Skywatches

A Skywatch is a public viewing of celestial objects through telescopes that have been brought in for the event. The one held by the Richmond Astronomical Society and the Science Museum of Virginia takes place on the lawn in front of the Science Museum on the third Friday of the month, weather (usually clouds) permitting. Members of the Society set up their telescopes for anyone who wants to look at what is visible that night. Some of the telescopes will be commercially made and some will have been hand made by the person who brought it. The following calendar shows skywatch dates for 2009, assuming that it is not clouded or rained out. An O indicates New Moon night, taken as that night at which the New Moon comes closest to 9 pm.

2009

January

February

March

April

1

2

3

 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1

2

3

4

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

22

23

O

25

26

27

28

22

23

24

25

O

27

28

19

20

21

22

23

O

25

O

26

27

28

29

30

31

             

29

30

31

     

26

27

28

29

30

             

May

June

July

August

1

2

1

2

3

4

5

6

1

2

3

4

1

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

17

18

19

20

21

22

O

21

O

23

24

25

26

27

19

20

O

22

23

24

25

16

17

18

O

20

21

22

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

28

29

30

26

27

28

29

30

31

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

31             

30

31

September

October

November

December

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

 1

2

3

4

5

6

7

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

O

19

11

12

13

14

15

16

O

15

O

17

18

19

20

21

13

14

O

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

29

30

     

27

28

29

30

31

The time Skywatch begins varies because of the variability of sunset time, but can be roughly defined as 30 minutes after sunset, but no later than 9pm and no earlier than 7pm. Note change in March's time due to Daylight Saving Time coming earlier in March starting in 2007. For most of this year there will be no Moon. This is good for seeing stars and planets, but we need some Moon up there to show the public. It is a poor year for planets. Mercury is visible only 2 months, Venus 3, and Mars only 1. Saturn is visible for 7 months, but for most of these, the rings will be edge-on and invisible; it will look more like a little Jupiter. However, Venus is high and brilliant in the months it is visible.
Month Starting Time Sunset Moon 2009 Planets 2009
January 7 pm 5:16 pm None Venus Saturn
February 7 pm 5:54 pm None Venus Saturn
March 8 pm 7:22 pm None Venus Saturn
April 8 pm 7:48 pm None Mercury Saturn
May 8:30 pm 8:13 pm None Saturn
June 9 pm 8:34 pm None Saturn
July 9 pm 8:29 pm None Jupiter Saturn
August 8:30 pm 7:54 pm Fingernail Crescent Jupiter
September 8 pm 7:12 pm None; New Moon Jupiter
October 7 pm 6:31 pm None Jupiter
November 7 pm 4:56 pm Banana Crescent Jupiter
December 7 pm 4:54 pm Banana Crescent Mercury Mars Jupiter



Return to RAS activities Page
Return to the RAS home page.