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This website created by
Kevin M. Berg

Astronomy News

In The News This Month

Some On-Line Programs well worth a look: Michigan's own Astronomy at the Beach Program and Programs from McDonald Observatory.
We are looking forward to this year's in-person program at Island Lake Recreation Area on September 16th - 17th.   For the latest information on the 26th gathering of the largest FREE public astronomy program in Michigan, click Here.   If you missed last year's Virtual Astronomy at the Beach program, click Here to see YouTube presentations by the Great Lakes Association of Astronomy Clubs!  
To see current and archived McDonald Observatory programs click Here. (Be sure to scroll down.) 

June is here!: It's Globular Cluster Time!
There are only about 150 of them in the Milky Way Galaxy.   Their unusual orbits around the "halo" of the galaxy along with the uncertain story of their origin are the kinds of things that keep professional astronomers up late at night .   But, you and I can stay up late at night just to enjoy them!   Their beauty is indisputable!   The season began last month with M53.   See Dave's Visual Observer Guide (on the "Observation" tab of our website) for a list of Messier globulars currently at this month's right ascension hours 15 through 16. For a complete list of globular clusters check out Don Pensack's list on cloudy nights; it is the 16th response in this discussion FORUM.

June 2nd: These Lunar Domes are now an Artemis Priority!
NASA added the investigation of the enigmatic Gruithuisen Domes as a priority mission of the Artemis Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. A lunar lander will deploy a rover to reach the summit of one of the domes located just South-West of the sea of rainbows. These domes are about 12 miles wide and over a mile high! For some good photos and the full NASA story, click HERE.

June 6th: Artemis One, take Two!
On June 6th the SLS will begin the four mile trek back to the launch pad in preparation for its next "WET" test.   The actual test won't occur until approximately two weeks later.   Wet Tests are conducted at cryogenic temperatures, just like the real high-speed pre-launch fuel fill, and are critical for the safe deployment of these complex systems.     Meanwhile, the Gateway module is progressing on a concurrent path.   To read this month's progress of the Artemis Mission, visit the June Artemis BLOG.

June 13th: 1.8 Billion and Counting!
Today, the European Space Agency (ESA) released the 3rd data set from its GAIA space telescope mission.   Gaia's objective is to create a 3-Dimensional Map of the Milky Way Galaxy. Operational at its L2 position since 2013, GAIA was expected to survey one percent of our galaxy's stars 70 times each to create its 3D map.   The original estimate was that GAIA would be able to catalog about one billion stars, but has found almost double than number! (Based on various models of the total mass of our galaxy, scientists peg the total Milky Way star count at between 100 and 400 billion stars!)   Read more about the June 2022 data release in the news bulletin from Sky and Telescope Magazine HERE.

June 15th: Six in a Row! It only Happens every 19 Years!
From mid-June to early-July the five naked-eye planets will line-up in the pre-dawn sky in the correct order as their distance from the sun: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.   Uranus, the sixth planet in this lineup, is out-of sequence, but you'll need a telescope or good binoculars for that one anyway. So enjoy this correctly-ordered view of all the naked-eye planets.   It only happens every 19 years!

June 21st: Summer Sun!
Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.   The sun will reach its highest altitude in the sky for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers.   (Condolences to our Southern Hemisphere neighbors!)   The long daylight hours cause amateur astronomers like us to stay up late at night to enjoy the darkness and starry nights we crave. But, it could be worse.   We could live closer to the North Pole and enjoy 24 hours of sunshine, eh!   (On second thought, I guess our solar observing contingent would not find that to be a problem at all!)

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