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C. E. S. College
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Florida Atlantic


Web Site for the International Year of Astronomy

Florida Atlantic University
Astronomical Observatory

Facebook image link to Observatory's Facebook page


The Sun Today:

Image of the current Sun, provided by ESA's & NASA's SDO space telescope
Visual Sun
is provided by

Image of the current Sun in H-alpha light is provided by the National Solar Observatory/AURA/NSF
Hα Sun is
provided by

Solar X-rays:
Geomag. Field:
Solar X-ray Status
Geomagnetic Field Status

From www.n3kl.org

To NOAA's Space
Weather Scales for
Geomagnetic Storms

The National Academies Press: Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report (2008)

The National
Academies Press
Severe Space
Weather Events--
Societal and
Economic Impacts:
A Workshop
Report (2008)

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional .

main col hack

FAU Astronomical Observatory -- Front Page

Welcome to the Observatory's Front Page. Included here are some of the latest news and articles that may be of interest to our visitors. General observatory information, such as location and maps, viewing schedules, Events Calendar, contact information, student class credits, parking and other general information, can be found on the "About the Observatory" page.

We also have a growing coverage about the issue of light pollution, what it is, what it does to the environment, to ourselves, to our wallets and resources, to our security and safety, to the majestic wonders of the night sky and what YOU can do about it. This is a man made problem that is prepetuated by a lack of awareness and is something that we all can correct.

The Front Page

Sunspot 2192 is twice the size of the Earth.

Monday, Oct. 20th, 2014, 1419 EDT - took this image of the Sunspot 2192 that is swinging our way, taking aim, and ... I measured it to be 25,250 km across at the long axis, making it twice the size of the Earth. Later on in the day, it still seemed to be growing, so as it gets moves to the Sun's meridan, we'll need to watch for its activity. More active updates can be found at links on the Front Page and more still can be found on www.spaceweather.com.

The Front Page currently covers:

ABBS LogoNews of the Observatory

Oct. 17th - The Observatory is pleased to host the Association of Biology and BioMedical Students Social Mixer this Friday at 7 pm. Good food, excellent conversations, beneficial connections and very good viewing conditions are highly expected! All are Welcome!

Sept. 30th Please note that the Observatory's schedule is a little irregular for the next two months. Check the Events Calendar for details about each date.

General Sky Conditions

Solar conditions, atmospheric phenomena and news are reported by www.SpaceWeather.com.

The current sky conditions of Boca Raton are found via the Clear Sky Clock: Shortened
timeblock gif of sky conditions.
And some details as to what this means is mentioned in the Visiting Tips section of the About the Observatory page.

Basic weather conditions for our area are at www.wunderground.com forecast for Boca Raton, while our astronomically important current cloud cover conditions can be found at www.wunderground.com for Boca Raton.

To the Space Telescope Science Inst's Sky Tonight movie. Check out:
the Space Telescope Science Institute's Sky Tonight movie at Amazing Space
or to
Sky & Telescope's This Week's Sky at a Glance page.
To the Sky & Telescope's <q>This Week's Sky at a Glance</q> article by Alan M. MacRobert.

APOD's Banner image that links to Astronomy Pictures of the Day site.

What's Up in the Sky


Section updated: Oct. 27th, 2014.

The Sun currently appears in the constellation Virgo the maiden. It will cross into Libra on the morning of the 30th of Oct. at 0835 EDT. At Nov. 7th 1323 EST, it will be 3 arc minutes from Zubenelgenubi, the pivot star in Libra. On Nov. 23rd, it will enter the boundaries of the Scorpion, only very breifly staying in that dangerous realm to enter the safety of the Serpent Bearer's, Ophiuchus, on the 29th.

Lunar Phases:

FIRST QuarterOct. 31th Happy Halloween!
FULL MoonNov. 6th
LAST QuarterNov. 14th
NEW MoonNov. 22th
FIRST QuarterNov. 29th

Meteor Showers:
Note: compare shower dates with Moon for favorable viewing conditions; the fuller the Moon, the harder it will be to see the meteors!

