Observer's Archive - Feb-Apr 2004

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McNeil's Nebula - a new nebula is discovered by an amateur near M78
bullet IAU announcement
bullet RASCals Feb 11 message
bullet RASCals Feb 20 message
bullet Before & after photo
Saturn is at its best this year. Be sure to get out there and observe it!  The south side ring system faces Earth for the next five years, and during 2004 the tilt is near maximum.

Refer to Observers' Notes (below), the Skynews January 2004 online edition (1.0Mb pdf), or NASA's Saturn Observation Campaign  for more details about observing Saturn and the other objects in the sky over the next while.

This photo was taken by Joe Carr on Jan 15, 2004 through his 8" Meade SCT using a new Meade LPI webcam imager.

Did you see the triple shadow transit on Jupiter the night of March 27/28?  Joe Carr took this photo through his 8" Meade LX-90 using the LPI webcam and a 2.5x Powermate. Not only did he catch the 3 shadows, but also the transit of Ganymede, as well as Callisto orbiting around Jupiter.


February 22 to February 28

The 23rd brings another chance to enjoy Venus and the Moon in Pisces' fishy paradise. I hope you've taken the initiative and have added Venus to your Mars sketch-you're watching Mars trace a path on a track outside of ours and Venus trace a path inside. We're all moving at different rates at different distances from the Sun. Dizzy yet? Add plots of Saturn and Jupiter and maybe Mercury. Could you figure out what's really happening or are you like the ancients and perceive yourself as the still one and the other planets as loopy, can't make up their minds, wandering stars? Keep sketching-maybe you'll win the prehistoric Nobel Prize.
Not a prize winner? Well, you can keep trying. But do take a break and check out the Moon and Mars on the 25th.

February 29 to March 6

Jupiter is in his glory this week. When a planet is opposite our Sun in our skies it rises as the Sun sets and sets when the Sun rises. It's also highest in the sky at local midnight and presents our steadiest view of its disk. This is called 'opposition' and Jupiter is at opposition on the 3rd. We've had a few weeks of nice Jupiter watching and we'll have a few more weeks. But, don't put off any chances to see this wonderfully active planet.

March 7 to March 13

Watch for Mercury deep in the murky sunset at the end of this week. By next week's end Mercury should be easy enough to spot, but you're up to the challenge this week.

March 14 to March 20

Why not put all these planets in one basket�can you spot all five in one night? Note which constellations they seem to travel through-you can expand your map to include all of these planet in one panorama of the night sky. That straight line that you can draw as a 'best fit' through all the planets is called the ecliptic and the constellations that touch the ecliptic belong to the ancient Zodiac. Keep sketching like crazy or you'll never keep up with this ever-changing sky.

Check out the Pleiades and note the tawny interloper below-Mars slinks below the seven sisters. Grab your sketch book and plot Mars' path below these brilliant blue-white gems.

March 20 to March 27

Don't forget to pay attention to Venus. On the 24th you'll get a chance to see the Moon just below Venus in the sunset. On the 25th, keep your attention on the Moon and look for Mars just below. Estimate the angular distance. Oh yes, I'm expecting some nice images for the newsletter-pay attention all you wide angle photographers!

March 28 to April 3

It's March 28th and a slip of a Moon visits the sky near Saturn. And on the 29th, both Mercury and Venus will be at their highest for this month's morning appearances.


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Observing Highlights 2008
Observing Highlights 2009
Observing Highlights 2010
Observing Highlights 2011
Observing Highlights 2012
Observing Highlights 2013


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