Oh the Great Wide Sky – The Okanagan Observatory

by OCRASC

Tues. May 15 – Tonight, or any clear night this week, why not go planet hunting? That bright ‘star’ high in the western sky is the planet Venus, and if you have access to a telescope you will see that it has a crescent shape, similar to a phase of the Moon. Each evening you will find that it is sinking a bit closer to the horizon. What is happening is that Venus is catching up to Earth in its orbit, moving closer to us on its inner route. This means that it is growing in diameter at the same time as the phase is becoming increasingly thin. By month end the sliver will be like a fingernail clipping, dramatic in a telescope, and tantalizing in large binoculars.

Fri. May 18 – If the sky is clear, get set for a night of observing at the Okanagan Observatory on Big White Road (full directions at www.okanaganobservatory.ca). OC RASC members invite the public to join them for an audio/visual program, a guided tour of the sky, and observing with member telescopes and the club’s 25″ telescope. A Go/No Go message will be posted by 3pm each Friday on the Observatory Event Phone 250-300 8SKY (8759).

Sunday, May 20 – Get set for a partial eclipse of the Sun coming up on Sunday afternoon, May 20! Okanagan residents will see a partial eclipse which is well worth observing, if it is done safely! In the late afternoon on May 20, first contact will arrive around 5pm as the dark sphere of the Moon takes its first bite out of the limb of the Sun. The missing sector will grow rapidly until about 68% of the Sun is covered around 6.15pm, followed by the gradual recession of the intruder, restoring the Sun to its full glory around 7.21pm.

Why not join members of Okanagan Centre RASC to view it from the Okanagan Observatory? There will be lots of telescopes, and something extra!

FREE ECLIPSE GLASSES!

Everyone knows that you should not look at the Sun with your naked eye or through binoculars or a telescope without proper filtering! The Okanagan Centre of RASC has free solar eclipse glasses which will be made available to those who join club members at the Okanagan Observatory to see the eclipse on the afternoon of May 20!

Full information including map directions can be found on thewww.okanaganobservatory.ca website.

 

LOOKING AHEAD…

– Saturday, May 26th – Gala Fundraising Dinner to support the Okanagan Observatory. Guest speaker is astronomer Dr. Ken Tapping who recently had an asteroid named after him, speaking on ‘Did an Asteroid Wipe Out The Dinosaurs?’

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