Celestial events in the skies for the week of June 5 – June 11, as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
The Moon is in the domain of the after-midnight stars, becoming a beautiful crescent before sunrise. Lots first-shift workers are familiar with the 5 am darkness becoming a beautiful morning twilight. These Spring mornings have three planets strung across the high southern skies disappearing into the daylight: Mars to the left in Capricorn, Saturn at the top of Sagittarius’ “tea pot,” and brightest Jupiter to the west (right facing south).
Tuesday, June 5
Two Space Shuttles were launched on this date: STS-40 Columbia in 1991 with Spacelab 1 in the cargo bay and a 4-man, 3-woman crew; and STS-111 Endeavour in 2002 with crew of four bringing three Expedition 5 astronauts to the International Space Station and bring back three different astronauts who had been on the ISS for 6 months.
Wednesday, June 6
Happy 86th birthday to Apollo 15 commander and moonwalker David Scott. He landed with deceased James Irwin near an ancient collapsed lava tube in July 1971. Of the original 12 Apollo moonwalkers, Scott is one of four who survive. The others: Apollo 11 Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 16 Charlie Duke and Apollo 17 Harrison “Jack” Schmitt.
Thursday, June 7
Jupiter is high in the southeast when darkness sets in the evening, brighter than any star and visible until dawn. The golden planet is in the constellation Libra the Scales, and it is balanced between bright white star Spica to the right (west) in Virgo the Virgin, and to Jupiter’s left (east) the red star Antares, the heart of Scorpius.
Friday, June 8
On this 2007 date in space history, Space shuttle Atlantis was launched on the 117th flight of the program, another 14-day construction mission on the International Space Station. They brought up an important backbone truss for attaching solar panels, and other hard hat jobs kept the crew of six busy with the other three occupants of the ISS. To see the ISS, pass overhead, check out times on websites like NASA or there are several “apps” for your Smartphone.
Saturday, June 9
Late Spring nights mean saying goodbye to Leo the Lion as its familiar pattern dips to the western horizon and is gone by midnight. The three-star triangle of the lion’s rear-end is easy to see as the backward question mark of the lion’s head plunges to the horizon.
Sunday, June 10
Looking around the sky we have the Big Dipper asterism in the north, its two outside bowl stars pointing to the North Pole, Polaris, and the stars of its handle arcing to the bright, orange star Arcturus.
Monday, June 11
The late Spring nights are made for just lazing outside, watching the stars come out hearing the night come alive can absorb your senses and take you to a happy place. Get some for yourself the next starry night.