Star Diary Podcast: 6 to 12 June
The Planets; the twins of Gemini - Castor and Pollux; the Moon. We run down the best things to see in the sky this week.
What's coming up in the northern hemisphere's night sky in the month of 6 to 12 June.
Chris Bramley Hello and welcome to Star Diary, the podcast from the makers of BBC Sky at Night magazine. You can subscribe to the print edition of the magazine by visiting www.skyatnightmagazine.com, or to our digital edition by visiting iTunes or Google Play.
Ezzy Pearson Greetings, listeners, and welcome to Star Diary, the weekly guide to the best things to see in the Northern Hemisphere's Night Sky. In this episode, we'll be covering the coming week from the 6th to the 12th June. I'm Ezzy Pearson, the magazine's news editor, and I'm joined on the podcast today by reviews editor Paul Money. Hi, Paul.
Paul Money Hello, Ezzy. Another week of exciting events to cover.
Ezzy Absolutely. Good to have you back. So what are your recommendations for the coming week?
Paul Well, we've been concentrating on the morning sky because, you know, we know the major planets are out there at the moment, but we know it's one of those things that is slightly slow changing. The only major change in the morning sky, really, is that Jupiter and Mars are slowly getting further apart. So I think Mars is slowly had made its way down back towards Venus. So, you know, it is still worth getting up, having a look at them. That is, you've got a parade of planets. So you've got Saturn, Vesta, Neptune, Jupiter, Mars and Venus all in the morning sky. So again, about 3:30, 3:40 a.m., that sort of thing. But this week, we ought to concentrate on the evening sky, because it's interesting how the Moon, when it goes round us... You know, some constellations are quite small. So sometimes literally the moon only spends one evening in that constellation. But as it happens, it's going to one, when we class this is the spring sky. We've got Leo and Virgo, and they're actually quite large constellations. So it can often take three nights, say, for the moon to cross Leo and sometimes four nights to actually cross Virgo. It depends on where the moon's position falls right into the boundaries the International Astronomical Union set up for the constellations. So as it happens sort of thing, the on the sixth of so... sorry, on the 7th of June we actually find the moon is that first quarter and it's actually in Eastern Leo. I mean, it's half a phase. I mean, we call it first quarter because it's made the first quarter of its orbit round the actual earth that particular month, but it's actually a half phase. So the Terminator puts across and he actually crossed very close to the prominent craters of Tycho and Clavius. I always remember Tycho and Clavius, of course, from the film 2001. One of those seminal, you know, sort of cinematic moments when it comes to science fiction, I have to say. But of course, they found this the Tycho Magnetic anomaly. And so they set up the excavations from the base set up at Clavius. They went over and excavated and found the course, this great monolith, the black monolith as such. I can't tell you you'll find a black monolith if you've observed the moon with your telescope. In fact you can't see the landing site sort of thing.
Ezzy No you can't.
Paul I mean, you know, and the number of people say, oh, I should be able to use my telescope as it will, even Hubble can't see it sort of thing. So you won't be able to see it. They're just too tiny on the scale of the moon. But you can look at. Clavius has this has got a set of lovely curved line of craters at different sizes. Well worth looking at and of course Tycho has got a lovely central peak as well and some nice ragged features around it that cast some great shadows. So they're definitely well worth looking at over the next few days. On 7th the terminator is really close to them. So it's virtually, virtually cutting them in half. But literally the next night that sets off the actual they start to become uncovered and become better placed to actually view on the Moon. So there we are. Now as it happens the moon that night on the seventh, the Moon lies directly below Denebola, which is Beta Leone is that evening. There's not a lot of excitement you can say about Denebola. It's a bright star. I mean, it's a bright, quite prominent star, but not a lot exciting you can say about I mean, at least Regulus has got a double, it's a double star, but it is prominent. And you should be able to see it, I often get comments from people. What was that star above the moon I saw nine times out and it's a planet.
Ezzy That is true.
