New comet in the morning sky

A comet named NEOWISE is not in the early morning sky around 5 a.m.  You will need a clear sky and a view of the northeastern horizon to find it. You will also need a pair of binoculars . Use binoculars instead of the telescope to locate this object.  The photo below was taken July 7th in Virginia Beach Kempsville area.  The comet will be slowly moving upward and to the left over the next several mornings.

The comet is in the lower middle of the photo just above the red cloud. It appears as a star like object with a tail pointing up.



We viewed the transit of Mercury at the planetarium on November 11th

  see Mercury?

November 11 , 2019 in front of the planetarium

The planet Mercury crossed the face of the Sun on November 11th, 2019.  Visitors viewed this special event at the planetarium.  The next time a transit of Mercury occurs will be 2032.  Local astronomy clubs participated by providing viewing through special solar filtered telescopes.  Mercury appeared as a small black dot on the Sun. This was an outdoor event and reservations were not necessary.  Many students and families participated in the event.

  Future astronomer?

Never Look At The Sun Without Proper Solar Filters!

Times  EST

Transit Began    7:36 a.m.

Mid Transit       10:20 a.m.

Transit Ended      1:04 p.m.

Telescope Viewing started around 7:36 a.m.

Total time for Mercury to transit the Sun was 5 hours 28 minutes


Planet Mercury on Sun's surface Mercury appears as a small dot near the Sun’s edge


This is an outdoor event and reservations are not necessary. The viewing will be in front of the planetarium building located in the City of Chesapeake Municipal Center on Cedar Road.

Direction:  From interstate 64 take Battlefield Boulevard    exit south.  Cross the Intracostal Bridge and turn right onto Cedar Road. The Municipal Center is on the right.




Total Lunar Eclipse January 20/21, 2019

The photos below were taken at the Chesapeake Planetarium. A small telescope was used to capture the images.  Several hundred attended the Total Lunar Eclipse Watch in front of the planetarium building on January 20 / 21, 2019

Lunar eclipse sequence of six images into totality

Earth's moon looking orange during lunar eclipseLarger view of the Moon during a lunar eclipse

lunar surface with small meteor impact appearing as a dot.

Total Lunar Eclipse photos taken at the Chesapeake Planetarium January 20, 2019

Meteor impact on moon during totality appeared as a small flash in one image.

On the night of January 20 /21 the moon passed though the Earth’s Shadow.

Several hundred stargazers arrived at the planetarium Sunday, January 20 to view one of nature’s most spectacular celestial events, a total lunar eclipse.  The photo above was taken using a small telescope that was able to image the entire lunar surface.

visitors to the planetarium viewing the lunar eclipse with the planetarium's telescope

For current planetarium program information call the planetarium star line  547 STAR (7827)

The eclipse watch began at 9:30 p.m. It was clear, and everyone observed the eclipse.

This was an outside event and no reservations were needed to attend.

Time Table for the eclipse

9:35 p.m.   The eclipse started as the Moon enters the lighter penumbra shadow of Earth.  The shadow appeared as a light darkling of the left (western side) side of the Moon. Observers noticed the shadow had a curved shape, which is proof that the Earth is round.

10:33 p.m.  The Moon entered enter the darker (umbra) shadow at approximately 10:33 p.m., at which time observers noticed a red color.

11:40 p.m.  The Moon was completely in the umbra (totality began.)

O:43 a.m. (January 21) totality ended as the Moon begins to leave the umbra.

2:49 a.m.  The eclipse ended as the  Moon moved out of the penumbra.


The next total lunar eclipse in Tidewater will be on May 26, 2021