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Marcus Schenk

Marcus Schenk

Posts composed by Marcus Schenk

Star Theater Pro: Bring the stars into your living room!

January 10 2020, Marcus Schenk

Admittedly, it is nice when we can stand outside under the starry night sky and gaze at countless real stars in the countryside away from the cities.

But what if that just isn’t possible? Perhaps clouds are moving across the sky like an infinitely long caravan, whilst the weather is only beautiful above them. Or the city is masking the stars with its own light – so that even the people of Alpha Centauri can see something of Berlin. Oh dear! Astronomy and space fans will need something to comfort them in such circumstances.

That means it’s time for the Omegon Star Theater Pro.

Space from the comfort of your couch

You can bring the night sky down into your living room and easily project it onto the wall or the ceiling. You observe your own little universe in complete darkness. Or you can view the planets just like from a spaceship and pay a visit to the Helix nebula. You could almost believe that you were really floating in the Universe while lying on your couch – perhaps with a blanket and some soft ‘space music’ playing.

So the night sky looks particularly realistic

Additionally-available discs can be inserted to project the Milky Way and an actual night sky onto the ceiling. We recommend the impressively beautiful image on the Milky Way slide. This disc gives you a very realistic impression.

Omegon Dia Milchstraße

This slide provides an impressive viewing experience

Sleeping under the firmament with no mosquitos or cold

The Star Theater Pro lets you relax after a hard day’s work and imagine yourself in the Universe. That is why our customers like to use it as a compact mood lighting or night light with a 30- or 60-minute timer that can be used to gently lull you to sleep.

How about making it a Christmas present for a good astronomy friend or your children this year? They will thank you with a sparkle in their eyes.

The Omegon Star Theater Pro has all these advantages:

– compact home planetarium that relaxes you and shows you the stars from your couch.

powerful lighting: the stars projected onto the ceiling are so bright that you can even make out the dimmer ones.

– perfect for falling asleep to – switches off automatically after 30 or 60 minutes if desired.

freely adjustable projection distance of the night sky up to 7.5 meters.

rotation of the night sky – makes the night sky look even more interesting.

– a journey into the Universe – the optionally-available star slides let you travel to Saturn, to the Lagoon nebula or even far out to the galaxies.

– attractively designed gift packaging.

The Star Theater Pro home planetarium is a superb gift for anyone who wants to while away some time under the stars. And what are you giving away this year? Perhaps the entire Universe!

Just in time for Christmas – gift sets for star gazers

December 4 2019, Marcus Schenk

Rudolph the red-nosed … bah. Once again Christmas is nearly upon us. Are you still looking for a Christmas present? But haven’t got the patience of a saint to search through telescopes and accessories? Most people have hardly any time for shopping in the so-called tranquil Advent time. Finding the perfect gift is a tough nut to crack, but to be certain you’re not grinding your teeth we have the perfect solution for you!

Our telescope gift sets are perfect for your loved ones. Eyepieces, filters and star maps are all here, and Rudolph and his friends will have them winging their way to you in no time. Take a look at our telescope sets!

Infographic: Winter Astronomy Highlights 2019/2020

November 29 2019, Marcus Schenk

The winter is getting really cold again, but there is no better time than this for really good, early evening, chances to observe the stars. And what will lure you outside better than the Hunter of the Skies, the Seven Sisters or the Eye of the Bull?

The sky calendar with the interesting events for the next three months: the astronomical infographic “Winter Astronomy Highlights 2019/20” shows you when a glance at the sky will be worthwhile.

We wish you lots of fun with your observing!

December

1st of December: Planet alignment

At dusk there is a lovely meeting of the planets Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. They are accompanied by the waxing Moon.

11th of December: Saturn meets Venus

The planets Venus and Saturn meet today at dusk, above the northwest horizon. Look out for the difference in brightness between the two as they race past one another, less than 2 degrees apart.

11th of December: The Moon meets Aldebaran

Already in the early evening we can see Aldebaran, the Eye of the Bull, as it appears above the horizon. However today it reveals itself with the almost fully-illuminated Moon. A great evening for observing planets and double stars.

