2018 Eagle Lake Observatory Special Events
|This page highlights the special events we are opening the observatory for. These events are generally ”Cancelled if Cloudy” events and happen during the work week or on weekends not on the regular public star party schedule.
For any changes to the observing schedule, check the Public Star Party schedule and/or the MAS homepage for the latest updates. For directions and additional information on the Eagle Lake Observatory, visit the Eagle Lake Observatory website.
Location: Eagle Lake Observatory at Baylor Regional Park
Address: 10775 County Rd 33, Norwood-Young America, MN
Opposition of Mars – July 27 & 28, 2018
Join us as we gather to observe the planet Mars at it’s closest approach to the Earth since 2003. View the red planet through our many telescope platforms and see for yourself the polar caps and surface features best seen at the rare close opposition.
This special event will be an ”All weather” event. Even if its cloudy, we’ll be there to talk astronomy, give a tour of the observatory, answer your astronomy questions, etc.
This close opposition will show Mars as the best it’s been for the past 15 years. DO NOT miss this rare event!!
Comet Wirtanen 46p
December 15th – 7:00 pm
||Join us as we plan to observe the 2018 pass of Comet 46P Wirtanen is the closest one to the Earth since its discovery 70 years ago, and the closest for the 21st century. View the comet through our many telescope platforms and see for yourself this comet up close.
This special event will be a ”Cancelled if Cloudy” event.
Wirtanen takes just 5.4 years to go once around the Sun, ranging from an aphelion of 5.1 Astronomical Units (AU ) inside of Jupiter’s orbit to a perihelion of 1.06 AU, just exterior of Earth’s path around the Sun.
The 2018 pass of Comet 46P Wirtanen is the closest one to the Earth since its discovery 70 years ago, and the closest for the 21st century. In fact, this is the 20th closest known cometary passage near Earth.
in December, as the comet gains steam and moves at 4 degrees per day (that’s the equivalent of the diameter of a Full Moon every three hours!) on closest approach in mid-December, racing through the constellations of Eridanus, Taurus and Auriga as it vaults up over the ecliptic plane and into the northern hemisphere sky.
U.S. astronomer Carl Wirtanen first observed the 46th periodic comet in the catalog on the night of January 17th, 1948 while carrying out a stellar proper motion survey from the Lick Observatory. Wirtanen went on to discover four more comets.
December 13 – Reaches perihelion at 1.048 AU from the Sun.
December 16 – Passes two degrees from the Pleiades open cluster (M45).
December 16 – Passes closest to the Earth, at 0.077 AU (7.16 million miles) distant.
DO NOT miss this rare event!!