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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 currently covers:
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:
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.
Saturn's 2015 Opposition to the Sun -- May 22nd - 23rd.
On the evening of Friday, May the 22nd, the FAU Astronomical Observatory invites the public to come and celebrate Saturn's 2015 Opposition to the Sun. The precise opposition time is the 23th at 0057 EDT.
This is a combined FAU Astronomical Observatory and a NASA's JPL Solar System Ambassador volunteer event. The Solar System Ambassadors Program of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers information and excitement about real missions that explore our solar system. Volunteer ambassadors in communities throughout the country are selected by JPL based on their backgrounds and on their plans for public outreach activities. JPL provides ambassadors with educational materials and training. However, the opinions of Ambassadors are not necessarily those of NASA or JPL. Further information about the Solar System Ambassadors Program is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.
So please come to celebrate and observe the planet at opposition, while pondering some of the astronomical mysteries that are connected with it. This invitation is open to anyone from FAU, the local community, their friends and family to come and enjoy the heavens.
After all, it is their universe, too!
The Seoul, South Korean 11th Year Anniversary Light Pollution UCC & Photo Contest
The FAU Astronomical Observatory is pleased to help support and applaud the Feelux Lighting Museum in Seoul, South Korea, who has partnered with the Seoul Metropolitan Government, for the 11th anniversary of their Light Pollution Photography and Videography Contest for 2015. The purpose of the contest, held annually since 2005, is to increase the global awareness of light pollution and to pursue healthier uses of light that is more harmonious with the environment.
The images/videos submitted to this year's contest should feature either examples of light pollution or
examples of natural lights sources that promote coexistence between nature and people in healthier lifestyles. Details of the
contest, its guidelines for submissions, and the prizes that can be won are found on the Museum's website at:
The Museum's webpages or our own webpages has more examples and information about light pollution, what it is, what its effects are on the environment, our own health, our energy resources and our safety. Your images can help raise the global awareness of this unnatural, exponentially growing pollutant!
The Sun currently appears in the constellation of Taurus the bull. It will pass by Mars on June the
14th and enter Gemini on June 22nd, just after reaching the solstice.
Mercury currently appears in the western evening skies in the constellation of Taurus. It reached its greatest elongation from the Sun on May 7th so now it is appearing to dive sunwards. Look for it near Aldebaran and Mars around May 25th. The swift messenger planet will be in conjunction with the Sun on May 30th. After which it will return to the morning skies.
Venus is in the boundaries of Gemini and that brillant object in the west-northwestern sky in the evening, appearing mv = -4.19. It will exit the Twin's realm and enter Cancer the crab's boundaries on June the 3rd. It will continue on and appear next to M44, the Beehive Cluster, at a 0.5° away. This will be a good view for small telescopes. Better still is when it will appear brighter still at mv = -4.44 and only 1/3° away from Jupiter on June the 30th! Don't miss that sight! And by July the 11th it will reach its maximal brightness of mv = -4.47! A view that already many people are noticing lately and asking me about.
Mars is in Taurus the bull, appearing ever dimmer as the old warrior occupys the far side of the solar
system from us, at almost 2.5 A.U. away. He'll have a
Jupiter appears in Cancer the crab, rising around 1200 EDT. Jupiter will reenter Leo on June the 8th and on June the 20th will appear in a nice triangle with a cresent Moon and Venus. Then, on June the 30th look for Jupiter and Venus to appear about 1/3° apart from each other! A sight that is not to be missed! For not only will the two planets appear so near to each other, but from 2000 EDT until 2200 EDT, Jupiters Great Red Spot will transit the planet and from 2115 to 2120 EDT you can observe its moon Io partially occult its moon Europa! The movements of the moons shows orbital mechanics in action, right before your eyes!
Saturn currently rises after 2000 EDT, with a brightness at mv = 0.03. It currently appears in Libra. It will have its opposition on May the 23rd.
Uranus is slowly advancing through Pisces. Uranus will appear with the fish until Apr. 28th, 2018! Its opposition will occur on Oct. 12th.
Neptune is currently just under 2° north and east of Sigma Aquarii in the morning skies. It will get as close as 2° to λ Aquarii when it starts its retrograde, reaching opposition on Sept. 1st. It will reside in Aquarius until 2022.
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E-mail: vandernoot at sci dot fau dot edu
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