Visiting PMO in August (2017)
Important reminder: PMO is NOT in the path of totality for the August 21 total solar eclipse, and will NOT be open that day or the weekend of August 18-20. For a possible eclipse viewing site, see https://www.oregonsolarfest.com/. The eclipse at PMO will be 98.9% partial in terms of “obscuration,” or fraction of the Sun’s area covered. That is still about 1,000 times too bright to observe the Sun’s faint outer atmosphere, or corona.
Sunsets at PMO rapidly become earlier in August – from about 8:30 p.m. at the outset to about 7:45 p.m. at the end. This means you won’t have to wait as long to see the Milky Way and some great “deep sky” objects, but do plan on arriving at or shortly after sunset if you want to observe the planets Jupiter (now getting quite low in the western sky) and Saturn. Neptune is the only planet we’ll observe after dark – near the end of most tours, a little before midnight.
The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks on Saturday August 12, and should be good both that morning from about midnight to 4 a.m., and that evening before midnight. You’re welcome to visit, camp if desired, look up at the sky and enjoy the meteor show. However, the moon will be bright.
Aug 4-5 – bright almost full moon interferes with viewing all night (avoid this weekend if possible); Aug 11-12 – moon still bright and rises 11 to 11:30 p.m., interfering with meteor watching, but allowing an hour or so of dark sky viewing before moonrise; Aug 18-19 – Sorry, PMO is closed due to the total solar eclipse on Monday. The campground is expected to remain open, but you will need your own viewing equipment; Aug 25-26 – crescent moon sets by about 11 p.m., won’t interfere with public viewing. To see the moon itself (which will be low in the sky), please arrive early, by 8:30 p.m. (Jupiter will also be very low below the moon on the 25th.)