Saturday May 12th, 2007 Black Star Canyon star party

Posted On May 8, 2007

Hello Fellow OCA club members!

The weather has heated up just in time so we will probably have a fairly warm Black Star Canyon star party this Saturday. The sky should be clear that night after daytime temps of 83F and we have a 3rd quarter moon that won’t rise until after we close at midnight. With sunset about 7:40 pm, I plan to open the gate about 7:10 pm.

As the sun sets, we should first spot Venus (Mag -4.0) standing almost 40 degrees high at sunset and will be about 65% illuminated. We should be able to find Mercury (Mag -1.1) about 25 degrees to the lower right of Venus. Much easier to find will be Saturn (Mag .5) up in front of Leo the Lion’s head. Once in the telescope view, moon Titon (Mag 8.8) will be out to the West of Saturn while moon Dione (Mag 10.5) will be in closer. Moon Rhea (Mag 10.0) will be out to the East of Saturn and moon Tethys (Mag 10.5) will be in closer along with moon Enceladus (Mag 12) even closer. Jupiter (Mag -2.5) will rise about 11:15 pm and all 4 moons will be tightly packed to the west starting with Io, Ganymede, Europa & Callisto.

Asteroid 4Vesta (Mag 5.4) will be between Ophiuchus and Scorpius on it’s 3.6 year journey around the sun and is now a naked eye object and best seen towards midnight. The ISS will not be visible this Saturday evening nor any Iridium flares but the Hubble Space Telescope (Mag 2.8) will start a passover 9:00 pm WSW at 10 degrees getting 30 degrees SSW at 9:04 then dropping to 24 degrees SSE at 9:05 as it drops out of sight.

This month the Virgo Cluster is well placed for us to find galaxies such as M84 (Mag 9.3) and M86 (Mag 9.2) both eliptical galaxies in Virgo. Moving up into the Coma Bernices constellation, is M99 (Mag 9.8), M98 (Mag 10.1) & M100 (Mag 9.4) all spiral galaxies and M85 (Mag 9.2) another elliptical galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is at the tail of Leo the Lion just east of star Denebola.

Come on out to nearby Black Star Canyon (only 10 miles from the 55 freeway and Chapman Avenue) Saturday evening and remember to bring food and drinks (please carry your trash out). You should bring along a coat or sweater as the temperature should drop down to 45 F. We should get 4 hours of good viewing from 8 pm until midnight.

Your OCA star party host,