Southern Colorado Skies / March 24-30, 2019

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

The constellation Orion contains three Messier (or “M” objects). In addition to the famous Orion Nebula (M42) and associated M43 (aka De Mairan’s Nebula), there is the lesser-known M78. This black & white photo of M78 shows a group of diffuse reflection nebulae about 1,350 light-years from us, partially blocked by ‘channels’ of dark nebulae. I took this photo with a 6-inch reflector telescope, but M78 is also visible with smaller telescopes or binoculars. M78 may be found a couple degrees north and east of Alnitak, the easternmost (left) star in Orion’s ‘belt.’

Picture saved with settings applied.

Look for Mars close to the Pleiades just after dark.

Wednesday (3/27)

Last-quarter Moon at 10:10 p.m. MDT.

DAYLIGHT

PLANETS

Mercury (in Aquarius)

Mercury is not in view this week – it is in the glare of the sunrise.

Venus (in Capricornus/Aquarius)

Look in the east-southeast just before dawn.

Mars (in Taurus)

Mars is in its best viewing position low in the west just after dark – it sets around 11 p.m. It’s tiny now — just an orange speck hanging out below the Pleiades (see above graphic).

Jupiter (in Ophiuchus)

Jupiter is in good viewing position in the south-southeast just before dawn. Don’t confuse it with much brighter Venus to Jupiter’s lower left (east)!

Saturn (in Sagittarius)

Look for yellowish Saturn about halfway between Jupiter and Venus.

Uranus (in Aries/Pisces)

Look in the west just after dark, but be quick – Uranus is sinking and soon won’t be visible. Check out the Sky & Telescope finder chart at http://wwwcdn.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/WEB_UrNep18.pdf (Uranus is easily visible with quality binoculars).

Neptune (in Aquarius)

Neptune is lost in the Sun’s glare this week.

SCAS UPCOMING EVENTS

The next SCAS board meeting will be on Thursday, April 4th, at 7:00 p.m. at the north-side Village Inn in Pueblo.

The next SCAS membership meeting will be on Thursday, April 18th, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bret Kelly B conference room at the Rawlings Public Library. SCAS member and CSU-Pueblo physics student Don Brooks will present a synopsis of his current research involving gravity waves.

Many events for the SCAS 2019 calendar year were recently announced. First up are the Star-Gaze at Lake Pueblo on May 10th, followed by a star gaze at the CSU-Pueblo observatory (the 22-inch telescope is working again!) on May 31st.

FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION REGARDING SCAS ACTIVITIES, REFER TO THE SCAS FACEBOOK PAGE.

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Carpe noctem

Dave Furry
Pueblo West, Colorado

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