The sky this week from 17 to 24 June

Friday, June 17
Comet C / 2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) is now around the middle of the 9th magnitude and is illuminating, according to Comet observation database. The comet is perfectly prepared for tonight’s viewing tonight with a 4- to 6-inch range, rising east with the stars of the Serpent Bearer Serpent Bearer when the sun sets. One hour after sunset, the comet is already 30 ° high and ascending, just over 2.5 ° east-northeast with a magnitude of 2.8 Cebalrai (Beta [β] Ofiuchi). The view only gets better as this region continues to rise in the dark sky.

And tonight there is an added bonus: about 1.5 ° west of the comet is IC 4665, an open star cluster of magnitude 4, which extends to about 40 ‘in the sky. This is the perfect view for astrophotographers who want to capture a comet near a stunning partner. Compare and contrast the soft glow of the cluster with the weaker comet, which should have a distinct, fan-shaped tail. In just two days, the tail of PanSTARRS will appear on the edge of the Earth, after which it will slowly begin to extend to the other side.

sunrise: 5:31 in the morning
sunset: 20:31
sunrise: 23:59
sunset: 8:49 in the morning
moon phase: Reducing edge (85%)
* The sunrise, sunset, sunrise and sunset times of the moon are given in local time from 40 ° N 90 ° W. The illumination of the moon is given at 12 o’clock local time from the same place.

Saturday, June 18
The moon passes 4 ° south of Saturn at 8 am EDT. They are both sitting in East Capricorn and getting up shortly after 12 o’clock local time this morning. By 4 am local time, they are 30 ° high and just over 6 ° from each other, with 3rd magnitude star Deneb Algedi caught between them. Saturn has a magnitude of 0.5 and can be a little difficult to find in the glare of our nearby moon.

Several other planets with the naked eye also went out to play, stretching east along the ecliptic (to the left of Saturn). From west to east (right to left) are Jupiter (magnitude -2.3), Mars (magnitude 0.5), Venus (magnitude -3.9) and, rising around 4:20 a.m. local time, Mercury (magnitude 0, 4). You will notice that these planets are arranged in order of distance from the Sun, from the nearest (Mercury) to the farthest (Saturn). Scattered among them are the binocular planets Uranus (magnitude 5.9, 7.5 ° west of Venus) and Neptune (magnitude 7.8, 10.8 ° west of Jupiter).

That’s right: all the major planets lie in the morning sky right now, giving us a view of the solar system for the rest of the month, until Mercury disappears from view in early July. Plus, this Friday (the 24th), the alignment gets even better as the Moon moves from its current position to its rightful place on the line between Mercury and Venus. Remember to watch the morning sky as our satellite glides east day after day.

sunrise: 5:31 in the morning
sunset: 20:31
sunrise:
sunset: 10:06 in the morning
moon phase: Reducing lever (76%)

Sunday, June 19
The moon, moving east on the ecliptic, passes 0.7 ° south of asteroid 4 Vesta at 4 am EDT. Our satellite is now in Aquarius, its gibbous phase makes it difficult to see the world in the 7th magnitude main belt, although patient observers with binoculars or telescopes can still find it. Although it is ranked fourth (meaning it is the fourth discovered asteroid), Vesta is the second most massive object in the main belt, after the dwarf planet 1 Ceres. It is also about as big as Saturn’s moon Enceladus. IN The Dawn spacecraft visited Vesta from 2011 to 2012, studying the composition of the asteroid before the mission moved to its final destination, Ceres.

If you’re having trouble spotting the Vesta this morning, just wait a few days for the moon to dim and move forward, which should allow you to spot the weaker world using the 3rd magnitude Skat as a starting point – just look around 5 ° northwest of this star for the next few days.

sunrise: 5:31 in the morning
sunset: 20:32
sunrise: 12:33
sunset: 11:20
moon phase: Reducing lever (65%)

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