This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2022 July 30 – August 6
~by Curt Nason
After twilight look for orange Antares in the heart of Scorpius. High above the scorpion is a large house-shaped constellation called Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer. If your area isn’t light polluted you can see two lines of stars rising up and outward from the bottom of the house. The line on the right is Serpens Caput and the one on the left is Serpens Cauda. Together they comprise Serpens the Serpent, the only constellation that is in separate parts. Globular clusters contain many tens of thousands of stars and they orbit the centre of our galaxy, which is in the direction just above the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot asterism. Therefore, these clusters abound in the Sagittarius-Scorpius-Ophiuchus region of our sky and many can be seen in binoculars as fat, fuzzy stars.
Ophiuchus represents Asclepius from mythology, who became interested in the healing arts after killing a snake and watching another snake bring it back to life with a leaf. Asclepius brought many people back from the dead, including Orion after he was killed by the scorpion. Hades, god of the underworld, complained to Zeus about a decrease in business so Zeus sent for his pet eagle to kill Asclepius with a thunderbolt. The constellation of Aquila the Eagle is east of Serpens Cauda.
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 5:59 am and sunset will occur at 8:51 pm, giving 14 hours, 52 minutes of daylight (6:06 am and 8:54 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:07 am and set at 8:41 pm, giving 14 hours, 34 minutes of daylight (6:14 am and 8:44 pm in Saint John).
Telescope users might see the Lunar X around 3 pm on Thursday, one day before the Moon is at first quarter. On Wednesday Mercury is to the right of Regulus, setting 50 minutes after sunset. Saturn is in place for late evening observing, forming a triangle above the two tail stars of Capricornus the Goat in the southeast, while Jupiter is claiming attention low in the east. Mars passes two degrees below Uranus early in the week, and Venus still reigns over the morning sky rising nearly two hours before sunrise. On mornings this weekend early risers might catch some shooting stars from the South Delta Aquariid meteor shower.
Join members of the provincial astronomy club, RASC NB, at the Mount Carleton Star Party on July 29 – 30. Next Friday at 9 pm public observing returns to the Irving Nature Park in Saint John.
Questions? Contact Curt Nason.