UPDATE, 28 APRIL - The cloud cover is not expected to improve tonight, so we are rescheduling this event for one week from today.
See http://www.cnyo.org/2016/04/25/cnyo-spring-2016-observing-session-at-beaver-lake-nature-center-on-thursday-april-28th-raindate-may-5th/ for any additional info (or check back here on Thursday).
NOTE: Weather-alternate is Thursday, May 5th.
Greetings, fellow astrophiles!
The time has come again to make our seasonal Thursday night trek to the Beaver Lake (http://www.onondagacountyparks.com/parks/beaver-lake-nature-center/) parking lot for views of the Nighttime Spring Sky. For 2016, we’ve the added bonus of having prime planetary viewing for the entire session, featuring Mercury (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_%28planet%29) to our West just after sunset (and even before if Bob Piekiel’s (http://www.cnyo.org/books-by-robert-piekiel/) GOTO scope is ready) and Jupiter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter), biting at the feet of Leo the Lion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_%28constellation%29), in the sky throughout – having reached opposition in early March.
Mercury will be giving us a double-dose of observing in the next few weeks as we approach its Transit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Mercury) on the morning of May 9th (for which Bob Piekiel is hosting a special (and unusually early!) event at Baltimore Woods from 8 to 10 a.m. On Monday, May 9th (http://www.cnyo.org/2016/01/08/bob-piekiel-hosts-observing-sessions-at-baltimore-woods-and-more-2016-observing-schedule/) – event notice to follow!). For those who managed a view of the Transit of Venus in 2012 (http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/06/central_new_yorkers_watch_venu.html), this is your chance to say you saw the only two planetary Transits you can from Earth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth) – you’ll then have to move to Mars (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars) to try to make any kind of inferior planet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferior_and_superior_planets) trifecta.
The Thursday session at Beaver Lake will be our last chance to see any sign of the Orion Nebula (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_Nebula) (and it will be heroic observing at that, given how close to the tree line it may be by the time it’s dark enough), but M13 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_13) in Hercules (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_%28constellation%29), the Leo Triplet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Triplet) (shown at right – and they will not look this good from Beaver Lake! Image from wikipedia.org (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Triplet)), several other notable Messier Objects (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_object), and whatever satellites happen to fly over will be on hand to keep the observing and conversation going.
By the usual ending time for the event, the bright star Vega (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vega) in the constellation Lyra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyra) will just be rising above the Northeastern skyline, striking the chord to herald the soon-approaching return of Summer Skies and our views into the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way).