Star Gazer October 2018
Schoonover Observatory 670 N. Jefferson Street, Lima, Ohio 45801
Mailing Address: Lima Astronomical Society, Box 201, Lima, OH 45802
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The Star Gazer is written by Sherry Cottle Graham. Please forward comments, suggestions, or to unsubscribe/subscribe to this newsletter to SherryCottle@gmail.com.
October 5, 2018 General Meeting starts at 8:00 P.M. at the Schoonover Observatory
October 5 – Mike Thaman will present: The History of Astronomy.
- General Meetings for 2018 are on the first Friday of each month starting at 8:00 P.M.
- November 2
- December 7
- Astronomy Days #2, October 13, 2018, from Noon to Evening, at Lima Schoonover Observatory.
- International Observe the Moon, October 20, 2018, starting at 6 P.M. at Kendrick Woods.
- Lima Schoonover Summer Schedule: Every Friday night at 9:00 P.M. (June 1st through the end of September.)
- January 20, 2019, there will be the ‘Great American’ lunar eclipse, visible in 50 states
- 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Lunar Landing, May 4th, 2019 at the Neil Armstrong Airport.
- Night Out at the Neil Armstrong Museum, May 19th, 2019.
Under the Dome
The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy
Jen Brown, an amateur astronomer who is based in New York, contacted me and offered a link to an article that she wrote. She said, “It’s a 6k word beginner’s guide helping people get into Astronomy.” Due to the length of this article, I am providing a link to it so that you can read her article. Click on the following ICON to access, “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy.”
Thank you, Jen, for sharing your work with LAS.
David Humphreys focuses
The telescope for a child to
see a planet through it at the
Allen County Fair, 2018.
Welcome aboard LAS Members
The Lima Astronomical Society expresses its gratitude to our members (new and old). We encourage our members to join us at the observatory, get involved, and let us know what you hope to experience during our meetings and special events. We are looking forward to meeting and forming a new fun filled family who enjoy sharing our love of stargazing.
Nomination for Officers
David Humphreys, President, will accept nominations for next year’s officers during our upcoming meeting. These are the offices that are open: President, Vice President, Secretary Recording, Secretary Communications, and Treasurer. Please submit your nominations during our meeting on Friday, October 5th, 2018 to one of these board members: David Humphreys (President), Michael Ritchie(VP), Sherry Graham(Sec), or Randy Wapperom(T). If you are interested in filling one of these positions, please submit your name or the name of person who wants to run for one of these positions.
Picnic in Schoonover Park Sparks Conversations
On Sunday, September 26th, many of our members gathered together at the Schoonover Pavilion to share food and good conversation. Michael Ritchie was the perfect cook. He brought his new grill and did a fantastic job grilling the meat. It was wonderful to hear the stargazing stories and tales about life events while the children romped about. Then there was the food. It all blended together to make a delicious meal. We are looking forward to our next gathering. Please check our schedule to see what we have planned.
Sharing a bit of time at the Schoonover Pavilion, from left to right, Jennifer Ritchie, Barbara Ritchie, Cathy, Bill Smith, Doug Wire, David Humphreys, Kathie Safford, Pam Thaman, and Mike Thaman.
Improvements Continue Inside the Observatory
Mike Thaman assists Michael Ritchie
with the installation of conduit at the
On Friday, September 19th, Michael Ritchie installed the wiring interface that was necessary to make the technology update possible at the observatory. In the picture, Michael is installing the conduit which runs from the meeting room to the upper dome. Our members are anxious to learn to use their new camera which attaches to the upstairs telescope. Once this project is complete, they will be able to download their pictures onto the television for everyone to enjoy.
Astronomical Calendar for 2018
Date GMT Event
- October 8 – Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The Draconids is an unusual shower in that the best viewing is in the early evening instead of early morning like most other showers. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the the night of the 8th. This will be an excellent year to observe the Draconids because there will be no moonlight to spoil the show. Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- October 9 – New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 03:47 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
- October 21, 22 – Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. The nearly full moon will block some of the fainter meteors this year, but the Orionids tend to be fairly bright so it could still be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- October 23 – Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
- October 24 – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 16:46 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Hunters Moon because at this time of year the leaves are falling and the game is fat and ready to hunt. This moon has also been known as the Travel Moon and the Blood Moon.
- November 5, 6 – Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10. It peaks this year on the the night of November 5. The thin crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for viewing. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- November 6 – Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 23.3 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
- November 7 – New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 16:02 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
- November 17, 18 – Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is an average shower, producing up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 17th and morning of the 18th. The waxing gibbous moon will set shortly after midnight leaving fairly dark skies for what could be a good early morning show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- November 23 – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 05:40 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Beaver Moon because this was the time of year to set the beaver traps before the swamps and rivers froze. It has also been known as the Frosty Moon and the Hunter’s Moon.
- December 7 – New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 07:20 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
- December 13, 14 – Geminids Meteor Shower. The Geminids is the king of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent early morning show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- December 15 – Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 21.3 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.
- December 21 – December Solstice. The December solstice occurs at 22:23 UTC. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
- December 22 – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 17:49 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Cold Moon because this is the time of year when the cold winter air settles in and the nights become long and dark. This moon has also been known as the Full Long Nights Moon and the Moon Before Yule.
- December 21, 22 – Ursids Meteor Shower. The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. This year the glare from the full moon will hide all but the brightest meteors. If you are extremely patient, you might still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
In the News
NASA’s Aging Planet-Hunting Kepler Telescope Is Struggling to See Straight
By Meghan Bartels, Space.com Senior Writer | October 1, 2018 04:43pm ET
An artist’s depiction of NASA’s Kepler space telescope at work identifying exoplanets.
The reign of NASA’s champion exoplanet-hunting telescope Kepler may be coming to an end this month, according to an update from the agency posted yesterday (Sept. 28).
That’s because two systems are troubling the aging telescope: New data shows that the instrument is struggling to point precisely across the heavens, even as it continues to run out of fuel, according to the agency statement.
The team behind Kepler has turned off the instrument temporarily, then will wake it up again on Oct. 10, when it is due to send its next batch of data back to Earth. At this Spoint, according to NASA, there’s no way to tell whether that process will be successful. If it is, they’ll set the telescope back to gathering data, trying to eke out as much as possible from the machine.
The telescope has been running low on fuel reserves for six months now. The spacecraft doesn’t carry a precise gauge, leaving scientists unable to estimate precisely how much juice it has left or how long it will last.
And Kepler’s loss of pointing accuracy is also just the newest development in a continuing struggle: In 2013, the second of four wheels that kept the telescope staring at the same patch of sky for four years broke. NASA gave the instrument a second life as the mission K2, which gazes at a set region for a couple months, then moves to a new one.
Between the two missions, the instrument has identified more than 2,600 planets — two-thirds of the total exoplanet discoveries scientists have made to date. In both cases, the instrument measured the brightness of individual stars over time, looking for the repetitive, slight dips in brightness caused by a planet passing between the telescope and the star.
Kepler’s successor mission, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, has already identified its first two candidate exoplanets, and scientists hope it will tally as many as 10,000 during its first two years of work.
Email Meghan Bartels at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.
Mission Statement: To promote knowledge of astronomy and science (in general) for the residents in and around our community.
Membership Renewals for 2018 year are now due. Please send your checks to: Lima Astronomical Society, Box 201, Lima, OH 45802. The price is: Student $15: Individual $20: Family $25: Life Time $300.
End of Star Gazer