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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2021 July 31 – August 7

After twilight the bright star Altair is halfway up in the southeastern sky, forming the lower peak of the Summer Triangle with Vega and Deneb. It is flanked by two somewhat dimmer stars, Tarazed and Alshain, and the trio forms the head of Aquila the Eagle. The eagle’s body and tail stretch southward, while the wings reach forward to propel it up the Milky Way. In Greek mythology the eagle was the pet of Zeus and the bearer of his deadly thunderbolts. In Chinese mythology Tchi-Niu (Lyra) was a princess and royal weaver, and Kien-Niou (Aquila) tended the king’s cows. The two fell in love and were married but they subsequently neglected their chores. Angered, the king placed the herder on the opposite side of the river, represented by the Milky Way. On the seventh day of the seventh month all of the magpies in the country form a bridge to allow the lovers to be together for one day.

Following a string of stars beyond the eagle’s tail, over the constellation border into Scutum the Shield, a binocular search will pick up a smudge of light which is a cluster of stars called M11 or the Wild Duck Cluster. From the eagle’s head toward Cygnus or Lyra is a tiny constellation called Sagitta the Arrow. Look to the upper right of the arrow’s fletching with binoculars to see a popular asterism of about ten stars. Although it is upside down you will recognize the Coathanger Cluster, also known as Collinder 399 or Brocchi’s Cluster.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 6:00 am and sunset will occur at 8:49 pm, giving 14 hours, 49 minutes of daylight (6:07 am and 8:52 pm in Saint John).  Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:09 am and set at 8:40 pm, giving 14 hours, 31 minutes of daylight (6:16 am and 8:43 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is at third quarter this Saturday, rising just after midnight and setting 14 hours later. Saturn is at opposition on Monday, leading Jupiter across the sky by 50 minutes. Both will be popular evening telescope and binocular targets for the rest of the year. Telescope users can catch Jupiter’s Red Spot around 11:30 pm Monday. Venus sets around 10:15 pm this weekend, passing the torch to Jupiter low in the southeast. Mars sets an hour after sunset but it is an increasingly difficult target in binoculars. Mercury reaches superior conjunction on Sunday, moving into the evening sky later in the week.

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

 

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2021 July 24 – July 31

Stargazers prefer meridian observing because that is when we should have our best views of objects in a telescope or binoculars. The meridian is the imaginary line running from north to south, separating the sky into eastern and western hemispheres. When stars and planets cross the meridian they are at their highest, shining through a minimal thickness of atmosphere en route to our eyes. Unstable pockets of atmosphere will distort the light from stars and planets, blurring the view, so minimal atmosphere means less distortion. Astronomers use the term “seeing” to describe the steadiness of the atmosphere. Good seeing means steady air and we can use higher magnification for observing details of the Moon and planets.

Around 10 pm this week we have several prominent constellations near the meridian. Moving southward from the North Star we have Ursa Minor or the Little Dipper. A small telescope with good seeing conditions will show the close companion star of Polaris, which is actually a triple star although only two can be seen in a telescope. Heading southward we pass through Draco the Dragon on our way to Hercules. The faintest of the four stars in the dragon’s head is an easy double star to resolve in binoculars. The globular cluster M92 is about halfway between the head and the Keystone asterism of Hercules, and don’t forget M13 along the western side of the Keystone.

Hercules goes head-to-head with Ophiuchus to its south, which contains a several globular clusters itself. Ophiuchus stands on Scorpius, keeping the scorpion underfoot so that it cannot fatally sting Orion again. Scorpius at the meridian is the best time to observe globular clusters M4 and M80, and open clusters M6 and M7.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 5:52 am and sunset will occur at 8:58 pm, giving 15 hours, 6 minutes of daylight (6:00 am and 9:00 pm in Saint John).  Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:00 am and set at 8:49 pm, giving 14 hours, 49 minutes of daylight (6:07 am and 5:52 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is one day past full this Saturday evening and it is at third quarter next Saturday. Around 11:30 Sunday evening the Moon rises four degrees below Jupiter. Venus moves eastward below the belly of Leo, setting before 10:30 pm. Mars passes to the upper right of Regulus over the week, being closest on Thursday, but binoculars are recommended to pick them out of the twilight as they set before 10 pm. Saturn rises in the east-southeast as Mars is setting, followed by Jupiter 50 minutes later. Telescope users can catch Jupiter’s Red Spot around midnight Wednesday evening. This weekend Mercury rises 50 minutes before sunrise, heading toward superior conjunction on August 1. Look for a few extra meteors rising up from the south on Wednesday evening and overnight as the South Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks.

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

 

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2021 July 17 – July 24

Serpens the Serpent is unique among the 88 constellations in that it is split in two by another constellation, Ophiuchus. As the name suggests, Ophiuchus is the Serpent Bearer, and he is often depicted holding a large snake. The two constellations are also intertwined in mythology.

Ophiuchus represents Asclepius, a renowned healer who could raise the dead. After killing a snake one day, he watched as another snake placed an herb on its dead companion and revived it. After this, Asclepius learned the healing arts and his success at reviving people drew the ire of Hades, a brother of Zeus and ruler of the Underworld. Receiving a complaint from Hades that he was being robbed of subjects, Zeus killed Asclepius with a thunderbolt.

The part of Serpens west of Ophiuchus is called Serpens Caput (meaning head); to the east is Serpens Cauda (for tail). M16, the Eagle Nebula, is a rather faint nebula with a star cluster in Serpens Cauda. It gained fame as the iconic Pillars of Creation photo from the early years of the Hubble Space Telescope. The delightful globular cluster M5 is found in Serpens Caput, and several other globular clusters reside within the borders of Ophiuchus.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 5:45 am and sunset will occur at 9:05 pm, giving 15 hours, 20 minutes of daylight (5:53 am and 9:07 pm in Saint John).  Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 5:52 am and set at 8:58 pm, giving 15 hours, 6 minutes of daylight (6:00 am and 9:00 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is at first quarter this Saturday morning, and it is full next Friday evening as it nears Saturn. Venus passes near Leo’s lucida, Regulus, on Wednesday, presaging a closer but less brilliant pairing of Mars and Regulus the following week. Jupiter and Saturn are attracting attention in late evening to the southeast, with both coming to opposition next month. On Monday telescope users can catch Jupiter’s moon Io disappear into the planet’s shadow around 11:30 pm, and 80 minutes later Europa will emerge from behind the opposite side. These events are called an eclipse disappearance and an occultation reappearance. This weekend Mercury rises 75 minutes before sunrise, and by next weekend the gap shortens to 50 minutes.

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

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Jupiter Moons Challenge

Curt Nason has tabulated this list of Jupiter moon events. You may use this as a guide for the challenge of observing the various moon events for each of the four Galilean moons (transits, occultations, eclipses, etc).

According to Curt, “this year Jupiter’s equator is aligned our way so Callisto’s events can be seen, and the document includes events when Jupiter is up for us and the Sun is down.”

Image Credit: Emile Cormier

Jupiter_Moons_Challenge_2021

Download as PDF.

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Photos of the Month – Year 2020

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’ve a RASC NB member and would like us to publish a link to your astrophoto gallery, please contact the webmaster.

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RASC NB and COVID-19

(Posted on April 6th, 2020)

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 – 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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