13th of December: The Geminids

If the sky is clear in the evening, it’s best to take a look to the south. Because the Geminids shooting stars appear to originate from the constellation Gemini. To be more precise: from a point two degrees above the star Pollux. The best time for observing is between 21:00 CET and 6:00 CET. At 120 meteors per hour, the Geminids are among the most reliable shooting stars. However this year the full Moon will disrupt the view. Nevertheless, you should not miss this event.

23rd of December: The Moon meets Mars

Early risers take note: one day before Christmas it’s worth getting up early and taking a look at the sky. At dawn a delicate crescent Moon shines, just 10% illuminated, and meets up with Mars, the god of war.

23rd of December: The Ursids

The Ursids are a meteor shower that you can keep your eye on all night. This is because they originate from Ursa Minor, from which these meteors get their name. However these beacons speed across the sky more slowly than the Perseids – at around 35 kilometers per second.

29th of December: Moon meets Venus

As soon as it gets dark we can see them shining above the horizon: the Moon and Venus. Even if this is not the most astronomically interesting event, under a clear twilight sky this sight is probably one of the most beautiful. This evening the Moon can be seen as a wafer-thin crescent and Venus shines in all its splendour.

January

4th of January: The Quadrantids

The Quadrantids are a meteor shower originating from the constellation Böotes. The New Year almost begins with an astronomical fireworks display, which brings us about 120 meteors per hour. In the evening the half-lit Moon is still high in the sky: wait until it disappears under the horizon before you start observing – then it will be dark. Böotes is one of the spring and summer constellations and so now, in winter, it – and therefore also the radiant – does not rise until after midnight. Then observing can become very interesting. Oh and yes, wrap up warmly, because patience is required when observing meteors.

5th of January: The Moon’s Golden Handle

A fascinating event: the Moon’s Golden Handle. Like a handle of light, it breaks the Moon’s darkness just beyond the terminator. We look at Mare Imbrium in the region of Sinus Iridum crater and the high Montes Jura mountain range. The Sun rises here at the boundary between light and shadow. While the crater is still in darkness, the Sun bathes the circular-shaped peaks of Montes Jura in light. A golden ring in the dark.

18th of January: Mars meets Antares

Antares is a red supergiant in the constellation Scorpius. It shines with an intense red light and resides at the very bottom of the class M spectral type. If it stood in the place of the Sun, Antares would reach beyond the orbit of Mars. But today Mars and Antares meet only visually for us in the sky. Compare the red colours of these two celestial bodies.

27th of January: Venus meets Neptune

One very close, the other very distant: our neighbouring planet Venus meets up with the outpost of our solar system. With just the naked eye, however, we can admire only Venus. But less than a degree north we meet Neptune, which reveals itself in a telescope as a small blue disc.

28th of January: The Moon meets Venus

Another chance to see this beautiful sight: Venus and the narrow, 12% illuminated, crescent Moon. Until around 20:00 CET we can easily follow the two brightest bodies in the sky, before Venus disappears below the horizon, often in haze, a good 40 minutes later.

February

4th of February: The Moon’s Golden Handle

As on the 5th of January, today we can once again observe the Moon’s Golden Handle. This is caused by the illuminated peaks of Montes Jura mountain range on the dark side of the terminator.

10th of February: Mercury’s greatest eastern elongation

Mercury is nimble and only rarely visible. But right now our shy friend reveals himself in the evening sky. It is positioned at its greatest angular distance from the Sun and is barely visible in the growing twilight. For this you need a very good view of the horizon, cloud-free and clear weather, and binoculars with which you can discover Mercury.

27th of February: The Moon meets Venus

The second beautiful sighting of the crescent Moon and Venus at dusk. Meanwhile we can follow the splendour of the bright and shining Venus in the sky for some time – as it only disappears under the horizon at around 22:00 CET.

New Starfleet: The Omegon PRO Apochromats for Astrophotographers

November 19 2019, Marcus Schenk

These photos almost look like you were there. As if Captain Kirk was giving me a personal tour of the Pleiades on his command bridge screen on the Enterprise. However, what you see in the pictures below are images taken with the new Omegon PRO apochromats. And we swear, they were all taken from Earth 😉

So on to more beautiful photos.

