Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sky Events June 2015

Moon Phases

Tuesday, June 2, 12:19 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The Full Moon of June is known as the “Mead Moon,” “Strawberry Moon,”  “Rose Moon,” or “Thunder Moon.” It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Tuesday, June 9, 11:42 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 1:15 a.m. and sets around 1:15 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Tuesday, June 16, 10:05 a.m. EDT

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Wednesday, June 24, 5:03 a.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 12:30 p.m. and sets around 1:15 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.


Observing Highlights

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Thursday, June 4, 12:58–2:13 a.m. EDT

The shadows of Io and Ganymede will simultaneously fall on the face of of Jupiter.

Venus at greatest elongation east

Saturday, June 6, evening twilight

Venus reaches its greatest eastward distance from the sun, its orbit shown in white here. It is closing in on Jupiter.

Pallas at opposition

Thursday, June 11, 9 p.m. EDT

Pallas, the second largest asteroid, will be in opposition to the Sun. At magnitude 9.4, it will be located just south of Lambda Hercules, below the “keystone” of Hercules.

Uranus and the Moon

Thursday/Friday, June 11/12

The Moon will be close to Uranus just before sunrise. In southern Australia and the South Pacific Ocean, the Moon will actually occult Uranus, as seen here from Melbourne, Australia.

Mercury and the Moon

Monday, June 15, sunrise

As seen here from Sri Lanka, the Moon will occult the planet Mercury. Other parts of the world will see the thin crescent of Mercury very close to the thin crescent of the moon just before sunrise.


Aldebaran and the Moon

Monday, June 15, sunrise

As seen here from eastern North America, the Moon will occult the bright red giant star Aldebaran.

Solstice

Sunday, June 21, 12:38 p.m. EDT

The sun reaches its most northern point, marking the middle of the astronomical summer season in the Northern Hemisphere, and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. The actual seasons tend to lag behind the astronomical seasons by about 6 weeks.

Mercury at greatest elongation west

Wednesday, June 24, dawn

Mercury will be at its farthest from the sun, and close to the red giant star Aldebaran.

Venus and Jupiter within 0.3 degrees

Tuesday, June 30, dusk

Venus and Jupiter will pass really close to each other, appearing within the same telescope field. Both will be 32 arc seconds in diameter, but Jupiter is much further away from both the Earth and the sun, so will be much fainter than Venus.


Planets


Mercury is well placed in the eastern sky at dawn. It is better placed for observers in the Southern Hemisphere.


Venus shines high in the western sky after sunset, reaching its greatest elongation from the sun on June 6.


Mars is too close to the Sun to be visible. It will be in conjunction with the sun on June 14.


Jupiter is low in the western evening sky all month, closing in on Venus.


Saturn is just past opposition and shining brightly in Libra all night.


Uranus is in the eastern morning sky in Pisces.


Neptune rises after midnight in the constellation Aquarius.



Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2015 Starry Night Software

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sky Events May 2015


Moon Phases

Sunday, May 3, 11:42 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The Full Moon of May is known as the “Milk Moon,” “Flower Moon,”  or “Corn Planting Moon.” It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Monday, May 11, 6:36 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 2 a.m. and sets around 1 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Monday, May 18, 12:13 a.m. EDT

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Monday, May 25, 1:19 p.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 1 p.m. and sets around 2:15 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Observing Highlights

Mercury at greatest elongation

Thursday, May 7, evening twilight

This is the best evening apparition of Mercury this year for observers in the northern hemisphere. Use Venus to help you locate it. Mercury is most easily located by sweeping with binoculars, but once you’ve located it, you should be able to see it with your unaided eyes.

Uranus and the Moon

Friday, May 15, dawn

The Moon will pass just south of the Uranus just before sunrise.

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Wednesday, May 20, 8:06–8:35 p.m. EDT

The shadows of Io and Ganymede will be on opposite limbs of Jupiter, while the moons Io and Callisto will be central on the disk.

