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Sunday February 18th 2018

Astro Rally


Fun and Excitement for Young and Old Astronomers – All Season Long. 

Moon Tycho Clavius Area
Moon Tycho Claviua Area

Frequent visitors of the UACNJ Public Nights know it already: after the astronomy talks on Saturdays, our telescopes will be open for the public (weather permitting).

What about you? Have you ever seen the planet Saturn with its beautiful rings, a Spiral Galaxy larger than our Milky Way Galaxy, the remnants of a star that has exploded not so long ago, or a nursery where new stars are born, right now? We will gladly show you these and many, many more objects. Visitors have stated in the past that “what they saw in the telescopes was truly breathtaking”. Take the opportunity and enjoy the same experience at our Jenny Jump Observatory.

Got kindled? For interested individuals, I have created an observation  program, the “Astro Rally”. This is a new UACNJ outreach activity aiming to show you 20 specific celestial objects over the duration of a season. The program is free of charge. Everyone can participate. It is fun and equally suited for fresh astronomy starters and seasoned amateur astronomers.

 How does it work?

It is really easy. Instead of just observing objects, you collect signatures on a curriculum list. This list is called the Astro Rally “checklist”. UACNJ observers who run the telescopes will gladly sign it for you.

 …but remember: if the UACNJ observers don’t ask, remind them to sign your list – even seasoned astronomers get excited when they explore the sky… and sometimes they simply forget worldly things…

 What is the Astro Rally checklist?

The checklist is essentially a tri-fold that lists 20 + 1 celestial objects. Furthermore it offers interesting information about the actual objects, including for example distance to earth, or where and when to find them. Copies of the Astro Rally checklist are available in the UACNJ lecture room. The current objects are listed below.

 The Reward

 Your hard exploration work will be rewarded. After you collected your 20 signatures, you will receive a “Qualified Amateur Astronomer Diploma I”(see image). The diploma will certainly look quite nice at your wall. Again, all this is free of charge.

 For some the checklist will be the way to earn their Amateur Astronomer Diploma, for others it will be a nice reminder that they have seen objects of the Universe – with their own eyes.


Jenny Jump Observatory, Hope, NJ


Saturdays from Aril to October after Public Night astronomy talks (weather permitting).


Contact UACNJ Observer Wolf Damm or Outreach Executive Ken Taylor via


 Astro Rally Objects

  Object Description   Best seen


Moon 1
(bright/dark area) 
Diameter: 3476km
(27% Earth)
7.4 x 1019 t
(1.2% Earth)
3.3 g/cm3
(61% Earth)
Distance to earth: 384,000km
(199 000 miles)
Visual size 0.5 arc deg 
All season


Moon 2
Mare Tranquilitatis
(Sea o fTranquility)
7/20/1969 Apollo 11, first man on the moon. Initially thought to be seas called mare (Latin for sea), maria are meteorite craters that later flooded with lava. Lava layers can be up to 15 miles thick  All season


Jupiter Diameter: 142980km  (11.2 Earth)
1.899  x 1024t
(318 Earth)
1.32 g/cm3
(24% Earth)
Sun distance: 4.95 AU Gas giant, 100+ moons , Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto  Aries  Sep-Nov


Saturn Diameter: 123 000 km
(9.4 Earth)
5.685  x 1023t
(95 Earth)
0.67 g/cm3
(12% Earth)
Sun Distance: 9.54 AU Gas giant, ring, low density, floats on water, 62+ moons, largest Titan, Rhea  Virgo: Apr-Aug


Gamma Leonis 
Double: A 2.3,  B 3.4
Sep 4”
Two giants, bright bluish-orange & greenish-yellow,
have planets
Type: K0/G7, Dist: 126 LY
Mass: 3/2, Dia: 23/10 Lum: 320/50 
Early Summer


Bootes xi Double: A 4.8,  6.8
Sep 7”
A is very similar to sun, may have planet < 9x Jupiter mass
Type: G8/K4, Dist: 22 LY
Mass: 0.9/0.7,
Dia: 0.9/0.7 Lum: 0.5/0.06 
Spring Early Summer


Ras Algheti 
“Head of the Kneeler”
Alpha Herculis 
Double A 3.0 – 4.6
B 5.4, Sep 4.6”
Beautiful double, A: red giant (var.) shedding gas cloud engulfing B
Type: M5/F8, Dist: 382 LY
Mass: 7 , Dia: 400:,
Lum: 17,000 (in solar system expansion to Mars) 
Late Spring Summer


