The Sun Today
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FAU Astronomical Observatory -- Front Page
Welcome to the Observatory's Front Page. Included here are some of the latest news and articles that may be of interest to our visitors. General observatory information, such as location and maps, viewing schedules, Events Calendar, contact information, student class credits, parking and other general information, can be found on the "About the Observatory" page.
We also have a growing coverage about the issue of light pollution, what it is, what it does to the environment, to ourselves, to our wallets and resources, to our security and safety, to the majestic wonders of the night sky and what you can do about it. This is a man made problem that is prepetuated by a lack of awareness and is something that we all can correct.
General Sky Conditions
Solar conditions, atmospheric phenomena and news are reported by www.SpaceWeather.com.
The current sky conditions of Boca Raton are found via the Clear Sky Clock:
Basic weather conditions for our area are at www.wunderground.com forecast for Boca Raton, while our astronomically important current cloud cover conditions can be found at www.wunderground.com for Boca Raton.
Lunar Phases: NEW Moon Dec. 2nd; FIRST Quarter Moon Dec. 9th; FULL Moon: Dec. 17th; LAST Quarter: Dec. 25th; NEW Moon Jan. 1st.
The Sun currently appears in Ophiuchus and will stay with the Serpent Bearer until midnight
between Dec. 17th and 18th, at which it will then enter Sagitarius and
Comet ISON has disintegrated and is now
Mercury currently appears low in the east during dawn in Libra and still in retrograde motion, leaving Saturn behind. It will enter Scorpius on the 7th, then Ophiuchus on the 10th, and then enter Sagitarius on the 22nd. It will reach superior conjunction with the Sun on Dec. 29th. Afterwards, look for it to appear in the evening western sky before twilight.
Venus has been hanging around the eastern edge of Sagitarius lately and is almost at its greatest
brilliance for this year. It should soon reach its maximal magnitude on the Dec. 9th, when it will reach a
whopping mv = -4.67! Simply stunning! Telescopic views of it show it to have a cresent shape, which will
get thinner as we approach inferior conjunction with the Sun on Jan. 11th and
Mars is in Virgo, near Zavijava, rising at 1:20 am slightly closer to us at around 1.65 a.u. than it is from the Sun, hence we three almost make an equilatoral triangle, and we are getting closer to it as its gets brighter. Virgo takes up a large part of the ecliptic, hence Mars will stay with her until Aug. 10th. On Apr. 8th, Mars will reach its maximal brightness of mv = -1.48 as it will be in opposition to the Sun.
Jupiter is in the constellation Gemini, near Wasat, the belly button of the twin Pollux. It is in retrograde, getting brighter at mv = -2.58 and we're getting closer on our approach by it. It'll reach opposition to the Sun on Jan. 5th. FAU Observatory will be holding a public viewing event to celebrate the opposition on the Friday, Jan. 3rd. It rises around 8:11 pm. Jupiter will now stay with the twins until July 8th, 2014.
Saturn's brightness at mv = 0.56,
is starting to get brighter now that we are on the approach to it. It appears in Libra, rising around 5 am EST now.
It appears in the eastern morning skies before dawn. It will have some
Uranus is slowly advancing through Pisces, although it will retrograde back and just barely cross into Cetus between December 10th and the 20th, before firmly advancing onwards on through Pisces. It will then appear with the fish until Apr. 28th, 2018! For now, it is getting brighter at (mv = +5.73), making it a naked eye visible, if you have no light pollution to interfere with your view.
Neptune is currently around 3° west of Sigma Aquarii and will reside in Aquarius until 2022.
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Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida
E-mail: vandernoot at sci dot fau dot edu
Phone: 561 297 STAR (7827)
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