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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 September 19 – September 26

Salamanders aren’t the most noticeable of critters; you usually have to make an effort to find one. This is a good time to locate the obscure constellation of Lacerta the Lizard, but it will take some effort and a dark sky.

Camouflaged partly by the Milky Way, Lacerta is surrounded by Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Pegasus and Cygnus. A good pointer to it is the base of the Summer Triangle. Running a line from bright Vega to Deneb at the tail of Cygnus and extending it about the same distance puts you near the zigzag shape of the lizard. It is one of those dim constellations created in the late 17th century by Johannes Hevelius to fill in an “empty” section of the sky. At first he named it Stellio; a stellion is a newt with star-like spots found near the Mediterranean Sea. If you manage to catch Lacerta, give yourself a pat on the back and let it go.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:02 am and sunset will occur at 7:21 pm, giving 12 hours, 19 minutes of daylight (7:08 am and 7:26 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:11 am and set at 7:07 pm, giving 11 hours, 56 minutes of daylight (7:16 am and 7:13 pm in Saint John). The Sun crosses the equator, migrating southward for winter, at 10:31 am on Tuesday. Autumn is in the air.

The Moon is at first quarter on Wednesday, then sliding below Jupiter and Saturn over the next two evenings. Telescope users might catch Jupiter’s stormy Red Spot around 9 pm Sunday and 10:30 pm on Tuesday. Mars rises around 8:30 pm, when Jupiter and Saturn are at their highest in the south. Mercury is very close to Spica on Tuesday, setting 40 minutes after the Sun, but the shallow angle of ecliptic makes them a difficult target in binoculars. Venus rises around 3:30 am, perhaps seen amid the zodiacal light between 5:30 and 6 if you have a clear dark sky.

With astronomy meetings and outreach activities on hold, you can watch the local Sunday Night Astronomy Show at 8 pm, and view archived shows, on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAEHfOWyL-kNH7dBVHK8spg

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

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2020 September 12 – September 19

This is the time of year when the evening sky seems static; the stars appear to be in the same place night after night in twilight. As you can see below, the Sun sets about two minutes earlier each evening. With reference to the stars, Earth rotates once every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds. But since our clocks are based on a 24-hour solar day rather than the sidereal day, the stars rise about 4 minutes earlier each evening. The rate of earlier sunsets this time of year cancels half of that westward movement. Although the stars rise earlier we also see them sooner. That is a bonus because many of the finest objects to observe in a telescope are prominent now, particularly the Milky Way.

The opposite occurs in spring when the later sunsets add to the earlier rising of stars. The constellations seem to fly past over a month or two, much to the chagrin of those who delight in observing the distant galaxies that abound in those constellations. Earth’s motion around the Sun results in many of the constellations being seasonal. For example, we currently see Orion in the southeast before sunrise. Come January it will be there after sunset and stick around in the evening sky until mid-spring. Those constellations near the north are circumpolar, meaning they never set and we see them year round. There are 22 constellations in the southern hemisphere sky that we see no part of at all from New Brunswick.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:54 am and sunset will occur at 7:35 pm, giving 13 hours, 41 minutes of daylight (6:59 am and 7:39 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 7:02 am and set at 7:21 pm, giving 12 hours, 19 minutes of daylight (7:08 am and 7:26 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is near Venus on Monday and it is new on Thursday. Jupiter reaches a stationary point this Saturday, beginning a slow dash toward Saturn which will end in a spectacular conjunction at the winter solstice. Both planets are well placed for evening twilight observing. Watch for Jupiter’s moon Io to reappear from the planet’s shadow between 9:10 and 9:15 pm on Wednesday. By midweek Mars will be rising around 9 pm and appearing almost as bright as Jupiter, while Mercury is setting 40 minutes after the Sun. With the new Moon this week, zodiacal light might be visible to the east in a dark morning sky for the rest of the month.

With astronomy meetings and outreach activities on hold, you can watch the local Sunday Night Astronomy Show at 8 pm, and view archived shows, on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAEHfOWyL-kNH7dBVHK8spg

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

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Photos of the Month – September 2020

[Featured image above by Paul Owen]

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 October issue of this blog shall be announced.

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 – August 2020

[Featured image above by Emile Cormier]

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 September issue of this blog shall be announced.

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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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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Photos of the Month – July 2020

[Featured image above by Lenard Velensky]

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 August issue of this blog is July 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 – June 2020

[Featured image above by Francis Casey]

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 July issue of this blog is June 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 – May 2020

[Featured image above by Kyle Ingersoll]

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 June issue of this blog is May 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 – 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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