Sidewalk astronomy this weekend

Morris Jones mojo at whiteoaks.com
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 
telescopes.

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 
report:  http://mojo.whiteoaks.com/2009/09/21/a-perfect-night-in-the-desert/

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,
Mojo
-- 
Morris Jones
Monrovia, CA
http://mojo.whiteoaks.com
Old Town Astronomers: http://www.otastro.org
Twitter: http://twitter.com/mojo_la



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