STARDIAL -- MONTHLY CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR
1997. (INCLUDES Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Nov. Dec.)
Compiled from various resources by Jehana
The February 1997 StarDial
Some celestial events for February
New Moon: 10:06 am EST Feb 7th.
Full Moon: 5:27 am EST Feb 22nd.
During the month of February, the comet will be following
Star River (the Milky Way), travelling northerly.
viewers can arise 3 hours before the sun early this
month, or 4
hours earlier than the sun later in the month. The comet
grow brighter as the month progresses, and into March.
intrepid explorers, Searles and Trailstalker, will
stay up all night to see the comet for us, since they
stay up all
night anyway...) March and April should bring more
viewing habits to viewers from the Northern hemisphere.
eastern sky for the comet. It will start the month in the
constellation Saggita, progress to Vulpecula, and then
constellation of Cygnus. The moon will interfere with
from about the 20th to the end of the month. This only
you are in the Northern hemisphere. If you are in the
hemisphere, you needs must wait until May to see the
comet as it
leaves our solar system.
On the evening of Feb. 10th, you'll
find the moon just above
Saturn in the west-southwestern skies.
Oh, and while you are hunting for the
comet the morning of
Feb. 5th, you may see, in the southeastly skies, 20
before sunrise, Jupiter and Venus in close approximation,
Mercury slightly higher and to the right, and a
hovering again slightly above Mercury.
Happy starhunting! -- Jehana.
The March 1997 StarDial
March 6: The Moon is found 5 degrees
north of Jupiter, 9 am, EST.
March 8: New Moon at 8:15 pm, EST,
Total Solar Eclipse viewable in the
region of Mongolia.
March 10: Moon passes 1.4 degrees north
of Saturn at 4 am, EST.
March 20: Spring Equinox, at 8:55 AM,
Mars is as close to Earth as it will be for approximately
next two years -- 99 million kilometers.
March 22: Comet Hale-Bopp passes as
close to Earth as it will get -- 197
million kilometers. Hale-Bopp should be visible in the
in the evening after dark during this month.
March 23: Full Moon, 11:45 pm, EST.
Partial lunar eclipse over much of North America.
Moon passes 4 degrees south of Mars at 9 am, EST.
The April 1997 StarDial
April 1: Comet Hale-Bopp reaches
Perihelion (the point in its orbit at which it is closest
to the Sun.)
Evening viewing of Hale-Bopp will
remain good for at least a couple more weeks,
even though the comet will be leaving the Sun behind, and
beginning its travels
to more distant reaches of the solar system. The Moon
will be cooperating, by
being visible in morning hours rather than in the evening
April 3rd: The Moon passes 4 degrees
north of Jupiter at 3 AM, EST.
April 6th: Your clocks "spring
ahead", and you lose an hour of sleep (most of North
April 7th: New Moon, at 7:02 AM, EDT.
Moon occults Saturn.
Moon occults Venus.
April 12: International Astronomy Day
April 19: The Moon passes 4 degrees
south of Mars, 2 AM, EDT.
April 20-22 Peak of the Lyrids meteor
shower. They are
seen as if coming from the constellation Lyra, to the
after midnight. This is not one of the best meteor
showers, and it has to
compete with the light of the waxing moon
April 22 Earth Day
Full Moon at 4:33 PM, EDT
The May 1997 StarDial
Most of May: Comet Hale-Bopp may be
found in the region of
Taurus, lower over the horizon, in the west-northwestern
skies of early night.
It may well begin to grow fainter, and by the end of the
month it is possible
that viewing might only be possible with binoculars.
However, this is unknown.
As the comet gets closer to the horizon, and viewing time
after sunset is
diminished, other factors besides apparent magnitude
come into play which will make it harder to view
Through May, Mars will still be bright
and visible in the evening skies, setting at some
point after midnight. It should be visible in the
near Leo, but it will likewise grow dimmer as the month
May 4th: Peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor
These will be seen as coming from the
vicinity of the constellation of Aquarius, which will be
east-southeast in the
early morning hours. These particular meteors are
leftover rocks and particles
from Halley's comet as our planet crosses that area of
space, and they burn up
in our atmosphere. Some may be seen as well during the
April 18th and May 28th.
Also on May 4th, the Moon will occlude Saturn, but this
will happen in daylight
hours. However, about 45 minutes before sunrise, one
might be able to see the
crescent moon rise in the eastern skies close to Saturn
(the latter towards
May 6th: New Moon at 4:46 pm, EDT.
May 19th: Venus passes 6 degrees north
of the star Aldebaran, at 4 am, EDT
May 22nd: Full Moon at 5:13 am, EDT.
May 28th: The Moon passes 4 degrees
north of Jupiter, 2 AM, EDT.
May 31st: The Moon passes 5 degrees
north of Saturn, 11 pm, EDT.
The moon passes 6° north of Mars at midnight, Eastern
Taurids meteor shower peaks. These are not as spectacular
the Leonid showers later in the month.
