May 20, 2024


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Super “back” moon rising, and Venus meeting Mars in the night sky this week |  Forbes Japan official website (Forbes Japan)

Super “back” moon rising, and Venus meeting Mars in the night sky this week | Forbes Japan official website (Forbes Japan)

The star of the week is the full moon, the first supermoon of 2023, but there’s a lot going on in the night sky. It will be the highlight of Venus and Mars at their closest approach of the year, and late June will also be a great time to view one of the most mysterious and fascinating objects in the distant sky: globular clusters.

Quarter Moon 7 (NASA)

Monday, June 26: First Quarter

Today is the first quarter of the moon, when the moon appears half bright as seen from Earth. At the same time, it’s also the time when the night sky lights up brightly and the stars are a little more difficult to see and start to look a little dim. Don’t go out into the dark this week, the full moon is coming.

Tuesday, June 27: Moon and Spica

Tonight, the rising gibbous moon (between the half and full moon) will approach Virgo’s brightest star, Spica. Spica is 250 light-years from Earth.

July 1, Saturday: Moon and Antares

The Moon, with an aspect ratio of 94%, rises from the eastern sky with the red supergiant Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpio. The two will stay close to each other all night and will gather together in the southwest at dawn. The name Antares means “rival of Mars” because Mars approaches Antares about every two years (687 Earth days) and the red stars seem to be competing with each other. Like Betelgeuse, Antares could go supernova at any moment.

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Saturday, July 1: Mars and Venus are very close

The other planets visible in the night sky from Earth, which also orbit the sun, appear to gradually rise or set each week or month. In 2023, Venus will rise while Mars will face the sun’s glare. Mars and Venus will inevitably meet, right? Not real. Venus, the inner planet closer to the Sun than Earth, is certainly rising, but only to a certain extent. Tonight, Venus will be about five degrees from sunset to Mars as both planets head toward the sun.

Monday, July 3: See Buck’s supermoon

This summer’s first full moon in the northern hemisphere, the Pac Moon, will reach the moment of the full moon at 20:39 this day. If you can see the first of this year’s four supermoons (but the farthest from Earth is 361,934 km) at moonrise (19:14 in Tokyo), that would be great.

Globular Cluster M12 (ESA/Hubble and NASA)
Globular Cluster M12 (ESA/Hubble and NASA)

Object of the Week: M10 and M12 globular clusters

The two globular clusters are in the constellation Ophiuchus, the thirteenth constellation not included in the zodiac. It’s a stunning sight to see with 10×50 binoculars or a telescope in June. Both M10 and M12 (seen in the same field of view) are dense clusters of ancient stars, two of about 150 star clusters in the Milky Way. M10 is about 14,300 light-years away, while M12 is about 16,400 light-years away.

Star tips: averted eyes

When you look at a star, you’ll want to stare at it to get a better look. However, although we can see things better when we stare at them, our peripheral vision is actually better able to perceive brightness. Brightness is most important when looking at objects millions of light years away. So when you look at the Pleiades, or the Presepe, or the globular clusters seen at this time of year, it’s best to look at them from the edge of your field of view rather than staring straight at them, and you’ll be fascinated by the fuzzy, distant spots. This is called “avoidant vision” and is a must-have technique for amateur astronomers.

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For the exact times of sunrise/sunset and moonrise/sunset in your area,Meteorological Agency websiteorthis sitePlease refer to etc.