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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June stargazing

It's been so frikkin' cloudy and rainy in Houston over the last month, I think I have forgotten what the stars look like. Couldn't see a thing in Vegas either because of all of the city lights. Can't wait to get down to South Texas when we will be able to gaze at the night sky again.

Planetary Geometry

Waves in the upper atmosphere sculpt a giant storm at Saturn's north pole into a hexagonal shape. Saturn is putting in its best showing of the year in late May and early June, shining like a bright golden star not far from even brighter Mars. [NASA/JPL/SSI]

Stargazing Summary
June's evening sky offers a bright outline of the path that the Sun will follow in a few months. The stars Regulus and Spica lie quite close to that path, known as the ecliptic. And three bright planets also line up along the ecliptic. From west to east, they are brilliant Jupiter (between Regulus and Spica), orange Mars (in the south), and golden Saturn (to the left of Mars). The Sun will pass close to Regulus in August, Spica in October, and the current positions of Mars and Saturn in December.

More stargazing information

Radio Program Highlights
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June 1-5: Golden giant. The giant planet Saturn is at its best this week, and we'll tell you why. We'll also talk about the 50th anniversary of a landing on the Moon. Join us for golden Saturn, Surveyor 1, and much more.

June 6-12: Whirling stars. The star that marks the heart of the celestial lion is spinning so fast that it's almost ripping itself apart. But some stars actually are spinning themselves into oblivion. Join us for spinning stars, lunar lingo and more.

June 13-19: Moon meanderings. The Moon passes some bright lights this week, from the Red Planet to a red supergiant star, and we'll have details. We'll also talk about a short night of moonwatching and much more. Join us for the Moon and more.

June 20-26: Celestial Egypt. The Egyptian desert has been bombarded by its share of space rocks. And the desert environment preserves some of their remains. Join us for craters, meteorites, and a bit of celestial glass intended for a divine destination.

June 27-July 3: Black holes. Black holes are among the most amazing objects in the universe, and we'll talk about the merger of two big ones, an attempt to see an even bigger one, and the biggest of them all. Join us for black holes, plus arrival at Jupiter and more.

Program schedule »

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Coming Up in StarDate Magazine
In our next issue, we'll explain the latest twist on the search for extraterrestrial life. And we'll bring you up to date on New Horizons, laying out discoveries made so far by the historic flyby of Pluto and its cadre of moons.

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News from the Observatory
Supermassive Black Holes Cause Galactic Warming
Over the last few billion years, a mysterious kind of "galactic warming" has turned huge numbers of galaxies into deserts devoid of fresh young stars. The puzzle for astronomers has been identifying the unknown process that keeps the gas in these dormant galaxies too hot and energetic to form stars. Now UT Austin's Niv Drory and partners from the Sloan Digitial Sky Survey have looked into this phenomenon and discovered the culprit: black holes.

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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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