Paul I guarantee it was this going to be a planet when they notice it most. But there are bright stars above the moon at certain time, depending on where the moon is in orbit. So the moon during the course of this week now moves through Virgo. So it moves from Leo into Virgo. And on the eighth or the ninth it lies either side of another double star. You know, I mean, I'm amazed the number of double stars that actually lie quite close to the ecliptic, which is why we often notice the more because when the moon's near, it draws your attention to them. So this is the star Gamma Virgins, This is Porrimer in Virgo. It was very, very close, but It's one of those it's been gradually opening out and has actually become a lot easier for us to split now. So you do need a telescope, news high magnification. But again, two headlights two white stars quite close to each other. But they are the 8th and the 9th the moon lies either side. It is waxing towards full. As we progress through the actual week and then on the 9th and 10th, it's actually either side, i.e above but either side of Spicer. So the 8th it's on to the right of Porrimer and then the ninth is to the left of Porrimer. But on the ninth it's also to the right of Spica and then on the 10th is to the left of Spica. So he's moved through Virgo. I mean it is quite a large constellation. It almost feels as though for heaven's sake, come on in a hurry on, get into another constellation. But that was three nights it spends actually in the constellation of Virgo. Then on the 11th, it's really... I mean, we're back to double stars again. I'm sorry, but I have to harp on about them because this one's the really good one. Let's call ZubinelGenubi, Alpha Libra was on the 11th right next to it. It doesn't occult it, but he's really close. So if you use a pair of binoculars Zubinelgenubi is actually naked eye... well not quite... it depends on your eyesight I have to say...
Ezzy These things often do.
Paul Yes they do. But binoculars will clearly show the star as double so, and it'll be in the same field of view as the actual moon as well. It's really close. So again, it draws your attention to this really nice double star. So if you've never I mean, you've never really looked at double stars before, if you've never bothered. The Moon actually is a really good guide to home in on several over the last a week or two. So there we are and so.
Ezzy That on the 11th about be throughout the night that you'll be able to see that.
Paul Yes. I mean the moon obviously gradually moves past Alpha Libra, Zubinelgenubi you be thinking - a big mouthful isn't it - but it does move past it sort of thing. So he's not stationary all night really, because the moon is obviously moving in his motion. It's surprising how much and he's actually because he's quite close it doesn't take too long before you notice the motion. So if using a telescope and tracking them, you will start to notice. It depends on whether you centre on the star, so you actually position or you're tracking you can use lunar rate on a lot of these go to telescopes and that means it'll track and keep the moon centred. But the star will slowly appear to move past the Moon and that's a nice effect. So it's worth trying And most people stick to sidereal, which is the stellar motion of the view. So, you know, and that that means you see the moon creep past the star. But, you know, it's worth changing to lunar motion because it gives you an... You're focussed on the moon and centred on the moon, and then you see the star gradually drift passages such as, well, this would be a really good moment to actually do that. And finally for the 12th, the next evening, the moon has moved into Scorpius. It's actually quite close to Deschuba I'll never know whether I pronounce that. Is the D silent, is it? I know It's not Chewbacca.
Ezzy Who knows.
Paul But it's to the right of issue and gravitas in Scorpius and Antares is to the lower right now Antares is the one that most people know of bright blazing the golden red sort of thing, star, fiery red and Mars when it's nearest to it's the one that you compare it to Mars and see what the colours actually like. But this is a good way of finishing it with the moon quite close or getting close to and it will move closer to these two stars Deschuba and Graphius as well during the course of the evening, if you want to go. If You want to stay up through the night, It depends on you. If you want to do that, you can do. Why not? I'm not saying stay up all night and then miss work. I am not recommending that whatsoever. You'll get in trouble. But if you can, you know it's worth having to watch. And again. Watch again. You see the motion of the moon gradually creeping closer to the stars. So there we are. So that ends this particular week?
Ezzy Yeah, I always think that that's nice when you can sort of see the motion within our own Solar System and you can see that everything is moving. Because the stars are moving just very, very slowly. And I think that's a kind of nice way to remember that everything is in motion, even when it appears to not be.
Ezzy But yes, it sounds like there's lots of great things to see in the night sky this week. So thank you very much for telling us all about them, Paul
Ezzy If you want to find out even more spectacular sites that will be gracing the night sky throughout the month, be sure to pick up a copy of BBC Sky at Night Magazine where we have a 16 page pull out Sky Guide with a full overview of everything worth looking out for. Whether you like to look at the moon, the planets, or the deep sky, whether you used. Binoculars, telescopes or neither. Ask Guide has got you covered with the detailed star charts to help you track your way across the night sky from all of us here at BBC Sky and Night Magazine. Goodbye.
Chris Bramley Thank you for listening to this episode of The Start, our new podcast from the makers of BBC Scotland magazine. For more of our podcasts, visit our website at Scotland Magazine, E-Comm or head to Acast, iTunes or Spotify.