On behalf of the Minnesota Astronomical Society welcome to our web site! Please accept our invitation and join us in our explorations of the cosmos, either as a visitor to one of our many events or as a member of the Society.
MAS Member Orientation - Saturday June 1, 2013
You are invited to a Minnesota Astronomical Society member orientation session on Saturday, June 1, 2013. It will begin at 10:30 and will last until approximately 12:30.
We'll provide an orientation presentation and discussion for new and prospective members - and a refresher for anyone else who wishes to come.
During this orientation we will cover an introduction to all our observatories and observing sites as well as updates on the new facilities being completed. We will talk about the benefits of your membership in the MAS - observing sites, special interest groups, opportunities for outreach, discussion lists and mail lists, library, meetings and more.
The Meeting location will be at the Golden Valley Library, located at 830 Winnetka Ave. No., Golden Valley.
NOTE: The Orientation date has been changed from the original date of May 25, due to room availabilty at the Golden Valley Library.
Comet PANSTARRS visible now!!!
Although fading, comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) is still visible in the evening sky. Currently circumpolar and visible all night in the constellation Cepheus. PANSTARRS, is at 7th magnitude and will be fading as it moves away from us. By the end of May it will be 5 degrees from the north star and dimmer than 9th magnitude, but still within reach of our telescopes.
In the next several weeks, PANSTARRS will continue its northerly path, passing through Cepheus, Draco and into Ursa Minor. Visit the 2013 Special Events page for information or follow this link to the most recent chart showing its celestial path through May 2013.
You can also follow the PANSTARRS discussion on the MAS Discussion Forums HERE.
Planet Update (rev. May 21, 2013)
Mercury has moved into the evening sky, at an altitude of more than 10 degrees above the horizon at sunset. It is quickly gaining altitude, at nearly one degree each night. From May 22 to May 27, Mercury will be very near Venus and Jupiter making a nice triangular grouping. Mercury will be very well positioned for observing as it approaches greatest elongation in mid June. On June 10th, it make a nice grouping with the moon and Venus in the evening sky. On June 19 Mercury will be less than 2 degrees from Venus, on its way to inferior conjunction in early July. From mid May through June will be the best time to see Mercury in the evening this year. If you've ever wanted to see what this speedy little planet looks like, now's the time.
Venus (magnitude –3.9) is nearly as far away from us as it can get. Showing nearly a full disk of 10 arc seconds, less than 1/6th the diameter it has when it is near inferior conjunction. Venus is currently more than 10 degrees above the horizon at sunset as it slowly gains altitude in the evening sky. As Venus gains altitude, it will be within 2 degrees of Mercury from May 22 to 26. On May 26th, Jupiter will also be within 2 degrees of Venus to form a planetary triangle in the evening sky. On evenings of May 27th and 28th, Venus and Jupiter will pass within 1.25 degree of each other.
Mars, is virtually lost in the glare of the sun in the morning sky, less than 4 degrees above the horizon at sunrise. Mars' apparent disk size is currently at 3.8 arc-seconds. Mars will slowly gain altitude in the morning sky, by the end of June it will be 11 degrees in altitude at sunrise and by the end of July only 21 degrees.
Jupiter is visible in the evening, currently less than 15 degrees in altitude at sunset. Jupiter is currently 33 arc-seconds in apparent diameter and at magnitude -2.0, it is an unmistakable object in the constellation Taurus. Jupiter should remain visible in the evening through May as it gets closer to the setting sun. Look for Jupiter to form a nice grouping with Mercury and Venus in the coming weeks (see above). On June 19, Jupiter will literally pass behind the sun as it moves into the morning sky. On July 22, Jupiter is less than 1 degree from Mars as both are gaining altitude in the morning sky.
Saturn is past opposition and is visible all night. At an altitude of 22 degrees at sunset, Saturn is at its best for viewing for the remainder of spring and summer. Saturn will spend the year on the boundary between the constellations Libra and Virgo, about half way between Spica and Zubenelschemali, the 'northern claw' of Libra
Uranus at 5.9 magnitude, rises at 3:36 am and is about 20 degrees in altitude at sunrise. Uranus will spend the year in Pisces more than 35 degrees east of Neptune. Uranus reaches opposition on October 3.
Neptune rises at 2:20 am and is about 28 degrees in altitude at sunrise. About 35 degrees to the west of Uranus, Neptune spends 2013 in the constellation of Aquarius, reaching opposition on August 27.
Star Party Update
For Additional information on our observing sites, visit the MAS Facilities page HERE or select a link below.
Click on Wunderground box below for Minneapolis weather forecast.
Clear Sky Charts for MAS Observing Sites. Click banner for added detail.
Next MeetingJune 6th, 2013 at Fairview Community Center, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Paul Woodward - University of Minnesota
Topic: 'Nucleosynthsis and Stars Like the Sun Near the End of Their Lives'
Meeting Location: Fairview Community Center
1910 County Road B West - ''Great Room''
Roseville, MN 55113
PayPal Option for New or Renewing Members
New or renewing members can now use PayPal to pay their dues. Visit the membership section of the web (http://www.mnastro.org/membership/join.htm) or click on any 'Join the MAS' link to take advantage of this easy-to-use feature.
MAS Joins JPL's 'Night Sky Network'
The Minnesota Astronomical Society is pleased to announce its acceptance into the 'Night Sky Network'. Visit the MAS outreach page (www.mnastro.org/outreach) for details.