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Posts under tag: solar eclipse

August 16, 2017

Final Reminder – PMO Not Open for Eclipse!

As a final reminder, PMO is not in the path of totality, and will not be open, for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse or for normal evening viewing this weekend. See the post “Visiting PMO in August (2017)” for more details. Anyone viewing the eclipse from PMO grounds will be on their own, and will need proper protective eyewear, or other safe viewing techniques. See the NASA website, https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/, for more information.

July 29, 2017

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.

Moon information:
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.)

June 28, 2017

Visiting PMO in July (2017)

Reminder – No extra tours for the July 4 holiday (Friday/Saturday only).

PMO remains open for Friday and Saturday night tours, and with the start of July, we’re entering the “prime” of the tour season. Sunsets remain late (8:30 to 8:45 p.m. or so), so you should plan on staying until at least 11:00 p.m. (weather permitting) to have a good observing experience including “deep sky” objects such as star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Tours will not end until midnight this time of year, if the sky remains clear (with the possible exception of full moon weekend). Please arrive early (by about sunset), and check in at the greeting center next to the parking lot.

The planet Jupiter continues to be visible in July, but will sink lower into the west, setting by about 11 p.m. at the end of July. Saturn also remains visible in the southern sky, near the zodiac constellations of Scorpius and Sagittarius. Saturn has a favorable ring angle, and is very impressive on a good night.

Moon viewing information: June 30-July 1 – first quarter, good opportunity to see during tours; July 7-8 – moon almost full, resulting in bright sky; July 14-15 – moon waning and doesn’t rise until about midnight; July 21-22 – new moon (not visible, excellent for deep sky observing); July 28-29 – crescent moon, good opportunity to see in twilight during tours (arrive early).

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.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at PMO!

May 29, 2017

Visiting PMO in June (2017)

PMO is now open for Friday and Saturday night tours, and June can be a good opportunity to visit. Keep in mind, however, that sunsets are late (8:45 p.m. or so), and you should plan on staying until at least 11:00 p.m. (weather permitting) to have a good experience including a couple of dark sky objects such as star clusters. Tours will normally not end until midnight this time of year, if the sky remains clear.

Do arrive early (by about sunset), and check in at the greeting center next to the parking lot. Water bottles may be available to purchase at the greeting center, however, we strongly advise bringing your own food and water.

Twilight viewing beginning about 9:00 p.m. will focus on the planet Jupiter, well-placed in the south about halfway up in the sky. Saturn will be high enough to see later, about the time skies are completely dark. Saturn will be low in the SE sky, near the zodiac constellation of Sagittarius.

Moon viewing information: June 2-3 – moon bright (although not yet full) and sets late; June 9-10 – full bright moon; June 16-17 – moon approaching last quarter, doesn’t rise during tours; June 23-24 – new moon, excellent “deep sky” viewing after 11 p.m., weather permitting.

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.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at PMO!

October 31, 2016

Thanks for a great season!

I had intended to post this sooner, but better late than never! Thanks to all the visitors (well over 1,000) who helped to make the 2016 summer tour season another great season at PMO. We look forward to seeing many of you again in 2017, beginning Memorial Day weekend (Friday-Saturday, May 26-27, 2017). For now, I’ll leave you with a photo of the famous Ring Nebula (M57), taken in September through PMO’s 24-inch telescope.

Also, if you’re planning for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse over Oregon, keep in mind that PMO is not in the path of totality, so there may not be any public activity at PMO on that day. Alternatives include the Oregon Star Party site east of Prineville, and the Oregon Solar Fest (http://www.oregonsolarfest.com/) near Madras.

Photo of Ring Nebula (M57) taken Sept. 2016 at PMO.

Photo of Ring Nebula (M57) taken Sept. 2016 at PMO.



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