Omegon’s new doublet, triplet and quadruplet refractors are a real compact Starfleet for astrophotographers who value brilliant and needle-sharp photos of the universe. The lens apertures range from 65mm to 107mm. There’s the right telescope for everybody.

Der Omegon Pro APO 60/330 OTA

The Omegon Pro APO 60/330 OTA.

Features include: Ohara FPL-53 glass for a true-colour image, CNC tube, hybrid rack and pinion focuser with, ball bearings and 360° rotation, tube clamps, dovetail bar, viewfinder shoe and Vixen-style dovetail bar.

The Pleiades with reflection nebula, APO 71/450 Quadruplet, Canon 6Da, 32×180 seconds, Image: Philipp Keltenich

The Andromeda Galaxy, APO 71/450 Quadruplet, Canon 6Da, 25×240 seconds, Image: Philipp Keltenich

And here is the fleet of telescopes at a glance:

  1. Apo 60/330 Doublet OTA #60852
    A small doublet apochromat for travel and for striking panoramic pictures.
  2. Apo 71/450 Quadruplet OTA #60855
    For fantastically beautiful, true-colour and flat images right up to the edges of the field of view. Here you don’t have to worry about how to attach a field flattener to your camera, because it’s already built-in. A great flat field apochromat!
  3. Apo 72/400 Doublet OTA #60853
    If you like to travel and love shooting large-area objects, you will love this refractor. A clear picture and only 400mm focal length, it captures the Andromeda Galaxy and similar objects.
  4. Apo 80/500 Triplet OTA #60856
    An apochromat with a clear and true-colour image, even at very high magnifications. The expertly-crafted 2.5″ focuser is larger than that of most 80mm telescopes. The advantage: so much illumination that even your full-frame camera will have fun with it. By the way, we also stock the carbon version of these apochromats: chic, thermally-stable and even lighter.
  5. Apo 90/600 Triplet OTA #60858
    Weighing just 5 kilograms but with a 90mm aperture: this apo refractor is suitable for your mount at home or for travelling under a dark sky. The 2.5″ focuser holds your camera in a stable position all night long.
  6. Apo 107/700 Triplet OTA #60859
    Sophisticated three-lens design with Ohara glass for a clear and true-colour image. A 3″ focuser offers you a generously illuminated field of view and an enormous load-bearing capacity – a great advantage for heavy cameras.

Get to know the new Omegon apo fleet better, just click on the links and learn more on our product pages.

Omegon MiniTrack LX3: get ready for liftoff with heavenly photos of the starry sky

November 15 2019, Marcus Schenk

A photo of the starry sky that looks exactly how it would look on a clear night in the mountains or in the desert: this is a dream you can now fulfil with the new MiniTrack LX3.  The new mini-mount ensures you are well-prepared and is now even more powerful than its predecessor, the MiniTrack LX2.

MiniTrack LX3 Montierung

The new MiniTrack LX3 mount

It is much easier than you think to take a fantastic photo of the starry sky. You don’t even have to be an experienced astrophotographer. In a dark location, align the mount to the north celestial pole, attach your camera, wind up the mechanism and start your recording. With the MiniTrack LX3, anyone can conjure up a beautiful photo of the starry sky – almost as easy as boiling an egg

Until now you’ve almost certainly been aware of the MiniTrack LX2: a fully mechanical small mount that you can attach to any commercially available camera tripod and which is so compact that it fits into any luggage. The new version, the MiniTrack LX3, has been revised yet again and is now better than ever. Sky&Telescope magazine awarded the MiniTrack the “Hot Product Award” and the users of the MiniTrack are also certain: you can not only take beautiful photos. With the MiniTrack LX3, the starry sky presents itself as if it were on the catwalk.

What has changed?

  1. More load-bearing capacity: now you can attach a camera up to 3kg in weight.
  2. New Teflon bush for even smoother movement.
  3. Adjustable suspension system: you can slow down or speed up tracking, making it more precise and the stars rounder.
  4. CNC body: more stable and even more finely finished.
  5. An optical polar finder is already included. This allows more precise polar alignment of the MiniTrack LX3 – and you can expose your photo for longer.

