Archive for August, 2009

New Astronomy Data Set for Southern California

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

It started out as my wife and I bought a TomTom GPS (XL330) for a long delayed vacation. And being the geek I am, I started using the free Mac program poiEdit to put together a Point-of-Interest list for the trip.

The idea struck me I could put together a Point-of-Interest list of observation sites in the area for my own use and the use of the customers starting out in astronomy over at WHCT. Then I shared the idea with Dr. D and Jon at WHCT and we expanded it further…and lengthened the list from sites we found on the internet.

Sometimes these little evening projects just get out-of-control. This morning I loaded what I have so far into a table and wrote a quick webpage to access the data. The only direct link to the information is THIS.

Its a list of Observation sites, Observatories and Planetariums in Southern California. Make use of it. I haven’t visited all the sites (yet). So any additions, comment or corrections can be send to me here. Just leave a blog comment.

For sites I found through a web source I added a link to the source and at the end of the list is a listing of other source I found, so if you are not in Southern California, you can scan those for observation sites in your area.

I will release a GPS loadable file after I get back from vacation at the end of the month.

Best Regards — Tom

August 2009

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Lunar Events

The Full Moon for August occurs on August 5th.  It is known as the Full Sturgeon Moon.  It is also known as the Grain or Green Corn Moon. On August 5th, there will be a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse visible from Africa, South America, Europe and the Middle East.

The New Moon occurs on Thursday, August 20th.  This will make the weekend of August 22-23 as the best weekend for dark sky viewing this month.


M2ercury Opposition
The planet Mercury is visible in the evening this month and reaches its

Greatest Eastern Elongation on August 24thMercury’s Greatest Eastern

Elongation provides the best evening view for its current orbit. At this

point, Mercury is 27°21’55” from the Sun, making it visible for almost

2 hours after sunset.

Mercury begins August in the constellation Leo (The Lion) until August 20th when it moves into the constellation Virgo (The Maiden).

On August 1st Mercury is a mere 0°40’ from the star Regulus.

Mercury, Saturn
On August 16th Mercury passes within 3° from the planet Saturn.

M2ercury, Moon
On August 21st, the waxing crescent Moon passes less than 5°30 on


Venus is the Morning Star for August. Venus begins this month in the constellation Gemini (The Twins) and on August 24th, Venus moves into the constellation Cancer (The Crab).

On August 2nd, Venus is within 2°30’ of the open cluster, M35. Venus M35


Mars is observable during the morning hours of August.  At the beginning of the month Mars rises around 2:00 am (PDT) and by the end of the month Mars rises around 1:20 am (PDT).  Mars begins this month in the constellation Taurus (The Bull) and on August 25 it moves into the constellation Gemini (The Twins) where it will finish out the month.

On August 15th and 16th Mars is located about 7° from the waning crescent Moon.

Mars M35 On August 29th, Mars will pass within 0°50’ of the open cluster, M35.


This month is the best time to observe Jupiter this year since Jupiter reaches opposition on August 14thJupiter is visible all night, all month in the constellation Carpicornus (The Sea Goat), where it can be found until January 2010.  Currently, Jupiter is moving in retrograde motion.

On August 6th, Jupiter sets within 4°45’ of the Full Moon. Jupiter Moon


Saturn is visible in the early evening hours during August.  At the beginning of the Month Saturn sets around 9:50 pm (PDT) and by the end of August Saturn sets around 8:00 pm (PDT). Saturn is located in the constellation Leo (The Lion) until September.  Saturn disappears into the glare of the Sunset at the end of August.

Saturn Mercury
On August 16th, Mercury passes within 3° from the planet Saturn.


Uranus is located in the constellation Pisces (The Fish) until October.  At the beginning of August Uranus rises around 10:05 pm (PDT) and by the end of the month Uranus rises around 8:00 pm (PDT).

Uranus Moon
On August 9th, the waning, gibbous moon passes within 5° of Uranus.


Moving in retrograde this month, the planet Neptune is visible, all night, since it will reach Opposition on August 17th.  This month will be the best time this year to observe Neptune, which is located in the constellation Capricornus (The Sea Goat) until the year 2010.

Neptune JupiterNeptune starts August less than 1°50’ from the planet Jupiter.

N2ptune, Jupiter Moon
And on August 6th, Neptune, Jupiter and the waning, gibbous Moon can be found less than 5° of each other.



Pluto can be observed in the morning hours of August in the constellation Sagittarius (The Archer), where it is located unto the year 2023.  The planet Pluto is currently in retrograde motion.

August 2nd finds Pluto about 9° from the waning, gibbous Moon. Pluto Moon

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