James Webb’s First Images – July 12th – Save the Date
There will be nationwide viewing events for the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope. A few months ago there was a huge push from NASA/JPL’s Solar System Ambassador program to have Ambassadors participate in events this summer. Stay tuned!
I must admit I’m more than a tad excited to see JWST’s first images, but “having to do your visual presentation” right after Sgr A* is gonna be really challenging for them!
Venus, Jupiter, Mars appear in the eastern predawn sky all week.
Saturn has pulled away so far Venus that I’d have to zoom WAY out in Stellarium to show all four planets in one image, or I could show Saturn’s portion of the sky in a separate image – which I have.
The Waxing Crescent Moon appears near the star Pollux in the constellation Gemini in the northwestern sky after sunset on June 2nd. The ISS makes an appearance too!
From 10:02 PM – 10:04 PM over my location in Clinton Township, Michigan, you should be able to see the ISS bright in the sky! For all sorts of satellite flyovers for your location, head over to Heavens-Above.com.
- The Moon is a Waxing Crescent – visible low to the southwest in the early evening.
- The First Quarter Moon occurs on June 7th – visible high in the southern sky in early evening.
If you click on the Moon image above, or click this link, you will go to NASA’s Moon Phase and Libration, 2022 page – it will show you what the Moon looks like right now. If you click the image on that page, you will download a high-rez TIFF image annotated with the names of prominent features – helpful for logging your lunar observations!
The Sun has only four named sunspots – down from eight last week.
Spaceweather.com says “Sunspot AR3027 has a reversed magnetic polarity,” which is weird… They also say “Yesterday, a magnetic filament on the sun erupted, hurling a faint CME into space. NOAA forecasters say it could hit Earth’s magnetic field on June 5th or 6th. Even weak CME strikes can cause geomagnetic storms, so there is a chance of minor G1-class storms when the CME arrives.”
The Sun seen in 193 angstroms on June 1st.
BOOM! Something big explodes across the Sun’s face at the beginning of this video! One very small coronal hole is near the center of the Sun’s face. The North pole looks to have a small coronal opening. The active region in the northern hemisphere is flaring like crazy – it looks like it’s boiling!
The Sun seen in 304 angstroms on June 1st.
The BOOM mentioned in the previous video is visible in this one as a large and short-lived filament. There is another filament in the southern hemisphere that remains for the entire length of the video. There are several prominences all along the Sun’s limb.
Videos courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.
You can view the Sun in near real-time, in multiple frequencies here: SDO-The Sun Now.
You can create your own time-lapse movies of the Sun here: AIA/HMI Browse Data.
You can browse all the SDO images of the Sun from 2010 to the present here: Browse SDO archive.
Amateur Solar Astrophotography
Solar wind speed is 340.5 km/sec ▼ with a density of 2.32 protons/cm3 ▲ at 0727 UT.
Click here to see a near real-time animation of the corona and solar wind from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
Launching sounding rockets into the Cusp Aurora… which I’ve never heard of!
- Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) discovered this month: 1, this year: 1244 (+120), all time: 29,169 (+83)
- Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs): 2265 (+3, updated 2022-06-02)
- Total Minor Planets discovered (MPC): 1,207,814 (+13,885 updated 2022-06-02)
Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid||Date(UT)||Miss Distance||Velocity (km/s)||Diameter (m)|
|2022 KP3||2022-Jun-02||3.4 LD||7.2||7|
|2022 KN5||2022-Jun-02||4.2 LD||18.1||21|
|2022 KO5||2022-Jun-02||16.7 LD||5.8||24|
|2022 KD2||2022-Jun-03||6.4 LD||6.8||45|
|2022 KH1||2022-Jun-03||12.5 LD||9.6||28|
|2022 KC4||2022-Jun-03||5.2 LD||11.5||19|
|2022 KJ3||2022-Jun-03||17.9 LD||7.7||31|
|2022 KZ5||2022-Jun-04||8.3 LD||9.1||17|
|2022 LB||2022-Jun-04||12.5 LD||9.3||26|
|2022 KM6||2022-Jun-04||3 LD||21||20|
|2022 KB3||2022-Jun-06||2.9 LD||11.9||16|
|2021 GT2||2022-Jun-06||9.5 LD||7.5||50|
|2022 KV3||2022-Jun-07||17.8 LD||3.9||23|
|2022 KV1||2022-Jun-08||11.2 LD||15.2||62|
|2018 LU2||2022-Jun-09||14.8 LD||10.7||16|
|2022 KM1||2022-Jun-09||16.3 LD||11.1||43|
|2022 KC3||2022-Jun-10||6.4 LD||4.6||17|
|2006 XW4||2022-Jun-12||5.9 LD||7.3||49|
|2022 GU6||2022-Jun-12||3.2 LD||8.4||88|
|2015 LK||2022-Jun-13||13.6 LD||8.7||30|
|2015 WP2||2022-Jun-26||18.5 LD||11.4||3|
|2022 JE1||2022-Jul-03||8.6 LD||5.6||74|
|2021 EL4||2022-Jul-05||19.8 LD||9.5||25|
|2015 OQ21||2022-Jul-12||18.3 LD||6.6||9|
|2022 KY4||2022-Jul-17||15.9 LD||7.6||91|
|2021 OT||2022-Jul-17||16.5 LD||11.2||20|
|2017 RX2||2022-Jul-24||17.2 LD||14.2||17|
|2016 CZ31||2022-Jul-29||7 LD||15.6||129|
On June 1, 2022, the NASA All Sky Fireball Network reported 39 fireballs!
