Aug 2022 is the last month of Winter for Australia and New Zealand.
We were all blown away by last month’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) images release and there’s much more on the way as the now fully commissioned telescope gets into its ambitious science schedule over the next 12 months. Other space news this month is the first launch of NASA’s Artemis 1 on the 29th August (USA time). This uncrewed mission that will orbit the Moon and a major step in NASA’s return of astronauts to the Lunar surface sometime in 2026. Considering the last Apollo to the Moon was in 1972, it’s been a long time between landings!
Full Moon is the 12th August New Moon on the 29th August. This month is also a great time to view Omega Centauri, the brightest globular cluster in the night sky. This star cluster is close to the Southern Cross in the nearby constellation of Centaurus. Unlike the loose collection of stars in an open cluster such as the Jewel Box we mentioned last month, a globular cluster like Omega Centauri is a tightly bound group of stars that appears as a glittery ball and a spectacular view in telescopes of any size.
A major highlight of August 2022 is the ringed planet Saturn at opposition on the 14th. This is when the Earth and Saturn are at their closest for the year. Saturn will be visible all night and is the best time of the year for observing it. Don’t worry if you can’t get outside on the night of the 14th itself – it’s worth seeing for weeks either side of the opposition date!
Sent By : Martin Dowd
Photoname: Omega Centauri (NGC 5139)
Details: Taken from a light polluted Sydney backyard during a Full Moon, Martin used a BINTEL 6” Newtonian Reflector and a ZWO ASI2600MC camera. This is the largest globular cluster in the Milky Way. It appears as a faint smudge with your eyes under a dark sky and even a small telescope reveals a tightly bound ball of stars. Larger telescopes will let you explore more and more stars. It’s thought there’s more than ten million stars in an area about 150 light years across. We get a lot of questions about how to see Jupiter or Saturn’s rings, but there’s a swag of spectacular objects like this you can point your telescope towards as well.
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