The moon passes 9° north of Venus at 6 a.m. EST
The moon passes 4° north of Jupiter at 3 p.m. EST
First quarter moon occurs at 4:43 p.m. EST
A "triple shadow transit" of Jupiter will
occur, by its moons
Callisto, Ganymede, and then Io, as they cross over the
surface of the
giant planet. (You will require a telescope to watch
this.) 10:34 pm and
until Jupiter sets, all three shadows should be visible
at the same time.
The moon passes 0.4° north of Saturn at 8 p.m. EST. In
many/most US locations, the moon will partially occlude
Mercury passes 2° north of Antares at 11 p.m. EST
Full moon is at 9:12 a.m. EST
Leonid meteor shower peaks
This meteor shower is associated with the comet
P/Tempel-Tuttle, and should give a good showing this year
(its peak of
meteors in recent years is predicted to fall in 1998).
The moon may
interfere somehat with viewing this year.
Last quarter moon is at 6:58 p.m. EST
Dark moon is at 9:14 p.m. EST
From a half hour to an hour after sunset, east coast
may see a very young crescent moon, a very tenuous
crescent which will set
about an hour after the sun. For this to be visible, the
must be very clear.
In the evenings of late November, you
will find Mercury in the southwest,
along the horizon.
Jupiter will spend the month waiting
for viewers in the southern evening
skies. Saturn will be hanging out in Pisces, easily the
brightest object in
that region of space.
Comets of November 1997 (not that
you'll be able to see any of 'em):
Nov 01 - Comet P/1997 T3 Perihelion (3.767 Astronomical
Nov 01 - Comet Johnson Perihelion (2.308 AU)
Nov 01 - Comet Neujmin 2 Perihelion (1.274 AU)
Nov 10 - Comet Helin-Roman-Alu 2 Perihelion (1.910 AU)
Nov 14 - Comet duToit-Hartley Perihelion (1.201 AU)
Nov 15 - Comet C/1997 A1 (NEAT) Closest Approach to Earth
Nov 19 - Comet Russell 3 Perihelion (2.510 AU)
Nov 20 - Comet Shoemaker-Holt 1 Perihelion (3.05 AU)
Nov 22 - Comet Mueller 2 reaches perihelion (2.412 AU)
Nov 22 - Comet Tsuchinshan 1 Closest Approach to Earth
Nov 27 - Comet Shoemaker-Holt 1 Closest Approach to Earth
I just tossed this in to demonstrate that comets are more
than we think...
*** WELCOME TO THE DECEMBER
1997 STARDIAL ***
Dec. 2: The Moon passes 5° north of Mars, at midnight
(Eastern Standard Time)
Dec. 3: The Moon passes 7° north of
Venus at noon EST
(This date also marks your Brugh-mistress' birthday...)
Dec. 5: The Moon passes 3° north of
Jupiter at 3 a.m. EST
Dec. 7: First quarter of the waxing
Moon is at 1:09 a.m. EST
Spacecraft Galileo, sent to explore Jupiter, is scheduled
end this primary mission on this date.
Dec. 8: Galileo is scheduled to begin
its Europa mission. (Europa is one
of the larger and more fascinating moons of Jupiter. Not
that any of them
are without interest.)
Dec. 9: The Moon occults Saturn,
visible from most of
North America, at 2 a.m. EST
The moon is at perigee (229,208 miles from Earth), 11:55
Dec. 11: Venus is at its greatest
brilliancy (-4.7 Magnitude) at 6 pm, EST.
You'll see it in the western skies.
Dec. 12/13: The Moon passes 0.5° north
of Aldebaran, in occultation,
midnight EST of the twelfth, leading into the thirteenth.
Aldebaran is a
major star in the constellation Taurus.
Dec 12: Galileo will perform a Europa
12 flyby, presumably taking pictures
and other recordings.
Dec 13: The Full Moon is at 9:37 p.m.
Geminids Meteor Shower peaks this night, which, due to
the full moon,
may not make them prime viewing time. However, the
showers will be visible
from the 7th to the 17th. These showers appear to come
out of the constellation
Gemini, in the southeast. Best viewing time for meteor
showers tends to be
the early morning hours, although some meteors can be
seen earlier in the
Dec. 16: Mars Passes 1.6 Degrees South
The science fiction writer and science popularizer,
Arthur C. Clarke,
celebrates his 80th birthday on this date.
Dec. 21: Winter solstice is at 3:07
p.m. EST. This signifies the time
where the Sun is at its farthest point south of the
celestial equator, and
the North Pole is angled away from it. The result is that
this is the
date of the longest night/shortest day (in the Northern
The last quarter Moon falls at 4:43 p.m. EST
The Moon is at apogee (251,197 miles from Earth), 6:25
Dec. 22: The Ursids Meteor Showers
peak. These showers are not as dramatic
as the earlier Geminids.
Venus passes 1.1° north of Mars, 6 a.m. EST.
Dec. 25: Venus is stationary, 9 a.m.
Dec. 27: The Moon passes 2° north of
Mercury, 10 p.m. EST
Dec. 29: The Dark Moon is at 11:56 a.m.
Dec. 31: The Moon passes 1.3° north of
Venus, 8 a.m. EST, in eastern skies.
The Moon passes 4° north of Mars, 10 p.m. EST.
Jupiter will spend the month in the
western skies, prominant after twilight
settles into night.
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