3rd December 2011

Come along to our free public observing evenings at Newlands Corner near Guildford.

3rd December 2011

Postby gas » Sat, 09-Jul-2011 14:18

NEWLANDS CORNER OBSERVING EVENT

Moon Watch & Jupiter Watch

Saturday, 3rd December 2011 from 7.30pm until 10.30pm (or later if the skies are really clear!)


Guildford Astronomical Society are holding another of their very popular and highly enjoyable public observing evenings at the NT Car Park, Newlands Corner, Shere Road, Guildford GU4 8SE. Members of the public are invited to come along and meet GAS members and their telescopes and take a look at the wonders of the Night Sky. For directions to Newlands Corner see here.

The Moon will be at its first quarter and won't set until very late in the evening so there's plenty of opportunity to see close-up views of its mountains and craters. This is one of the best times in the month to view the Moon: because it's sunlit 'from the side', the shadows cast across the floors of craters and valleys bring out much more detail than when the Moon is lit 'full-on' during a Full Moon.


See the beautiful Great Orion Nebula, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades and many other stars, clusters, galaxies and nebulae that will be visible throughout the evening (especially when the Moon's light becomes dimmed as it sets later in the evening).


The Great Orion Nebula (NASA/ESA)


Jupiter will be unmissable high in the sky to the South and will be on show all evening. Some of the members' telescopes are equipped with high-power eyepieces that will show its bands of coloured clouds and maybe even the famous Great Red Spot!


Jupiter with Europa's Shadow (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)


At least four of Jupiter's satellites will be visible. These are the same four moons (Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa) that Galileo saw in January 1610 when he first turned his telescope on the giant planet. If you look at Jupiter a few times during the evening and note the position of the moons you'll easily see that they'll have moved in their orbit around Jupiter. This what led Galileo to conclude that Copernicus was right: the Earth goes around the Sun!


The positions of Jupiter's moons during the evening (Dr Paul A Daniels/GAS)


Between about 5-to-midnight and 5-past-midnight the observant might spot the International Space Station as a faint fast-moving point of light rising in the SSW at 23:54:38, passing a few degrees under the constellation of Orion at 23:58:47, reaching 21 degrees above the SE horizon at 23:59:30 and setting in the ENE at 00:04:30. On this occasion the ISS will be faint because it's in the Earth's shadow but it might just be possible to see it in reflected moonlight.


This event is:

  • Suitable for everyone,
  • Free and
  • There's no need to book.

Obviously it's cold at this time of year so we thoroughly recommend that you wrap up warm and wear wellington boots out on the field where the telescopes are located (hot drinks will be on sale in the Visitor's Centre if you need a warm break). Also, because of potential tripping hazards in the dark out on the field, children must be accompanied by an adult.

If it's cloudy we'll be indoors with a display and exhibition and GAS members will be on hand to answer questions.

GAS would like to thank the Surrey Wildlife Trust for their kind permission to use the Visitor Centre.

Please feel free to download the poster for the event and post it in your local library, doctor's surgery, local schools, barber's shop or supermarket: Moon & Jupiter Watch Poster (print as a single A4 page).
Chris Franklin - GAS Webmaster
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