Astronomy

Astronomical Information for Rocky Mount, NC

Current Lunar Phase:

Sky Charts

Sky maps or star charts show where the Moon, stars and planets are in the sky right now or for any other time.

For a current sky map for Rocky Mount, try YourSky at www.fourmilab.ch.

Or for a sleek looking one, try Heavens-Above.com

Best Places

Air isn't completely clear; it scatters light. That's why the sky is blue, and it's why you can see a glow over cities at night. Getting away from cities allows a much better view of the stars. Medoc Mountain State Park is noted for its relatively dark sky in our area. You might be familiar with its trails for walking and biking in the woods, but it also has an open area and hosts astronomical organizations that exploit its dark sky.

Let's try to be mindful of light pollution and do what we can to reduce it, using reflectors to aim light where we need it instead of letting it shine into the sky, and perhaps using motion sensors so lights don't shine when they aren't needed.

Best Times

Clouds are an obvious obstacle to astronomical endeavors, so check the forecast. If clouds or rain are forecast, check the hourly forecast: it might be at a different time than your activities. Check the "Sky Cover (%)" graph.

Bright moonlight can make astronomical observations more difficult and reduce the quality of photographs or data. Around the New Moon phase, skies are darkest and best for visual astronomy.

To plan for the best times for astronomical observations in our area, try the ClearDarkSky Forecast for Medoc Mountain.

Current & Upcoming Meteor Showers

Meteors can occur at any time but are most frequently seen before dawn because that part of the Earth is moving fastest through the solar system, like the way the top of a tire is moving fastest when you're travelling down the road. It helps when the radiant of the meteor shower is above the horizon. The radiant is the direction of origin.

Most meteors are small chunks of material left by comets that pass through the warm inner solar system during part of their orbits.

The Daytime Arietids occur from the 14th of May to the 24th of June. peaking on the 7th of June.

The June Bootids occur from the 22nd of June to the 2nd of July, peaking on the 27th of June.

The July Pegasids occur from the 4th of July to the 8th of August, peaking around the 11th of July.



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