Observer's Archives - Jan-Jul 2003

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We had a look for Uranus and Neptune on the last day of August during an observing session at Pearson College. Even though both planets were near opposition, we couldn't be certain that we captured them if it weren't for Joe's goto scope. Both planets were mere specks and the air was so unsteady that we couldn't be certain that we were looking at planetary disks. Give it a try with your binoculars while they're still nicely placed.

September 7 to 13
Drink in the downtown Milky Way while you still can. In a few short weeks we'll be looking out of our galaxy into its suburbs. Take your binoculars and see how many Messier and other objects you can identify-you might surprise yourself.

Cygnus is still overhead and the Andromeda Galaxy is climbing higher. The stretch of our galaxy that makes up Cygnus' contrail is another binocular delight. In fact, some of the star groupings here are best enjoyed in binoculars or can't even be seen in a telescope.

September 14 to 20
Saturn's baaaack ... and our Moon hovers 5� above him. Try to estimate the distance with your hand. Hold your hand out at arm's length, hold your little finger down with your thumb and make sure that you hold your remaining fingers upright and tightly together-the three finger span 5� in the sky.

September 21 to 27
The Earth's tilted posture brings another equinox on the 23rd. Now you won't have to stay up as late when you observe, but you'd better dress warmly.

Notice how the summer's constellations seem to hover in the sky. You're just viewing them earlier and earlier in the evening. At least you have the illusion that summer won't crystallize into winter.

Remember how you found the 'distance' between the Moon and Saturn? Use the same technique to find Mercury below the Moon on the 24th. You'll have to have insomnia and be prowling the dark at 3 or 4 in the morning.

September 28 to October 4
Venus graces Virgo's sheaf of wheat on the 3rd in the early evening.
You've probably noticed Jupiter in the dawn. It's still too low for a decent telescopic view, but you can still do your Jupiter Glad You're Back dance.

October 5 to 11
Even though we're leaving Mars behind in the Solar System dust, it's still an impressive sight. Plus, it's high in the sky earlier in the evening so you don't have to stay up half the night to enjoy a steady view.

October 12 to 18
You may be in for a treat! Be on the look-out for this year's apparition of Comet 2P/Encke through late November. The comet will cruise through Triangulum, past M31 (between October 21 and 28), and fly quickly below Cygnus and then above Aquila in November. Your sketch or image could be on our newsletter cover!

Check out the following web site for orbital elements and a sky chart: There's lots of other information on this web site to help guide you to your favourite comet. This one's a must to see AND to use!

There are also two meteor showers to add sparkles to this comet's fireworks and the Milky Way's autumn icy glitter. The Orionids peak October 22th and the Leonids on November 18th
Don't forget to watch Saturn. Which way is it travelling against the star?

Got insomnia? Don't fret about it, watch for the Moon rising above Saturn in the middle of the night.

October 19 to 25
Get out before dawn on the 21st and 22nd and enjoy the sight of a thin crescent Moon near Jupiter.

The Orionids peak on October 22nd. There won't be many meteors, but you'll enjoy every one because the Moon won't be a problem. These dust motes left behind by Comet Halley reveal themselves as very fast streaks radiating from Orion.

Go out around supper time on the 26th and catch the Moon and Venus flirting.

October 26 to November 1
Have you been tracking Saturn's path across the stars? Keep watching. Notice anything?
Treat yourself and try some astrophotography-take a picture of the moon and Venus on the 26th. Find a nice foreground setting for these jewels.

November 2 to 8
See if you can spot Mars just above the Moon in the morning.

We get to enjoy another totally eclipsed Moonrise at sunset on the 8th. Here's your chance to take a stab at estimating the Moon's brightness. Is this one deeper than the last one? Check out page 140 of the RASC 2003 Observer's Guide and give your estimate a scientific edge.  Join RASC Victoria at Cattle Point at 4:30pm on the 8th to observe this eclipse (weather permitting). More info: Lunar Eclipse

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Mars is the big show

Mars will be closer to Earth than at any other time in our lifetimes.


Mars Observer�s Tool Kit - Toronto Centre member Geoff Gaherty has put together this comprehensive toolkit for observers of Mars.


Sky and Telescope - Mars in 2003 Which Side Is Visible - be sure to try out their Mars Profiler Javascript, which will show you what Mars will look like for any date and time. Check out another of their excellent articles: Mars at Its All-Time Finest.


Mars Watch Where is Mars Now - from, the folks who bring us the Starry Night software. Comprehensive information about observing Mars: charts, tables and photos.


MARS IS NOT GONE!! - some folks are laboring under the misconception that Mars is gone, now that its closest approach date is past! Dr. Clay from the Arkansas Sky Observatory as written an excellent article about how observing Mars during the next month or so will continue to offer us excellent views.


Approaching Mars - NASA Science page describing what you can see of Mars.


ALPO. Mars Section - the Association of Planetary Observers  Mars section -  late-breaking news about observing Mars.  Many observing resources are also available


International MarsWatch - a variety of resources are offered to the Mars observer.


JPL - Mars - fast facts and images.


Calendar - check out the info about Mars to be found on our calendar page.




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Observer's Archives - Feb- Mar 1999
Observer's Archives - April 1999
Observer's Archives - Jul-Aug 2000
Observer's Archives - Sep 2000
Observers Archives - Feb 2001
Observers Archives - 2002
Observer's Archives - Jan-Jul 2003
Observer's Archives - Feb-Apr 2003
Observer's Archives - Mar 2003
Observer's Archive - Sep-Nov 2003
Observers Archive - Jan-Feb 2004
Observer's Archive - Feb-Apr 2004
Observer's Archive - Apr-Jun 2004
Observer's Archive - Jun-Dec 2004
Observer's Archive Dec/04-Dec/05
Observing Highlights - Jan-Jun 2006
Observing Highlights - Jul-Dec 2006
Observing Highlights - Jan-Jun 2007
Observing Highlights - Jul-Dec 2007
Observing Highlights 2008
Observing Highlights 2009
Observing Highlights 2010
Observing Highlights 2011
Observing Highlights 2012
Observing Highlights 2013


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