Astronomy in Aroostook County

Hello everyone and welcome to the University of Maine at Presque Isle.  If you are interested in astronomy, we have several treats for you in and around the Presque Isle area.  The University Times runs this ongoing article about astronomy and the university has an astronomy club that works closely with the local Aroostook County Astronomy Club to provide educational opportunities and occasional observing nights throughout the year.

Joining the astronomy club is easy: just show up to one of our regularly scheduled meetings.  Each meeting will have a short business meeting followed by an educational activity.  An observing session will be held after the meeting if the weather permits.

We encourage everyone to join our Facebook page “Aroostook Count Astronomy Club.”  By joining our Facebook page, you will be able to receive interesting articles about astronomy, be notified of upcoming club events, receive information about celestial events and receive notifications about possible Northern Lights.  You should also take a look at our website at

The UMPI Astronomy Club/Aroostook Astronomy Club usually meets on campus in the Campus Center or in Folsom Hall.  The location of the observing sessions moves throughout the county.  Currently scheduled meetings and topic are listed below.  Join our Facebook page or checkout our web page for locations and additional information.

* Saturday, August 26, 2017, 7:30 p.m. – The latest information on Mars.

* Saturday, Sept. 20, 2017, 6:30 p.m. – Jupiter, Saturn and the upcoming meteor showers (Draconids and Orionids).

* Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, 6 p.m. – A closer look at the Moon.

* Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, 6 p.m. – What to look for when buying a telescope.

* Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, 6 p.m. – Looking ahead to 2018.


We also have a couple of other astronomy opportunities in the area, such as the largest to scale solar system model in the western hemisphere and the Francis Malcolm Science Center.

The Maine Solar System Model was dedicated in 2003.  At that time it was the largest to scale solar system model on Earth. Now it is the second largest.  The model is built to the scale of 1 to 93 million.  One mile is equal to 93,000,000 miles.  At this scale, the Earth is located near Persy’s Auto Sales one mile south of UMPI’s campus on Route 1.  For more information about the Maine Solar System Model, go to

The Francis Malcolm Science Center, located in Easton, Maine, has a planetarium and hosts occasional planetarium shows and observing nights. The science center is a great place to visit and when possible, the shows will be listed here and on the astronomy club’s website and Facebook page.  For more information about the science center go to




The International Space Station is visible as follows:

Mornings–August 31 through Sept. 21.

Evenings–Sept. 24 on.


For the times of other events, go to  You will need to register at this site and load your location to be able to get exact times.  The University of Maine at Presque Isle is located at 68d00m7.8s west longitude and 46d40m45.6s north latitude.

To get a free sky chart, go to


Sun and Planet Visibility


05:57 Sunrise.

19:02 Sunset.

04:48–05:24 Mercury.

03:12–06:00 Venus.

04:48–05:24 Mars.

19:12–20:24 Jupiter.

19:30–23:12 Saturn.



06:16 Sunrise.

18:33 Sunset.

05:00–06:06 Mercury.

03:54–06:18 Venus.

04:42–05:48 Mars.

18:42–19:30 Jupiter.

19:00–22:12 Saturn.


08/25  19:36  Jupiter 4.8 degrees from the Moon.

08/26  16:42  Mercury in inferior conjunction–between the Earth and the Sun.

08/29  04:13  First Quarter Moon.

08/30  25th  anniversary of David Jewitt’s and Jane Luu’s discovery of the first Kuiper Belt Object (1992).

08/30  07:22  Moon at apogee–farthest from the Earth 404347km.

08/30  19:48  Moon 5.2 degrees from Saturn.

08/31  175th anniversary of the U.S. Naval Observatory being authorized by an act of Congress (1842).

09/04  05:15:01  ISS passes 0.6 degrees from Beta Taurus (Elnath).

09/04  05:15:38  ISS passes 0.08 degrees from Alpha Gemini (Castor).

09/04  20:05  Mercury 3.2 degrees from Mars.

09/05  40th anniversary of Voyager 1 Launch (1977).

09/05  Neptune at oppositio –directly behind the Earth and brightest 7.8 meg.

09/05  04:22  ISS passes 0.1 degrees from Alpha Orion (Betelgeuse).

09/06  03:02  Full Moon.
09/12  55th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s “Send man to the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade” speech (1962).

09/12  25th anniversary of the first African-American Woman in Space on STS – 47 Endeavour–Mae Jemison (1992).

09/12  00:25 to 05:36  Moon passes through the Hyades Star Cluster in Taurus eclipsing several stars.

09/12  06:18  Mercury at greatest western elongation (17.9 degrees) visible in the morning sky.

09/12  23:42  Mercury at half phase.

09/13  02:25  Last Quarter Moon.

09/13  12:04 Moon at perigee–closest to the Earth– 69,823km.

09/15  08:24  Mercury at perihelion–closest to the Sun–0.3075 AU.

09/16  14:43  Mercury 0.05 degrees from Mars.

09/18  04:24  Moon 5.0 degrees from Venus.

09/19  05:30  Moon 5.9 degrees from Mercury.

09/20  01:29  New Moon.

09/21  18:48  Moon 6.75 degrees from Jupiter.

09/22  16:01  September Equinox.

09/25  18:00  Equilux–equal length of day and night from Presque Isle.

09/26  20:54  Moon 2.7 degrees from Saturn.

09/27  02:51  Moon at Apogee–Farthest from the Earth 404,387 km.

09/27  19:15  ISS passes 0.8 degrees from the Moon.

09/27  22:53  First Quarter Moon.

09/28  55th anniversary of Canada’s first satellite launch–Alouette (1962).

09/30  Fall Astronomy Day.

10/03  01:42  Venus at Perihelion–closest to the Sun–0.7184 AU.

10/05  12:53  Venus 0.2 degrees from Mars.

10/05  14:40  Full Moon.

10/05  19:00  Draconid Meteor Shower 5 meteors/hr.