Saturn at opposition

Friday, May 22, 10 p.m. EDT

Saturn will be in opposition to the Sun.

Note how most of Saturn’s moons are in the same plane as the rings, except for Iapetus, whose orbit is tilted 8.3 degrees. At opposition, Iapetus is close to maximum elongation towards the west, while Titan is close to maximum elongation towards the east.

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

Wednesday, May 27, 10:01 p.m.–12:18 a.m. EDT

The shadow of Io chases the shadow of Ganymede across the face of Jupiter, catching up with it and passing it at 11:48 p.m. EDT. The Great Red Spot will also cross Jupiter’s disk during this period.

Planets


Mercury is well placed for northern hemisphere observers in the evening twilight sky for the first three weeks of May.


Venus shines high in the western sky after sunset.


Mars moves from Aries to Taurus on May 3, too close to the Sun to be visible.


Jupiter is well placed in the evening sky all month.


Saturn is just north of Scorpius’ “claws.” At opposition on May 22, it is visible all night.


Uranus rises just before the Sun in Pisces.


Neptune is in the eastern morning sky in the constellation Aquarius.


Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2015 Starry Night Software

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sky Events March 2015


Moon Phases

Thursday, March 5, 1:05 p.m. EST

Full Moon

The Full Moon of March is known as the “Worm Moon,” “Crow Moon,” “Sap Moon,” or “Lenten Moon.” It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise; this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky. This is the smallest Full Moon of 2015.

Friday, March 13, 1:48 p.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 2 a.m. and sets around noon. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Friday, March 20, 5:36 a.m. EDT

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the East as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the West an evening or two after New Moon.

Friday, March 27, 3:43 a.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 11:30 a.m. and sets around 2:30 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.









Observing Highlights

Sunday, March 8–Sunday, March 22, after evening twilight

Zodiacal Light

Look to the south of west, just above Venus and Mars, for the faint zodiacal light, reflected from interplanetary matter along the ecliptic (marked by green line). Don’t confuse it with the brighter Milky Way to the northwest.

Friday, March 20

Total Solar Eclipse

The path of this eclipse sweeps across the North Atlantic Ocean, missing all inhabited land except for the Faroe Islands, northwest of Scotland, and the Svalberg Islands north of Norway. These images show the appearance of the eclipse from T├│rshavn in the Faroes
and Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island in Svalberg.

Friday, March 20, 6:45 p.m. EDT

Equinox

The Sun crosses the celestial equator heading north, marking the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere and Autumn in the southern hemisphere.

Saturday, March 21, 7 a.m. EDT

Uranus and the Moon

The Moon will occult Uranus as seen from easternmost Brazil, central Africa, the Middle East, and western Asia.

Saturday, March 21, 6 p.m. EDT

Mars and the Moon

The Moon will occult Mars as seen from southwestern South America, seen here from Punta Arenas, Chile.

Sunday, March 22, after sunset

Venus and the Moon

The Moon and Venus will make a pretty pair in the western twilight sky.

Tuesday, March 24, 10 p.m. EDT

Aldebaran and the Moon

The First Quarter Moon passes close to the red giant star Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. The bright Pleiades star cluster is off to the right. The Moon will pass in front of Aldebaran for observers in northern latitudes: Kazakhstan, Russia, northeastern Scandinavia, extreme northeastern China, northern Greenland, northwestern Canada, and Alaska.

Planets

Mercury is a “morning star,” most favourably placed for observers in the Southern Hemisphere.

Venus is an “evening star” in the southwestern sky just after sunset.

Mars spends most of the month in Pisces, but makes a brief excursion into Cetus on February 1st and 2nd.


Jupiter just past opposition will be shining brightly most of the night. It is in Cancer all month.


Saturn is just north of Scorpius’ “claws,” rising near midnight. It begins retrograde motion on the 14th.


Uranus vanishes into evening twilight at mid-month.

Neptune is still too close to the Sun to be observed.


Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2015 Starry Night Software