Peak Date Name Radiant's
Source Zero
Nov. 12thNorthern
Taurus, near
the Pleiades
5 29 km/s slowish,
brighter than
average meteors
Nov. 17th
1700 EST
Leonids head of Leo comet
5-20, storms
33 yr peaks
71 km/s fastest,
brighter than
average meteors,
often with
Good but tough
Nov. 21stAlpha Monocerotids se of Procyon normally 3
once over 400
65 km/s faint,
faster than
average meteors
Very Good

Mercury will reach its greatest elongation on Nov. 1st, 18.7° from the Sun, resuming direct motion, crossing into Libra on Nov. 13th, entering Scorpio on Nov. 28th, and then entering Ophiuchus on Dec. 3rd, reaching superior conjuction on Dec. 7th and returning to the evening skies then.

Venus is simply stunning at mv = -3.93 in brightness. It past superior conjunction on Oct. 25th, and shortly be noticealbe as the evening star in the western skies. It will enter Libra on Oct. 29th at 2029 EDT, and appear 20 arc minutes away from Zubenelgenubi on Nov. 4th at 1930 EST. The Mater Amorum (Mother Love) will enter Scorpio on Nov. 18th at 0430 EST and then Ophiuchus on Nov. 22nd at 2004 EST. It will leave the serpent bearer's realm on Dec. 7th and enter Sagitarius. It will cross in front of the Lagoon Nebula on Dec. 11th, but at 800 EST when the Sun is bright and shining.

Mars is in Sagitarius, the Archer's realm. On Nov. 2nd, at 2100 EST, Mars will pass in front of the globular cluster M28, finishing its transit on the 3rd at 0240 EST. It should be a good view. Mars will have a long stay with the Centaur Archer until Dec. 4th when it will enter the realm of the Sea-goat, Capricornius. Later on, it will enter Aquarius on Jan 8th, and then on to Pisces on Feb. 11th as Venus will catch up to it and on Feb. 21st, our two nearest planetary neighbors will appear less than a half a degree apart from each other, on the evening of the Dark Sky Festival III!

Before the Sun rises, seek Jupiter in the east in the constellation Leo the lion rising around 0200 EDT. Jupiter will start its retrograde on Dec. 8th, returning back into Cancer on Feb. 4th just before its opposition to the Sun on Feb. 6th.

Saturn's brightness at mv = 0.21. It appears in Libra, late in the evening skies until its conjunction with the Sun on Nov. 17th. Afterwards look for it in the flip side of night before dawn in the eastern skies. Around Nov. 25th, catch it near Mercury in just above the morning horizon. It will enter Scorpio on Jan. 18th.

Uranus is slowly advancing through Pisces and will appear with the fish until Apr. 28th, 2018! Its opposition will occur on Oct. 7th and then on morning of October the 8th, Uranus will be less than a degree away from the Moon as the Moon will be eclipsed by the Earth's shadow.

Neptune is currently just over 1.5° north and east of Sigma Aquarii in the evening sky. By Sep. 12th it will appear 0.5° away from the star. It will reside in Aquarius until 2022.

Can You Identify This Image?

The image at the right shows locations of:

  1. southeast U.S. cities seen at night from space.
  2. inefficiently used energy resources and tax dollars continuously squandered by local city planners.
  3. local populations who are losing their humbling sense of wonder and awe of the night sky's majesty.
  4. increased, widespread disruptions to the local natural environment.
  5. projected increases of health problems in the local populations.
  6. all of the above.
Lights at night in Florida, Dec. 2010, taken by Exp. 26 on the ISS.
Image Credit: NASA, ISS Expedition 26, Dec. 2010.

Department of Physics
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida
E-mail: vandernoot at sci dot fau dot edu
Phone: 561 297 STAR (7827)

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