 

Let yourself be inspired by the Omegon MiniTrack LX3  and learn more about the compact travel mount here.

Mercury transit 2019: these products will turn the transit into an experience

October 11 2019, Marcus Schenk

We only see a Mercury transit every 3.5 to 13 years. On 11 November 2019 this rare event will take place once more. An inferior conjunction occurs as Mercury crosses in front of the Sun and we can observe this in broad daylight. Don’t miss the astronomical highlight of the year! But what do you need to observe it? With the following products you will be well prepared for a successful sighting.

Warning: never look directly at the Sun without a suitable filter. A solar filter is always required for observing.

Solar filter film  

The Baader AstroSolar solar filter film is available in various sizes, it is effective and very good value. Use the film to make your own solar filter which you can then attach to the front of your telescope.

AstroSolar-Sonnenfolie

The AstroSolar solar filter in 210 x 297mm format

 

Mounted solar filter

Is do-it-yourself not really your thing? Then a ready-mounted filter is the perfect solution for you. The Omegon filters for smaller telescopes or the Baader ASTF filters are good value and are available for many sizes of telescopes. You simply choose the diameter that suits your telescope and attach the filter to the front of your telescope. Before long you will be safely looking at the Sun and discovering sunspots – and of course Mercury.

Tip: to be certain which filter will fit your telescope, measure the outer diameter of your tube before making your selection.

Omegon-Sonnenfilter

Omegon solar filter mounted on a photoscope

Solar filter for binoculars and cameras

You can also follow the Mercury transit with binoculars. Just by attaching two normal solar filters? This works particularly well with the AstroSolar binocular filter.  They are laterally cut in such a way that they don’t make contact even with objective lenses that are very close together. This is also an advantage for DSLR cameras: the flattened filter edges makes it possible to attach a camera flush to a telescope or a mounting plate.

ASBF-Filter

ASBF filter for binoculars and cameras

Herschel wedge

Even more contrast is on offer from the professional for solar observing: a Herschel wedge. Combined with a ND3.0 filter it can be connected to a refracting telescope. The advantage: you see the Sun in front of a black background, and the granulation and sunspots appear in unimagined levels of detail.

 Herschelkeil

A Herschel wedge offers a beautiful picture of the Sun with a refractor

H-alpha telescope

You will experience a bit of the action when  observing the Sun in H-alpha light. In a very narrow, deep-red band with a wavelength of 656nm you can observe a very active Sun. Prominences flare millions of kilometers into space and are changing rapidly. Even when you see no sunspots on the Sun, there is almost always something to see.

H-alpha-Sonnentelekop

H-alpha solar telescope from Coronado

Mercury transit T-Shirt

For huge fans of astronomy: show your passion for astronomy with the new Mercury transit T-shirt. It shows the progress of the transit with all the important information and timings. So anyone can look to see when Mercury will appear in front of the Sun, or how long we still need to wait until the next transit.

Omegon-T-Shirt-Merkurtransit

Omegon Mercury transit T-shirt

Smartphone adapter

Photographing the Sun swiftly and simply: with a smartphone adapter you can quickly take beautiful pictures of the Mercury transit. It works really well with small telescopes. Simply attach the Omegon smartphone adapter to your eyepiece, and soon you will be capturing these astronomical moments for ever.

Omegon-Easypic-Universal-Smartphone-Adapter

Omegon Easypic universal smartphone adapter

Omegon 70/400 Backpack with solar filter

If you are looking for a small travel solar telescope, then the Omegon Backpack 70/400 AZ is perfect. The set includes a finder scope, mirror star-diagonal, eyepieces and of course the appropriate solar filter. You get all of this together in a practical rucksack.

Omegon-Teleskop-AC-70-400-Solar-BackPack

Omegon AC-70-400 Backpack solar telescope

The Sun on your neck

When observing the Sun for hours on end you need to take precautions against sunburn. A normal hat only protects the scalp. But when you are bending forward and observing through an eyepiece then your neck is exposed to the Sun. Lunt offers appropriate protection against this: a sun hat with neck protection.

