Holy cow, New England weather is going to give us clear skies tonight as an impressive threesome happens after sunset.
Here’s the deal. There was a supermoon last night but it’s a new moon so no one saw it. It means tonight it is one humongous thin fingernail. But wait, there’s more. Venus will be blazing away just to the left of the fingernail. But here is the cherry on top. Whip out some binoculars and check out Mars just above Venus! You might be able to get all three in wide field birding binocs. But even without binocs it will look pretty cool.
Look to the right of where the sun set and Venus will be blazing. Mars up and sliver of moon to the right.
Photographers Ephemeris shows where you need to be to catch the three setting over City Hall. Is that Joey’s dock?
Did I really type “sunset hear”? Well to all the grammarians who just started grinding their teeth I say, “lighten up Francis, I’m not going back to change it.”
Credits: First shot I made in “StarSafari” astronomy program. Gloucester Area Astronomy Club Approved. The second photo I made using “The Photographers Ephemeris“. Probably GAAC approved too. Both programs worth knowing how to use.
Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, when the sun rises in the east the full moon will be setting in the west. But this time a full lunar eclipse will be taking place.
5:18 AM eclipse starts (moon starts getting red)
6:27 AM total eclipse (moon is red!)
6:47 AM maximum eclipse in Gloucester
Sunrise is at 6:47 AM and the moon sets at :6:52 AM So you can see there is a pile up with the sun rising, the moon setting and the moon is epic total all at the same time!
So if you are out at the Eastern Point lighthouse before 6:30 AM you can set up to watch the lunar eclipse set over the western harbor while the sun rises behind you in the east behind the lighthouse.
Except it is going to be raining at dawn with a 17 mph wind out of the south making it no so much fun out there. But what if the clouds part?
That yellow line points to where the sun will be coming up and the dark blue line points to where the moon is setting.
Because the blood red eclipse will be on the horizon the moon will look about as gargantuan as a giant Rubber Duck sitting in Gloucester Harbor. Except we won’t see a thing because it will be raining.
Gloucester Area Astronomy Club Meeting, June 10 2011
The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club meets at 8:00pm on the second Friday of the month, at St Paul Lutheran Church in Lanesville, on Cape Ann.
This month, join us and NASA Solar System Ambassador Ted Blank to find out all about the Cassini mission to Saturn!
The Cassini spacecraft has been returning stunningly beautiful images and undreamed of new discoveries since it arrived at Saturn in 2004, and the mission team has just received funding to continue operating the spacecraft until 2017. Find out why Cassini started its journey by being launched in the wrong direction (on purpose!) and what incredible things we have learned so far about Saturn, its rings and its moons. Learn about science instruments on board and the plans for the risky maneuvers planned during Cassini’s final orbits when it will pass inside the rings headed for a terminal encounter with Saturn’s atmosphere. Kids and adults will find this overview fun and exciting.
Astronomy Photo of the Day is something I usually try to catch. Stunning photos of galaxies and stuff. Well, APOD has a video for today, May 16 which has a few useful items in it for Gloucester. (Read the paragraph under the video for the non-Gloucester explanation.)
1) At 27 seconds in the setting sun with a green flash. If you have never seen one of these check it out and then the next time you are in Lanes Cove or a decent sunset viewing spot see if you can see the green flash.
2) Clouds as waves crashing into Brace Cove. at one minute and several other places.
3) Star field spinning around the North Star. You don’t have to go to a desert to get this. Go to Halibut Point State Park where the Cape Ann granite shields you from light pollution from Boston and lay on your back. If your cheap point and shoot has the ability to shoot movies in time lapse just fire it up and point it straight up. You will be amazed at the results. A tripod and pointing it at the north star helps but not necessary. You can even capture multiple shooting stars this way.
Click. Then right click and open video in a separate window so you can make it as big as possible. Watch this movie until the sun comes out. Rumor has it the sun may return in June.
If you happen to be up as astronomical twilight begins at 5:30 AM you can catch Mercury rising before the sunrise at 7:14AM. 6:30AM might be a good time to see it. Finding bright Venus is easy. Then go left and down to find Mercury.
Fun Fact: Joey down in St Croix doesn’t have to go as far left. If he was on the equator Mercury would be straight below Venus.