Sky Watch

Watch a satellite fly over!
You can watch satellites pass by from your own backyard! Go to the website “Heavens-Above” to find out when and where to look. Here’s how to get pass predictions for your location:

Near the top of the page, select your location by clicking on “from database”. From there click on “United States”, and then type in the name of your town. It knows Alamosa, Monte Vista, Creede, and lots of other towns in and around the San Luis Valley. After you’ve typed in the name of the town, it will show you a list of towns by that name – you just click on the one that’s yours. It will then take you back to the homepage, and you’re ready to find out when to look for satellites!

Click on “10 day predictions for ISS” to find out when you can watch the International Space Station fly by. Under “Iridium Flares”, click on “next 7 days” to learn when and where to look for one of the most impressive satellite pass events there is – they briefly can be 40 times brighter than Venus! Just make sure your watch is set accurately – they are VERY short events. Or, under “Daily predictions for all satellites”, click on “3.5″ to get a list of all the brightest satellite passes for your home in one evening.

Other Astronomical Events of Interest
Below is a list of upcoming astronomical events that may be of interest to astronomy enthusiasts. I found these events by perusing Jean Meeus’ “Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon, and Planets” (*), as well as NASA’s eclipse page (http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html), and other web resources.

Date                                     Event                              Visible From…               Time         
2014    Oct      8          Total lunar eclipse                   Alamosa                      3:14 – 6:34 am

2015    Apr      4          Total lunar eclipse                   Alamosa                      4:15 – sunrise

2015    Dec      7          Venus occultation                   Alamosa                      2:38 – 3:45

2016    May     9          Mercury transit                        Alamosa                      sunrise – 12:44

2017    Aug     21        Total solar eclipse                    Wyoming/Nebraska    10:23 – 1:12

2019    Nov     11        Mercury Transit                       Alamosa                      sunrise – 12:05

I am sure there are events that I have missed. If you know of any, let me know about it, and I’ll investigate.
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(*)  2nd ed., ISBN 0-943396-45-X, 1995, Willmann-Bell, Inc.  (http://www.willbell.com/)

5 thoughts on “Sky Watch

    • Yes, all programs at Zacheis planetarium are free. It is first-come, first-served seating, and little children can attend inside programs as long as they can sit quietly through it. For outside viewing activities, kids 6 and older can usually understand what they’re seeing in a telescope, though any age is welcome to look.

  1. My grandkids have been totally enthralled by the shows you’ve put on. We plan to attend more in future. Thank you for the effort you put into making such a wonderful opportunity available to we Valley-ites!

  2. Hello! I am the activity director at Juniper Village in Monte Vista. I would like to know if the planetarium is wheelchair accessible. I would like to bring some of our residents there to visit. Thank you….

    • Yes, the planetarium is wheelchair accessible. There is an elevator to the 2nd floor where the theater is located. We have two spaces in which we did not install seats (with wheelchairs in mind), and we have two more seats that can be removed to make room for wheelchairs. We can also put a few more in the very back of the theater. So we should be able to accommodate up to 6 wheelchairs at a time.

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