Southern Colorado Skies / June 10-16, 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 constellations Boötes (the “herdsman” or “ox driver”) and Corona Borealis (the “northern crown”) are almost directly overhead about 10 p.m. this week. Corona Borealis has a distinctive ‘C’ shape, and its ‘crown jewel’ Alphecca is the brightest star in the constellation.

 

Because of its distinctive kite shape and its huge size (it spans 45 degrees of the sky), Boötes is easy to find; also, a method of locating Arcturus (its brightest star) is to “arc to Arcturus” as shown in the graphic. Boötes’ claim to fame is Arcturus, a red giant Type K star located about 37 light-years away.

For an explanation of “M” objects shoen in the graphic, see my short article at http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/03/16/what-is-a-messier-object/).

Thursday (June 14)

• Action at Jupiter: Io disappears behind Jupiter’s western limb tonight at 11:16 p.m. EDT, followed by Ganymede at 11:55 p.m. EDT. Then Ganymede reappears from behind Jupiter’s eastern limb at 1:32 a.m. EDT. Io reappears out of eclipse by Jupiter’s shadow just off the planet’s eastern limb at 2:15 a.m. EDT. And by that time, the Great Red Spot should be 40 minutes from crossing Jupiter’s central meridian

Feeling ambitious? Vesta (the brightest asteroid) is now unusually close and bright in Ophiuchus (a bit north of Saturn and near M23). Right now it is magnitude 5.4 (requires at least binoculars for the Pueblo and Pueblo West areas), and will brighten to 5.3 when it is at opposition on June 19th. Sky & Telescope magazine has a free article and finders chart at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/vesta-2018-opposition/.

DAYLIGHT

PLANETS

Mercury (in Gemini)

Hidden in the Sun’s glare this week.

Venus (in Gemini / Cancer)

Look for Venus above the west-northwestern horizon shortly after sunset.

Mars (in Capricornus)

Mars rises between 11:00 and midnight, and is in good viewing position just before dawn. Look for Mars to the lower left (east) of Saturn.

Mars is abnormally bright now, but it will be getting brighter over the next few months 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 Southern Colorado Skies.

Jupiter (in Libra)

Jupiter appears in the south-southeast 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 2 a.m.

Uranus (in Pisces)

Lost in the glare of the Sun.

Neptune (in Aquarius)

Look low in the east-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/.

Sunday (June 10) 10:29:14 p.m. / Magnitude -3.0 / W / Elevation 15 degrees

Sunday (June 10) 11:11:37 p.m. / Magnitude -6.3 / NE / Elevation 11 degrees

Tuesday (June 12) 10:26:26 p.m. / Magnitude -2.4 / W / Elevation 13 degrees

Tuesday (June 12) 11:09:20 p.m. / Magnitude -2.2 / NE / Elevation 15 degrees

Wednesday (June 13) 4:42:15 a.m. / Magnitude -1.3 / WSW / Elevation 62 degrees

Wednesday (June 13) 9:40:05 p.m. / Magnitude -2.8 / NNW / Elevation 10 degrees

Wednesday (June 13) 10:20:35 p.m. / Magnitude -2.9 / W / Elevation 13 degrees

Thursday (June 14) 9:33:43 p.m. / Magnitude -2.7 / NNW / Elevation 12 degrees

MORE???

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) AND CHINESE SPACE STATION

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