Astronomy

Moonless nights?

Moonless nights?


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My husband has told me that there are nights when there is no moon in the sky, because it has risen in the morning and set before dusk. I don't believe him. Does this happen?


The short answer is yes: there are hours of the night when the Moon is not visible. As others have indicated, the New Moon rises around the time of sunrise and sets around the time of sunset; therefore, the New Moon is not visible in the nighttime sky.

The Moon takes approximately 27 days to move through the zodiac, so its eastward movement of 360 degrees over 27 days leads to the Moon rising approximately 50 minutes later each day. (That is an average; the details are more complex.) If it rises at 9 pm today, it will rise around 9:50 pm tomorrow, and so on. After enough days, it will be dark for many hours before the Moon rises.

Likewise, when you see the First Quarter Moon in the evening sky, it sets in the middle of the night. The remainder of the night is thus without a Moon.


Mount Laguna Observatory Facilities

Mount Laguna Observatory (MLO) is operated by the SDSU Department of Astronomy to support its research, training, and educational programs. Current institutional partners include the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of Kansas (KU). MLO is located 45 miles east of downtown San Diego at a dark site in the Cleveland National Forest at an altitude of 6100 feet (1859 meters). This site is well protected from the urban lighting of the San Diego metropolitan area. Its remoteness, along with the high percentage of clear nights and excellent seeing, makes Mount Laguna one of the best overall observatory sites in the continental United States.

The three major research instruments and their auxiliary equipment are: the 50-inch (1.25-meter) Phillips Claud reflector with KU, currently under construction (4K^2 CCD camera system) the 40-inch (1.0-meter) reflector with UIUC, manufactured by Astro Mechanics, Inc. (two CCD cameras, Cassegrain spectrograph, near-IR camera, automated photometer, Coude bench spectrograph) and the Clifford Smith 24-inch (0.6-meter) reflector (automated photometer, SBIG CCD camera). Our students lead observational projects with these telescopes under the advisement of the faculty. A five bedroom apartment building, four bedroom dormitory, and large shop building are also located on site. Instrument and CCD development are carried out at the on-campus mechanical and electronics shops. Observatory support staff includes a resident astronomer, an engineer, and the observatory superintendent.

Sky conditions at MLO are photometric 60% of the time and spectroscopic 75% of the time. The poorer weather usually occurs in late winter and early spring (February and March). The summer monsoon conditions that plague Kitt Peak in July and August are greatly moderated at MLO. The sky glow from San Diego and other urban areas contributes only about 5% at the zenith on moonless nights. Thus, on these dark nights, the sky brightness at the zenith in the Johnson B filter averages 22.8 magnitudes per square arcsecond. Seeing is generally less than two arcseconds and frequently less than one arcsecond.

The Reginald Buller 21-inch (0.5-meter) visitors’ telescope, manufactured by J.W. Fecker, Inc., is used for instructional support of our General Education Astronomy classes and labs and for special SDSU public outreach programs. This classic telescope has superb optics for viewing by eye.

For information about the MLO Summer Visitors Program, please call 619-594-1415.


Join Us to Learn About the Universe

We feature talks on current astronomical topics and observing through our rooftop telescope

Generally, one Friday a month during the semesters. Check the schedule below. The lecture begins at 7:30pm. Weather-permitting, observing follows using our rooftop telescope.

Where

Lectures take place in the Earth & Space Sciences Building (ESS) in lecture hall 001. A campus map is available here.

Observing

The observatory on the roof of the ESS building houses a 14" Meade telescope. Depending on the sky conditions and season, we will view planets, the moon, nearby nebula, globular clusters, or galaxies.


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Open Astronomy Log

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Sky Calendar

Explore a hand picked list of the most interesting celestial objects to observe each evening.

Audio Descriptions

Hours of descriptive audio for over 400 of the most interesting night sky objects. Click and listen!

Maps & Location Services

Auto-detect your home location and choose additional observing sites quickly and accurately.

Interactive Live SkyGuide

Web-delivered multimedia reveals the science of the solar system, stars, galaxies, and the known universe.


