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February 2007
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<div><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Share Skype" id="skype-banner-img" width="120" height="60" /></a></div> Call me!

podsafe music network

Carpe Noctem - Seize the Night!

Image courtesy of Dr. Mark Showalter

Moons and Rings Teleconference

Download the Powerpoint presentation!

The Night Sky Network (NSN)is a nationwide (USA)collection of astronomy clubs delivering NASA and JPL inspired science and mission related information to the general public. The Night Sky Network creates kits and outreach tools specifically for amateur astronomer and the general public. To find a NSN club near you visit their website:

Special thanks to the Night Sky Network, our NSN host Marni Berendsen, and Dr. Mark Showalter.

Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering FREE web hosting on our servers for you or your organization's website. In order to promote the hobbies of Astronomy, Astrophotography, Photography, Birding or generally any topic that is of interest to our customer base, Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope is offering Hosting Grants.

Direct download: AAGGshow36.mp3
Category:Planets -- posted at: 7:54 AM

Download this month's sky map!

Kym Thalassoudis does a wonderful job creating accurate and easy to use star maps every month! Visit his site at for skymaps and links to other useful astronomical sites. Also a great portal for astronomical gifts!

Northern hemisphere sky map
Southern hemisphere sky map

Those in the Southern Hemisphere should also visit James Barclay's site for a great tour of the Southern Hemisphere December sky.

Another great site for Southern Hemisphere viewers is the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand's Southern Hemisphere Calendar can be found at the RASNZ site
Ian Musgrave has a very handy Southern Hemisphere site called Southern Sky Watch.

Download "What's up 2007: 365 days of Skywatching" by Tammy Plotner, published by Universe Today (Faser Cain) it is a fantastic and it is free!

Planets for February 2007

Mercury The first week of February marks it's greatest elongation and better viewing. Mercury continues to creep closer to Venus until the 13th before heading back towards the sun from which it rarely strays. -0.9 mag (1st) to 4.4 mag (21st)

Venus Easy target at sunset and until half an hour after astronomical twilight. On the 7th at 13h UT use Venus to find Uranus 0.7 degrees S. -3.8 mag (1st) to - 3.8 mag (21st)

Mars Mars has moved into Sagitarrius and rising about 1.5 hours before the Sun towards the end of the month Mars moves into Capricorn with Neptune. 1.4 mag (1st) to 1.3 mag (21st)

Jupiter At the beginning of the month Jupiter is rising a few hours after midnight and by mid-month closer to midnight. Jupiter at -1.8 mag, spends the first 11 months of the year in Ophiuchus! -1.9 mag (1st) to -2.0 mag (21st)

Saturn spends the entire year in Leo and is the showpiece of the night time sky. Saturn is at opposition on the 10th rising at sunset opposite Venus and Mercury and transiting around midnight as Jupiter rises. 0.0 mag (1st) to 0.0 mag (21st)

Uranus Starts the month it is 1 deg E of Lambda on the 7th use Venus to find Uranus just 0.7 degrees N of Venus. 8.0 mag (1st) to 8.0 mag (21st)

Neptune will camp out in Capricorn all year long. Invisible as the Sun creeps into Capricorn Neptune is in conjunction with the sun on the 8th.

Key Dates for February 2007

Days and Times in UT (help with time)

Observations are for 8pm for the mid-northern latitudes and for 10pm for the mid-southern latitudes.

Great site for sunrise and sunset times and a downloadable toolbar application by Steve Edwards

Astronomical Highlights

2 -Full Moon 5:45 UT

-Ground hog Day/First Cross Quarter Day, Setsubun, Candlemas

-Saturn very close to Moon possible occultation, check IOTA for occultation at your location (Greenland, Northern Europe, Asia)
3 -Regulus very close to Moon possible occultation, check IOTA for occultation at your location
4 -Zodiacal Lights visible in Northern latitudes in the west after evening twilight for the next two weeks

-Closest distance of Mercury and Venus this month
7 -Moon at apogee (404992 km) 13:00 UT

-Venus 0.7 degree South of Uranus

-Mercury at greatest elongation E (18 degrees)
8 -Spica 1.3 degree N of Moon (4:00 UT)possible occultation, check IOTA for occultation at your location

-Neptune in conjunction with the Sun

-Alpha Centaurid meteor shower (maximum)
10 -Last quarter moon 9:51 UT

-Saturn at oppositions 19:00 UT
11 -Antares 0.7 degrees N of Moon, Check the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) for possible occultation from your location
12 -Jupiter 6 degrees N of Moon
13 -Mercury stationary
14 -Valentine's Day (don't forget!) and if you do drag your sweetheart out and show them the "Heart and Soul" nebula
15 -Mars 4 degree N of Moon
17 -New Moon 16:14 UT
19 -Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) 10h UT
20 -Mercury at greatest heliocentric lat N
23 -Mercury in inferior conjunction
24 -First quarter moon

Monthly Messier*

This month highlights 10 messier objects, most are within reach of binoculars, and over half can be seen with the naked eye.

