Did you know that this is a great time to see our neighboring planets without having to wait until late into the night? The Moon, Mars, and Saturn are all visible in the early evening sky this month, both by eye and by telescope. Come to see them from MSU St. Andrews in Midland, and take advantage of the earlier darkness that fall brings!
Families are invited to an evening of astronomy and observing. There will be a number of different types of telescopes available for attendees to use and look through. We will begin with a short discussion describing the telescopes we have, and some fun information on astronomy in general. Then, we will begin our outdoor observing session. It promises to be a very special evening.
First up is the moon, which will be well-placed for viewing as we start our evening. If you’ve never seen the moon through a telescope, this will be a special treat. The Moon will be just past first quarter on Astronomy and Telescope Night. At this phase, the eastern lunar “seas” will be visible, and several mountain ranges will be catching the sun just right for good viewing from Earth. The southern crater fields will also have good contrast.
Saturn, in the southwest, will make a fine appearance. Its rings can be seen in our telescopes, as well as its largest moon, Titan. Saturn’s rings are tilted towards us, so this is a great time to see them. Saturn is much brighter than most stars and can easily be seen with the naked eye; we will show you where in the sky to look.
Mars, in the south, is coming off of its best opposition in over a decade and is still in a good position for viewing. Mars is also brighter than most stars and can also be seen with the unaided eye.
There are always other options to see on an Astronomy and Telescope Night. Many stars and constellations will be visible from our St. Andrews site. We can help you learn to identify the brighter stars by name, as well as the brighter constellations. The distant planet Uranus will also be visible on this night; we can show you where to look for that as well. (For Uranus, bring binoculars!) It all depends on what interests our attendees the most!
We are located at 1910 W. St. Andrews, at the next driveway east of the Grace A. Dow Library.
In case of clouds or bad weather, we will cancel and regroup on a later evening.