Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers: Web Updates & desert viewing July 3rd

Jane Houston Jones jane at whiteoaks.com
Fri Jul 2 15:36:45 PDT 2010

I've just updated the otastro.org website with July and August dates for 
our sidewalk astronomy events. On  July16, a few of us will be at Pamela 
Park in Duarte for a new venue tryout from 8-10 p.m. July 17th is our 
Monrovia sidewalk date, same hours again - from 8-10 p.m., and just like 
last month, it will coincide with Monrovia's free movie in Library Park. 
Both movies and stargazing start "8-ish", but we'll target the moon 
before it gets dark at 8 p.m.  Wow, see stars AND Star Wars!  What could 
be more perfect?

Tomorrow night, that's Saturday, July 3rd, a few of us are heading out 
to the hot desert for a night of stargazing. The moon will rise at about 
1:30 p.m. but it will be the third quarter moon, a beautiful lunar phase 
too few stay up late enough to see.  It will be hot. At Desert Center, 
CA (the closest town) temperatures are predicted to range from a high of 
102  to a low of  75. We'd welcome people to join us on our little piece 
of astro-heaven -  2 miles of washboard dirt road off the I-10 freeway. 
Wear sturdy rattlesnake and cactus  needle-proof hiking boots, and dress 
for warm weather, but bring a jacket. There are no facilities on this 
unimproved stretch of BLM land I do bring a PET (portable environmental 
toilet). And bring plenty of water. We'll leave at 3 p.m. from Monrovia 
so email before then if you need details or a map.We will arrive by 7 
p.m. There is room for half a dozen cars in very soft sandy ground 
(trucks and RV's have sunk into the sand).

But seriously, most people will be staying home readying for Fourth of 
July festivities, so I have prepared a home-observing project for you 
all, and it doesn't even require a telescope. Why not try to see 
Galileo's famous third quarter lunar view Saturday or Sunday morning 
after midnight and before dawn?  Galileo made a series of lunar sketches 
in 1609, and on December 18, 1609 (4:00UT), he sketched this view of the 
lunar surface. 
This is the same view you will have over the next two mornings. :-)

So step outside this weekend and aim your binoculars at the moon, and 
get a sense of Galileo saw 400 years ago. If you are interested in 
observing all of Galileo's views, here is a table of modern dates to 
complete the project. I did it and it was a great learning and observing 
project. http://www.pacifier.com/~tpope/Reproducing_Observations.htm

You can see the third quarter moon in the daytime, too, tho' the 
contrast isn't as great in the bright sun.  The moon rises at about 
midnight tonight and sets at about noon, then a smaller crescent rises 
later each morning until new moon phase in the 10th. 

Have a safe and sparkly weekend, everyone!  Jane

Jane Houston Jones
Monrovia, CA
What's Up July 2010? Dark Nebulae! http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm
What's Up Podcast on YouTube: http://is.gd/c3r1i
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jhjones  http://twitter.com/CassiniSaturn http://twitter.com/otastro 
Blog: http://jane.whiteoaks.com/

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