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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, directions, 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.
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M42 - The Great Orion Nebula. Our public viewing session on Dec. the 15th had amazingly clear skies for our visitors to enjoy. After they left, I tried a few pictures of some favorite objects in the sky and am quite pleased with how some turned out. While vibrations are still a problem that plagues us, sometimes we get steady views. This shot here, taken with our Canon 60Da, was a mere 9 second exposure in our main telescope.
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.
The Sun currently appears in the constellation Pisces. It will appear to enter the constellation Aries on the 18th of April. On the morning of May the 9th, the planet Mercury will cross in front of it as we see them from the Earth. And on May the 14th, the Sun will cross into Taurus.
For those in North America, the total Solar Eclipse that we have been waiting for is the one that will occur on August 21st, 2017, across the U.S.A.. This will be the first solar eclipse that we will see in America since 1979 and the last one that we'll see here until Apr. 2024! Plan your trips now to see it!
Viewing Tips: Find a decent location away from obstructive lights in night, especially
avoid bluish-white lights that so impact your nightvision capabilities
which you'll need to see the fainter meteors! The meteors are generally heaviest in the
Additional details about meteors, showers or to REPORT your own fireball observations should be done via http://amsmeteors.org.
Mercury is now in a prograde motion passing through Pisces. It is ahead of the Sun and will
enter Aries the ram on Apr. the 5th, reach its greatest elongation on Apr. the 28th and THEN
swoop back in retrograde to TRANSIT THE SUN on May the 9th. We plan to host an Open dome event
for all to see this
Venus appears to be doing something very interesting. Every morning at 6 am since Feb. 22nd until its upcoming conjunction with the Sun, Venus has been "hanging around" almost at the same altitude above the horizon, slowly moving northwards. Of course it is just the current angle of the ecliptic with respect to the horizon here and that the celestial sphere seems to be moving out from behind Venus, as it moves forward in its orbit, but it does look peculiar! Venus enters Pisces on Apr. the 2nd and will enter Cetus on the 11th of April and reenter Pisces on the 14th. Then it will continue on into Taurus on May the 1st. It will get harder and harder to see as we'll lose it in the solar glare for it is traveling around the Sun on the far side of the Solar System right now and will reach superior conjunction with the Sun on June the 6th. Afterwards, expect to see it on the flip side of the night in the evening skies.
Mars can currently be found in Scopius and will enter Ophiuchus on April 3rd. By the 17th of April, it will start its retrograde as it heads toward its opposition to the Sun on May 22nd.
Jupiter is moving in retrograde south of Leo the lion. On July the 4th, it will be visited by a new planetary probe, NASA's Juno spacecraft! More information about Juno can be found at its homepage of www.missionjuno.swri.edu/. This mission has the potential to rewrite our understanding of the solar system's planetary formation! Stay tuned!
Saturn currently is in retrograde in Ophiuchus. It will reach its opposition to the Sun on June 3rd.
Uranus is advancing through Pisces and will appear with the fish until Apr. 28th, 2018. We'll lose it in the solar glare by the end of March. It will reach solar conjunction on Apr. 9th, so we should not expect to see it on the flip side of the night until the third full week of April in the morning skies.
Neptune is just over 1.5° away from λ Aquarii appearing in the morning skies. On March 20th, Venus with swing past it at about 0.5° away from it. It will reside in Aquarius until 2022.
dwarf planet Pluto is retrograde and appears in the
Can You Identify This Image?
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E-mail: vandernoot at sci dot fau dot edu
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