Southern Colorado Skies / June 24 – 30, 2018

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

The full Moon has a close encounter with Saturn midweek.

Feeling ambitious? Vesta (the brightest asteroid) is still unusually close and bright a little west of Saturn. Right now it’s at magnitude 5.3 (requires binoculars for the Pueblo/Pueblo West area), and was at opposition on June 19th. Sky & Telescope magazine has a free article and finder chart at https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/vesta-2018-opposition/.

Wednesday (June 27)

Full Moon at 9:53 p.m. MDT. The Moon is only about a degree from Saturn (see above graphic), which is at opposition today.

DAYLIGHT


PLANETS

Mercury (in Gemini/Cancer)

Look for Mercury in the bright twilight to the lower right (west) of Venus. Pollux and Castor (Gemini) are to Mercury’s right, and form nearly a straight line with Mercury on Wednesday.

Venus (in Cancer)

Look for Venus in the west-northwest shortly after sunset. Venus is moving away from the Beehive Cluster (M44) on its way to a close encounter with bright Regulus (Leo).

Mars (in Capricornus)

Mars rises about an hour after dark, and is in its best telescopic viewing position in the south just before dawn.

Mars is abnormally bright now, but it will be getting brighter over the next month as it gets to opposition (on a line extending outward from the Sun through the Earth) in late July. At that time Mars will be brighter than at any time since 2003, and almost twice as bright as Jupiter. See my article in the May issue of Southern Colorado Skies.

Jupiter (in Libra)

Jupiter appears in the south during twilight. The best views through a telescope or binoculars are soon after dark.

Saturn (in Sagittarius)

Look for Saturn just above the Sagittarius “teapot.” The ringed planet will rise near dusk, and will be at its highest elevation in the south about 1 a.m.

Uranus (in Aries/Pisces)

Low in the east just before dawn.

Neptune (in Aquarius)

Look in the southeast just before dawn.

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 short article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.

Monday (June 25) 10:52:03 p.m. / Magnitude -3.5 / WSW / Elevation 22 degrees

 

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) and CHINESE SPACE STATION (TIANGONG2)

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

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry
Pueblo West, Colorado

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