KAS – 2015 Messier Marathon

Planning is underway for the 2015 KAS Messier Marathon.  This is a great opportunity to view all the objects catalogued by Charles Messier that took him 24 years to observe.  Messier catalogued objects that he originally thought were comets, but could not confirm them as such.  Basically these objects appeared to him as “faint fuzzies” but unlike comets, they never moved. His list of 110 objects were almost considered a hinderance by him.

 

Messier Object Chart

Messier Object Chart (click to view larger – credit tripod.com)

Today, this list of objects are the most accessible and easiest to view objects in and around our galaxy.  About 10 of them can be spotted with the naked eye, and the rest are all findable with even a fairly modest telescope.  Every year during the new moon dark window in March, all but a few of these great objects is observable in just one night.  The window this year runs roughly between March 16th and March 24th.  It takes the entire night to see them all, and we here in the upstate NY area can see all but 1-2 objects that rest on the extreme southern skyline.

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Tonight’s Sky – March 2015 (from hubblesite.org)

  • Mars, Venus in the west after sunset
  • Jupiter Prime Viewing
  • Gemini and Cancer constellations arrive
  • Castor, Pollux and cluster M35 in Gemini
  • Beehive Cluster in Cancer
  • Saturn Rises after midnight

This video is brought to you by hubblesite.org – they’ve been putting the wow into astronomy with stunning images and astronomy education for over a decade.

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KAS Photos of Venus, Mars, Moon Conjunction

 

The following images were taken by KAS members of the recent Venus, Mars and Moon event on February 20th, 2015.  In the images, you can see the two planets and the moon, but also the part of the moon that is illuminated by the light reflected by the Earth, also known as Earth-Shine.

A beautiful event to behold indeed!

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Tonight’s Sky – February 2015 (from hubblesite.org)

  • Mars, Venus, Moon conjunction
  • Bright Jupiter in the Eastern Sky
  • Orion and its spectacles – a fantastic show!
  • Check out Sirius in Canis Major and open cluster M41 and its red giants
  • Get an early start to the day observing Saturn at 4AM

This video is brought to you by hubblesite.org – they’ve been putting the wow into astronomy with stunning images and astronomy education for over a decade.

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Top 101 Astronomical Observing Events for 2015

This is a great article by David Dickinson (Universe Today, occasional guest author in Sky & Telescope Magazine, primary blogger at astroguyz.com, and on twitter as @AstroGuyz) that highlights many observing events in 2015.  This is well worth the read and great for mapping out your special 2015 observing plan!

Top 101 Astronomical Observing Events for 2015

 

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Tonight’s Sky – January 2015

  • Mars, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter provide great planetary views.
  • Capella, a double star, and various open clusters in the constellation Auriga.
  • Dozens of objects fascinate in the constellation Taurus.
  • Quadrantid Meteor Shower on peaks 1/3 – 1/4 – up to 40 meteors per hour.

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