Clemson Area Amateur Astronomers

The Universe From Here

Our Mission

Our mission is to inform, educate and entertain by providing a varied and interesting program of activities for our membership and the communities we serve.  Our projects include educational programs and presentations by guest speakers and our members, public star parties, field observation of various astronomical events and trips to observatories and other space science venues. If you are as interested in Astronomy as we are, we hope you will join us at one of our star parties, meetings, or lectures. If you would like to become a member please click HERE.

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in astronomy; no equipment required.

The Universe From Here, Nov-Dec 2019: Mercury Rising and the Galactic South 

By Jim Feiste

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Daytime: A Morning Transit

On November 11, 2019, from 7:34 am until 1:03 pm, Mercury will pass directly between the earth and the sun (this is called a “transit”). In fact, Mercury passes between the earth and the sun every 88 days; but because of differences in orbital inclines of both planets, they only align about a dozen times each century. The next transit won’t be until November, 2032, so it’s worth taking time to watch this relatively rare event! (See figure 1 for how to see it.)

Nighttime: The Galactic South Pole

When you see the Great Square of Pegasus overhead and Cetus the Whale on the southern horizon, you are facing away from the plane of the Milky Way galaxy towards “galactic south.” This is Fall Galaxy Season, when you can explore the “southern galaxies” without interference from stars and dust in the plane of the milky way (see Figure 2 and the star map).

M31 (The Andromeda Galaxy) and M33 (The Triangulum Galaxy) appear high overhead in They are fairly nearby (in galactic terms) and are gravitationally bound to the Milky Way, making us all part of The LocalGroup.

The South Galactic Pole (SGP) is a point that represents the south pole of the Milky Way (much the way the “north star” is a point that represents the earth’s north pole). It is located near the southern horizon, in constellation Sculptor, between β-Ceti and α-Sculptoris, next to NGC 288.

NGC 288 is a faint (vm 8) globular cluster in Sculptor, less than 1˚NE of the It is 28,700 lightyears from earth.

NGC 253 is a bright (vm 7) galaxy appearing 1.5˚NW of NGC 288. It is one of the brightest galaxies in the sky and appears in the same field of view as NGC 288 with binoculars. It is the largest member of the Sculptor Galaxy Group and is 12 million LY from Earth.

NGC 247 is another galaxy in the Sculptor Group located between NGC 253 and β-Ceti. It is a dimmer (vm 9) cousin to NGC 253 and located in Cetus.

NGC 246 is a faint planetary nebula located within Cetus, centered between β-Ceti, ι-Ceti, and η-Ceti. With a high power eyepiece and an oxygen 3 filter, this spooky nebula looks vaguely like a  human skull.


CAAA Club News

There is no December meeting. The Annual Christmas Party is December 6th at 6:00PM at Pixie & Bills in Clemson, SC.

Recent Member Photos and Drawings

To see more from our members click a name below.

Anne Singleton | Stan Smith | Jim Feiste | Ram White | Russ McKenzie

CAAA has been a NASA Night Sky Network member since 2004. The Night Sky Network(NSN) is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA's missions to the general public.


Upcoming Events


Ram White, President

Tom Wehrman, Program Coordinator

Jim Feiste, Secretary

Bill West, Treasurer

Stan Smith, Outreach  & Website Coordinator

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