Our main features tonight will be Venus early in the evening, Saturn late in the evening, and open star clusters in between.
| Venus is the bright object in the western
sky at sunset. It is currently near its greatest
brilliance, shining at magnitude -4.4, brighter than
any celestial object apart from the Sun and the Moon.
When you look at Venus tonight through a telescope, you'll see a small crescent which looks very much like the first quarter moon. The reason Venus looks so much like the moon is because both are lit up by sunlight, and in both cases, we on Earth can see only a portion of the sunlight hemisphere.
Venus is right now catching up the Earth in its orbit. On June 5, it will pass DIRECTLY between the Sun and Earth, causing a transit that we can see from Rochester! This will be your last chance to see a transit of Venus until 2117.
How many of Saturn's moons can you see tonight? Can you figure out the name of each moon you can see?
Our Milky Way Galaxy has hundreds of open star clusters, which are collections of young stars all born from a single big cloud of gas. Tonight, you'll have a chance to see and compare three particularly nearby clusters. They are all shown on the chart below: M44 (the Beehive Cluster), M35 and M37.
Some might look best through binoculars, others through our telescopes. Which is your favorite?
Some other events of interest tonight:
Thanks for coming to the RIT Observatory! Please check our web page for future events.
Another good place to check is the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Sciences: