Calendar

Here is a listing of upcoming events and activities that the Hamilton Chapter of the RASC will be conducting. If you are interested in Astronomy, come check us out or contact us for more details!

Monthly Night Sky information provided by Chris Vaughan (@Astrogeoguy) at Starry Night Education (@StarryNightEdu).

June

Friday, June 14 – First Quarter Moon (at 05:18 GMT) The moon will complete the first quarter of its orbit around Earth, measuring from the previous new moon, on Friday, June 14 at 1:18 a.m. EDT and 05:18 GMT, which converts to 10:18 p.m. PDT on Thursday night. The 90 degree angle formed by the Earth, sun, and moon at that time will cause us to see our natural satellite half-illuminated on its eastern side. At first quarter, the moon always rises around mid-day and sets around midnight, allowing it to be seen in the afternoon daytime sky, too. The evenings surrounding the first quarter phase are the best ones for viewing the lunar terrain when it is dramatically lit by low-angled sunlight.

Friday June 14 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Sunday, June 16 – Bright Moon Poses with Spica (evening) On Sunday afternoon, June 16 in the Americas, the waxing gibbous moon will rise in mid-afternoon and ascend the southeastern sky until dusk. Once the sky darkens in late evening, look for Virgo’s brightest star Spica twinkling several finger widths to the moon’s right (or 3 degrees to its celestial WNW). Spica is a hot, white, B1-class star 250 light-years from our sun. Hours earlier, skywatchers located in the region northeast of the Black Sea can use binoculars and backyard telescopes to watch the moon occult Spica.

Tuesday, June 18 – Eyeing Mare Imbrium (evening) On Sunday, April 2, the lunar terminator will have moved beyond the western rim of Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rains. That dark, circular feature dominates the northwestern quadrant of the moon’s Earth-facing hemisphere. The mare is the moon’s largest impact basin, measuring more than 715 miles (1,145 km) in diameter. It was formed during the late heavy bombardment period approximately 3.94 billion years ago. Binoculars and backyard telescope views of Mare Imbrium at this phase will reveal ejecta blankets around its major craters Aristillus, Autolycus, and Archimedes, the nearly-submerged ghost craters Cassini and Wallace, the isolated mountain ranges Recti, Teneriffe, and Spitzbergen, and an interior ring of subtle wrinkle ridges. The half-circle of Sinus Iridum, the Bay of Rainbows, interrupts Imbrium’s western edge.

Wednesday, June 19 – Bright Moon Moves through Scorpion’s Claws (evening) In the lower part of the southern sky after dusk on Wednesday, June 19, the waxing, nearly full moon will shine in western Scorpius, between that constellation’s brightest star, reddish Antares, and the up-down row of small white stars that form the scorpion’s claws, Jabbah or Nu Scorpii, Graffias or Acrab, Dschubba, Pi Scorpii, and Rho Scorpii. A backyard telescope at high magnification will reveal that Nu Scorpii, Graffias, and Dschubba are close-together double stars. The next evening, observers north of Papua / New Guinea can watch the moon occult Antares.

Thursday, June 20 – Northern Summer Solstice (at 20:51 GMT) On Thursday, June 20 at 4:51 p.m. EDT or 1:51 p.m. PDT and 20:51 GMT, the sun will reach its northernmost declination for the year, delivering the maximum daylight hours of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and the minimum daylight hours of the year for the Southern Hemisphere. The June solstice marks the beginning of the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere, and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Friday June 21 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday, June 21 – Full Strawberry Moon (at 9:08 p.m. EDT) The moon will officially reach its full phase on Friday, June 21 at 9:08 p.m. EDT and 6:08 p.m. PDT, which converts to 01:08 GMT on Saturday, June 22. The June full moon, colloquially known as the Strawberry Moon, Mead Moon, Rose Moon, Birthing Moon, or Hot Moon, always shines in or near the stars of Sagittarius, the Archer. The indigenous Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes region call this moon Ode’miin Giizis, the Strawberry Moon. For the Cree Nation it’s Opiniyawiwipisim, the Egg Laying Moon (referring to the activities of wild water-fowl). The Mohawks call it Ohiarí:Ha, the Fruits are Small Moon. The Cherokee call it Tihaluhiyi, the Green Corn Moon, when crops are growing. The moon is only completely full when it is opposite the sun in the sky, so full moons always rise in the east as the sun is setting, and set in the west at sunrise. Since sunlight is hitting the moon face-on at that time, no shadows are cast – all of the variations in brightness you see arise from differences in the reflectivity, or albedo, of the lunar surface rocks.

