Arizona Skies With Dr.Sky® June/ July 2012
Welcome, once again, to the wonders of our Arizona skies!
With 2012, nearly half over, we have some of the best sky
objects and events to come.
June offers up one of rarest of all sky events; an amazing transit
of the planet Venus.
Get set for this nearly once in a lifetime event, on the afternoon
hours of June 5th. Venus transits occur in a period of some 243 years , with a pair occurring some 8 years apart; then separated
by long gaps of 121.5 years!
Sound confusing? Just note that the last Venus Transit occurred
back on June 8th 2004 and the last pair occurred, back on December 1874 and December 1882. If you miss this one on the
afternoon of June 5th; you will have to wait till December 2117 and
Just what is a Venus Transit?
The orbits of Venus and Earth are similar in many ways, the orbit
of Venus is one of the most circular in the solar system and from time to time, it will cross the orbital plane of the Earth and the Sun
at the same time!
During one of these rare events, we get to witness, the disk of Venus in front of the Sun.
Since Venus is smaller than the Sun, it appears to “transit” or move
over the disk of the Sun.
Lucky observers with proper eye protection, (similar to the eclipse
glasses that you use to view a partial/total solar eclipse), can view
The transit of Venus can take up to six hours or so to complete its
journey, but observers in Arizona, can witness some 3.5 hours of the event, on average.
Hoping for clear skies, observers in Arizona (Phoenix) can expect
to see Venus move on to the solar disk at 3:06 PM local time, with
the Sun, some 54 degrees above the horizon.
Venus will be best placed on the solar disk at 6:25PM local time, but the Sun will only be some 13 degrees above the horizon. Sunset on June 5th, will occur at 7:35PM local time.
Dr.Sky suggests that you take some time, now, to prepare to view this most amazing Astronomy event; but please, do it SAFELY!
To learn all about what the transit should look like from your location:
To learn about the history of the Transit Of Venus:
The month of June has some other interesting objects/events. The
Full Strawberry Moon occurs on the 4th, with Last Quarter on the 11th. The real dark skies for June occur at best on the 19th, with the
New Moon and then look low in the NW for a thin crescent moon
starting on or about June 20th. First Quarter Moon, occurs on the 26th.
For planets; all the major planets in the west, are gone at sunset, with Mars and Saturn,now in the S at sunset.
Mercury returns to the NW sky at its best, on the 30th; some 26
degrees from the setting sun.
A sneak peek into the skies of July, reveal a great Full Buck Moon
on July 3rd and a great chance to look at the Milky Way high overhead on the night of July19th…the Dark Of The Moon, or New Moon.
I’m off on my summer vacation in Florida, to visit the Kennedy Space Center and the ocean…to come back and start our new series “An Evening With Dr.Sky” at the AZ Challenger Center
in Peoria…Clear Skies!