NASA’s New Mission to Orbit the Moon as Summer Stars Rise: What Can You See in The Night Sky This Week

Every Monday, I choose the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid–northern latitudes). For the following week, be sure to visit my main feed and read more about stargazing, astronomy and eclipses.

What to Watch for in the Night Sky This Week: June 6-12th, 2022

This week is an excellent one for Moon-gazing. Our natural satellite in space is moving towards its full “Strawberry Supermoon” phase next week, so the night sky will be more Moon-filled. The glare from the moon will only get worse over the next week. However, you can still use binoculars to view its craters, ancient lava fields and other details, called Mare.

Monday June 6, 2022: NASA’s CAPSTONE mission could launch

Today is the launch window for Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket. It will carry NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment ( CAPSTONE) into orbit around the Moon.

CAPSTONE launches from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. It will test the stability and geometry of a new orbit around Moon (a near rectilinear halo orbit if you don’t know) that NASA plans to use for its Lunar Gateway station.

Tuesday June 7, 2022: First Quarter Moon, SpaceX Launch to the ISS

Tonight is Last Quarter Moon. This is when the Moon is half-lit after midnight and rising again. The SpaceX Dragon CRS-25 cargo resupply mission for the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled to launch today at 11:25 a.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Thursday June 9, 2022: Spica and the Moon

Tonight, you will see a 75%-illuminated moon just 5o away from Spica, which is the brightest star of the constellation of Virgo. Spica is 16th brightest star, and approximately 260 light years distant.

Sunday June 12, 2022: Antares and the Moon

Tonight’s near-full 97% moon will shine just above the bright star Antares in constellation of Scorpius. Antares, a red supergiant star that is also the 15th brightest visible star, is located 555 light years away. It is located just above the bright centre of our Milky Way galaxy. However, it has such a bright Moon that it will be difficult to find even in a dark sky.

Constellation for the Week: Lyra the Harp

This tiny constellation, which is shaped like a diamond, is home to Vega. It is the star by which all other stars are judged. This blue star, which is the fifth-brightest in the night sky, is approximately 25 light-years distant. It serves as a yardstick to judge the apparent magnitude or brightness of stars. A star that is brighter than Vega gets a (+) number, while one that is darker than Vega gets a (-).

Together with Deneb and Altair in Aquila in Cygnus, Vega forms the “Summer Triangle”, a seasonal asterism that rises in spring and sets in autumn. You’ll be able to watch the Summer Triangle rise higher every night for the next few months and have an anchor in summer night sky for the rest your life.

I wish you clear skies, wide eyes and clear skies.

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