Sonnenhut-mit-Nackenschutz

Sun hat with neck protection

Finding the Sun made easy

Sometimes its hard to believe how hard it can be to find the Sun with a telescope without spending a lot of time searching for it. Finding it is much easier with the Geoptik 1.25’’ solar finder.

Simply attach the sun finder to your focuser and right away you can centre the Sun over your mount’s axes. The Euro EMC solar finder offers an alternative way of finding the Sun. It consists of a pinhole and a small screen onto which a small image of the sun is projected. Simply attach the finder to your tube using the Velcro straps included.

Geoptik Sonnensucher

Geoptik solar finder

Equipped with these you’ll be well prepared for the Mercury transit.

Infographic: The Astronomy Highlights of Autumn 2019

September 2 2019, Marcus Schenk

 

In the next three months, from September to November, there are once again some great observing opportunities that we should not miss. A special event is fast approaching: the very rare transit of Mercury across the Sun. But there are also other smaller events to be seen.

The new astronomical infographic “Astronomy Highlights in Autumn 2019” offers you a quick graphical overview. This will keep you up to date and let you know what is happening in the sky.

September:

1 September: Alpha Aurigids

The Alpha Aurigids are a fast meteor shower moving at a speed of 65 km/s, which originated from the comet Kiess C/1911. At their peak on 1 September, around six meteors per hour are visible. The radiant, that is the place from which the meteors appear to originate, lies in the constellation Auriga below the star Capella.

6 September: The Moon meets Jupiter

At a distance of just under 5° the Moon is approaching Jupiter this evening. At dusk we see them as bright objects that are close to one another.

8 September: The Moon meets Saturn

While the Moon was seen near Jupiter two days ago, it is today visiting the ringed planet Saturn. Both celestial bodies approach one another at a distance of 1.5°.

9 September: The Moon’s Golden Handle

This evening we experience the Moon’s golden handle. A fairly rare event that can only be seen during a Moon phase of 83%. We can then discover a closed semicircle of golden light on the dark side of the Moon’s boundary between light and shadow. The reason for this: we are looking at Mare Imbrium and Sinus Iridum crater, which is surrounded by the Montes Jura range. While the crater is still lying in darkness, the Sun rises over the mountain peaks and we see the famous handle.

10 September: Neptune in opposition

Neptune is one of the outlying gas giants of our solar system. At a distance of 4.5 billion kilometres, it takes 165 years to orbit the Sun. Its light is en route for 4 hours and 10 minutes before it arrives at the Earth. During its opposition it is particularly easy to see in Aquarius. At 1am it reaches its highest point, around 36° above the horizon.

20 September: The Moon meets Aldebaran

The waning Moon, which is 72% illuminated, meets Aldebaran, the main star of Taurus, during the night of September 20. Aldebaran is a red giant, a star that has reached the last phase of its life. It shines 150 times brighter than the Sun and is so large that if it were to replace of the Sun it would reach as far as Mercury.

October

3 October: The Moon meets Jupiter

An especially pretty sight awaits us this evening: the Moon meets up with bright Jupiter. This impressive conjunction is worth observing, especially as dusk begins.

5 October: The Moon meets Saturn

In the early evening in Sagittarius, just above the horizon, today you can see a conjunction of Saturn and the Moon.

9 October: The October Draconids

Shooting stars appear to be falling from the constellation Draco on 9 October: this is the Draconids meteor shower. As they dart across the sky they are a fascinating spectacle, even for amateur astronomers. The radiant is located near the star Draconis. Draco is a circumpolar constellation, therefore the radiant lies at an optimal visible altitude in the evening sky.

12 October: Amphitrite in opposition

Amphitrite is a sea goddess in Greek mythology and is married to Poseidon. In the sky, however, Amphitrite is an asteroid of the main asteroid belt, which is now in opposition. It is 211 million kilometres away from Earth. It is currently in Pisces below the constellation Andromeda.

17 October: The Moon meets the Hyades

The Hyades open star cluster is very old at 600 million years and forms a V-shape with its brightest stars. The Moon visits the cluster tonight. By the way: the star Aldebaran does not belong to the Hyades.

