Astronomy enthusiasts of Douglas county gather for monthly meeting the second Tuesday of each month
Now ONLINE ONLY !NEXT UA MEETING
The next UA meeting is May 11th at 7 p.m. PDT ONLINE ONLY. Please ask for Zoom Link and password to join the monthly meetings. Call UCC P. Morgan Observatory phone 541-440-4719 --leave a message for a return call.
Spring Super Moons By Paul Morgan
About three or four times each year the moon reaches full about the time it is closest to earth in its monthly orbit. Recently, these close full moons are called “super moons”. Astronomers call these full moons perigee syzygy moons. Perigee means closest distance to the earth and syzygy is a straight line of earth, moon and sun. Super moons appear about 6% larger and 16% brighter than an average full moon. Super moons also have slightly higher tides due to the proximity and alignment of the moon and sun.
The closest full moon of 2021 for Douglas County residents occurs on the night April 26/27. The April full moon is often referred to as the “pink moon”. This year we will be able to see a pink super moon. Look to the east southeast about 8 p.m. PDT to spy the full moon rising. The full moon looks especially large as it rises and the pink super moon will be at its best at moonrise. The April supermoon is not a record setter, missing out by about 600 miles further than the November 14, 2016 super moon. If it’s clear on April 26th go out and enjoy.
April’s super moon is followed by a slightly more distant May Flower Super Moon on the night of May 25/26. This full moon is extra special not as a close super moon but as the prelude to a predawn total lunar eclipse peaking a few minutes after 4 a.m. PDT. Look for more about the May Flower Super Moon and Total Eclipse in the May Stargazer.
More backyard Astronomy
A tour through the constellation Taurus, the Bull
Taurus, Hyades and Pleaides
Tonight, as the sky darkens look to the west to spot the large constellation called Taurus. The 2 distinctive parts of Taurus, about 25 degrees from the horizon, are your first targets. Look for a large well defined “V”. That’s the Hyades Star Cluster. Grab your binoculars and look about the middle portion of each part of the big “V” to see if you can spy two wide “double” stars. On the right side is a pair called Delta and on the left is Theta. Scan from the right tip of the Hyades “V” about 10 degrees to spot a reddish “star”. That’s Mars. Now sweep about 5 degrees from the right tip of the “V” to find a small “kite-like” group of stars called the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. Slowly scan this star cluster to spot not only the brighter stars but the many faint stars in this pretty cluster.
A tour through the constellation Orion, the hunter
Sweep left (southwest) of the Hyades to spot 3 bright stars in a 3-degree row. This is the “belt” of Orion. Orion has a sword on his lower left side made up of 3 stars in a tiny row. This is your region to explore with your binoculars.
Carefully study each of the sword stars. The top star is actually several stars. The middle star has a fuzzy haze around it. This is the Orion Nebula. The bottom star is also a group of several stars.
As you stay home, enjoy the sky from your back yard: Coming in May 2021 Join Zoom back Yard observing sessions.
Call UCC Observatory and leave a message to get on the zoom list 541-440-4719
All UA in person Events Cancelled.
Umpqua Astronomers is a participating in the Astronomical League. This provides members with a quarterly national magazine, "the Reflector" and many observing project to help beginners to use a hands on approach to learn about astronomy. Umpqua Astronomers is an active member of the Night Sky network , International Astronomical Union programs, the Global Astronomy Month, and the International Observe the Moon program . Club members are encouraged and supported in becoming comfortable learning and exploring the night sky.
Umpqua Astronomers are an active supporting partner of U.C.C.'s Paul Morgan Observatory. Club stargazing events are held at the observatory during spring to fall months. Link to Morgan Observatory website
All PMO events are cancelled due to the Novel Corona virus Covid 19