"Pillaging the Universe One Star at a Time"

 

The 2016 Bootleg Star Party dates have been set!

The 2016 Spring Bootleg Star Party will be held on June 3rd-5th

And .....

The 2016 Fall Bootleg Star Party will be held on September 30th-October 2nd 

 

CLICK HERE for a copy of the 2016 Spring Bootleg Star Party Registration Form

Pre-registration deadline is Tuesday, May 24th. 

All forms must be postmarked no later than May 24th to qualify for early registration.

Map and Directions here...

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2008 Prairie Skies Star Party Pictures 

CAS Astrofest @ Camp Shaw

CAS Astrofest @ Vana's

Texas Star Party 2009

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Upcoming Observing Highlights for May 2016   (from skymaps.com)
 
5 Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks. Most active for 7 days around this date. Associated with Comet Halley. Very fast, bright meteors, up to 30 per hour. Favors skywatchers in the tropics and southern hemisphere observing after midnight.
The Eta Aquarids (Gary Kronk)
Meteor Shower Calendar (American Meteor Society)
6 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 4h UT (357,827 km; angular size 33.4').
6 Moon near Venus (9 from Sun, morning sky) at 5h UT. Mag. -3.9.
6 New Moon at 19:30 UT. Start of lunation 1155.
Lunation Number (Wikipedia)
8 Moon near Aldebaran (22 from Sun, evening sky) at 8h UT.
9 Mercury at inferior conjunction with the Sun at 15h UT. Mercury passes into the morning sky.
9 Transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. WARNING: NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN -- IT WILL INSTANTLY DAMAGE YOUR EYES. Observers require a safe Sun filter attached securely to the front of their telescope to safely observe Mercury's tiny disk pass in front of the Sun. The event will be visible from most of Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Transit begins at 11:12 UT; mid-transit at 14:58 UT; ends at 18:42 UT. The next transit of Mercury will occur on November 11, 2019.
Transit of Mercury (Wikipedia)
Get Ready for the Transit of Mercury (Sky & Telescope)
12 Moon near Beehive cluster (evening sky) at 12h UT.
Beehive Cluster (Wikipedia)
M44: The Beehive Cluster (APOD)
13 First Quarter Moon at 17:02 UT.
14 Moon near Regulus (evening sky) at 6h UT.
15 Moon near Jupiter (evening sky) at 5h UT. Mag. -2.2.
18 Moon near Spica (evening sky) at 18h UT.
18 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 22h UT (distance 405,933 km; angular size 29.4').
21 Full Moon at 21:14 UT.
Full Moon Names (Wikipedia)
21 Moon near Mars (midnight sky) at 22h UT. Mag. -2.0.
Mars (Wikipedia)
22 Mars at opposition at 11h UT. Mag. -2.1. Visible all night.
Opposition (Wikipedia)
Mars Viewing & Closest Approaches (Wikipedia)
22 Moon near Antares (midnight sky) at 14h UT.
22 Moon near Saturn (morning sky) at 22h UT. Mag. +0.1.
Saturn (Wikipedia)
29 Last Quarter Moon at 12:12 UT.
>>> All times Universal Time (UT).    USA Central Standard Time = UT-6 hours.  (DST = UT-5 hrs,)

 

Zodiacal Light is caused by sunlight reflected off meteoric dust in the plane of the solar system. Choose a clear, moonless night, about 1-2 hours after sunset, and look for a large triangular-shaped glow extending up from the horizon (along the ecliptic). The best months to view the Zodiacal Light is when the ecliptic is almost vertical at the horizon: March and April (evening) and October-November (morning); times reversed for the southern hemisphere.
Zodiacal Light (Wikipedia)
Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)
Photographing the Zodiacal Light (Weatherscapes)