Public Nights

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions and in following the current guidance and recommendations provided by MDH and the Infectious Disease Task Force at Macalester, our Public Observing Nights program is on hiatus, and as of September 2020, we have no plans to resume this year. We will continue to follow these recommendations, which are evolving from day to day. When we are able to resume offering Public Nights safely, we will do so. Please watch this web page for any announcements related to the resumption of Public Nights at the Macalester Observatory. Updates are also available at our Public Nights Facebook group page (see below).

Public Observing Nights

On observing nights our 16-inch telescope will be open for viewing and education. Public Nights is an ongoing student-run event which allows the greater Macalester College community to take advantage of the college’s science-grade observatory.

Weather permitting, potential targets include the Moon, planets, globular clusters, star clusters, binary star systems, galaxies, and planetary nebulae. In the case of cloudy skies, poor visibility, or precipitation, we will not be able to open the dome for observing however, if you would still like to see the facilities and chat about the universe, our astronomy students will be present to show the dome and answer questions. Hope to see you there!


University Lowbrow Astronomers Astronomy Calendar

This calendar shows events hosted by the University Lowbrow Astronomers, plus a few selected events hosted by other organizations. Events hosted by the Lowbrows (with the exception of monthly club meetings) may be cancelled if conditions are unusually cold or if it&rsquos cloudy. The Twitter feed shown will be updated regarding the event status prior to an event. If in doubt, call (734) 975-3248 after 4PM the day of the event to determine the status. Events are free of charge unless otherwise indicated. The calendar shows the current month, use the arrows to see future and past months. Click on each item in the calendar for more details. If the calendar is not loading, you can view it directly here. Also, you can download the .ics file to a calendar app. See below for other events.

Follow us on Facebook: Get information about the club, events, photos, and more.

Follow us on Twitter @LowbrowAstro: Get updates from the Lowbrow blog, event status, and more.

Other Ways to Access the Calendar and the Event List

In addition to this web page, there are three other ways to access this list of astronomy events.

  1. If you have an Android tablet or smartphone, you can download the Lowbrow App from Google Play. You can view the calendar directly from the app.
  2. If you use a calendar program that supports the ICAL format (such as Google Calendar), you can subscribe to the Lowbrow Calendar by using the subscribe function within your calendar program. This will allow you to view Lowbrow events along with events your personal calendar and/or other calendars. When subscribing to the calendar, you will be asked for a URL. This is the URL:
    http://www.google.com/calendar/ical/lowbrowcalendar%40gmail.com/public/basic.ics
  3. If you use a calendar program that supports the ICAL format (such as Google Calendar), you can take a snapshot by downloading this file and importing it into your program. The events in the Lowbrow calendar will be added to events already in your calendar, but if there are changes to the Lowbrow calendar they will not be automatically encorporated into your calendar without a subsequent import.

List of Events

  • Open Houses at Peach Mountain: Note: open houses may be cancelled if it is cloudy or too cold. Go here for more information about open houses at Peach Mountain.
  • Unless otherwise indicated, meetings are held in Room G115 Angell Hall on the campus of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor [go here for a map].
  • Other events may be scheduled (see the calendar for details).
  • Past astronomy events are not necessarily listed on the calendar above, see past astronomy events and past meeting topics.

Other organizations hold astronomy related events. These events may be free of charge or may require a small charge. Follow the links for more details:


How to take great photos of the stars, the moon and the night sky

When life events knock you down, looking to the stars may give you a new perspective. It reminds you how small we are and how easy it is to find a diversion with your old friend, the camera.

It doesn’t take a lot of expensive equipment to take good photos of the heavens. Astrophotography can involve equipment as simple as a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera with an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) rating of at least 1600 (the higher the number, the more sensitive to light it is).

Besides the camera, your equipment should include a sturdy tripod and a lens with an aperture (f-stop) opening of f/2.8 or higher.. The lower the f-stop the more light flows into the camera.

The size of the lens is also important. If you want a wide view with lots of foreground and more sky you should choose a 14 mm, 16 mm, 20 mm or 35 mm lens. If you want to take pictures of the moon, you will need a lens in the range of 200 mm to 600 mm.