  • M1 - The Crab nebula is a supernova remnant in Taurus. It is a hazy patch in small telescopes; large scopes can resolve some detail. It is difficult but possible to see in binoculars.
  • M45 - The Pleiades are a large open cluster in Taurus. Easy to resolve six stars naked eye. Binoculars provide the best view. Large telescopes can show some nebulosity.
  • M35, M37, M36, M38 Ã�¢ï¿½ï¿½ These are a series of open clusters in the winter Milky Way. M35 is in Gemini, the others are in Auriga. All can be seen naked eye as faint fuzzy stars, binoculars reveal fuzzy patches, low power telescopes can resolve these rich clusters.
  • M42, M43 - M42 is the great Orion Nebula. It can be seen as small fuzzy patch naked eye. Binoculars show some detail, and the view is superb in most any scope. M43 is a small region of nebulosity next to M42, and probably requires the use of a telescope to view. Use low to moderate powers for the best view of this pair.
  • M78 - A small emission nebula in Orion, a tough binocular object. Best viewed in a telescope at moderate powers.
  • M79 - One of the smallest and dimmest globular clusters in the catalog. A tough binocular object in Lepus, best viewed in a telescope at moderate powers.
*Monthly Messier information gleaned from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Moncton Centre Quebec and from the Astronomy Connection website.

Historical and Current Events

...Did you know?

27 -1967 Apollo 1 tragedy -fire during testing,
28 -1986 Challenger tragedy -explosion during take-off

1 -2003 Columbia tragedy -explosion during re-entry
4 -Clyde Tombaugh's 101st Birthday (1906)

-40th Anniversary (1967), Lunar Orbiter 3 Launch

-Sally Ride Science Festival, Irvine, California
6 -1971 Alan Shepherd became the first person to play golf on another body in the solar system, the Moon
7 -118th birthday of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1st national astronomical organization in the USA
13 -John Dreyer's 155th Birthday (1852)
14 -Fritz Zwicky's 109th birthday (1898)
15 -Galileo Galilei's 443rd birthday (1564)
15-19 -American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California
18 -Chinese New Year

-Pluto discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930
19 - Nicolas Copernicus's 534th Birthday (1473)
20 -Asteroid 9951 Tyrannosaurus Closest Approach To Earth (1.644 AU)

-45th Anniversary (1962), Friendship 7 Launch (John Glenn)
21-22 -Symposium: The Night - Why Dark Hours Are So Important, Washington DC
26 -Camille Flammarion's 165's Birthday
27 -Bernard Lyot's 110th Birthday (1897)
28 -New Horizons, Jupiter Flyby


Astronomical Highlights for 2007

Earth's major motions for 2007
Jan 3 20h(UT)
First Cross Quarter Day
Feb 2-6
Mar 21 00:07(UT)
Second Cross Quarter Day
May 4-7
June 21 18:06(UT)
July 4 00h (UT)
Third Cross Quarter Day
Aug 5-8
Sept 23 19:51(UT)
Fourth Cross Quarter Day
Nov 5-8
Dec 22 06:08(UT)

Planet Positions for 2007

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Venus Sgr Aqr Psc Ari Tau Gem Leo Sex Cnc Leo Leo Vir
Mars Oph Sgr Cap Cap Aqr Psc Ari Tau Tau Gem Gem Gem
Jupiter Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph Oph
Saturn Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo Leo
Uranus Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu Aqu
Neptune Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap Cap

Eclipses for 2007

March 19 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and animation!): The first solar eclipse of 2007 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in Pisces and is visible from eastern Asia and parts of northern Alaska

September 11 - partial solar eclipse (see map, times, and animation): The last eclipse of 2007 is a partial solar eclipse at the Moon's descending node in southern Leo. Its visibility is confined to parts of South America, Antarctica and the South Atlantic

March 3-4 - total lunar eclipse (see map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in the Arctic region, Africa, Europe, Asia except for extreme eastern region, most of Indonesia, western Australia, Queen Maud Land of Antarctica, extreme eastern South America, Greenland, the Indian Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern North Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in Africa, Europe, western Asia, Queen Maud Land of Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula, South America, eastern North America, Greenland, the Arctic region, the Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and the extreme eastern South Pacific Ocean.

August 28 - total lunar eclipse (see map): The beginning of the umbral phase visible in North America, South America except extreme east, Antarctica except for Enderby Land, New Zealand, eastern Australia, extreme northeastern Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and the western Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in New Zealand, Australia, most of Antarctica except Queen Maud Land, Indonesia, eastern Asia, western North America, the Pacific Ocean, and the southeastern Indian Ocean.

Eclipse information from: NASA Eclipse Homepage, Eclipses Online (HM Nautical Almanac Office, UK in coordination with the U.S. Naval Observatory)

Meteor Showers for 2007

As luck would have it, all the major meteor showers reach their peaks in 2007 with the Moon out of the sky. Any of these showers can produce dozens of shooting stars each dark hour leading up to dawn.

Mark your calendar to look for...
  • Lyrids on April 23rd
  • Perseids on August 13th
  • Orionids on October 21st
  • Leonids on November 18th
  • Geminids on the night of December 13-14 (Meteor enthusiasts are keenly awaiting the Geminids in 2007 because their progenitor, the defunct comet Phaethon, precedes them in a flyby of Earth on December 10th.)

Comets for January

Gary Kronk's comet and meteor pages
Skyhound Comet pages

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Scottish Guitar Quartet -"Romance within you"
The Gentle Good - "Amser"
Douglas Spotted Eagle - "Starry Night"

Direct download: AAGG_sky_tour_Feb_07.mp3
Category:Sky Tours -- posted at: 3:39 PM