Eagle Eye Observatory

ASTRONOMICALLY SPEAKING, November 2022

This year in Texas, Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 6th, at 2:00/am. The Central Time Zone is an area 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-6) during the winter months (referred to as Central Standard Time or CST) and 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-5) during the summer months (referred to as Central Daylight Time or CDT).

 

During November, the days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting longer. The cool crisp air at night is less turbulent and allows for improved seeing conditions in general. This month, the New Moon will occur on the 23rd, providing the best dark skies for viewing.

 

The Full Moon occurs on the 8th and will be fully eclipsed by the Earth this month as the shadow, (umbra) moves across the lunar surface, making it somewhat reddened. In general, there are 2 lunar eclipses each year. These semiannual eclipses are partial, (penumbral) meaning only part of the earth’s shadow dims the lunar surface. Total Lunar eclipses are less frequent because the orbit of the Moon around the Earth does not exactly line up with the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

The Total Lunar Eclipses Umbral stage, (full eclipse) will begin at about 4:20 am and last until about 5:45 am. This November Total Lunar Eclipse will be the last one until March 2025.

 

The Meteor round-up this month includes the Northern Taurids 11/12, the Andromidids 11/12, and the Omicron Erinids 11/14. These three are minor events during a bright Gibbous Moon. The Leonids 11/17, during a crescent Moon, will have a better chance of observing meteors flash across the sky. It generally has 20 events per hour. However, on several occasions, this shower has had epic outbursts. The Leonids Parent Body: comet 55P/Temple-Tuttle. Two more minor showers occur, Alpha-Monocerotids 11/21, and November Orionids 11/30.

 

The planet round-up this month includes Mars rising after 9:00 pm and Jupiter and Saturn both high in the sky all evening. These are easily seen with the naked eye. Uranus and Neptune are telescope objects only. Mercury and Venus are too near the Sun to be seen this month.

 

Several deep sky objects are attainable through the telescopes during dark Moonless evenings, less so when the Moon is bright. There are emission nebula, reflection nebula, Planetary nebula, galaxies, globular clusters, double stars, etc. One of the highlights is looking at the Andromeda Galaxy through a telescope. It is our closest neighboring spiral galaxy at 2-1/2 million light-years away (one light-year is 6 trillion miles). Under dark (Moonless) nights it can be seen with the naked eye.

 

These are some of the spectacular visual things that are available to see when you come to the Eagle Eye Observatory. Please remember to dress warmly, as summer is over.

 

Thanks, and clear skies,

 

Jim Sheets

Astronomer

Astronomer

Resort guests  can enjoy Eagle Eye Observatory (EEO) for a $10 per person program fee for all guestroom, RV, and campsite rates guests.  Guests must sign up through Guests Services at (512)334-2070. Availability is based on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Day visitors may attend any session on any night the observatory is open with availability by paying $20 per person (all ages) inclusive of applicable taxes and fees.  

The observatory is staffed by a dedicated and knowledgeable astronomer and is now open daily. Each EEO session is one hour, with a maximum of 20 guests per session.

  • Monday Sessions:            7pm, 8pm
  • Tuesday Sessions:            7pm, 8pm
  • Wednesday Sessions:    7pm, 8pm
  • Thursday Sessions:          7pm, 8pm
  • Friday Sessions:                 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
  • Saturday Sessions:           7pm, 8pm, 9pm
  • Sunday Sessions:               7pm, 8pm

Sessions are held weather permitting. When the weather does not allow telescope viewing, EEO provides programs via a large screen television with planetarium software, videos, and comprehensive interactive Q/A sessions at the observatory or a location TBD.

This is a very popular program. For more information or to book your Eagle Eye Observatory experience, please call 512-334-2070.  No refunds, reschedules, or rainchecks apply.  Management reserves the right to change or modify any terms or conditions. 

The observatory is a sliding-roof design with two independently retractable roof sections.  Each roof section moves to create a variable size, side-viewing slit, or both sections may be moved to open the entire structure to the sky. Eagle Eye Observatory provides modern telescopes with computer-enhanced imaging and astronomical instruments.

Telescopes include:

  • 14” clear aperture Celestron 1400HD f/11 reflector with Edge Technology, fully automated on an equatorial mount with Go-To targeting,
  • 12” aperture Meade Schmidt Cassegrain f/10 Reflector on an Alt/Az fork mount with Go-To Technology.
  • 11” Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain f/10 converted to f/2 via HyperStar lens with Mallincam Xterminator video camera.
  • Orion ED100 100mm Apochromatic Refractor Telescope.
  • Coronado Solarmax 90mm Double Stack dedicated Solar Telescope.

BYOT (Bring Your Own Telescope)

Guests may now bring their own telescope and set up on one of the 31 observatory pads located on the grounds just outside the observatory during regular observatory hours. There is no charge for setting up on a pad and enjoying the fabulous dark sky for astronomical viewing. We ask that you not disturb or enter the observatory when the astronomer conducts sessions. Arrive before nightfall to safely setup your equipment. Please set-up your telescope only on the pads located between the parking lot and the observatory, not the circle pads. Please do not drive your car onto the grassy field. Pets and smoking are not permitted. Please use only red flashlights and respect others on the field by remaining quiet and refraining from playing music.