Public Observation Night
- Frosty Drew Observatory
- Friday October 12, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
- Free! Donations Appreciated.
The weather is going all over the place today, but as of this writing we’re hearing the skies may be clear, which would result in the telescope being open for observing tonight, but please check your own region and Scott’s Twitter to confirm. With no Moon, as it is visible in the morning sky – have you seen it and its Earthshine just before dawn? – and on its way to new phase Monday, there are the planets not visible with the naked eye, Uranus and Neptune, plus deep-sky objects to choose from. Also, we have two passes of the International Space Station tonight. The first is early, beginning at 6:47, rather bright, and visible for six minutes. Then, there is a dimmer and shorter pass at 8:24, but it will still be worth watching. Plus, there is a very bright flare of Iridium satellite #97 at 8:24. As we haven’t had much satellite activity on recent Fridays, these should be fun to see.The Curiosity rover is finding unique features of the planet Mars, including a rock that resembles a pyramid, and a metallic/plastic looking object that scientists still aren’t sure belong to the planet or fell off the craft. Also, the images it’s taking of its site are worth your time going to the NASA/Curiosity web sites to watch this amazing little machine at work.Frosty Drew is privileged to be located within the darkest skies in Rhode Island. -Francine Jackson-------------------------------------------------------------------------Tonight, we can expect mostly clear skies and cold temperatures and possibly the first frost of the year with temperatures expected as low as 32 degrees F. The 5% waning crescent Moon will rise tomorrow morning at 4:47 giving us a clear dark night of observation. The rapid decrease in temperature tonight will make telescope observation of planets less than ideal due to turbulence in our atmosphere. Likewise, we plan to open the observatory and telescopes tonight at 7:00.We will begin our observation session tonight with either Uranus, Neptune or a host of binary stars. Shortly after 9:30 we will direct our telescopes towards Jupiter which is rising earlier every night with a rise time tonight of 8:56. As the night moves on we will view a host of deep sky objects including nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters. Tom will have the 8" Dobsonian setup in the courtyard offering views of many objects visible to backyard telescopes.Moonless nights are the best time to observe deep sky objects so tonight we are lined up for what could be a great night at Frosty Drew Observatory if the skies stay clear. Be sure to dress warm as it will be a cold one.