Sidewalk astronomy this weekend

Morris Jones mojo at
Fri Sep 25 08:27:29 PDT 2009

Today the moon phase is "first quarter" which means you'll see a half 
moon in tonight's sky.

That doesn't make sense does it?  Shouldn't it be a quarter moon? 
Actually the term "first quarter" refers to the fact that the moon is 
one-fourth of the way through its 29.5 day orbit around the earth.

In one week the moon will be half-way through its orbit, but we don't 
refer to its phase then as "half moon," instead we call it "full moon," 
which it is!  (Homework:  What then is "third quarter?")

Tonight it should be comfortable and clear in Old Town Pasadena, and 
we'll be featuring the first-quarter moon and Jupiter.  We try for 
Colorado Blvd. somewhere between Fair Oaks and Pasadena Ave., near 
Delacey, depending on parking, from 7:30 'til 9:30 or so.

Look for Jupiter to the left of the moon tonight -- it will be the 
brightest object in the sky besides the moon, with a steady 
cream-colored glow.  In the telescope we'll easily see the four giant 
moons of Jupiter discovered 400 years ago by Galileo.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) looks to be a carbon copy of tonight.  Many of 
our astronomers will be set up at the Huntington Library for a special 
astronomy program, and will give out views through a great variety of 

We'll also have at least a couple at our traditional spot in Monrovia at 
the corner of Myrtle & Lime, at Library Park, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

A few of us had a good time under a true dark sky in the Colorado Desert 
last weekend. I did a little astrophotography and wrote up a little trip 

First quarter moon brings out lots of telescopes to give out views. 
Other LA astronomers and clubs will be setting up all over the place, 
including the big monthly first-quarter star party at Griffith Observatory.

I hope you get out and catch some photons!

Best regards,
Morris Jones
Monrovia, CA
Old Town Astronomers:

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