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March Astronomy - Constellations, The Moon, and Mars

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Date: March 9, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm
Location New Pond Farm Observatory, West Redding
Member Price: $4.00
Non-Member Price: $6.00
Summary:
This month we will view a 3-day old Moon, and our red neighbor, Mars. Also, we will explore Gemini, Orion, which is best seen in the night sky from January to March, and other winter constellations. Join us as we cruise through the March night sky.
Detailed Description:

Gemini is an easy to find constellation containing two of the brightest stars in the night sky.  Latin for twins, we currently view them as the Greek and Roman mythological brothers Castor and Pollux, sons of Spartan Queen Leda.  But, the Egyptians thought them to be twin goats and Arabian astrology noted them to be twin peacocks.  As we will learn, not everything in the night sky is what it appears to be.  Castor, the dimmer star, isn't really one star at all.  But, it is a sextuple star system organized into three binary pairs.  The brighter singular Pollux, is a red giant.  Red giants are dying stars.  They have burned through their core's supply of hydrogen, exploded, and are now using helium as fuel.  This makes them cooler than our Sun, but much larger, and gives them an orange hue.  Pollux has an exoplanet orbiting it.  Discovered by its gravitational pull, this exoplanet is a gas giant about twice the size of Jupiter.  It is orbiting at a distance roughly the same distance that Mars is to the Sun. 

In addition, we will explore the constellation Orion with its famous belt of stars and nebula.  The 3-day old waning gibbous moon will reveal some of its seas and mountains. And, we'll look at our red neighbor, Mars, where we have said goodbye to Opportunity Rover whose mission was complete on Feb. 13, 2019. 

At 6:30PM, there will be an optional mini-lesson for participants, especially children, to better understand what they will be viewing. This will take place in the classroom and is included in the price of the program.  Viewing will begin on Astronomy Hill at 7:00PM.

All Ages Welcome - Registration Required  - is button below!

What to bring:  Please dress warmly and bring a flashlight for the walk to/from the observatory is dark. If you have them, lawn chairs and binoculars are welcome. For those with smartphones, there is a possibility that photos off the telescopes can be taken during the program.  There is a warming hut near the telescopes and a wooden platform to stand on.

Program Fees:  Members to NPF and the Discovery Center: $4 per person with a $16 maximum for a family
                          Non-Members: $6 per person with $24 maximum for a family

Location:  New Pond Farm is located at 101 Marchant Road, West Redding, CT 06896.  Please park by the Learning Center and walk out to the hill. For Directions: Click Here

If it looks cloudy on the day of this program, check this web site after 3PM for an update.

This program is co-sponsored by New Pond Farm

Photo:  https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/meet-pollux-red-giant-exoplanet/    Akira Fujii

Search:
Join Our Community:
Watch for these Programs:
  • Astronomy Series
  • Birding Series
  • More 'Ghosts' in October
  • Snowshoe events when it snows!
  • Animal Encounter Series
  • 'CT Trail Day' Hike in June