A Night at The Pattonville Observatory
The Pattonville Observatory and Planetarium Public Viewing Session
195 Fee Fee Road (behind Heights)
Friday, December 13, 2019 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Information hotline: 314-213-8034
The Moon in a waning gibbous phase, and will be rising in the East near the open cluster M35. It will make a decent target for observations tonight.
We will talk a little about meteors as the peak for the famous Geminid Meteor Shower is coming up so observing meteors should be favorable. This shower produces a maximum of 120 meteors per hour, but a dark site is best for viewing.
The planets that will be visible in our night sky are the blue gas-giants Uranus and Neptune. Light from the Moon will make them difficult to view. Venus and Saturn set just before our session. Pluto is visible, but is just too dim to be seen with our telescope under light polluted skies.
Taurus and Auriga are well placed in the East and the Pleiades are visible along with some of the open clusters in Auriga such as M36, M37 and M38. Orion will be rising in the East, so we should be able to get a nice look at the great Orion Nebula or M42. Gemini is also rising at the end of our session, so we will look at M35. The Beehive Cluster or M44 might be visible right at the end of the session. If we can, we’ll try to take a look at the Cat’s Eye Nebula or NGC 6543.
The Summer Triangle, Vega, Deneb and Altair, is setting in the west. Albireo, a magnificent blue and gold double M15, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest neighbor and the Double Cluster will also be targets.
Come spend the evening viewing the cosmos with your family, residents and non-residents are welcome! Students, who are accompanied by their parents, are especially welcome! Please take note that the dome is not heated or cooled, so pay attention to the weather and dress in a manner that is appropriate for the evening temperature conditions. If it is raining or cloudy, a planetarium program will be presented instead.