Sky at a Glance 2022 June 4 – 11

Photo showing location of the constellation Corona Borealis the Northern Crown between Hercules and Bootes.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2022 June 4 – 11 ~by Curt Nason

Arcturus and Vega, the fourth and fifth brightest stars of the night sky, are seen high above in evening twilight. I use them to locate the constellation Hercules, which is one third of the way from Vega to Arcturus. Another constellation, the nominal crowning glory of the northern sky, is one third of the way from Arcturus to Vega. Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, does not stand out among its neighbours or contain any popular telescopic treasures like Hercules does, but its semicircle of stars is pretty to look at. If you have a really clear view of the southern horizon you might catch the Southern Crown, Corona Australis, hugging the horizon below Sagittarius around 2 am this week or midnight in late July.

In mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos of Crete. She helped Theseus slay the bull-headed Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth, and then accompanied him and his crew on a voyage home to Athens. Along the way they stopped at the island home of Dionysus, the god of wine. After a night of revelry the crew was made to leave without Ariadne, and Dionysus presented her with a beautiful crown if she would be his bride. The crown was placed in the sky to commemorate their wedding. The constellation also represents a bear’s den in a local aboriginal legend of the bear and seven hunters, which includes stars in the Big Dipper and Boötes.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 5:30 am and sunset will occur at 9:05 pm, giving 15 hours, 35 minutes of daylight (5:38 am and 9:07 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 5:27 am and set at 9:10 pm, giving 15 hours, 43 minutes of daylight (5:36 am and 9:11 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is at first quarter on Tuesday, and telescope users might see the Lunar X around 6 pm just inside the shadow. Saturn is stationary on Sunday, after which it begins four and a half months of westward motion relative to the stars. Venus, Mars and Jupiter increase their social distancing in the morning sky, while Mercury speeds toward them in an attempt to be seen in twilight. We might have to wait a couple of weeks for that to happen.

With the pandemic currently on the wane, RASC NB resumes its series of annual star parties this weekend, Friday and Saturday, at Kouchibouguac National Park. For details see the Parks Canada webpage.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason.

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