Beta Cygni
Optical double: A 3.1, 
B 5.1, Sep 35”
Beautiful double,
orange & blue
Type: K3/B0, Dist: 390/380 LY
Mass: 5/3.2, Dia: 16/2.7,
Lum: 950/120 Type: K3/B0,
Dist: 390/380 LY Mass: 5/3.2,
Dia: 16/2.7, Lum: 950/120 
Spring Summer
NE, Ovrhd, NW


Altair Fast rotation (286 km/s) causes flattened poles. Star rotates within 9h (sun 25d). Type: A7,  Mag: 0.8, Dist: 16.8 LY Mass 1.8 , Dia 1.6 x 2.0, Lum 11Age: 10 Billion years  Summer
early Fall


Gamma Delphini Double: A 4.3,  5.4,
Sep 10”
Yellow-white dwarf and orange subgiant
Type: F7/K1, Dist: 101 LY
Mass: 1.7/1.6, Dia: 6.4/2.1
Lum: 21/7 
E, S, SW


Gamma Andromedae
Quadruple system (only one pairvisible):
A 2.3, B 6.3 Sep 10”
A: RG, red orange & bluish green
Type: K3 A0, Dist: 355 LY(A) 
Dia: 80 Lum: 2000 
NE, Ovrhd


Northern Star”
Alpha Ursae Minoris 
Within 0.8 deg of north celestial pole, used for navigation and telescope alignment Type F7, Dist: 430LY,
Mass: 6, Dia: 30
Lum: 2200 
All Season


Alpha Lyrae
Fast rotation (274 km/s) causes flattened poles. Star rotates within 12h (sun 25d). Type: A0,  Mag: 0.03, Dist: 25.3 LY Mass 2.1 , Dia 2.3×2.8, Lum: 37
Was north star about 12,000BC 
All Season
NE, Ovrhd, W


The Double Double
Epsilon Lyrae
Ten star system (4 brightest listed):
A1 5.0, A2 6.0,
B1 5.1, B2 5.4,
Sep A-B 208”
Type: A3/A7/A5/A5, Dist: 162 LY Mss: 1.9/1.5/1.9/1.8,
Dia: 23/10 Lum: 18/8/17/14 
All Season
NE, Ovrhd, NW


Dumbbell nebulae
Young planetary nebulae (PN), first PN discovered (Messier 1764).M27 illuminated by white dwarf (14) Mag: 7.5, Dist: 1,360 LY
Dim: 1.44 LY, Age: only 9,800 years Central star: Dia: 0.055, Mass 0.56 
Early Fall


The Ring Nebulae
Gas expelled as hot super winds and illuminated by central star Constellation Lyra Mag: 8.8, Dist: 2,300 LYDia: 1.3 LY
Central star Mass 0.6, Mag: 16 
All Season
NE, Ovrhd, NW


Bode’s Galaxy
Spiral Galaxy, active nucleus with massive black hole mass (70 Mill x sun), close by: M82 galaxy Mag: 7.0, Dist: 11.8 Mill LY
Mass:250 Billion, Dia: 70,000 LY
Constellation Ursa Major 


Hercules Globular Cluster
Globular Cluster very old, 1 million stars Mag: 5.8, Dist: 25,100 LY
Dia: 168 LY, Mass: 600,000x sun Age: 14 Bill Years 


M67 Open cluster, 150 white dwarfs, 100 sun like, 500 red giants Mag: 6.1, Dist: 2,700 LY
Dia: 20 LY, Mass: 1,400 x sun
Age: 3.2 – 5  Billion years 
Early Spring
S (high)


Andromeda Galaxy
Spiral galaxy, estimated 1 Trillion stars (Milky Way 200-400 Billion)merges with MW in 4.5 Billion years Mag: 3.44, Dist: 2.54 Mill LY
Dia: 260,000 LY, Mass: 1.5x MW
Farthest object naked eye can see 
Late Summer
NE, Ovrhd


M5 Globular cluster, 100,000 stars, almost as old as the universe Mag: 6.65, Dist: 24,500 LY,
Dia: 165 LY, Age: 13 Billion Years 


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Solar Dynamics Observatory

Solar Dynamics Observatory 2018-02-18T02:42:14Z
Observatory: SDO
Instrument: AIA
Detector: AIA
Measurement: 171

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