Now find your location and attach your camera to the tripod. Switch off your automatic settings and find either the bulb or manual setting, which allows you to leave open the shutter for long exposures. The manual setting on most cameras will allow exposures of up to 30 seconds. Adjust your aperture to the maximum opening (the smaller numbers). Also, turn off the autofocus feature.

Your training wheels are gone now that you’ve turned off the automatic settings, and you can begin to experiment with your camera’s manual adjustments. Start by manually focusing your lens to infinity and setting the ISO to 1600.

If your camera allows, adjust your shutter speed for an exposure of 15 to 30 seconds. Remember that Earth is rotating, so stars can appear to be “streaking” with exposures of 30 seconds.

Adjust your camera’s image quality setting to RAW mode, which enables the highest-quality picture. Processing the pictures in RAW mode — using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom or other post-production tools — provides better color and contrast control.

There are apps for everything, including astrophotography. Raul Roa, an avid astrophotographer, suggests the Planets app, which gives precise locations and times for viewing Polaris, the Milky Way and other celestial objects. Roa also uses the Sun Surveyor app, which shows where and when the Milky Way will rise, which is useful in planning your trips or locations.


Join Us to Learn About the Universe

We feature talks on current astronomical topics and observing through our rooftop telescope

Generally, one Friday a month during the semesters. Check the schedule below. The lecture begins at 7:30pm. Weather-permitting, observing follows using our rooftop telescope.

Where

Lectures take place in the Earth & Space Sciences Building (ESS) in lecture hall 001. A campus map is available here.

Observing

The observatory on the roof of the ESS building houses a 14" Meade telescope. Depending on the sky conditions and season, we will view planets, the moon, nearby nebula, globular clusters, or galaxies.


Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2013 February 4
Namibian Nights
Video Credit & Copyright: Marsel van Oosten Music: Simon Wilkinson

Explanation: Namibia has some of the darkest nights visible from any continent. It is therefore home to some of the more spectacular skyscapes, a few of which have been captured in the above time-lapse video. Visible at the movie start are unusual quiver trees perched before a deep starfield highlighted by the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. This bright band of stars and gas appears to pivot around the celestial south pole as our Earth rotates. The remains of camel thorn trees are then seen against a sky that includes a fuzzy patch on the far right that is the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. A bright sunlight-reflecting satellite passes quickly overhead. Quiver trees appear again, now showing their unusual trunks, while the Small Magellanic Cloud becomes clearly visible in the background. Artificial lights illuminate a mist that surround camel thorn trees in Deadvlei. In the final sequence, natural Namibian stone arches are captured against the advancing shadows of the setting moon. This video incorporates over 16,000 images shot over two years, and won top honors among the 2012 Travel Photographer of the Year awards.


Astronomy

Our academic program is designed to serve both the novice stargazer who wants to explore the workings of the Universe and our place within it, and also majors who will make astronomy a central part of their future lives.

The Whitin Observatory is the home of the Wellesley College Astronomy Department and houses classrooms, astronomy laboratory facilities, the Astronomy Library, and faculty offices. Built in 1900, and enlarged in 1906, 1966, and 2010, it is considered an unusually fine facility for undergraduate training in astronomy. Our telescopes are used for College teaching activities and research observing nearly every clear night.

Our students have many opportunities to engage in astronomy-related activities beyond the formal curriculum. They learn to operate our historic and modern telescopes and serve as nighttime lab assistants, research assistants, and tour guides. They observe the sky for fun as part of club A.S.T.R.O. They can carry out research under the direction of Wellesley faculty and, during the summer, with faculty at other schools within the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium or other NSF-funded programs.

Friends of our Observatory are invited to keep in touch on Facebook.

We invite members of the public to join us during our monthly “Whitin Nights” events!

Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA
Lat. +42.295°, Long. −71.303°, Elev. 32 m


Watch the video: Χρήστος Θηβαίος - Ο Άμλετ της σελήνης Στην υγειά μας 1122017 (June 2022).