NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Tuesday, June 7, 2016

 In Night Sky Update, Planetarium

This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Tuesday, June 7.  All times are given as local St. Louis time (Central Daylight Time).  For definitions of terminology used in the night sky update, click the highlighted text.

Information updated weekly or as needed.

Join us for our next star party, Friday, July 1, 2016 held in association with the St. Louis Astronomical Society.  For details, see the information at the bottom of this page.

The Sun and the Moon

Sunrise is at 5:36 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7 and sunset is at 8:24 p.m. providing us with nearly 15 hours of daylight.  Even after sunset, the light from the Sun will still dimly illuminate our sky for nearly two hours.  This period of time is called twilight, which ends around 10:20 p.m. this week.  For those with a sun dial, solar transit or local noon occurs around 1:00 p.m. this week.

Day

Sunrise

Sunset

 07 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:24 p.m.

 08 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:24 p.m.

 09 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:25 p.m.

 10 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:25 p.m.

 11 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:26 p.m.

 12 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:26 p.m.

 13 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:27 p.m.

 14 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:27 p.m.

 15 Jun

5:36 a.m.

8:27 p.m.

 

Moonrise for Tuesday, June 7 occurs at 8:21 a.m. and moonset will occur at 10:47 p.m.  On June 7 the moon will be exhibiting a waxing crescent phase with about 9% disk coverage.  First quarter moon occurs on Sunday, June 12.

International Space Station (ISS) Observing

This week visible passes of ISS from St. Louis will occur during the late evening hours.  The best passes this week occur on June 11 and 14.  Use the table below for information regarding these passes and others this week.

Catch ISS flying over St. Louis starting Tuesday, June 7.

 

Date Mag

Starts

Max. altitude

Ends

Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
07 Jun -1.2 22:48:50 10 NNW 22:51:23 20 NNE 22:52:09 19 NE
08 Jun -0.6 21:56:25 10 NNW 21:58:19 14 NNE 22:00:12 10 NE
08 Jun -1.3 23:31:58 10 NW 23:33:40 28 NW 23:33:40 28 NW
09 Jun -2.3 22:39:17 10 NW 22:42:21 37 NNE 22:42:38 36 NE
10 Jun -1.4 21:46:42 10 NNW 21:49:22 23 NNE 21:51:37 12 ENE
10 Jun -1.1 23:22:48 10 WNW 23:24:13 22 WNW 23:24:13 22 WNW
11 Jun -0.8 20:54:11 10 NNW 20:56:18 16 NNE 20:58:23 10 ENE
11 Jun -3.5 22:29:51 10 NW 22:33:08 88 NE 22:33:14 83 ESE
12 Jun -2.6 21:37:05 10 NW 21:40:14 44 NE 21:42:18 18 E
13 Jun -2.4 22:20:42 10 WNW 22:23:42 34 SW 22:24:00 33 SSW
14 Jun -3.3 21:27:38 10 NW 21:30:54 75 SW 21:33:09 18 SE
15 Jun -1.0 22:12:16 10 W 22:14:06 14 SW 22:14:57 13 SSW

  

Magnitude (Mag): The Measure of brightness for a celestial object.  The lower the value is, the brighter the object will be.

Altitude (Alt):  The angle of a celestial object measured upwards from the observer’s horizon.

Azimuth (Az):  The direction of a celestial object, measured clockwise from an observer’s location with north being 0°, east being 90°, south being 180° and west being 270°.

For information about ISS flyovers and other visible satellites, visit www.heavens-above.com

Detailed information regarding all unmanned exploration of our universe, missions past, present, and planned, can be found at Jet Propulsion Laboratories:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/

The Planets Visible Without a Telescope

Mars

The Red planet is currently found in Ophiuchus rising before the Sun and can be easily seen by 9:30 p.m. in the southeastern sky.  Mars sets by 4:18 a.m.

Jupiter

Jupiter now rises before the Sun sets. To see Jupiter you will have to look south at about 8:50 p.m.  Jupiter sets at 1:24 a.m.  Each week Jupiter will set approximately 30 minutes earlier than it did the week before.

Saturn

The ringed planet is has reached opposition and as such rises before the Sun sets.  Look for Saturn alongside Mars in the southeastern sky about 30 minutes after sunset.  Saturn will set by 5:32 a.m.

Deep Sky Object of the Week

A few years ago the night sky update included a section that highlighted one constellation a month and a few objects of interest inside of it.  Unfortunately of the 88 constellations there are only about 60 we can see in St. Louis and of these there are only so many that have enough objects to reference that would interest both beginners and advanced observers.  In 2015 we changed things a bit for this section and instead of highlighting one constellation for each month we highlighted one Messier object a week using the Astronomical League’s Binocular Messier program as our guide.  We will continue this into 2016 but instead of using the Astronomical League’s binocular Messier program we will use their Binocular Deep Sky Program.

