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RASC NB and COVID-19

Hi Everyone,

As you all know Covid-19 has disrupted everyone’s life.

We had cancelled the March meeting due to this issue. Now until further notice, and until the the State of Emergency is lifted by the N.B. government, there will be no face-to-face meetings of the RASC N.B… No one knows how long this situation will last, but it will continue into the summer months most probably.

The RASC N.B. council is discussing the feasibility of holding meetings for presentations/talks by some other means. Once a decision has been made all members will be notified by e-mail. RASC N.B. business, when required, will be conducted by e-mail. Any new information will be communicated to the members by e-mail as well.

Star Party weekends for this year are also on hold, until the public gathering ban is cancelled. Once again, members will be notified of any change in plans.

Please follow good hygienic practices – hand washing as prescribed by Public Health, do not touch your face, follow the 6 foot physical distance rule & stay home unless it is absolutely essential you go out. This will pass, but only when people keep their distance from others, thus stopping the spread of the disease.

Stay healthy, stay safe and keep looking up. You don’t need to be in a crowd to enjoy the night sky and wonder at it’s beauty and mystery.

June MacDonald, President, RASC New Brunswick

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 April 4 – April 11

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 April 4 – April 11

Although Orion and his two dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are slipping into the sunset, they are not the only pooches in the night sky. The small constellation of Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs is generally seen as a pair of stars well below the handle of the Big Dipper. They assist their master, Boötes, in chasing the celestial bears around the pole.

In one tale from mythology Boötes is Icarius, a vineyard owner who was taught the art of winemaking by Bacchus. He introduced his shepherd neighbours to his product, and when they awoke hung over the next morning they thought they had been poisoned. In retaliation they killed Icarius and threw him in a ditch. His dogs, Chara and Asterion, sensed something was wrong, and when they eventually found their master they jumped into the ditch to die with him.

The brightest star in Canes Venatici is a double star called Cor Caroli, which means the Heart of Charles. Edmond Halley coined this because it was said to have shone brightly when Charles II returned to London after his defeat by Cromwell. The other naked eye star in the constellation is Chara, from the Greek word for “joy,” and opponents of the Boston Bruins will disagree with that. Halfway between Cor Caroli and Arcturus, the brightest star in Boötes, you can see a fuzzy patch with binoculars. This is the globular star cluster M3 from Messier’s catalogue. Galaxy M94 lies just north of the midpoint between Cor Caroli and Chara; and the much-imaged Whirlpool Galaxy is within the borders of Canes Venatici, despite being near the handle of the Big Dipper.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:52 am and sunset will occur at 7:52 pm, giving 13 hours of daylight (6:58 am and 7:56 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:39 am and set at 8:01 pm, giving 13 hours, 22 minutes of daylight (6:45 am and 8:05 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is full on Tuesday evening, just eight and a half hours after perigee, giving extreme tides during midweek. Venus remains within a binocular view of the Pleiades for several days. Venus makes 13 orbits of the sun in the same time it takes Earth to make eight orbits. Therefore, it makes this close pass by the Pleiades in early April every eight years. Mars puts some eastward distance between it and Saturn in the morning sky, while Jupiter edges toward Saturn. Mercury rises 35 minutes before sunrise and it is pretty much out of sight.

With astronomy meetings and outreach on hold, there are many educational astronomy websites to fill your time. One I check daily is Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). It gives beautiful image or a short educational video with a few lines of explanation. Heavens Above is another favourite to explore.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason at nasonc@nbnet.nb.ca.

 


This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 March 28 – April 4

I regard Leo the Lion is as the signature constellation of spring, and it is not difficult to picture a lion in its distinctive pair of asterisms. A backwards question mark or a sickle represents its chest and mane, anchored by the bright star Regulus at its heart. To the east a triangle of stars forms the back leg and tail. Originally, a faint naked-eye cluster of stars represented a tuft at the end of the tail, but that now makes the tresses of Coma Berenices.

In mythology, the lion was a vicious creature that resided in the mountains of Nemea. Its hide was impenetrable to spears or arrows; the only thing sharp enough to penetrate the lion’s hide was its claws. The first of Hercules’s twelve labours was to kill this creature, which the legendary strongman did by strangulation. He then used the claws to cut off the lion’s hide for use as a shield. A friend of mine sees this constellation as a mouse, with the triangle as its head and the sickle as its tail. However, legends are not made by having a muscular demigod battle a mouse.

