Calendar

Look below for an event list of important and noteworthy events happening in your sky or neighborhood soon!

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  • November 22 – New Moon
  • December 6 – Full Cold Moon

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  • December 8 A double shadow transit of Jupiter’s moons occurs from 11:18 to 11:27 pm, visible from the Rolnick Observatory
  • December 13, 14Geminids Meteor Shower – Arguably one of the best meteor showers, possibly producing up to 120 meteors per hour at peak. The waning gibbous moon will wash out the dimmest meteors but there’s plenty to choose from!
  • December 21 – December Solstice – Winter begins
  • December 21 – The International Space Station enters period of full illumination around the solstice
  • December 22 – New Moon
  • December 22, 23 – Ursids Meteor Shower – With no moon visible this could be a very good shower, producing 5 to 10 bright meteors per hour
  • December 31 – 4 to 10pmFirst Night Westport/Weston. WAS will haul out all sorts of telescopes to view the last skies of 2014.
  • January 3 – The Quadrantids is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. Unfortunately the nearly full moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • January 3 – Full Moon. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. This moon has also been know as the Old Moon and the Moon After Yule.
  • January 20 – New Moon. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • February – Dawn at Ceres. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will encounter the dwarf planet known as Ceres sometime in February 2015. Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Because of its size and shape, it has officially been classified as a dwarf planet, which puts it in the same category as Pluto. Ceres is 590 miles (950 kilometers) in diameter and is large enough to have a round shape. Dawn will spend several months studying Ceres and will send back the first close-up images of a dwarf planet in our Solar System.
  • February 6 – Jupiter at Opposition. The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter’s cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter’s four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.
  • February 22 – Conjunction of Venus and Mars. Conjunctions are rare events where two or more objects will appear extremely close together in the night sky. The two bright planets will be visible within only half a degree of each other in the evening sky. Look to the west just after sunset.
  • March 5  – 1:06 PM - The Micro Moon (Occurs when a full moon is at apogee or furthest from Earth)’
  • March 20 – Total Solar Eclipse. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the Sun’s beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona. The path of totality will begin in the central Atlantic Ocean and move north across Greenland and into northern Siberia. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information) NOT VISIBLE from the Rolnick Observatory
  • March 20 – March Equinox. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • April 4 – Total Lunar Eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra which begins at the Rolnick Observatory just before 6 and ends not long after. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of North America, South America, eastern Asia, and Australia. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
  • April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. The shower runs annually from April 16-25. It peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving fairly dark skies for the what could be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • May 5, 6 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. It peaks this year on the night of May 5 and the morning of the May 6. The nearly full moon will be a big problem this year blocking out all but the brightest meteors. If you are patient, you should still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • May 23 – Saturn at Opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn’s rings and a few of its brightest moons.
  • June 21June Solstice. The June solstice occurs at 16:38 UTC. The North Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. This is the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • June 21 – International SUN-day
  • July 14 – New Horizons at Pluto. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Pluto after a nine and a half year journey. Launched on January 19, 2006, this will be the first spacecraft to visit Pluto. New Horizons will give us our first close-up views of the dwarf planet and its moons. After passing Pluto, the spacecraft will continue on to the Kuiper belt to examine some of the other icy bodies at the edge of the Solar System.
  • July 28, 29 – Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids is an average shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by comets Marsden and Kracht. The shower runs annually from July 12 to August 23. It peaks this year on the night of July 28 and morning of July 29. The nearly full moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. But if you are patient, you should still be able to catch a quite few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • July 31 – 6:43 AM The Blue Moon (second Full Moon in single calendar month)
  • August 12, 13 – August 12, 13Perseids Meteor Shower. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. It peaks this year on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. The thin crescent moon will be no match for the bright Perseids this year so be prepared for a great show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • August 13-16  – The 80th Annual Stellafane Convention, Springfield VT
  • September 1 – Neptune at Opposition. The blue giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Neptune. Due to its extreme distance from Earth, it will only appear as a tiny blue dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
  • September 11, 12, 13 – CSP25 – The 25th Connecticut Star Party hosted by the Astronomical Society of New Haven
  • September 13 – Partial Solar Eclipse. A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun, sometimes resembling a bite taken out of a cookie. A partial solar eclipse can only be safely observed with a special solar filter or by looking at the Sun’s reflection. The partial eclipse will only be visible in southern Africa, Madagascar, and Antarctica. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information) NOT VISIBLE from the Rolnick Observatory
  • September 23 – September Equinox. The September equinox occurs at 08:21 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • September 27  – 10:51 PM The Super Full Moon
  • September 28 – Total Lunar Eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of North and South America, Europe, Africa, and western Asia. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
  • October 8, 9 – Draconids Meteor Shower. The Draconids is a minor meteor shower producing only about 10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900. The shower runs annually from October 6-10 and peaks this year on the night of the 8th and morning of the 9th. The second quarter moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. If you are patient, you may be able to spot a few good ones. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • October 11 – Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view Uranus. Due to its distance, it will only appear as a tiny blue-green dot in all but the most powerful telescopes.
  • October 21, 22 – Orionids Meteor Shower. The Orionids is an average shower producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Halley, which has been known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. It peaks this year on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. The first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight leaving fairly dark skies for what should be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • October 26 – Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. Conjunctions are rare events where two or more objects will appear extremely close together in the night sky. The two bright planets will be visible within 1 degree of each other in the early morning sky. Look to the east just before sunrise.
  • October 28 – Conjunction of Venus, Mars, and Jupiter.  The three planets will form a tight 1-degree triangle in the early morning sky. Look to the east just before sunrise.
  • November 5, 6 – Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is unusual in that it consists of two separate streams. The first is produced by dust grains left behind by Asteroid 2004 TG10. The second stream is produced by debris left behind by Comet 2P Encke. The shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10. It peaks this year on the night of November 5. The second quarter moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. If you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones.
  • November 17, 18 – Leonids Meteor Shower. The Leonids is an average shower, producing an average of up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. This shower is unique in that it has a cyclonic peak about every 33 years where hundreds of meteors per hour can be seen. That last of these occurred in 2001. The Leonids is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1865. The shower runs annually from November 6-30. It peaks this year on the night of the 17th and morning of the 18th.
  • December 7 – Conjunction of the Moon and Venus.  The crescent moon will come with 2 degrees of bright planet Venus in the early morning sky. Look to the east just before sunrise.
  • December 13, 14 – Geminids Meteor Shower. The Geminids is the king of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent show.
  • December 21 – December Solstice. The December solstice occurs at 04:48 UTC. The South Pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.44 degrees south latitude. This is the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • December 22, 23 – Ursids Meteor Shower. The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the night of the 22nd. This year the nearly full moon will be bright enough to hide all but the brightest meteors.

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  • May 9, 2016The Transit of Mercury. Transit is visible from the Rolnick Observatory around 7:14am to 2:20 pm.
Total Eclipse, Aruba  February 26, 1998 Photo: Carl Lancaster

Total Eclipse, Aruba
February 26, 1998
Photo: Carl Lancaster