Saturday, June 22 – The Summer Triangle Arrives (all night) After dusk in late June, Vega, Deneb, and Altair are the first stars to appear in the darkening eastern sky. Those three bright, white stars form the Summer Triangle asterism – an annual feature of the summer sky that remains visible until the end of December! The highest and most easterly of the trio is Vega, in Lyra. At magnitude 0.03, Vega is the brightest star in the summer sky, mainly due to its relative proximity to the sun – it’s only 25 light-years distant. Magnitude 0.75 Altair, in Aquila, occupies the southern corner of the triangle. Altair is 17 light-years from the sun. By contrast, Deneb, which shines somewhat less brightly at magnitude 1.25, is a staggering 2,600 light-years away from us; but it ranks so high in visible brightness because of its greater intrinsic luminosity. The Milky Way passes between Vega and Altair and through Deneb, which sits high overhead in Cygnus as dawn begins to break.

Tuesday, June 25 – Stars to Wish Upon (evening) If you want to wish upon the first star to shine after dusk, then you’ve got two to choose from in late June! As the sky darkens after sunset, cast your gaze high in the southern sky to spot yellow-orange Arcturus (Alpha Boötis). At magnitude -0.15, it’s not only the brightest star in Boötes, the Herdsman, but also the fourth brightest star in the entire night sky worldwide. Only our sun and Sirius are brighter for mid-Northern latitude skywatchers. At only 37 light-years away from the sun, Arcturus is a “neighbour” of ours. If you happen to be facing east, you might see the equally bright star Vega, in Lyra, the Harp first. Vega is the next brightest star in the sky after Arcturus due to its location only 25 light-years away from us.

Thursday, June 27 – Moon moves toward Saturn (wee hours to dawn) When the yellowish planet Saturn rises in the east in the early hours of Thursday morning, June 27, it will be shining less than palm’s width to the left (or 5 degrees to the celestial ENE) of the waning half-illuminated moon. The pair will be cozy enough for them to share the view in binoculars until the brightening sky hides Saturn at sunrise. On Friday morning, observers in eastern Australia and the region surrounding Fiji can watch the moon occult Saturn.

Friday June 28 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday, June 28 – Third Quarter Moon (at 21:53 GMT) The moon will officially reach its third quarter phase at 5:53 p.m. EDT, 2:53 p.m. PDT, or 21:53 GMT on Friday, June 28. At third (or last) quarter the moon appears half-illuminated on its western, sunward side. The moon will rise after midnight local time, and then remain visible until it sets in the western daytime sky in early afternoon. Third quarter moons are positioned ahead of the Earth in our trip around the Sun. About 3½ hours later, Earth will occupy that same location in space. The week of dark, moonless evening skies that follow this phase are the best ones for observing deep sky targets.

Saturday, June 29 – Lyra’s Double Double Star (all night) The constellation of Lyra is positioned high in the eastern sky during late evening in June. Keen eyes might reveal that the medium-bright star Epsilon Lyrae, which is located just a finger’s width to the lower left (or one degree to the celestial east) of the very bright star Vega, is a close-together pair of stars – a double star. Binoculars or a backyard telescope will certainly show the two stars. Examining Epsilon at high magnification will reveal that each of those stars is itself a double – hence its nick-name, “the Double Double”. Each duo is a true binary star system, with the companions orbiting one another once every 600 and 1,200 years.

Sunday, June 30 – Saturn Stands Still (wee hours) On Sunday, June 30, Saturn will cease its regular eastward motion through the distant stars of Aquarius and begin a retrograde loop that will last until mid-November. The apparent reversal in Saturn’s motion is an effect of parallax produced when Earth, on a faster orbit, passes the Ringed Planet on the “inside track”. You can observe the planet’s motion by noting how Saturn’s distance from the bright star Hydor (Lambda Aquarii) to its right varies over the coming weeks.

July 2024

Friday July 5 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday July 12 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday July 19 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday July 26 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

August 2024

Friday Aug 2 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Aug 9 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Aug 16 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Aug 23 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Aug 30 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

September 2024

Friday Sep 6 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Sep 13 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Sep 20 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Sep 27 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

October 2024

Friday Oct 4 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Friday Oct 11 – Friday Night Sights at the Observatory

Leave a Reply