(21 sporadics, 18 tau Herculids)
Position of the planets & several spacecraft in the inner solar system on June 2nd:
Position of the planets in the middle solar system – June 2022:
Position of the planets in the outer solar system first half of 2022:
Solar System News
Boeing #Starliner returns home
… with Kerbalnaut Jebediah Kerman onboard… at least that’s what we’re told!
James Webb Space Telescope
Hey… sweetheart… We’re not doing anything July 10-15, are we?
NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover
Mars Helicopter’s 25th flight
HiRISE - Beautiful Mars
International Space Station
Can one ever really “relax” while in orbit?
Complicated spacecraft are made from complicated parts – that all need to work together!
Looking for space debris, asteroids, supernovae and gravitational lenses – COOL!
Space debris servicer
421.83 ppm #CO2
See a list of current NASA missions here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions?mission_status=current
ex·o·plan·et /ˈeksōˌplanət/, noun: a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.
* Confirmed Planets Discovered by TESS refers to the number planets that have been published in the refereed astronomical literature.
* TESS Project Candidates refers to the total number of transit-like events that appear to be astrophysical in origin, including false positives as identified by the TESS Project.
* TESS Project Candidates Yet To Be Confirmed refers to the number of TESS Project Candidates that have not yet been dispositioned as a Confirmed Planet or False Positive.
May 26, 2022
Five New Planets
This week’s five new planets include three hot Jupiters and a second planet in the Kepler-1656 system.
SpaceWeather.com Realtime Aurora Gallery: https://spaceweathergallery.com/aurora_gallery.html
Latest Aurora Oval Forecast
- Visit an International Dark Sky Park: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/conservation/idsp/parks/
- If you live in Michigan, visit the Michigan Dark Skies site: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/darkskies/
The School Year Wrapping Up, But Learning Does Not Have to Stop
Seriously, I learn something new each week writing these posts – I LOVE it!
Messier Tour: M18
Image Caption: The small smattering of bright blue stars upper left of centre in this huge 615 megapixel ESO image is the perfect cosmic laboratory in which to study the life and death of stars. Known as Messier 18 this open star cluster contains stars that formed together from the same massive cloud of gas and dust. This image was captured by the OmegaCAM camera attached to the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) located at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.
Messier 18 (M18) is a relatively dim open star cluster located in the constellation Sagittarius. The cluster lies at an approximate distance of 4,900 light years, or 1,500 parsecs, from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 7.5. Its designation in the New General Catalogue is NGC 6613.
Messier 18 may form a binary star cluster with the nearby NGC 6618, embedded within Messier 17 (the Omega Nebula). Scientists have speculated that the proximity of the two clusters may suggest that they had formed together. – messier-objects.com
Messier 18 is one of Charles Messier’s original discoveries. Messier included the cluster in his catalogue of comet-like objects on June 3, 1764 and described it as a “cluster of small stars, a little below above nebula, No. 17, surrounded by slight nebulosity, this cluster is less obvious than the preceding, No. 16: with an ordinary telescope of 3.5-foot [FL], this cluster appears like a nebula; but with a good telescope one sees nothing but stars. (diam. 5′)” – messier-objects.com
The cluster is estimated to be about 32 million years old, which makes it quite young. The hottest stars have the spectral classification B3. Most of the stars in M18 are quite small, but the cluster is also home to several bright blue, yellow and orange stars. It also contains a small amount of dust and nebulosity.
Messier 18 is located between two other prominent Messier objects, Messier 17 (the Omega Nebula) and Messier 24 (the Sagittarius Star Cloud). It can be difficult to find because it is quite small, distant and invisible to the naked eye. – messier-objects.com
Yes, But How Many Stars?
Messier 18 is about 10 times more distant than the better known Messier 45 (the Pleiades), located in Taurus. M18 is probably the hardest of the 11 Messier objects located in this area of the sky to find. The cluster lies against the backdrop of the galactic plane, which makes it even more challenging to locate and for astronomers to say with certainty how many stars it contains. – messier-objects.com
Astropixels.com claims that M18 contains 40 stars: Astropixels.com
This got me wondering if data from the GAIA mission can help figure out the number of stars in M18? I guess I need to do some research!
Here’s my obligatory “What would a planet look like if it were near that Messier object” pic:
This “Hot Neptune” planet orbits 0.1 AU away from a very Sun-like star. Framing the shot to get the planet, the unexpected comet, stars from M18 (bottom-middle), and the Lagoon Nebula (M8, in the background) was tough!
Cover Image: Messier 18. Credit: ESO
Messier Object List: [Link]
Software Apps used for this post:
NASA Eyes on the Solar System: an immersive 3D solar system and space mission simulator – free for the PC /MAC.
Stellarium: a free web-based planetarium app. It’s a great tool for planning observing sessions. Latest update released on April 16, 2022.
SpaceEngine – Explore the universe in 3D and VR! Latest update released on May 16, 2022.
Worldwide Telescope – operated by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Latest update released on March 31, 2022.