July, 2016 Programs

#1 —  THE SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS

Locate the mythical figures in the current sky above Lincoln, and learn their legends.  Then, weather permitting, take a guided tour of the sky on the terrace behind the observatory with one of our volunteers who will show you how to locate the important stars and objects in the current night sky.  Running time:  19 minutes.

#2 — RING WORLD

Saturn is now in our night sky, putting on its usual grandly spectacular show of rings.  This program details some of the scientific findings about the ringed planet from the Cassini space probe.

As time permits, we will also show JUNO AT JUPITER

On July 4th, the NASA Jupiter probe Juno arrived at Jupiter and successfully went into orbit around the Solar System’s largest planet.  This NASA/JPL program describes some of what we know about Jupiter — and what we hope to learn from Juno.

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July Objects in the Hyde Telescopes

Planets:   Three planets are visible in our evening sky:  In order of rise time, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.  Jupiter is bright and high in the southern sky, so it can be picked up in the Hyde telescopes just after sunset.  The solar system’s largest planet is endlessly fascinating as it rapidly rotates through its 10-hour day, showing us bands of clouds at the top of its atmosphere, while its four largest moons — each as large or larger than Earth’s moon — revolve around their mother world.  Mars is in the southeast just after sunset.  It is slowly pulling away from Earth, growing dimmer and smaller with each successive night, but it still offers tantalizing glimpses of surface features.  Saturn is in the southeast to the left of Mars.  It is relatively low in the sky, which means we are looking through a lot of Earth’s atmosphere, heated in the summer sun.  This sometimes causes the planet to look blurry or “squirmy” through a telescope.  Still, its famous rings are open a wide 26 degrees, and Saturn always puts on a great show.

The Moon will be seen best in telescopes after its New phase on the 4th.   The optimum time to view the moon in the Hyde telescopes this month will be on the nights of July 9, (just before First Quarter)  and the 16th (just before Full Moon, when the terminator — shadow line — is still visible).  Full moon occurs on July 19, after which the moon will rise too late to be visible during the observatory’s operating hours.

Deep sky objects (stars, galaxies and nebulae) will be on full display in July, particularly on the nights of July 23 and 30 when the moon is not lighting the evening sky.