Southern Colorado Skies / January 28-February 3, 2018

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.

THIS WEEK

Don’t miss the lunar eclipse on Wednesday (1/31) morning. SCAS will be set up at the Raptor Center parking lot – see http://scaspueblo.com/ for details.

From the Pueblo area we won’t be able to see the entire eclipse because the Moon will set at 7:06 a.m. (sunrise is at 7:02 a.m.), but we should be able to see maximum totality as shown in the following timetable:

03:51 a.m.   Penumbral eclipse begins

04:48   Partial eclipse begins

05:51   Total eclipse begins

06:29   Maximum eclipse

07:06   Moonset

There is a great animation of the eclipse (with Pueblo as the observation site) at https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/pueblo. Also, see my article about the lunar eclipse in the January edition of Southern Colorado Skies (a link is provided in this week’s e-mail announcement). Finally, note below that a reasonably bright Iridium flare is predicted for a few minutes after 6 a.m. (during the eclipse) on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday (January 31)

Full Moon at 6:27 a.m. MST, and TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE. See above for details. This is a “blue moon” (second full moon in a calendar month).

DAYLIGHT

 

PLANETS

Mercury and Venus (both in Capricornus)

Both planets are lost in the glare of the Sun this week.

Mars (in Scorpius) and Jupiter (in Libra)

Both planets rise after midnight and are well up in the southern sky by early dawn. Look for Mars to the lower left (east) of much brighter Jupiter.

Don’t mistake reddish Mars for reddish Antares a little further down to the left. Antares is the alpha star in the constellation Scorpius.

Saturn (in Sagittarius)

Saturn offers a decent view low in the dawn light. Look for it just above the southeast horizon about 45 minutes before dawn.

Uranus (in Pisces)

High in the southwest at nightfall.

Neptune (in Aquarius)

Low in the west-southwest at nightfall.

BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES

The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your location in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with Iridium flares, check out my short article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.

Monday (January 29) 6:02:12 p.m. / Magnitude -2.8 / S / Elevation 38 degrees

Tuesday (January 30) 6:25:45 a.m. / Magnitude -1.5 / NNW / Elevation 59 degrees

Wednesday (January 31) 6:03:38 a.m. / Magnitude -2.8 / N / Elevation 57 degrees

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

These are too numerous to list here! If you’re seriously interested, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet.

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry

Pueblo West, Colorado


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