Southern California Desert Video Astronomers
To educate & promote astronomy in order to preserve the dark skies of the California Desert and everywhere for future generations.
SCDVA, moving the line for dark skies
Strawberry Full Moon
on the 23rd
June 1-19 - Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are all visible in the western sky after sunset in the first few days of June. Jupiter is low in the sky, right on the horizon and disappears within the first week of June, only to return just before dawn in late July for a spectacular conjunction with Mars in the predawn sky.
It's hard to beleive that it's already been a year since we all gathered to watch the transit of Venus cross the sun the first week of June.
The first week brings on longer days of daylight and the beginning of the summer night sky.
Look toward the east and northeast in the late evening for the Summer Triangle. It's brightest star in the evening is Vega as it rises first. Look to it's lower left for Deneb, the "tail" of Cygnus, the swan. And to its lower right is Altair, in Aquila, the eagle.
Being in the desert of Joshua Tree, the summer evening sky just happens to come alive with the creatures of the desert on the ground as well as in the sky:
Snakes, a dragon, a lizard, and a scorpion. The most ancient is Draco, the dragon, which winds between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Almost 5,000 years ago its brightest star, Thuban, served as the Pole Star.
With my personal favorite, Scorpio rising in the Southern sky in the early evening after dark. The bright red star is the scorpions heart, known as Antares. Antares is a red super giant star in the Milky Way galaxy and the sixteenth brightest star in the night sky (sometimes listed as 15th brightest, if the two brighter components of the Capella quadruple star system are counted as one star).
Saturn, visible most of the night, it can be seen within the constellation Virgo and is Northeast of the bright star Spica. It can be enjoyed with a pair of binoculars. Saturn is an excellent target for telescopes, showing its ring and the shadow the ring creates across the front of the planet. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is also visible through telescopes.
Saturn as seen by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1980
Saturn eclipsing the sun,
as seen by Cassini spacecraft in 2006
June 20-30: Summer Solstice
The first day of summer is when the sun reaches solstice and appears to stand still from sunrise to sunset.
If you watch the sun every day at sunrise or sunset, you've noticed it moving farther North on your horizon. On the solstice, June 20th, the sun reaches as far North as it will go and lingers there, only slowly reversing its course back toward the South in the weeks to come as the days get shorter. The sun makes a large arc across the sky for those in the Northern hemisphere, bringing the longest days of the year around the solstice. In the Southern hemisphere, the sun cuts a small arc, bringing the shortest days of the year and the start of winter. A favorite day for our Australian Astronomer friends.
Full moon falls on June 23. This full moon is not only the closest and largest full moon of the year, it
also presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013. The moon will not be so close again until August, 2014.
Known as the Strawberry Moon. The Algonquin tribes knew this Moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries. It is also known as the Rose Moon and the Hot Moon. For many, the moon appears about equally as full each month on the day before as it does on the official day.
United States time zones the moon will turn full on June 23 are as follows: at 7:32 a.m. EDT, 6:32 a.m. CDT, 5:32 a.m. MDT and 4:32 a.m. PDT.
Come on out and enjoy out warm desert evenings with beautiful dark starry night sky. On July 6th we will be hosting our annual Independence weekend star party celebration, with live ambient music by Sequoia Smith and friends.
Check out our Meetup site for further details.
David's new book was released in late September.
David will be scheduling book signing events in the Morongo Basin. Go to his website Out My Windows for future events and to check out the magic of the desert that is captured by
David Jesse McChesney's photographs
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Last updated June 17, 2013