Sunday June 3rd the waning gibbous Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.
On the morning of the node crossing the 19-day old waning gibbous Moon will be over the south-southeastern horizon about an hour before the Sun rises local time. The Moon will also be about 3o from the ‘red planet’ Mars. Off to the west is the planet Saturn nestled within the glow of the eastern side of the Milky Way.
Depending on how dark the sky is where you are viewing from and how early you want to go outside, the area around Saturn is rich with some of the best deep-sky objects visible with binoculars. So the earlier you are out, before moonrise, the darker the sky will appear making it easier to see some of Messier Objects in the area near Saturn.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to go to bobs-spaces.
In the early morning hours before the Sun rises the summer (northern hemisphere) Milky Way arches across the sky from the southern horizon toward the northern horizon. Over the southern horizon is the constellation Sagittarius the Archer and the direction toward the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this direction is the planet Saturn and within the field of view of binoculars are several nebula, some of which are visible to the naked eye. Despite the use of optical aids like binoculars or telescopes we do not see the colors of these object that you may see in photographs. Regardless, this part of the sky is filled with many objects visible to the naked eye and certainly with binoculars. And assuming the local skies are relatively dark then viewing this area of the Milky Way will provide many viewing rewards.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.
Pictures were taken this morning at around 5 am CST from a location along 50 Highway west from where I live in Lee’s Summit Missouri. These are cropped from the original which was taken with the following settings. 18 mm lens; 6-seconds; f3.5; ISO 1600. The nova is currently at around 5th magnitude meaning that it could be seen with the naked eye in dark enough skies. I added apparent magnitudes for 4 stars near the Nova’s location.
From my picture location the sky was still too bright but I was pretty sure I saw the nova using 10×50 binoculars.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.