Latitude Adjustment

   I am in need of a latitude adjustment so I am heading south to Tucson Arizona for a week that includes family, darker skies, Mt. Lemmon, mountains, the desert, and night sky pictures – Milky Way, deep sky objects. For this I am exchanging midwest humidity and warm weather for considerably less humidity and but oh that heat!
   “Yeah but it’s a dry heat!”
   To which I like to reply with, “So is a pizza oven.”
   Nonetheless as the graphics below show I am also exchanging light polluted metropolitan skies for darker metropolitan skies with hopefully clear skies (at least at night) considering it is Monsoon Season there. And I am swapping colors – green for brown.

   Think about this (or not!!) When you look off toward the green horizon, where the blue ‘sky meets the ground’ did you ever wonder why these are the colors?
It’s to know where to stop mowing!!

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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Jupiter in Solar Conjunction

jup-conj-ani   Today at 4 pm CDT (21 UT) the planet Jupiter reaches conjunction with the sun, in effect behind the sun as we view the two from Earth. Jupiter will reappear later next month in the morning skies joining with Venus as two very bright morning ‘stars’.

   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Moon Near M-35 and Venus

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   On Thursday morning the 24th the very thin 27-day old waning crescent Moon rises near the planet Venus and the open star cluster M-35. This is the 3rd posting in about as many days that included the open star cluster M-35. But when celestial objects are near the ecliptic then the Moon and the 8 planets all have opportunities to interact with the near-ecliptic objects. This is the case for the open star cluster M-35, which has had the two inner planets Mercury and Venus, and now the Moon come within a few degrees.

24july-bino   As this graphic shows the Moon, Venus, and M-35 are all within a small enough space to fit within the field of view of 7×50 binoculars. The Moon may or may not be a challenge to see depending on your local horizon, nonetheless it will be a very thin crescent with between 5-6% of its disk still reflecting sunlight.

   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Sun Not in Leo Today

22july  According to the pseudoscience of astrology the Sun enters the constellation of Leo the Lion on Tuesday 22 July at 5 pm CDT (22 UT). When in fact the actual position of the Sun today is within the boundaries of the constellation of Cancer the Crab. The Sun is still close to the western boundary of Cancer having just crossed that boundary a couple of days ago.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Moon Near Aldebaran

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   On the morning of Tuesday 22 July look toward the southeastern horizon for the waning crescent Moon to be in the ‘V’ of the open star cluster known as the Hyades, and about 2o away from the reddish star Aldebaran.. The v-shaped Hyades marks the face of Taurus the Bull with Aldebaran representing a red eye, an angry bull.
   
22july-bino   The Hyades is a an open star cluster with somewhere around 200 stars many of which help form the familiar v-shape pattern. Unmistakable in its brightness compared with the rest of the ‘v’ stars is the reddish star Aldebaran. While Aldebaran is usually described as the eye of the bull this red giant star is not actually part of the open cluster. Rather it is a line-of-sight arrangement. Aldebaran (60 light years) is nearly three times closer than the stars of the Hyades (150 light years).

   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Moon The Sisters!

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   On the morning of Monday 21 July look toward the southeastern horizon for the waning crescent Moon to be about 6-7o away from the open star cluster known as the Pleiades, or the 7 Sisters. There are a variety of mythologies about these stars and why they are called the Seven Sisters even though most people only see 6 stars. Which too many folks looks like a small dipper shape. In darker skies it is possible to see up to 12 stars.
   
21july-bino   The Pleiades, or M-45, is an open cluster containing around 500 stars. In many time exposure pictures bluish-white nebulosity seems to surround the stars. The nebula is actually a Reflection Nebula, glowing from the light of the stars within the cluster. The Pleiades are easy to see with the unaided eye and become more spectacular when an optical aid is used.

   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Sun Enters Cancer

19july-view-from-earth   Sunday 20 July at 7 pm CDT (0 UT 21 July) the Sun in its apparent eastward motion along the ecliptic, moves out of the constellation Gemini the Twins and into the constellation of Cancer the Crab. This is the true or actual position of the Sun as opposed to the pseudoscience of astrology which usually has the astrological Sun one constellation ahead or east from the Astronomical Sun’s position.

   Read a little more about how astrology has the Sun incorrectly placed in a previous blog, and in another blog discussing the effects of precession.
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.