What's up for June 21-27

A solar eclipse and SpaceX launch we can watch online, and a bit of SpaceX junk, along with some small Starlink satellites we can watch pass over.

Posted Updated
Annular solar eclipse as seen from NASA's HiNode satellite.
Tony Rice
, NASA Ambassador

Sun Jun 21

Observers in Africa, and parts of Europe and Asia watched an annular eclipse. Annular doesn't mean yearly, it comes from "annulus", Latin for "ring".

Annular eclipses occur when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and Sun, but at a time near the Moon's apogee, or the furthest point in its orbit. It appears smaller because it is further away, not large enough to completely cover the Sun, leaving a "ring of fire".

Had the Moon been closer to perigee, the closest point in its orbit to Earth, this would have been a total eclipse.

Look for a bit of space junk, a rocket body from a recent SpaceX launch passing through our skies beginning at 9:17 pm from the northern horizon. It will pass nearly overhead over the next seven minutes before setting in the south.

Mon Jun 22

After sunset, the waxing crescent, day-old, Moon and Mercury will be less than 4 degrees apart low on the west-northwestern horizon. You will need a clear horizon and a bit of patience to spot them. Both will be appear as just a crescent.

Look for Starlink satellites rising from the northwest beginning at 9:42 pm. Over the next 20 minutes, strings of two dozen of these desk sized satellites toward the southeast.

Tue Jun 23

SpaceX plans the launch of another batch of Starlink satellites at 05:17 PM EDT. from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Live coverage is planned on the SpaceX YouTube channel.

Wed Jun 24

That Falcon 9 rocket body rises at 9:47 pm from the west, setting four minutes latest in the east-southeast

Thu Jun 25

2:00 pm: The Science Museum of Virginia offers virtual planetarium shows each Thursday. This week's presentation is on the search for Earth-like planets.
5:00 pm: Tune into a Virtual Astronomy Live presentation from the The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. Keith Parrish, observatory manager for the James Webb Space Telescope, and Dr. Charlene Morrow, of OrigamiUSA explores the connection between the ancient art of origami and innovation in space science.

Look for that Falcon 9 rocket body rises at 9:57 pm from the west, setting four minutes latest in the southeast.

Fri Jun 26

Early risers should look for a bright pass of the International Space Station beginning at 5:04 am from the south-southwest, setting six minutes later in the east-northeast.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken will conduct a 7-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station beginning at 7:35 a.m. EDT carried live on NASA TV.

Sat Jun 27

The latest sunset of the year occurs today at 8:37 pm.

The "longest day" or the day of the year where sunrise and sunset are separated by the longest amount of time occurred on the day of the Solstice (June 20). The earliest sunrise occured the previous Saturday, June 13.

If you happen to see a meteor streak across the sky, especially one that appears to come from nearly directly overhead, it is likely part of the the June Bootid meteor shower. This isn't worth setting your alarm for though. with hourly rates of less than 2 meteors per hour.


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