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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Two Meteor Showers Peak at the End of July

The Alpha Capricornids and the Delta Aquariids Meteor Showers both peak at the end of July. While these minor meteor showers usually play second fiddle to the much more intense Perseids Meteor Shower which peaks on August 12, the nearly full moon will interfere with viewing the Perseids this year. So these two Meteor Showers at the end of July may be your best chance to enjoy the “shooting stars” this year.
Delta Aquariids

Last night (July 29) We saw about a dozen meteors, maybe more, during the two hours of our star tour. You need a dark skyand an open horizon to see them best. Just lie down on a comfy blanket or lounge and look straight up. They can appear anywhere in the sky. They are usually best seen after midnight, but last night we had the best show between sunset and 11:30 PM. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Lunar Eclipse in Israel, July 16, 2019 - ECLIPSE PARTY TIME!

A partial lunar eclipse will be visible in Israel the night of Tuesday, July 16. Israel is nearly ideally placed for the timing of the eclipse whose partial phase begins at 11:01PM IDT. Maximum partial eclipse is at 12:30AM July 17, when a little over half the moon will be eclipsed. The partial eclipse ends at 1:59AM on July 17.

The moon orbits the earth, moving from west to east in the sky. As it does so on the night of July 16 it passes through the earth's shadow. A little over half the moon will become covered at mid-eclipse.

Astronomy Israel will be having a lunar eclipse party starting at 10:30PM the night of July 16 with special party pricing of 100nis/adult, 75nis/child between 6-12 years old, no charge under 6.

A lunar eclipse occurs only when the moon is full, so it will be very bright and visible from almost anywhere in Israel. (Unfortunately for the Americas, the eclipse will be over before moon rise there so not visible to enthusiasts there. Come to Israel to see it!!) So, unlike many astronomical events that require a dark sky, you will be able to see it from wherever you are. (Do I have to tell you how to find the moon?) Nevertheless, we are having an eclipse party in Mitzpe Ramon beginning our regular star tour at 10:30PM on July 16 instead of  9:30PM, half an hour before the partial phase begins. We will be able to watch the eclipse through our telescopes and binoculars, point out features on the moon visible only through telescopes, and look for the Apollo 11 landing site, only 4 days before the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon of July 20, 1969.

This is the last umbral lunar eclipse, where the moon passes through the dark part of the earth's shadow, until May 26, 2021. All of the four lunar eclipses in 2020 are penumbral eclipses, which are hardly visible even as they occur, so be sure to go out and watch it.

Lunar eclipse timings for Israel, July 16-17, 2019
You can sign-up for the star party at this link:

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