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Kevin M. Berg

Astronomy News

In the News June

Type II Supernova!!
May 19, Spotted first by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki, then validated by images from the Zwicky Transient Facility, this supernova in M101, a galaxy some 21 million light years away, is a must see!   NASA quickly classified the supernova as a Type II supernova, the result of a single very large star undergoing a core collapse.   The two most famous supernovae to occur in our own galaxy are the 1054 event known as M1, aka the Crab Nebula in Taurus, and the much older Veil Nebula in the constellation Cygnus--an event that may have occurred as long as 20,000 years ago. Read this short article from NASA for an explanation of supernovae; note there are tabs at the top of the article to select either basic or advanced explanations.   While this new supernova is and will be a telescopic object, not a naked-eye object, it is expected to continue to brighten into the summer before it fades away.   For a guide to finding the supernova, see the online article from Astronomy Magazine

Good News about JUICE!
May 26, The JUICE acronym describes the European Space Agency's mission to explore the moons of Jupiter:   JUpiter ICy moons Explorer.   JUICE, which launched successfully in April of this year, is on an eight-year flight path to reach Jupiter in 2031.   Up until now, the mission-critical antenna and instrument panel "Radar for Icy Moon Exploration" (RIME) did not deploy as planned, threatening the success of the mission that had been planned since 2012.   But GOOD NEWS, the antenna glitch was fixed!   Check out how they fixed it; look for RIME on the mission summary page from ESA.

Where Have All the Planets Gone?
June 4, In astronomy-speak, the planet Venus reaches elongation today; that is, it is as far away from the sun as it is going to get--and from our visual perspective it will appear as big as it gets.   Gather an eyeful while you can!  Venus will reach peak brightness at the beginning of July and will set with the sun before the end of July.   That leaves Mars as the only visible evening planet until it disappears behind the sun in mid-August.   I don't want to hurry summer; but for us evening observers it will be a "planet-famine" as we wait for Saturn to reach opposition late in August!

Summer Officially Arrives Today!
June 21, The summer solstice occurs today as the sun reaches its northernmost points of rising and setting on the horizon.   We welcome the return of the Milky Way to the Eastern horizon, passing through the "Summer Triangle", showing off its beautiful open clusters, globular clusters, and nebulae.  

About the Moon this month...
Full Moon is on June 3rd, Last Quarter on the 10th, New Moon on the 17th, and First Quarter on the 26th.

On-Line Programs to enjoy on a cloudy night!
--Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Image of Aristarchus Crater released Dec 1st, 2022 LROC.
--The McDonald Observatory Archive of livestreams can be found Here.
--Lowell Observatory's most recent livestreamed program can be found Here.
--The STSCI lecture series archives can be found Here.

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