SKY WATCH Wednesday 17 June to Wednesday 24 June 2015
The nights are getting shorter and shorter and there is not much left for those who want to do some stargazing. Mercury rises about an hour before Sunrise in the East North East in the constellation of Taurus from Sunday 21 June onwards. Venus is best seen from 9.40 pm to midnight in the constellation of Cancer. Mars is still too close to the Sun and not visible. Jupiter is best seen from 10 pm to midnight in the constellation of Leo. Saturn is best seen from 10.30 pm to 3.30 am in the constellation of Libra.
Venus and Jupiter are getting closer and closer together. Look to the West and watch the dance of the planets. The Moon joins them on Friday 19th, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June. Nice to watch. Send in your pictures!
The Moon is a First Quarter Moon on Wednesday 24 June. The Sun rises at 4.40 am and sets at 9.36 pm. It is Northern Solstice on Sunday 21 June.
Wednesday 17 June
Today in 1433: In Scotland known as the "Black Hour". Although covering all of Scotland, this eclipse went well into northeast England down to north Yorkshire. Even though the eclipse was nearly four and a half minutes on the center line (the 6th longest British total eclipse in the period from year 1 to year 3000), it must have still been over three minutes in Yorkshire. Some references do mention “Black Hour”, some others “Black Friday”.
At 11.22 am Moon in Maximum Libration North: North Pole and Mare Frigoris are tipped into view of the Earth. At 13.58 pm the Moon in Maximum Libration East: Mare Crisium limb is tipped into view of the Earth.
A challenge when ISS passes only 10 minutes after the Sun sets. ISS appears at 9.40 pm in the Western horizon (where the Sun sets!). Culmination at 9.45 pm South West at 16°. ISS disappears at 9.49 pm in the South South East. A flare appears at 10.50 pm in the West North West at an altitude of 16° in the constellation of Cancer.
Thursday 18 June
Today in 1178, about an hour after sunset - as chronicled by the English monk, Gervase of Canterbury - a band of five eyewitnesses watched as the upper horn of the bright, new crescent Moon "suddenly split in two. From the midpoint of this division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out... fire, hot coals and sparks... The body of the moon, which was below writhed... throbbed like a wounded snake." In 1976, a geologist suggested that this was consistent with the location and age of the 22-km lunar crater Giordano Bruno. However, such asteroid impact would have ejected debris causing an astonishing meteor shower, which was never reported. Now the sighting of 1178 is attributed to perhaps an exploding meteor that just happened to line up with their view of the Moon.
At 4.40 am in the early morning we have the earliest Sun rise of the year for this region around Ashbourne.
Not that you will notice, but at 1.41 pm it is the begin of Northern Spring for the planet Mars.
Just after Sun set, a bright flare at 9.52 pm in North North West at an altitude of 19° in the constellation of Camelopardalis. Just after 10 pm the Lunar Crescent is visible, only 55 hours after New moon. Elongation or the distance to the Sun is only 27.9°. The Moon is 5.9% illuminated. The crescent points to the lower right. The Moon sets at 10.37 pm, only 61 minutes after the Sun.
A bright flare low at 10.54 pm in the West North West at an altitude 15° in the constellation of Cancer. Another very bright flare in the early morning at 2.55 am in the South East at an altitude of 53° in the constellation of Pegasus. And another one 20 minutes before Sun rise at 4.23 am in the East at altitude of 31° in the constellation of Triangulum.
Friday 19 June
Today it is the 2255th anniversary (240 BC) of the 1st estimation of the Earth's Circumference by Eratosthenes.
At 9.46 pm an Iridium flare after Sun set in the North North West at an altitude 20° in the constellation of Camelopardalis. At 10.10 pm transit of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. You will need a small telescope or binoculars to see.
The Moon is very low on the horizon when it is close to the star Acubens at 10.35 pm. The limb separation is 5.91° or 11.73 lunar diameters. At 11.07 pm a flare in the North West at altitude of 11° in the constellation of Cancer. Not long after, at 11.16 pm, another flare in North West at altitude of 8° in the constellation of Gemini. After midnight, at 1.12 am another flare again in South South West at an altitude of 59° in the constellation of Hercules.
