02 May 2007

Moon, Scorpio and Star Parties

Now that the days are getting longer, it is getting more challenging to see the night sky in the morning. This week I was outside at 5:45 am and the sky was already brightening with daylight. So to see the skies at dawn, you will need to get up very early. Don't despair, however, because if you are a night owl and are up near midnight, you can still see the Moon drifting eastward each night across the constellation Scorpio on May 4th, 5th and 6th. Jupiter is shining brightly and will be visible just above the bright Moon. You will need a good view of the south-eastern horizon to see this at midnight, and a good southern horizon to see this in the early morning.

I would like to say "Thank You" to the Gower and Henderson families. They were the top two "Star Party" bidders at the SFWS auction last weekend and for their contribution, I'll be conducting a personal star party for them and their friends.

What is a star party, you ask? It is a gathering of people in an open space to spend quality time observing the heavens. Many astronomy clubs host star parties, events in which the members of the club assemble in a good viewing spot, set up their telescopes, and share the night sky with other members and friends. I find that amateur astronomers are very friendly people and generally enjoy sharing the wonder of the sky with others. I too enjoy sharing the sky and have conducted astronomy lectures and star parties for some of the classes at SFWS. For those who purchased my star parties, you can be assured we will have a great time learning about the motions of the stars and planets in the heavens and take a close-up look through binoculars and a telescope.

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