In two days, the fuel-exhausted MESSENGER probe will crash into Mercury, leaving behind its own crater. This will be the end of an era, as the inner solar system will no longer have any probes actively studying the inner planets.

Before it’s death, MESSENGER gave us one last picture:

MESSENGER’s last pic of Mercury

This image was taken using the Visual and Infrared Spectrometer to bring out the craters and mountains present in Mercury. Despite its loss, it has done a lot of work for us: It found evidence of frozen water found in areas of permanent shadow. It found an unidentified layer of material above the ice, which is suspected of being organic material. It discovered that Mercury has shrunk 7 km in radius since its creation.

It’s slated to hit Mercury on April 30. It will be behind Mercury, therefore, we won’t see its collision until much later. Goodbye MESSENGER.



01/23/2015 – Jupiter will experience three simultaneous total solar eclipses tonight!

There will be a rare celestial dance in the cosmic ballet tonight. In Canada, the forecast is up in the air, but nevertheless, get yourself ready for an amazing imaging and observing opportunity, TONIGHT!

Bob Moler's Ephemeris Blog

Total solar eclipses on Jupiter are nearly a daily occurrence on Jupiter.  However what we’ll see is the shadows of the moons crossing the face of the planet.  Shadows of the Jovian moons on the fave of Jupiter are difficult to see with small telescopes.  The look like tiny inky black dots.

Another way to watch the event is via Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.  The link is here.  Their event starts at 11:30 p.m. EST because Jupiter rises later there.  The email I received from them says the next triple shadow event on Jupiter won’t occur until 2032,

Here’s the schedule:  Moons:  I = Io, II = Europa, IV = Callisto; SHA = Shadow,  Tra = Transit (a moon crossing disk of Jupiter)

Moon Event UT Date hh:mm EST Date Time IV: Sha start: 24 Jan 2015 3:11 23 Jan 2015 10:11 p.m. I: Sha start: 24 Jan…

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Armenian name of the Milky Way

Ancient Armenians had intimate knowledge of the night sky, and a unique mythology to go with it. Here is an article about the Milky Way in the context of Armenian Mythology.


Armenian name for the Milkey Way

The ancient Armenians had a refined knowledge of astronomy. The oldest known observatories are located in Armenia. Dated as early as 4200 BCE, Karahunj and the ca. 2800 BCE observatory at Metsamor allowed ancestral Armenians to develop geometry to such a level they could measure distances, latitudes and longitudes, envision the world as round, and were predicting solar and lunar eclipses about 1000 years before the Egyptians began doing the same. One can find all types of  monuments and petroglyphs, written manuscripts and astronomical terms created in the Armenian language thousands of years ago, attesting to the rich knowledge of astronomy by the ancient Armenians.

Every Armenian villager since childhood knows the name of the Milky Way. It can be translated as “the way of a man who had stolen the straw” or the “straw tief’s way”. This proper noun comes from the pre-Christian Armenian legend devoted to the god of fire – 

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Observing a Meteor Shower

During the late night of Saturday, May 24, 2014, a meteor shower was predicted to take place. Therefore, my dad and I decided to go observe the new meteor shower. Hearing about a RASC event earlier, we decided to go to Glen Major Park to observe the meteor shower.

Before we arrived there, we stopped at two other places. The first was a road off 16th Avenue. This area was where we had observed the skies in the past. However, for viewing the meteor shower, I didn’t think it was dark enough to view the night sky. My dad agreed with me. Therefore, we went further towards Glen Major Park. We next stopped in a field of grass. The sky was much clearer there. It made a world of difference being farther away from Markham. There, I saw a meteor flying by, and I saw another object. This object was streaking through the sky at a constant rate. It was a dim object. I believe it was a satellite. It was dim enough to be mixed into the stars, but I was able to see it. It was amazing to see it in skies that were light-polluted a few kilometres away. Despite the beautiful view, we decided to move forward to Glen Major Park.

We soon arrived in Glen Major Park in Clairmont. There, we heard the voices of other RASC members, who were enjoying the meteor shower that night. The sky was full of stars in the sky. I believe that it was dark enough to be able to clearly image the Milky Way. My dad and I, for a while, looked at the night sky to find any meteors shooting through the night sky. Then my dad pointed out that it is a darker sky and that M51 must be more visible now in the darker sky. He was right, and I decided to focus on imaging M51.


I removed the DSLR Camera from the piggyback mount to the telescope using a t-adapter. We pointed it towards the handle of the big dipper. We then slewed the telescope to the area where M51 is.

We took a few images of that area. We couldn’t see it using Liveview, therefore we needed to take the long exposure images. After taking a few long exposure images, I looked at the images, and for some of those pictures, I saw two blurry objects close together. This led me to the conclusion that I had imaged M51. I was truly happy as I finally captured the most elusive Messier object I have ever seen. After capturing M51, I decided to take long exposure images of the night sky.

My dad suggested that I image Cassiopeia, which I did. The images were quite dim, but the camera was able to collect enough light to get a good image. However, unexpectedly, I saw a bright star moving fast across the sky. It was the ISS flying through the sky. It was amazing to see the ISS again moving so fast and so high across the sky. I was able to get a 30 second exposure image of it streaking through the sky. It was a beautiful sight.


Eventually, it fell below the horizon and disappeared. We soon returned to imaging Cassiopeia. I was able to get four good images of Cassiopeia. It was spectacular.



After those images, we noticed the rising crescent moon in the eastern sky. It was beautiful, especially when it was low in the horizon. I was able to image it, but there were too many clouds in the way. At that time of the day, the moon’s rising means that it was around 3-4 am. At that time, we decided to pack up the telescope, and head home.


It was a wonderful night. We saw a lot and learned a lot more. Looking at the pictures, many turned out great, with the exception of the M51 images. I realized that they were actually stars that were warped when the camera shook during its capture. It was heartbreaking, but what could I do? The journey to find M51 still goes on. However, I was able to see many more objects in the sky with my dad. It was breathtaking and a great time.


I advise anyone who is interested in viewing clear skies to go up to Glen Major Park or Long Sault Conservation Area for the best clear skies according to RASC. Good Luck and Happy Observing!

Welcome to Joly Astronomy

Hi Everyone, My name is Chris Joly. I am an Armenian-Canadian student currently living in Toronto, Canada. I am an avid amateur astronomer. Ever since 2011, I had an intrigue in astronomy, and I have developed that hobby to the point where I am taking pictures of these celestial bodies using my Neximage Solar System Imager 5 camera attached to my Celestron Nexstar 8 SE telescope. Using my telescope and camera, I hope to continue taking images of the amazing planets, nebulae, stars, and other celestial objects in the sky and to share it with all of you.

The frequency of posts depend on a variety of factors, such as weather, whether I go on a viewing session, and other factors. However, when I do go out on an astronomy session, I’ll be sure to post it up for you all to read about.

Thank You for joining me on this adventure.

I hope you all enjoy what is written on this website.