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Highland Road Park Observatory

DECEMBER 2022

Friday 2 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm:   Apollo 17 Fiftieth Anniversary   BRAS member Tom Northrop returns! Our final in-person trip to the Moon is remembered as the newest test-run is in progress. The lecture will be followed by an Artemis update. [No admission fee. For ages fourteen and older.]
8:30 pm to 10:00 pm:   Evening Sky Viewing   Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waxing gibbous Moon will be at a maximum altitude of 61°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Saturday 3 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm:   Mars♂   We are now the closest we’ll be to the Red Planet for over a decade! Cadets will explore the explorations! [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm:   Evening Sky Viewing   Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waning gibbous Moon will be at a maximum altitude of 68°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Wednesday 7 December

8:00 pm to 12:00 am:   Martian Opposition   Mars♂ is exactly 180 degrees from the Sun☉, rising as the Sun☉ is setting. We are now the closest we’ll be to Mars♂ this year! Weather permitting viewing of Mars♂ (and the Full Moon, Uranus♅, the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula) will take place. [No admission fee. For all ages. Binocular recommended.]

Saturday 10 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm:   Mercury☿   Small, elusive, quick. This smallest planet with the features named for artists will have Cadets wanting for more! [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm:   Solar Viewing   Weather permitting, safe viewing of the Sun☉ in three different manners will occur. During this time the Sun☉ will be in the constellation Ophiuchus at a maximum altitude of 37°. [No admission fee. For all ages.]
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm:   Evening Sky Viewing   Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waning gibbous Moon will be at a maximum altitude of 32°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Monday 12 December

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm:   Light Pollution Committee Meeting   BRASopen house is for all skygazers, taxpayers, homeowners, business owners, teachers and other stakeholders in a natural-contrast night sky. This month members will discuss with the public the Seven-Year Action Plan and how to perform GLOBE at Night measurements. [No admission fee. For ages eighteen and older.]
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm:   Baton Rouge Astronomical Society Meeting   For forty years BRAS has educated countless numbers of citizens in the joys of planetary and deep-sky gazing, the perils of light pollution and factors to consider when buying a pair of binoculars or a telescope. Over the years BRAS members have published in “Astronomy,” “Sky & Telescope,” and “Scientific American;” constructed their own telescopes and photographic platforms; been interviewed by local media and the National Geographic Society; and entered robotics competitions, imaged comets, earned observing certificates and discovered asteroids. Anyone interested in learning more about BRAS is invited to attend. [No admission fee. For ages fourteen and older.]

Tuesday 13 December

8:00 pm to 1:00 am:   Geminid Meteor Shower   The Geminid meteors, in addition to being part of one of the most reliable showers of the year, are quite intriguing. The first Geminids were noticed in the 1860s yet we were perplexed about their origins. In the 1980s (after over a century of searching) scientists pinpointed an asteroid now known as Phaethon as the originator of the debris field that produces Geminids! Any meteors that are part of this shower seem to radiate from a point in the sky near the star Castor, in the constellation Gemini♊. For this one night HRPO will be open for four hours, during which time members of the public are welcome. Due to light pollution in the Baton Rouge area, it is feasible to attempt viewing of this major shower only during its peak time. [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Friday 16 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm:   Arrival of Apophis   In the spring of 2029, a lot of lucky Earthlings will be able to view a quite bright pass of a 300+-meter rock. Are Baton Rougeans part of that lucky group? [No admission fee. For ages fourteen and older.]
8:30 pm to 10:00 pm:   Evening Sky Viewing   Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waning crescent Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Saturday 17 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm:   Soaring on the Space Shuttle VI   Would you believe some kids have come to all previous five sessions? Don’t worry, Cadets—that’s not mandatory. The final of the wonderful never-to-be-repeated SSS trips is here! [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm:   Evening Sky Viewing   Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waxing crescent Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Wednesday 21 December

4:45 pm to 6:15 pm:   Mercurian Elongation   Periodically Mercury☿ reaches its greatest angular separation in the sky (elongation) from the Sun☉. This is the safest way to view Mercury☿ by amateurs. Come join us at the Burbank Soccer Complex! The planet will appear as a “half-Mercury.” [No admission fee. For ages eight and older.]

Friday 23 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm:   Comet After Comet   There are predictions for no fewer than ten comets to brighten to magnitude eight during the next three years. Will they be visible from Baton Rouge? What will they look like, and how can HRPO and citizens collaborate to increase the chance of having fantastic views? [No admission fee. For ages fourteen and older.]
8:30 pm to 10:00 pm:   Evening Sky Viewing   Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waxing gibbous Moon will be at a maximum altitude of 61°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Wednesday 28 December and
Thursday 29 December

8:00 am to 5:00 pm:   Winter Space Exploration Camp   Cadets will build and launch a chemical rocket, learn about the Artemis and Juno missions, receive updates on the asteroid Apophis and learn how to see the next bright comet and big meteor shower! [For ages nine to thirteen. $55.00 per in-parish Explorer; $66.00 per out-of-parish Explorer. Limit twelve.]

Friday 30 December

3:30 pm to 9:30 pm:   HRPO 25th Anniversary   The first public night was in 1997. Several asteroid discoveries, public nights, camps, Science Academy awards, STEM-based activities and games, eclipses, transits, occultations and conjunctions later HRPO personnel are planning to serve the public for twenty-five more years! [No admission fee. For ages eight and older.]

Saturday 31 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm:   Distances in Space   Cadets are here to save the day! They’ll help Baton Rouge understand miles and kilometers, astronomical units and light-years. [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
3:30 pm to 7:30 pm:   STEM Expansion: “The Future of Science”   This program offers advanced topics, topic extensions and all-new games and activities to an older crowd. Certificates will be earned, and a section of archived experiments (some never performed on site) take place. [For ages twelve to sixteen. $15.00 per in-parish registration; $18.00 per out-of-parish registration. Limit thirty.]

Please also check the HRPO front page or the BRAS Forum for special celestial events or live broadcasts that could not be confirmed for this page’s publication time.


Updated by Frederick J. Barnett on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, 09:20 AM.

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