Astronomy Nights '17
at Robbins Farm
This summer there will be a series of Astronomy Nights at Robbins Farm
Park. Each night we'll have at least one telescope out to view objects in
the night sky. This summer, the star of the show is a solar eclipse on
August 21st, but the night sky will still have a lot to offer.
There'll be plenty to see -- the sky is the limit!
Please note that construction has begun at Robbins Farm Park. Fences
are blocking the paved walkway, but the benches overlooking Boston where
we set up are still accessible. Enter Robbins Farm Park by the paths
and continue to the right of the fences to reach the benches.
The events are totally informal and fun for all ages. Weather permitting,
the dates are as follows:
If we get bad weather, the rain dates will be the following Sunday
- June 3 (8:00pm): Jupiter is high in the sky at dusk, and tonight
it has a dancing partner as it moves across the sky. A waxing gibbous
Moon (one that is more than half full and growing larger) hangs just
about 2º above Jupiter.
- June 24 (8:45pm): Jupiter has moved further West, but is still
prominent in the early evening sky. As the sky darkens, Jupiter is
joined by Saturn rising in the East. A moonless night keeps the sky as
dark as we can get for Arlington. We'll try to set our sights on some
"deep sky" objects like star clusters.
- July 29 (8:45pm) Postponed to Sunday, July 30th: A waxing crescent Moon provides a beautiful
telescopic site as light from the Sun illuminates its cratered surface.
Saturn is now higher up in the Southern sky at dusk. Its rings are
always a stunning sight. Jupiter is setting now and will be lost from
view by the end of the summer.
- August 21 (Monday, 1:28pm): Don't miss a partial Solar Eclipse! I may
or may not have the telescope out in the park, but be sure to take a
step outside and, using proper
eye protection, watch as the Moon moves across the Sun, covering
as much as 63% of the surface. If you're using viewing glasses, please
check the American Astronomical Society's list of reputable vendors
to be sure you're using safe glasses. Some vendors have been creating
ones that do not comply with international safety standards.
Maximum eclipse will occur at 2:46pm for
us and the eclipse will conclude at 3:59pm as the last edge of the Moon
moves away from the edge of the Sun.
See my Gallery of Eclipse Photos from this great event!
- Sept 2 (8:00pm) Canceled: A nearly full Moon illuminates much of the sky, but
if you haven't made it to an Astronomy Night yet, now is your last
chance of the season. This phase of the Moon lets us see nearly all of
this side of the Moon's surface features. Saturn is now further over in
the sky and is close to setting by the end of the evening.
- Oct 14 (7:00pm): The sky will be moonless tonight, giving us the best
view we can get of the stars in our light-polluted proximity Boston.
We'll spot constellations and look for some deep sky objects. We'll also
be treated to a fly-over of the International Space Station at 7:28 which
will last for a few minutes.
Download the poster
to print a reminder.
Each Astronomy Night will start when the stars come out and usually lasts
a couple hours. To add the schedule to your own calendar, import the
file. If it is overcast we'll have to cancel and hope for
clear weather the follow night, but as long as there are some stars
visible we'll give it a shot. For reminders and weather decisions,
consider joining my announcement
mailing list. Weather decisions for questionable nights will
also be posted on this site. Rain dates are the following night for
each date. We set up the telescopes on the observation area of Robbins
Farm Park that overlooks Boston.
Please note: it
will be dark in the park! Bring a flashlight, but please keep it
aimed at the ground while you're in the park. Parents, please help your
children remember this rule. It takes your eyes a while to adjust to the
dark, and you'll see more in the sky once your night vision is working.
Keeping your flashlight pointed at the ground helps everybody keep their
eyes adjusted to the dark. Red light doesn't hurt night vision as much so
a red flashlight or red cellophane over a flashlight helps a lot! Consider
using bug spray too.
If you have questions, feel free to contact me at jeff [at]
arlingtonastronomy [dot] org