Prime Night #1 - 28 Dec 2013

December 28, 2013, 5:38PM: Prime Night #1 - 28 Dec 2013

UPDATE - The forecast has improved over the last twenty-four hours, so prime night #1 is a go on Saturday. It might be your last chance to star-gaze in 2013.

If this is your first or second time at Columbus, we'll have a mandatory light-check at sunset (5:38 p.m.). I'll also do a constellation tour and star-hopping training.

If you need directions, e-mail me before 2:00 p.m. Saturday. If anyone wants to get a burger, I'll be at the Dairy Cone in Columbus (836 Walnut Str.) at 4:30.

This new moon we're lucky enough to have two prime nights at Columbus since new moon falls almost exactly in the middle of the week. The first one will be 28 December 2013, and the second will be 4 January 2014. All club members and their guests who have taken the dark site orientation are welcome. If it will be your first or second time at Columbus, must participate in a mandatory light check at sunset (5:38 p.m.) to minimize the chances of stray light.

If you need something to observe, start one of the AL lists. Or try to see and describe/draw as much detail as you can in the Orion Nebula. There are also several beautiful open clusters up this time of year in Auriga (M36, M37, and M38); Gemini (M35); Monoceros (M50); Canis Major (M41); and Puppis (M46, M47, and M93). There should be five comets brighter than magnitude 11 (Lovejoy, LINEAR, ISON, Nevski, and Schwassmann-Wachmann). And Jupiter is featured in the January S&T.

For a challenge, try to spot as many objects as possible in M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, (Dec S&T p. 34) or Sue French's list of local group dwarf galaxies (Dec S&T p. 56).

Light windows at 10:00 p.m. and midnight.

Sunset 17:38
End of twilight 19:01
Moonrise 4:10 - 13% illumination
Beginning of twilight 5:56

Contact Steve Fast (Field Trip & Observing) steve dot fast at post dot harvard dot edu for more information.

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