Amateur astronomers often point their telescopes at Leo for two trios of galaxies; one under the belly and the other by the back leg. Each trio can fit within the view through a wide-field eyepiece. Five of the six galaxies are Messier objects.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:05 am and sunset will occur at 7:43 pm, giving 12 hours, 38 minutes of daylight (7:11 am and 7:47 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:52 am and set at 7:52 pm, giving 13 hours of daylight (6:58 am and 7:56 pm in Saint John).

The crescent Moon is near Venus this Saturday and it is at first quarter phase on Wednesday. On Thursday evening the Moon approaches the Beehive star cluster. The highlight this week will be watching Venus approach the Pleiades, a star cluster we also call the Seven Sisters. They are a binocular view apart this weekend, with Venus passing in front of the cluster late in the week. Morning people can watch Mars slide below Saturn over the week, with bright Jupiter nearby to their upper right. Mercury rises about 40 minutes before sunrise and it can be seen with luck and some difficulty in binoculars.

All local public astronomy events are cancelled. However, you can catch the local Sunday Night Astronomy Show on YouTube at 9 pm this weekend, and watch previous shows, by going to:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAEHfOWyL-kNH7dBVHK8spg

Questions? Contact Curt Nason at nasonc@nbnet.nb.ca.

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Photos of the Month – April 2020

[Featured image above by Stephen Townsend]

Click on any image to view a larger version. While viewing the larger version, click on the image to show/hide the description. You may also click on the left/right arrows to go to the previous/next image.

All images are copyright of their respective authors. You may not use or redistribute these images without their permission.


 

 

 

 


Links to contributors’ photo galleries:

The deadline for members submitting their photos for the May issue of this blog is April 30th.

If you are a RASC-NB member, and have not received instructions via email about how to submit your photos, please contact the webmaster here (choose Concerning: Website).

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Photos of the Month – March 2020

[Featured image above by Alan Legere]

Click on any image to view a larger version. While viewing the larger version, click on the image to show/hide the description. You may also click on the left/right arrows to go to the previous/next image.

All images are copyright of their respective authors. You may not use or redistribute these images without their permission.


 

 

 

 


Links to contributors’ photo galleries:

The deadline for members submitting their photos for the April issue of this blog is March 31st.

If you are a RASC-NB member, and have not received instructions via email about how to submit your photos, please contact the webmaster here (choose Concerning: Website).

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Photos of the Month – February 2020

[Featured image above by Richard Haché]

Click on any image to view a larger version. While viewing the larger version, click on the image to show/hide the description. You may also click on the left/right arrows to go to the previous/next image.

All images are copyright of their respective authors. You may not use or redistribute these images without their permission.


 

 

 


Links to contributors’ photo galleries:

The deadline for members submitting their photos for the March issue of this blog is February 29th.

If you are a RASC-NB member, and have not received instructions via email about how to submit your photos, please contact the webmaster here (choose Concerning: Website).

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Photos of the Month – January 2020

[Featured image above by Trevor Johnson]

Click on any image to view a larger version. While viewing the larger version, click on the image to show/hide the description. You may also click on the left/right arrows to go to the previous/next image.

All images are copyright of their respective authors. You may not use or redistribute these images without their permission.


 

 

 


Links to contributors’ photo galleries:

The deadline for members submitting their photos for the February issue of this blog is January 31st.

If you are a RASC-NB member, and have not received instructions via email about how to submit your photos, please contact the webmaster here (choose Concerning: Website).

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Photos of the Month – Year 2019

[Featured image above by François Thériault]

Click on any image to view a larger version. While viewing the larger version, click on the image to show/hide the description. You may also click on the left/right arrows to go to the previous/next image.

All images are copyright of their respective authors. You may not use or redistribute these images without their permission.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

 

November

December


 

 


Links to contributors’ photo galleries:

If you are a RASC-NB member, and have not received instructions via email about how to submit your photos, please contact the webmaster here (choose Concerning: Website).

If you contributed photos and would like us to publish a link to your photo gallery, please contact the webmaster.

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