20 October: Mercury’s greatest eastern elongation

Mercury is at its greatest elongation angle of 24°, but we still don’t see it in the evening sky.

21 October: Orionids

The Orionids are a smaller meteor shower with an activity of about 25 meteors per hour. The radiant is located in the constellation Orion near the star Betelgeuse. Although you can watch the shooting stars all month long, the peak is seen between 20 and 21 October.

23 October: The Moon meets Regulus

Today the slender crescent moon can be found at a distance of around 10 degrees from Regulus, the main star in Leo.

28 October: Uranus in opposition

Now there is another opportunity to take a look at distant Uranus: it can be seen all night during its opposition. With a brightness of 5.6 mag. you can see it with binoculars alone, but it is only recognisable as a planet using a telescope. You will find it in the constellation Aries. To find it draw a line from the bright star β Ari to the just 4.3 mag. dim star ξ1 Cet in the constellation Cetus. At the start of the last third of the line to ξ1 Cet, you will find the planet.

31 October: The Moon meets Jupiter

Tonight we see a slender and only 15% illuminated crescent Moon directly next to Jupiter.

November

2 November: The Moon meets Saturn and Jupiter

This evening we see a nice conjunction of the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter on the southwestern horizon.

6 November: Taurids

The Taurids are a two-part meteor shower with just 10 meteors per hour expected. What is much more interesting is that some bright fireballs may also be visible.

11 November: Mercury Transit

It only happens every 13 years: Mercury passes across the solar disc and we can follow this transit live through a telescope. It starts at 13:35 CET, the 2nd contact is at 13:37 CET, the middle at 16:19 CET, the 3rd contact 19:02 CET, finishing at 19:04 CET. Unfortunately we can only observe half of the transit because the Sun would have already disappeared under the horizon. Attention! Always use a suitable solar filter for your observation! Never observe the Sun without one! Observation without a special solar filter is dangerous and will lead to severe retinal damage. Let us advise you.

14 November: Asteroid Vesta in opposition

The asteroid Vesta belongs to the main asteroid belt and was one of the first bodies of its kind to be discovered. After Pallas, it is one of the largest asteroids with a diameter of 516 kilometres. On 14 November Vesta reaches a brightness of 6.5 mag. and so you can find and observe it with any telescope. It is currently in the constellation Cetus. You can find it relatively easily by extending a line from o Tau (in Taurus) about 2 degrees to the west. A star atlas is useful here.

17 November: Leonids

On 17 November the Leonids reach their peak. In addition to the Perseids, they are amongst the most famous meteor showers. There have been years when these meteors fell like raindrops from the sky. This usually happens every 33 years when the Earth collides with the Leonid cloud.

In normal years, the shower reaches a peak of no more than 20 meteors per hour. This year the rate of occurrence is a little lower, with 15 meteors per hour expected.

24 November: Jupiter meets Venus and the Moon meets Mars

In the last days of November there are two conjunctions: the Moon and Mars, and Jupiter and Venus.

In the early morning of the 24th we see a delicate crescent moon, Mars and, a little further below, Mercury. Then the following evening, in the very early twilight, there is a beautiful view of Jupiter and Venus.

28 November: Mercury’s greatest western elongation

Mercury reaches the best morning visibility of the year from 28 November at its greatest western elongation, now it has an angular separation from the Sun of 20 degrees. Through a telescope Mercury appears half-illuminated.

Infographic: 50th anniversary of the Moonlanding

July 19 2019, Marcus Schenk

moonlanding infographic

50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing: limited edition T-shirt

July 15 2019, Marcus Schenk

We at Astroshop.de are thrilled – a special anniversary is just around the corner, which no amateur astronomer can miss!

Fifty years ago NASA wrote world history! On 20 July 1969 the first humans landed on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission.

Although under risky and dangerous circumstances, it worked out: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first Moon walk and more than 600 million people followed them live in front of their television sets.

Our T-shirt: All the landing sites at a glance

Celebrate fifty years anniversary of the Moon landing with us and show that you are a fan too.  We now offer the new Apollo T-shirt in different sizes, in a very high quality, limited-edition, digital print.

moonlanding t-shirt

What can you see on the T-shirt?

