Podcaster: Rob Webb
Title: Observing With Webb in June 2019
Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School
Description: June will be warmer, with shorter nights, but still some good events. Watch for Mercury and Mars in a conjunction mid-month, Jupiter up all night long, and some good lunar close encounters.
Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com
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June will be warmer, with shorter nights, but still some good events. Watch for Mercury and Mars in a conjunction mid-month, Jupiter up all night long, and some good lunar close encounters.
New Moon – 3rd (darkest skies)
First Quarter Moon – 10th (Visible until midnight)
Full Moon – 17th (Visible all night)
Last Quarter Moon – 25th (Visible from midnight into the morning)
4th/5th – Close Encounter – Moon, Mars, Mercury – A VERY very thin crescent Moon will be technically visible just 5˚ to the left of Mercury and VERY low on the horizon, but you’ll probably need binoculars to catch either of them. The next night on the 5th, the Moon will be higher and a tad thicker and now 5˚ up and to the left of Mars, making a nice string of objects – Moon, Mars, Mercury.
16th – 19th – Close Encounter – Moon, Jupiter, Saturn – Get out after sunset on the 16th to find the Moon only 4˚ down and to the left of Jupiter. Watch them travel together throughout the night to the West by sunrise. The next night, the Moon will move to be almost directly in the middle between Jupiter and Saturn. The 18th is when the Moon visits Saturn, only 1˚ below, starting around 10pm. Lastly, the Moon finishes off the left side of a Moon-Saturn-Jupiter lineup on the 19th.
16th – 19th – Conjunction – Mars, Mercury – Get out right after sunset with a pair of binoculars. Look W and a tiny bit to the right to find Mars and Mercury less than 1˚ apart, with Mars on the left and Mercury on the right before the 18th. Then, on the 18th, Mercury is directly above Mars. Then they switch positions and Mercury is moving to the left of Mars.
21st – Summer Solstice – This is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. There’s a bit of explanation as to why here.
Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.
After Dinner, Before Bed:
Big Dipper, Bootes, Virgo, Corona Borealis, Hercules – Gaze almost vertically as you face the NW, and you’ll easily find the Big Dipper: seven very bright stars that form a spoon shape. Now if you take the handle of the Dipper, follow its curve to the next bright star you see, about 30˚ away, which is Arcturus. “Follow the arc to Arcturus.” That’s the brightest star in Bootes, which looks like a kite. Take that same curve, and follow it about another 20˚ to “speed on to Spica”, the brightest star in Virgo, one of my favorite constellations, since it reminds me of the Dickinson Mermaid. Now go back to Bootes, and just to the left of Bootes are seven stars that form the northern crown Corona Borealis, which looks more like a small bowl or a “C” in the sky. Continue a little further to the left and you’ll find the keystone asterism which is part of the constellation Hercules. Extra Challenge! Look for M13, the Hercules Cluster in between two of Hercules’ “keystone” stars. It known as the best globular cluster in the northern skies. It will be a fuzzy spot in binoculars and will be even cooler through a telescope
Summer Triangle – Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila – Look pretty much straight above you, and find the brightest star up there. You’ll notice a parallelogram attached to it. This is the brightest star Vega, part of the constellation Lyra, the harp. Directly above you will be Cygnus the Swan, with its brightest star Deneb. It will look like a large cross, or if you look out a little further, a swan flying above you. Below Cygnus and Lyra is the third constellation of the Summer Triangle, Aquila the Eagle, with its brightest star Altair. The three bright stars in this one can be easily confused for Orion’s belt, given their similar size, however they are not in line as straight, and are part of a bigger diamond shape. Use a star chart to find small Delphinus and Sagitta in the area as well.
Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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