Saturday 20 June
At about 9.35 am Venus is close to the Moon in full daylight. You will need a very clear and transparent sky to see the 14.7% Moon. Altitude only 8° and limb separation Moon – Venus is 6.01° or 12.00 lunar diameters. The Sun elevation is 40° and the elongation from Sun is 45°. Look again after Sun set at 9.35 pm when the Moon is close to Venus with limb separation of 8.07° or 16.12 lunar diameters. A bit later, at 10 pm the Moon is close to Jupiter with a limb separation of 5.07° or 10.14 lunar diameters. At 11.10 pm the Moon is close to the star Subra in the constellation of Leo. Limb separation is 4.03° or 8.08 lunar diameters.
At 2.19 am early morning, it is the earliest Dawn of the year for this Ashbourne region. Which means the Sun is still at -12° under the horizon. Sun rise is at 4.40 am.
Sunday 21 June
It’s Father's Day today. A good opportunity to buy him a small telescope, a binocular. And maybe, you can use for stargazing …?
Today in 1948, the first stored-program computer, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, SSEM, ran its first program. Written by Professor Tom Kilburn, it took 52 minutes to run. The tiny experimental computer had no keyboard or printer, but it successfully tested a memory system developed at Manchester University in England. The system, based on a cathode-ray tube, could store programs. Previous electronic computers had to be rewired to execute each new problem. The Manchester computer proved theories set forth by John von Neumann in a report that proposed modifications to ENIAC, the electronic computer built at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid-1940s. The report also proposed the use of binary instead of digital numbers.
At 5.39 pm it is Northern Solstice.
Look for the Earthshine on the Moon at 10.30 pm. At 11.49 pm transit of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. You will need a small telescope or binoculars to see.
At 3.49 am, in the early morning about an hour before Sun rise, Mercury rises in the East North East in the constellation of Taurus. A very bright Iridium flare at 4.13 am just before Sun rise in the East at altitude 34° in the constellation of Pisces.
Monday 22 June
Today the Royal Greenwich Observatory is celebrating its 340th Birthday (1675). The Royal Greenwich Observatory was created by Royal Warrant in England by Charles II. Building designed by Sir Christopher Wren (who was also a Professor of Astronomy) was commenced 10 Aug 1675 and finished the following year by John Flamsteed was appointed as the first Astronomer Royal.
At 10.30 pm look for the Earthshine on the Moon. At 11.28 pm a flare in the West at an altitude of 40° in the constellation of Coma Berenices.
At 11.59 pm, just at midnight, we notice the latest Dusk of the year for the Ashbourne area. This means the Sun is at -12° under the horizon.
Look again for Mercury at 3.47 am early morning, about an hour before Sun rise in the East North East.
Tuesday 23 June
The Moon in apogee at 6.01 pm. The distance of the Moon center to the Earth center is 404171.1 km. Earthshine on the Moon visible at 10.30 pm. Look out for Mercury about an hour before Sun rise in the East North East at about 3.45 am, in the early Wednesday morning.
Wednesday 24 June
Today in 1963, the first demonstration of a home video recorder was made at the BBC News Studios in London. A Telcan fixed-head longitudinal videotape recorder intended for home-taping of television programs was demonstrated on BBC television news. The open-reel recorder was mounted on the top of a television cabinet. Developed by Norman Rutherford and Michael Turner of Nottingham Electronic Valve Company (NEVC), the machine used quarter-inch tape running at 120 ips (10 feet/sec) past fixed heads, carrying two low-resolution black and white 15-minute tracks. The intended price was £61 19s (£61.90). It never went on sale. Both Telcan and NEVC collapsed.
At 12.02 pm, at noon it is First Quarter Moon. This is the smallest First Quarter Moon of the year. Former smaller First Quarter Moon was on 7 May 2014. The next smaller First Quarter Moon is on 10 August 2016
At 6.10 pm, not that you will notice (as the planet is visible in early mornings), Mercury in Greatest Elongation. Mercury is 22.5° West in the mornings.