On the front, the T-shirt features an accurate graphical image of the Moon. It also shows you the exact landing sites of the Apollo missions together with their dates. On the back you will find an image of Earth rising above the lunar surface. When the Apollo 8 astronauts happened to see the Earth rise, they captured this magical moment for all of humanity. The photo called “Earthrise” is one of the most iconic images ever shot.

This Apollo Moon T-shirt is only available in limited quantities. Order your Moon T-Shirt now!

Infographic: The Astronomy Highlights of Summer 2019

June 3 2019, Marcus Schenk

Summer and warm temperatures: now all those who were hibernating in the winter can venture outside for a glimpse at the stars. But unfortunately it also gets darker later and then, as if turbocharged, light again just a few hours later. So you need to make good use of the hours of darkness, because when the summer Milky Way stretches across the sky there’s so much to discover.

The new astronomical infographic “Highlights in the Summer Sky” shows you at a glance what is happening in the sky in the months from June to August. Also included: a short description of the events.

June 5: The Moon meets Mars

Just two days after the new Moon, the slender crescent Moon stands seemingly fragile as dusk falls in the evening sky. Inconspicuous at around 2.5 degrees further to the right you will find the 1.7 magnitude bright Mars.

June 10: Jupiter in Opposition

You can now observe the largest planet in the solar system all night. Jupiter is in opposition this month, so this is the best time for observations. The gas giant reaches a magnitude of 2.6 and is 640 million kilometers away. As night falls the planet emerges above the horizon in the southeast, later it quickly becomes brighter and gets easier to see. At around 1:15 CEST it reaches the meridian and is particularly good to see.

June 18: Mercury Half Phase

Mercury reaches dichotomy, that is, a phase in which it is half-lit. Like the Moon or Venus, Mercury displays different phases.

June 18: Mercury meets Mars

A very beautiful event takes place shortly after the middle of the month: a close encounter between Mercury and Mars. Our innermost planet passes Mars at a distance of just half a lunar diameter, 13 arc minutes. This event takes place just above the western horizon at around 21:30 CEST. To observe these two it’s best to use binoculars.

June 19: The Moon meets Saturn

This configuration takes place in the second half of the night and can be followed until sunrise. Our Moon and the ringed planet approach each other with a minimal separation of about 2°50′.

June 24: Mercury’s greatest eastern elongation

Mercury gradually leaves the evening sky but it can still be seen, and can initially be found with the naked eye. From the second half of the month it becomes more difficult to find since it is so faint, and you’ll need the help of binoculars. It reaches its greatest angular distance of 25° from the Sun on 24 June. It reveals an almost half-lit sliver to us with a size of 8 arcseconds..  You can find Mercury with a good pair of binoculars from around 22:00 CEST.

July 2: Chile Total Solar Eclipse

In South America the Sun will grow dark. The eclipse’s shadow comes from the direction of the Pacific Ocean and stretches across Chile with a totality duration of 2:30 minutes. Later, the shadow moves onwards over Argentina. The Sun will be relatively low during this eclipse which will enable beautiful shots of the eclipsed sun against the landscape.

July 5: Noctilucent Clouds

Now in June you will be able to see them: noctilucent clouds. When the summer Sun is between 6° and 16° below the horizon it sometimes illuminates extremely thin clouds of ice crystals that are at an altitude of about 80 kilometres. These clouds are indeed so high that they are in the mesosphere part of our atmosphere. For us it is long since nightfall, but these clouds catch a little sunlight and we see bluish white clouds illuminated, which are invisible by daylight.

July 9: Saturn in Opposition

At present we have the problem that, due to the Sun’s ecliptic, many planets are far to the south and so are not high enough in the sky to be visible. Because of this we inevitably face a struggle with air turbulence. Despite this, Saturn still is worth observing, even if it only climbs to a height of 18°. On July 9 it reaches its opposition and shines brightly in the sky with a magnitude of 0.1. It is competing with the brightest stars but we can recognise it by its yellowish colouring and a faint glow that differs from the flickering of the stars. Because of this you can find it straight away and you can easily capture it with a small telescope. Its rings appear tilted at 24° and we are looking from the north at the ring system in which we can easily recognise the Cassini Division.

