Friday, May 30, 2014

Open evening at the wise observatory

Hi Y'all,

Wise Observatory, Israel
The wise observatory near Mitzpe Ramon will be open to the public next Thursday. 
This is the one time a year you can get in to see and learn about the largest telescope in the country.

The program includes:

Between 17:30 and 22:30:

  • Talks about current research topics in the observatory
  • Guided tours in the observatory and around the different telescopes.
  • Automated observations of various astronomical objects
  • Observations through small telescopes
  • Guided stargazing

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

See Mars next to the Moon tonight

Mars has recently come into opposition. That is not as bad as it sounds. It just means that Mars is now closest to Earth, as happens about every 2 years. So it means Mars now appears biggest and brightest in our sky. Even f you  are not good with a star map, Mars will be very easy to find tonight as it is right next to the Moon high in the sky. 

Keep looking up!

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Moon, Venus and Jupiter tonight!

Tonight will be the first chance to see the new moon of the month of  Shvat. You may be able to spot the Moon almost as soon as the sun sets at 16:36.

It is also one of the last nights to see Venus very low in the southwest before it disappears in its rendezvous with the Sun. As an added treat, if you turn around you can also spot Jupiter as it rises low in the northeast.

The sky tonight showing Venus and the Moon at upper left with Jupiter in the lower right.

To catch the full view, you will have to find high ground with an unobstructed view down to both the east and west horizon.   The best time will be between 17:15 and 17:30. The show will be over by the time Venus sets at 17:45 with the Moon following at 18:10. However if you are late, you can still enjoy Jupiter which will be up all night long.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Solstice, Jupiter, Venus

Hi Y'all,

Now that the snow storm is behind us, it is time for winter to officially begin. The solstice will be tomorrow, Saturday night at  19:11 Israel time. Literally "Sun stop", the solstice is when the apparent motion of the Sun to the south stops and the sun turns to come back north. It is also the shortest day of the year, and thus will also be the shortest Shabbat of the year. We astronomers have a special warm feeling for this day, as it is also the night with the longest opportunity to watch the stars!

Aside from the bright winter constellations now rising in the east after sunset, we have a new visitor, namely Jupiter. As king of the planets in size, Jupiter is also the 2nd brightest, right after Venus. You may have noticed Jupiter as that bright "star" hanging near the nearly full moon the past few nights. But as the moon speeds in it's orbit around us hear on earth, it will leave Jupiter to shine alone impressively next to the bright stars of Orion, Gemin and Sirius.

I hope you have all been enjoying the bright show of Venus in the west for the past 11 months or so. This month Venus is at it brightest and highest, but paradoxically it will soon dive down to the horizon, and disappear in the glare of the Sun by months end. It will reappear a week later, but only for those who get up early on frosty mornings, to see it rise just before the sun.

As Venus sets about an hour  and a 1/2 after sunset, Jupiter will be rising opposite in the sky,  low in the east. By 8:00pm it should be high enough to easily spot. Although it will be in good company near the  bright stars of winter it will outshine them, and be easy to pick out.

Shabbat Shalom,

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Eclipse report

Hi Y'all,
Hope you all enjoyed the eclipse today.

I had a small crowd on the roof at work with a telescope for projection and some solar glasses filters. We could follow the eclipse till about 4:20 when the Sun dipped behind the hill of Malcha.

Gadi got some great pictures from Tel Aviv, all the way down to sunset

Inline image 1Notice the sunspot group in the bottom center of the Sun!

And my neighbor Zev, got a great shot just before the sun set over the hills of Gush Etzion.

Inline image 2.

Don't worry, if you missed the eclipse, the next one visible from Israel will be on March 20, 2015!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Solar eclipse visible from Israel Sun Nov. 3

Eclipse Alert!

There will be total solar eclipse over Africa this Sunday. From Israel a partial eclipse  of 20% will be visible.

Click for an animation!

The eclipse will be near sunset, so you will need an unobstructed view to the west to catch it.

Local times:
Eclipse begins: 15:13
Maximum:        16:00
Eclipse ends:    16:44
Sunset:            16:48

As usual you must practice safe solar viewing so as not to damage your eyes.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Perseid Meteor Shower Monday night!

Get ready for the Perseid meteor shower Sunday and Monday night.

For best viewing
go to any dark spot after midnight and look up.

There are several organized viewings around the country.
Yossi Gaibel  and the Gush Astro club is organizing a viewing with "Big Bear" at Givat Mesua near Bet shemesh on Sunday night. For details call him at 050-363-2022.

For really dark skies, the desert is the place to be. Monday night there is a meteor party in Mizpe Ramon. For those of you are near Eilat, there will also be a happening in Park Timna

I will have to take my chances here in Idaho. The forecast here calls for thunder showers on Monday. :-(

For more about the perseids, see the following links:

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