 11/2/2017 - Algol min - Time: 01:30
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 0138.
  • Friday, 11/3/2017 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 10:30
  • Saturday, 11/4/2017 - Large Tides thru 11/6 - Time: 00:00
    • Full moon occurs 43 hours before a close perigee, causing large tides in the days after full moon.
  • Saturday, 11/4/2017 - Algol min - Time: 22:30
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 2227.
  • Sunday, 11/5/2017 - DST Ends - Time: 02:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 11/5/2017 - Mn Vnr Aldebaran - Time: 20:00
    • The moon is very near the bright blue star Aldebaran. Use binoculars.
  • Tuesday, 11/7/2017 - Algol min - Time: 18:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 1816.
  • Friday, 11/10/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 12:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 11/11/2017 - Occ of Aldebaran - Time: 08:30
    • The moon will occult the very bright orange-red star Aldebaran in Taurus during daylight hours. WARNING: The moon will be will away from the sun, but proper care should be taken to avoid accidentally viewing the sun by eye or with scopes. The best practice is to choose an observing site in view of the moon but shaded from the sun.
      0840 disap bright limb 66° from north cusp
      0946 reapp dark limb axis angle 301° (58° from north cusp)
      (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases. Tracking scopes can catch the reappearance by tracking from the disappearance.)
  • Monday, 11/13/2017 - Ven Vnr Jup - Time: 06:00
    • Venus will be 0.4° from Jupiter low on the east horizon. Keep looking as they rise. Binoculars are good, but TAKE CARE to avoid looking when sunrise is imminent to avoid serious eye injury!
  • Tuesday, 11/14/2017 - CrMn nr Mar - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 11/15/2017 - CrMn nr Mar - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 11/16/2017 - CrMn nr Jup & Ven - Time: 06:00
    • The crescent moon is near Jupiter with Venus below, very low. Keep looking as they rise. The bright star Spica and Mars are higher, above this pairing.
  • 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, 11/19/2017 - Algol min - Time: 05:30
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 0532.
  • Wednesday, 11/22/2017 - Algol min - Time: 02:30
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 0221.
  • Wednesday, 11/22/2017 - Nep stat - Time: 13:00
    • Neptune ends retrograde motion.
  • Wednesday, 11/22/2017 - Occ of 45 Cap - Time: 18:30
    • At about 6:57pm the mag 6.0 star 45 Capricorni will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 50° from the north cusp. 45 Cap is an extremely close double and very close triple so this even may be non-instantaneous for those with suitable equipment. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)
  • Thursday, 11/23/2017 - Mer in W thru 11/30 - Time: 17:30
    • VERY poor evening apparition of Mercury, reaching a maximum altitude of only 4° 45 minutes after sunset on 11/28. Greatest elongation east is on 11/23
  • Friday, 11/24/2017 - Algol min - Time: 23:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 2310.
  • Sunday, 11/26/2017 - 1st Qtr - Time: 09:00
    • -
  • Monday, 11/27/2017 - Algol min - Time: 20:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 1959.
  • Tuesday, 11/28/2017 - Occ of mu Cet - Time: 18:00
    • At about 6:29pm the mag 4.3 star mu Ceti will disappear behind the moon's dark limb 51° from the north cusp. Mu Cet is an extremely close multiple star so this even may be non-instantaneous for those with suitable equipment. (Calculated using Occult4 for the RFO site. Details will differ as distance from RFO increases.)

December 2017
  • Sunday, 12/3/2017 - Very large tides thru 12/7 - Time: 00:00
    • The full moon occurs just 17 hours before a very close perigee causing unusually large tides.
  • Sunday, 12/3/2017 - Mn Vnr Aldebaran - Time: 05:00
    • The moon is very near the bright red-orange star Aldebaran. Use binoculars to appreciate the color.
  • Sunday, 12/3/2017 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 08:00
    • This is the largest full moon of 2017.
  • Friday, 12/8/2017 - Mn vnr Regulus - Time: 24:00
    • The moon is near the very bright blue star Regulus. Use binoculars to appreciate the star color.
  • Saturday, 12/9/2017 - Last Qtr - Time: 24:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 12/12/2017 - Algol min - Time: 04:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 0404.
  • Wednesday, 12/13/2017 - CrMn nr Mar - Time: 05:30
    • -
  • 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.
  • Thursday, 12/14/2017 - CrMn nr Jup - Time: 06:00
    • -
  • Friday, 12/15/2017 - Algol min - Time: 01:00
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 0053.
  • Sunday, 12/17/2017 - Algol min - Time: 21:30
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 2142.
  • Sunday, 12/17/2017 - New Moon - Time: 22:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 12/19/2017 - Mer in E thru 1/15 - Time: 06:30
    • Mercury provides a very good morning apparition, reaching a maximum altitude 45 minutes before sunrise of 10° on 12/29. Greatest elongation west is on 1/1/18.
  • Wednesday, 12/20/2017 - Jup Vnr Zubenelgenubi thru 12/23 - Time: 05:00
    • Bright Jupiter is very near the bright star Zubenelgenubi in Libra in the morning sky for several mornings.
  • Wednesday, 12/20/2017 - Algol min - Time: 18:30
    • Algol is at eclipse minimum at 1831.
  • 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
    • -
  • Saturday, 12/30/2017 - Mn Vnr Aldebaran - Time: 18:00
    • For the second time this month, the moon is very near the bright red-orange star Aldebaran. Use binoculars to appreciate the color.

