Well, it’s going to be an astounding month for skygazers. We’ve got eclipses and transits and public Planetarium shows and a special deal coming up in November. Keep reading to learn all about everything! (And I warn you, this one is pretty long but well worth the effort to read it all the way to the end!)
1. Lunar eclipse Monday 4 June 2012
2. Transit of Venus Wednesday 6 June 2012 3. Public Planetarium shows 14, 15 & 16 June 2012 4. The total solar eclipse in Cairns Australia in November
1. Partial lunar eclipse Monday 4 June 2012
Most of you probably missed the partial solar eclipse that I called the Commuter Eclipse on Monday 21 May because it happened between 7 and 9 a.m.
and it was pretty cloudy. Well, interestingly enough, there’s an unusual event happening next Monday. There’s going to be a partial lunar eclipse.
Now lunar eclipses aren’t unusual. Most years there are at least two and they always occur in pairs with solar eclipses. When there’s a solar eclipse, there’s always a lunar eclipse visible somewhere either two weeks before or two weeks after.
What makes this unusual is that you have the opportunity to see both events. In the 20 years I’ve been the Star Lady we’ve never been able to see both the solar and the lunar eclipse of a pair.
You may have missed the solar eclipse, but you stand a pretty fair chance of seeing the partial lunar eclipse on Monday. The Earth’s shadow will cover about a third of the Moon just as the Moon’s shadow covered about a third of the Sun in the solar eclipse.
To see it, just go outside next Monday night, the 4th of June and find the full Moon in the eastern sky. The eclipse starts at 8:00 p.m. (although there won’t be much to see), reaches maximum coverage just after 9:00 p.m.
and will be over by 10:00 p.m.
I’ve commented many times that watching a lunar eclipse is sort of like watching paint dry, so I recommend that you go outside a few minutes before 9:00 p.m. and find the Moon. If it’s cloudy, keep checking until the clouds part in the Moon’s vicinity. And, of course, since Pacific Islanders and most Asians have the belief that a lunar eclipse can harm an unborn baby, if you’re pregnant you might want to stay indoors on Monday night.
2. The Transit of Venus Wednesday 6 June 2012
If you’ve been reading your newsletters, my columns or the news in general, you’ve heard about the transit of Venus and you’ll hear a lot more about it in the upcoming week. The news is not about the appearance of the event, but its rarity. The next Venusian transit will happen in 2117, 105 years from now.
You, my loyal readers, already know what the transit is; you just need to know how to see it. I’ve been making plans for a couple of weeks and I’ll have a telescope with a Sun filter set up in the covered walkway between the Science Building and the classroom addition to the north. (That’s to the left if you’re facing the Science Building). I’ll also have some other viewing methods and if any of you have a pair of #15 welder’s goggles you’d be willing to loan me for that day only, I’d be most grateful.
The transit starts shortly after 8:00 a.m. and it will last until around
2:30 p.m. Since watching the entire transit really would be like watching paint dry, I suggest that you plan to stop by the UOG Science Building at any point during the transit and have a look at the small black dot as it wends its slow way across the Sun. Perhaps not the most exciting sky event ever (for more about a really exciting sky event and how to see it, keep reading!) but here’s the important thing. You will NEVER see another transit of Venus.
So stop by the Science Building next Wednesday 6 June to witness celestial mechanics in action and see something you will never see again.
3. June public Planetarium shows.
Quality Time with the Star Lady
14, 15 & 16 June 2012
Most of our news this month involves the solar system, but there’s a whole sky full of stars up there, so join me for June’s public shows when we’ll take a leisurely romp through Guam’s Summer Skies. We’ll spot the Southern Cross, find the star that’s closest to the Sun and then have a look at my favorite unofficial constellation, the Ice Cream Cone. Are the flies bad at your house? You’ll find out there’s one in the sky too!
At 7:00 p.m. we’ll have the wonderful Quality Time with the Star Lady where I attempt to answer your questions about the sky and space stuff in general. Then, weather permitting, we’ll go outside and try to find all the wonderful sights in the real sky!
4. The total solar eclipse in Cairns, Australia in November
So . . . what’s on YOUR bucket list? I decided that since I’ve been the Star Lady for 20 years now and I’ve never seen a total solar eclipse, it is WAY past time. So I’ve signed up for the KPRG (that’s Public Radio for Guam if any of you are unfamiliar with the call letters) trip to the Cairns Wildlife dome next November to see a total solar eclipse. I’ve been a member of KPRG since they started and many of you listen to my weekly KPRG radio broadcast Tropical Skies.
I sent this newsletter out a little early because, quite frankly, I’d like you all to join me in Cairns. There are still complete tour packages left and if you sign up with KPRG before the 31st of May (only two days away,
guys!) you’ll get a substantial discount. I will eventually have links on the Planetarium website (www.guam.net/planet) but for now, either visit www.kprgfm.com or www.latitude13adventures.com for all the details.
Many of you know that my first love is biology and I’m almost as excited about visiting the Cairns Wildlife Dome as I am about seeing the eclipse.
As you can probably tell, I’m really looking forward to this trip and I’d like to have many of my loyal supporters join me for a great adventure.
See you in Cairns in November (if I don’t see you in the Planetarium or for the transit before then)!