Asteroid 3122 Florence

Asteroid 3122 Florence is passing near us and has been in the news lately.  Sky and Telescope treats this event well with sky maps and information.

Bernie was kind enough to generate the ephemeris 2017 02 FLORENCE.  I will be going to the observatory tonight, Friday, Sep 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm to record some video of the asteroid.  Hope to see you there.

Teapot Asterism In Sagittarius


Teapot Asterism

This wide angle photo of the Teapot Asterism was produced by stacking 4 photos taken on
August 21, 2017 at about
10 pm EDT with a Canon Power Shot 8 megapixel camera.  The exposures were 10 seconds long and taken at ISO 400.  A tripod was used and a two second exposure delay was set after shutter release to eliminate camera motion.  The focus was fixed at infinity and flash was suppressed.

Sky Safari Screenshot of Teapot Asterism


Ten seconds is about as long an exposure that is possible with a fixed camera before rotation causes the star images to streak.  ISO settings above 400 introduce a lot of noise.

Stacking was done with Nebulosity 4 using the command sequence: Open File-Batch-Align and Combine Images-Translation, Rotation and Scale.  Images were translated so epsilon Sagittarius in the lower right were aligned, and rotated and scaled so sigma Sagittarius matched.  In stacking images at low altitude it is best to choose two alignment stars near stars you are interested in rather than stars near the corners of the image.  Saving as a FITS file was cancelled in favor of saving as a JPEG file.  The Display Auto box was unchecked and a Black level of 25000 and a White level of 26000 set to eliminate remaining noise and brighten the intensity of the stars.  The images were then cropped using Paint to show only the Teapot.

— Bernie Young

Solar Eclipse Aug 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse Aug 21, 2017


The Cape Cod Astronomical Society welcomes the public to a “Local Star” party on Aug 21, 2017 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM EDT (Rain or Shine).  We expect to see about 63% of the sun eclipsed by the moon on Aug 21, 2017 with first contact estimated at 1:28 PM EDT according to


Our program will include first and most importantly a Safety Brief discussing eye safety while viewing the sun.  A Safety Officer will be helping the guests.  Children must be supervised at all times.

The Staff will offer mini-lectures on eclipses and the Sun lasting about 30 minutes and beginning at 2 PM and 3 PM. Viewing with Solar telescopes and telescopes with Solar Filters will allow guests to see the eclipse, sunspots, prominences and other solar activity throughout the event.

Guests who are interested in a tour of the Werner Schmidt Observatory will be given a brief history of the Cape Cod Astronomical Society, observatory construction, equipment, capabilities/programs such as, Student Projects, Occultations, Photometry, and Astrophotography.


Staff will be showing a live-feed streaming from site of totality (operated from NASA) regardless of our weather locally.  Everything you could want to know about the eclipse is at NASA’s website:


Finally, if you would like to be involved, volunteer for this event, future staffing positions or to learn more, please look at our website volunteer page!


We are located at:

Werner Schmidt Observatory

210 Station Ave

Dennis-Yarmouth High School

South Yarmouth, MA 02664


Parking is around the back of the high school and you approach the observatory from the northernmost driveway from Station Ave.  There will be signs to help point the way.

Father’s Day 2017 article presents that nearly all stars are born as binaries.  How fun to consider our parent star has a fraternal twin!

The Werner Schmidt Observatory showcases several binaries during star parties.  Albireo in the constellation Cygnus displays a contrasting color binary system.  Polaris, our North Star, is a multiple star system.  Alcor – Mizar systems are both binaries and possibly also binary to one another.

Continue reading “Father’s Day 2017”

Meteor Showers

Star Party night of Thursday, July 27th also coincides with the Alpha Capricornids peak nights Jul 26-27.  This meteor shower is known for bright fireballs!

What are you doing on Friday Aug 11th and/or Saturday, Aug 12th?  Perseid Meteor Showers will be peaking at that time.  The Cape Cod Astronomical Society received an email (see below) from the staff at the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Continue reading “Meteor Showers”

Binocular Viewing at Star Parties

Next star party on Saturday Jun 3, 2017 marks the beginning of using our Oberwerk 20 x 80 Deluxe III binoculars on a hefty parallelogram mount.

The Oberwerk binos have 3.2 degree FOV, with a 4mm exit pupil and fantastic optics.  Why such a big pair of binos?  Sharing the view!

The binocular program will feature using, Binocular Highlights by Gary Seronik and we will start with the object M44 The Beehive Cluster.  More can be learned from his website including well described objects of interest.

The binocular program will have a station during star parties, so:

1)Visitors gain a better appreciation for what’s up tonight and develops the sky overview for guests.

2) Participants can then better introduce the night sky to friends, family and guests.

3)With more experience comes a more solid understanding of different binoculars and judging their capabilities.

4) Most importantly, this should be a fun discussion among participants about the night sky!