Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June stargazing

As I get older, time seems to be speeding up. If you find yourself getting bored with life, just gaze up at a clear sky at night (preferably away from city lights). 

Stargazing Summary
Venus and Jupiter, the brightest points of light in the night sky, dominate the early evening hours for most of the month. They are especially close together as the month begins, but remain close until late July. By the time they set, the two signature constellations of summer, Sagittarius and Scorpius, are in good view in the southern sky. The brightest stars of Sagittarius form a teapot, while those of Scorpius form the curved body and barbed tail of a scorpion.

Radio Program Highlights
If you want to start hearing the StarDate program in your area, you can request a station to carry our program by emailing the request to

July 6-12: Transition. A spacecraft in the icy regions of the outer solar system is about to turn Pluto from a tiny point of light to a full-fledged world. Join us for New Horizons, Pluto, and other icy worlds in the outer solar system.

July 13-19: First Encounter. The first close encounter with the planet Mars came 50 years ago this week, and we'll have details. Well also talk about the very first stars in the universe. Join us for Mariner 4, Population 3, and other numerical goodies.

July 20-26: Close Companions. A pair of stars is so close together that one star has dumped some of its gas on the other — but is getting ready to take some of it back. Join us for this busy star system, plus giant voids between galaxies and much more.

July 27-31: Laser Man. A flash of insight led to the development of the maser, which led to the laser, one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. We'll talk about the man with the insight and how he put his own invention to work.

Program schedule »

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This Month in StarDate Magazine
In the July/August issue, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Magellan’s arrival at Venus with a look back at its finds and a look forward to future Venus science. And we’ll shed light on innovations that enable ground-based research telescopes to do more than ever.

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News From the Observatory
'Crown Jewels' Ready for Telescope
The crown jewels of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope upgrade — a set of four mirrors designed to sharpen the view to pinpoint precision — are complete and ready to install on the telescope. They soon will allow scientists to take their first views of the night sky with the refurbished telescope.

UT Austin, International Partners Approve Start of Construction for Giant Magellan Telescope
The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) has announced a major milestone today with 11 international partners including The University of Texas at Austin unanimously approving its construction, securing the future of the project with more than $500 million to begin work on the worlds most powerful optical telescope. The decision initiates final design and fabrication of the GMT, which is poised to become the largest optical telescope in existence.

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About SkyTips
SkyTips is a monthly email newsletter for visitors to McDonald Observatory and StarDate Online. Each issue features stargazing highlights, upcoming StarDate radio program descriptions, and other news. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and family.

SkyTips is a publication of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory Education and Outreach Office, 2609 University Ave. A2100, Austin, TX 78712. Reproduction of SkyTips content is permitted with proper credit given to McDonald Observatory.

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