Southern Colorado Skies / June 18 – 24, 2017

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.

THIS WEEK

Many of the Messier objects are readily visible through even a small pair of decent binoculars. The photo below shows about a 5-degree field of view, close to what I can see through my 10×50 binoculars (7x would provide a similar view if that’s the size you have). Near the center of the photo you can see the red giant Antares in the constellation Scorpius and to its upper right is M4, a globular cluster located about 6,200 light-years away (one of the closest such clusters) and about 47 light-years in diameter. Try to spot it tonight! It’s visible in the southeast just after dark.

If you want to learn more about Messier objects, check out my short article at http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/03/16/what-is-a-messier-object/.

 

Monday (June 19)

The shadows of two of Jupiter’s moons, Io and Europa, may be seen on opposite sides of the gas giant’s visible surface tonight from 8:04 to 8:38 p.m. MDT.

Tuesday (June 20)

Summer solstice occurs at 10:24 p.m. MDT. This is the shortest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Friday (June 23)

New Moon at 8:31 p.m. MDT.

DAYLIGHT

 

PLANETS

Mercury (in Taurus/Gemini):

Deep in the glare of the Sun.

Venus (in Aries):

Look for Venus low in the eastern horizon at dawn. This week Venus begins its gibbous phase after dichotomy (half-lit phase). Watch out for the Sun if you decide to view it with a telescope!

Mars (in Gemini):

Now lost in the sunset.

Jupiter (in Virgo):

Jupiter is high and bright in the southwest as night begins. That bright star to the left (east) by about 10 degrees is Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.

Saturn (in Ophiuchus):

Saturn rises as night falls and stays low in the sky; you can spot it in the south around midnight. It’s to the upper right of the Sagittarius “teapot.” Reddish Antares is about 15 degrees to Saturn’s upper right (west).

Uranus (in Pisces):

Low in the east at dawn. (Watch out for the Sun while viewing through your telescope!)

Neptune (in Aquarius):

In the southeast before dawn. (Watch out for the Sun while viewing through your telescope!)

BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES

The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your location in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with Iridium flares, check out my article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.

Monday (June 19) 10:58:41 p.m. / Magnitude -4.8 / WSW / Elevation 23 degrees

Tuesday (June 20) 04:59:21 a.m. / Magnitude -4.8 / ENE / Elevation 11 degrees

Tuesday (June 20) 10:52:46 p.m. / Magnitude -4.7 / WSW / Elevation 23 degrees

Wednesday (June 21) 03:41:24 a.m. / Magnitude -4.1 / ESE / Elevation 32 degrees

Wednesday (June 21) 04:52:17 a.m. / Magnitude -4.9 / ENE / Elevation 11 degrees

Wednesday (June 21) 10:46:48 p.m. / Magnitude -1.2 / WSW / Elevation 24 degrees

Thursday (June 22) 03:35:08 a.m. / Magnitude -2.4 / ESE / Elevation 31 degrees

Thursday (June 22) 04:55:03 a.m. / Magnitude -5.3 / E / Elevation 14 degrees

Thursday (June 22) 10:49:49 p.m. / Magnitude -1.6 / WSW / Elevation 20 degrees

Friday (June 23) 10:43:52 p.m. / Magnitude -6.6 / WSW / Elevation 21 degrees

Saturday (June 24) 04:51:46 a.m. / Magnitude -5.6 / E / Elevation 16 degrees

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

These are too numerous to list here! If you’re serious, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet.

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry

Pueblo West, Colorado

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