January 2018
  • Monday, 1/1/2018 - "Wolf" Moon - Time: 18:30
    • -
  • Monday, 1/8/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 14:30
    • -
  • Tuesday, 1/16/2018 - New Moon - Time: 18:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 1/24/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 14:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 1/31/2018 - "Blue" Moon - Time: 05:30
    • -

February 2018
  • Wednesday, 2/7/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 08:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 2/15/2018 - New Moon - Time: 13:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 2/22/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 24:00
    • First quarter is actually at 12:08am on 2/23.

March 2018
  • Thursday, 3/1/2018 - "Worm" Moon - Time: 17:00
    • -
  • Friday, 3/9/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 03:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 3/17/2018 - New Moon - Time: 06:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 3/24/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 08:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 3/31/2018 - "Blue" Moon - Time: 05:30
    • -

April 2018
  • Sunday, 4/8/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 00:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 4/15/2018 - New Moon - Time: 19:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 4/22/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 14:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 4/29/2018 - "Pink" Moon - Time: 18:00
    • -

May 2018
  • Monday, 5/7/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 19:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 5/15/2018 - New Moon - Time: 05:00
    • -
  • Monday, 5/21/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 5/29/2018 - "Flower" Moon - Time: 07:30
    • -

June 2018
  • Wednesday, 6/6/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 11:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 6/13/2018 - New Moon - Time: 12:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 6/20/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 04:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 6/27/2018 - "Strawberry" Moon - Time: 22:00
    • -

July 2018
  • Friday, 7/6/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 01:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 7/12/2018 - New Moon - Time: 20:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 7/19/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 13:00
    • -
  • Friday, 7/27/2018 - "Buck" Moon - Time: 13:30
    • -

August 2018
  • Saturday, 8/4/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 11:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 8/11/2018 - New Moon - Time: 03:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 8/12/2018 - Perseids Peak - Time: 19:00
    • The peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower is expected sometime between about 1pm 8/12 and 1am 8/13, but this shower remains active for many days before and after peak. Over 100 meteors per hour are typical at the peak. The Perseids become viewable after about 11pm and are best during the a.m. hours. Conditions are ideal this year with no moonlight interference.
  • Saturday, 8/18/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 01:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 8/26/2018 - "Sturgeon" Moon - Time: 05:00
    • -

September 2018
  • Sunday, 9/2/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 19:30
    • -
  • Sunday, 9/9/2018 - New Moon - Time: 11:00
    • -
  • Sunday, 9/16/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 16:00
    • -
  • Monday, 9/24/2018 - "Harvest" Moon - Time: 20:00
    • -

October 2018
  • Tuesday, 10/2/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 02:30
    • -
  • Monday, 10/8/2018 - New Moon - Time: 21:00
    • -
  • Tuesday, 10/16/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 11:00
    • -
  • Wednesday, 10/24/2018 - "Hunter's" Moon - Time: 09:30
    • -
  • Wednesday, 10/31/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 09:30
    • -

November 2018
  • Wednesday, 11/7/2018 - New Moon - Time: 08:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 11/15/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 07:00
    • -
  • Thursday, 11/22/2018 - "Beaver" Moon - Time: 21:30
    • -
  • Thursday, 11/29/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 16:30
    • -

December 2018
  • Thursday, 12/6/2018 - New Moon - Time: 23:30
    • -
  • Saturday, 12/15/2018 - 1st Qtr - Time: 04:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 12/22/2018 - "Cold" Moon - Time: 10:00
    • -
  • Saturday, 12/29/2018 - Last Qtr - Time: 01:30
    • -

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