The Astronomical League is an amateur astronomy society that is composed of over 240 local amateur astronomy societies across the United States and includes members at large and other supporting members.  Their goal is to promote the science of astronomy through education, incentive and communication.

One of the many ways the Astronomical League has assisted amateur astronomers around the world is by creating various observing programs that highlight different aspects of astronomy and how an amateur astronomer can observe the sky and learn more about astronomy in doing so.  Some of these programs are introductory and are targeted at those beginning to learn about observational astronomy and some are extremely advanced, require specialized equipment and require a large amount of time to complete.  These observing programs cover most any type of object or way to observe the sky so everyone should be able to find one that matches their interests and abilities.  It is important to note that these programs are not part of any class or lecture series but are rather lists of objects that highlight types of objects or observing methods relevant to astronomy.  Taking part in these programs is done under one’s own choice.  To officially complete each program you do have to be a member of the Astronomical League but you do not have to join to use them as observing guides or education tools.  I would urge anyone interested in astronomy to look at these programs as they will help organize observing sessions and will help refine observing skills you already have.  You can find out more information about the Astronomical League’s observing programs here https://www.astroleague.org/observing.html

The observing program we will use to help guide us through the 2016 observing year is the Binocular Deep Sky Program.  This is a program that will appeal to both beginning and advance observers.  Too often it is thought that you need to have a telescope for astronomical observations.  Telescopes make great observing tools and yes they can show you more than binoculars but they do have their limitations.  Cost, size, weight and complexity will often be a surprise to people when they first learn about telescopes.  These factors can keep people from using telescopes they own or from buying one at all.  The best advice to follow is a good observing tool is one you will use.

The binocular deep sky program is an introduction to deep sky objects beyond the Messier catalog.  It will introduced viewers to the New General Catalog (NGC) and some of the lesser known deep sky catalogs such as the Stock, Collinder and Melotte.  Each week we will highlight a deep sky object that is part of the Astronomical League’s binocular deep sky program.  This program is tougher than Messier binocular program as the objects are not always as obvious and they will require larger binoculars than the Messier program.  50mm binoculars are recommended but many of the targets can be seen through smaller aperture instruments.  I would urge each observer to fulfill the requirements of the program even if you do not intend to join the League for completion.  The requirements involve logging observing data that can help refine observing skills that will be useful later down the road.  If you have an interest in astronomy and learning more about observational astronomy I would also recommend checking out one of the two excellent astronomy societies near St. Louis.  Both are members of the Astronomical League and both do numerous public observing nights around town.  These clubs are the

St. Louis Astronomical Society and

Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri

If you do not live in the St. Louis, Missouri area chances are you have similar astronomical societies where you live.

The deep sky object for the week of June 7 is the open star cluster NGC 6709.  Located in the constellation Aquila, NGC 6709 will be seen rising in the east by 11:00 p.m.  At a distance of 3,000 light years NGC 6709 shines with an apparent magnitude of 6.7.  This star cluster contains 60 stars that are estimated to be roughly 78 million years old.  The Trumpler classification for NGC 6709 is III, 2, m which means it is well detached from background stars with no central classification, it has a moderate range of stellar magnitudes and it has a moderate population with between 50 and 100 stellar members.

To find NGC 6709 start by looking for the Summer Triangle.  The Summer Triangle can be found by looking east around 11:00 p.m.  It is made up of the bright stars Vega, Deneb and Altair which are found in the constellations Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila respectively.  Aquila will look like an elongated diamond shape of stars that makes up the southernmost portion of the Summer Triangle.  Once you can identify the star Altair look about 12 degrees to the west and you will see the western tip of the diamond shape which are the stars Zeta and Epsilon Aquilae.  Once you can find these stars look about six degrees to the south and you will find NGC 6709.  Use the maps below to find this week’s star cluster.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_6709#/media/File:NGC_6709_map.png

http://www.iau.org/static/public/constellations/gif/AQL.gif

http://www.iau.org/static/public/constellations/gif/CYG.gif

http://www.iau.org/static/public/constellations/gif/LYR.gif                                         

Our next Star Party will be held on Friday, July 1, 2016, from dusk until 10 p.m. 

As part of the Saint Louis Science Center’s First Fridays, weather permitting, the St. Louis Astronomical Society and the Science Center will set up a number of telescopes outdoors and be on-hand to answer your questions.  Telescope viewing begins once it is dark.  Regardless of the weather on July 1, join us indoors in our planetarium theater for “The Sky Tonight”.  Showtime is at 7 p.m.

This free, indoor star program will introduce you to the current night sky, the planets, and the seasonal constellations. Doors open 15 minutes before show time. Shows begins at 7 p.m. Sorry, no late admissions due to safety issues in the darkened theater.

The St. Louis Astronomical Society helps host the monthly Star Parties at the Saint Louis Science Center which are held on the first Friday of each month. Our Monthly Star Parties are open to the public and free of charge.

Leave a Comment