Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Articles written by Joe Witherspoon

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  • Cottontail Astronomical Observatory Begins 2024 Season May 11

    JOE WITHERSPOON, Cottontail Astronomical Observatory|May 1, 2024

    The Cottontail Astronomical Observatory in Twin Bridges, Montana, will open its doors for its first public night for the 2024 season on May 11th. The observatory hosts various free events throughout the year, though donations are greatly appreciated. Owners Joe and Gwen Witherspoon invite everyone to take part in a visit to the observatory. The weather plays a big part in these events; overcast skies block out the stars, as does rain and snow, and winds greater than 15 MPH move the telescopes. In such an event, the Witherspoons will give an...

  • Naked Eye Events in the Night Sky

    JOE WITHERSPOON, Cottontail Observatory|Jun 22, 2022

    All of the planets will be up in the night sky from the 16th of June at 4:35 AM through the 27th of June at 4:40 AM. When all the planets rise they will create an arc across the Eastern sky from 91 degrees on the 16th to 107 degrees on the 27th. The last time this happened was about 100 years ago and won’t happen again until 2041. On the 24th the planets will be visited by the waning crescent Moon halfway between Venus and Mars. The hardest planet to spot is Mercury because it stays low on the horizon and has a low magnitude. However, on the 2...

  • Partial Lunar Eclipse November 18-19th

    JOE WITHERSPOON, Cottontail Observatory|Nov 10, 2021

    The eclipse begins on November 18th at 11:02PM MST when the Penumbra part of the Earth’s shadow touches the edge of the Moon. The Moon’s brightness at this point is -12.5. The Penumbra will continue covering the surface of the Moon until the Ulmba part of the Earth’s shadow touches the Moon’s edge on November 19th at 00:17AM MST. The Moon’s brightness is now down to -0.01. Maximum Eclipse: The Ulmba will continue to cover the Moon’s surface until only a little crescent part of the Moon is not covered. The time is approximately 2:02AM Nove...

  • Astronomical Event Visible This July 11-13th

    Joe Witherspoon, Cottontail Observatory|Jun 30, 2021

    Venus and Mars will meet up and be joined by the Moon. To see this event look West where the Sun will set about 9:55 PM on July 11th through 13th. You will see a bright Venus and right next to it will be a dimmer ruby Mars. On the 11th the Moon will be about 4 degrees to the right of Venus. With only 6% visibility it will be a very thin Crescent Moon. On the 12th the Crescent Moon will be about 4 degrees above and to the left of the Venus Mars pair. The 13th the Moon will be about 10 degrees above and to the left of the Venus Mars pair. For...

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