July 14: Pluto in Opposition

Pluto is a hard-to-see dwarf planet that used to be classified as a planet, and can barely be distinguished from a star – at least if you don’t have a map at hand. Even so, it’s worth taking a look at this outpost of the solar system with a larger telescope. GoTo coordinates: RA: 19h33m40s, DEC: -22° 07′.

July 16: Partial Lunar Eclipse

In January we had to view this in the cold, but not today. We can observe this partial lunar eclipse in warm temperatures and at a reasonable time. It gets interesting for us at 22:01 CEST, at which point the Moon enters the umbra of the Earth. Over the course of the evening it will become up to 66% obscured before the umbra moves away again and eventually disappears at 1:00 CEST.

July 20: Moon Landing 50th Anniversary

50 years ago today the whole world looked towards the Moon: to three astronauts, pioneers of humanity, who dared to set out on the greatest adventure. Apollo 11 flew to the Moon and Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on a foreign celestial body. Let us celebrate this event, remember it, and look again today towards the Moon, perhaps even to the Sea of Tranquility, the landing site of this daring mission.

July 29: The Delta Aquariids

A small meteor shower in Aquarius which we can best observe after midnight. The Earth passes through trails of small dust particles which burn up when entering the atmosphere and become streaks of light. We can expect to see 20-25 meteors per hour provided we find a dark place for our observation.

August 9: The Moon meets Jupiter

Similar to in July, the Moon and Jupiter meet again today. When it gets dark they stand dominant and bright in the sky above the southern horizon.

August 10: Mercury’s greatest western elongation

Now Mercury reaches its greatest angular distance of 19° from the Sun. Whilst before it was an object of the evening skies, for around 10 days from today we can discover it in the morning sky. On August 10 Mercury rises at 4:30 CEST, it then disappears into the haze, then it rises higher and we have a good chance of seeing it in the sky around 4:50 CEST.

August 12: The Moon meets Saturn

We have almost full Moon, so the sky is brightly lit, but Saturn shines clearly visibly and just 5° from the Moon. If our gaze wanders a little more to the right and a few degrees higher, we will also find Jupiter.

August 12: The Perseids

Every year we look forward to the most beautiful shooting stars of the year: the Perseids. In the morning of August 12 the meteor shower reaches its peak. Up to 100 shooting stars per hour rain down, thundering through our atmosphere at incredible speeds of around 216,000 km/h. The peak will be reached between 22:00 CEST and 4:00 CEST. Unfortunately this year the almost full, and far too bright, Moon will disrupt the display so that we are likely to only be able to observe the very brightest shooting stars. It’s best to find a spot away from the direct glare of the Moon. We have the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle to thank for this meteor shower, which lost part of its mass on its orbit around the Sun. Whenever the Earth crosses the orbit of the original comet in August, the Perseids shoot across our corner of the sky.

August 23: Occultation of the Hyades by the Moon

Unfortunately, it’s not until the early hours that we can observe an interesting occultation of the star 61 Tau by the Moon. Such occultations of the Hyades star cluster are particularly interesting because it contains many bright stars and we can sometimes even see multiple occultations. Around 4:40 CEST the Moon approaches from its illuminated side and snuffs out the 3.7 magnitude bright star. The star remains hidden behind the Moon for a little more than an hour. At 6:00 CEST, as if out of nowhere, it suddenly reappears. Important: point your telescope at the Moon a few minutes beforehand to ensure you don’t get the timing wrong.

August 27: Occultation of Delta Geminorum (Wasat) by the Moon

The Moon has migrated to the next constellation in recent days and is about to enter its new Moon phase. Before sunrise, it occults a really bright star: this time the double star 55 Gem in the constellation Gemini. The Moon, at this stage just a thin sickle-shape in the sky, approaches from its illuminated side. At 5:50 CEST the time has come: the star disappears behind the Moon and reappears nearly an hour later at 6:40 CEST. But by then the Sun has long since risen, the sky is bright and so the reappearance is difficult to observe with a telescope.

17.01.2020
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