Here are some of the things our members see each week in the Newsletter, as well as many more. In this edition we had a video from our Imaging & Observing Group meeting, In the Sky, Comet, ASERO and Planetary Nebulae project reports, Moon report, News roundup.

In the Sky

The first Noctilucent Clouds have appeared – see the image in the footer. Keep an eye open for these lovely phenomena.
With twilight (and the weather) limiting our activities from Scotland, NLCs, the Moon and Sun are obvious targets. Here are some recent solar images from ASE members:
Robert Parsons
Robert Arnold
Robert Parsons
Robert Arnold

Summer Solstice

From Alan Pickup’s Sky Diary for June 2024
The Sun is at its furthest north in the sky at the summer solstice at 21:51 BST on the 20th. Edinburgh’s sunrise/sunset times change from 04:35/21:48 BST on the 1st to 04:26/22:03 on the 20th and 04:31/22:02 on the 30th.

Now that the Sun is passing at its shallowest below our northern horizon during the night, our sky remains bathed in a night-long twilight that is enough to hinder aurora-spotting and swamp all but the brighter stars.

The brightest one visible is Arcturus in Boötes which stands high in the south at nightfall and moves into the south-west by the map times. Those maps show Leo setting in the west and the supergiant star Antares in Scorpius less than 8° above Edinburgh’s southern horizon, its red colour only accentuated by its low altitude. High in the south-east is Vega in Lyra, the leading star in the Summer Triangle it forms with Altair in Aquila and Deneb in Cygnus.

The Moon is new on the 6th and is a slender crescent, less than 3% sunlit, low in the north-west at about 23:00 BST on the 7th. By the 9th, it is brightly earthlit in the west-north-west and 8° to the left of Pollux in Gemini. It lies to the right of Regulus in Leo on the 11th, reaches first quarter on the 14th and stands just left of Spica in Virgo on the 16th. It passes Antares on the 20th and is full in Sagittarius early on the 22nd.

ASE Moon Project

This project is really starting to take off and we already have some nice images taken with ASERO and our own kit.
An inverted full phase image of the Moon, taken 2024-06-12 using the Murrell telescope. Sometimes you see different features – or features differently – viewing the Moon this way.

 

One of the things we wanted to show was how features change with varying illumination and we have some examples of how Mare Crisium and surrounding features appear differently over the period of a few days. Close to the terminator the sunlight hits it at a lower angle and the shadows are better defined. Away from the terminator and the Sun is higher overhead so fewer shadows and less definition.
One of the most interesting features here is the crater Proclus at the top left of Crisium which begins to appear along with it’s oblique rays. Ray craters seem to show up better away from the terminator when there are fewer shadows and stronger highlights. This is L10 in the Lunar 100.
The crater has a notable ray system that extends for a distance of over 600 km. The rays display an asymmetry of form, with the most prominent being rays to the northwest, north-northeast, and northeast. There is an arc with no ejecta to the southwest. These features suggest an impact at a low angle.
Because the Murrell scope isn’t setup for high resolution lunar/planetary imaging, we may have to resort to using our own kit. Mike Christie and I have both imaged Theophilus and adjacent craters using higher focal lengths/Barlows from Edinburgh recently:
Mike Christie
Mark Phillips
Amazing what you can see in your Moon images if you look closely.

Twin Peaks

What can the shadows on the Moon tell us? When close to the terminator the shadows are more intense and longer so it’s a good time to look. Some of those shadows show multiple peaks and you can see the profile of many other peaks in this image. The arrow pointing to the Alpine Valley very faintly shows the fault down the middle of the pass through the Lunar Alps. The large crater Plato is filled with deep shadow with just the crater rim poking up into the sunlight.
They also help us see the profile of crater rims. Look at the crinkly edges of Archimedes in its shadow. The long, pointed shadows of the mountains bottom left show how high the peaks of the Apennines are.
Also quite a lot of Rilles (and history) in this image of the Apennines:
Rille (German for ‘groove’) is typically used to describe any of the long, narrow depressions in the surface of the Moon that resemble channels. The Latin term is rima, plural rimae. Typically, a rille can be several kilometers wide and hundreds of kilometers in length. However, the term has also been used loosely to describe similar structures on a number of planets in the Solar System, including Mars, Venus, and on a number of moons. All bear a structural resemblance to each other.
  • Hadley – John Hadley 18th century English mathematician and physicist, and I mentioned it in a recent newsletter about Apollo 15
  • Bradley – James Bradley 18th century English astronomer that Bruce Vickery gave us two talks about a few years ago: Speed of Light and other Stellar Effects and James Bradley and others FACT CHECKED!
  • Fresnel – Augustin J. Fresnel 19th century French physicist
  • Conon – Conon of Samos 4th century BC Greek mathematician
You can see more images and what we are trying to achieve, on the ASE Moon Project page of the Members site.
And finally… are we branching out? 🙂
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
Clear skies and keep looking up – you never know what you might discover!
Mark
President / Webmaster