The Heaven in October 2020

Die Milchstraße am Himmel im Oktober

Now it begins, the golden October. We have passed the equinox and have arrived in autumn. What heaven has in store for us in October 2020 you will find out in this, the tenth issue of “Heaven in…

Stadionhenge am Olympiastadion Berlin - ein Schauspiel des Himmel im Oktober
Der Moment auf den wir gewartet haben.

What can you expect in October 2020?

For many fans and connoisseurs of astronomy the sky in October is the best time for unique star observations. The sky in October 2020 can become a goldmine of celestial events if the weather is right!

planets in the heaven in October 2020

The focus is on our neighbour, Mars. The red planet will be the closest to Earth. Mars will not approach our home planet in this way again until 2035.

In addition, two years have passed since Mars and Earth overtook each other in their respective orbits around the Sun. As we catch up every 26 months, this year on 6 October Mars and Earth will be less than 62 million kilometres apart. Almost exactly one week later, on 13 October, Earth will form an almost straight line between Mars and the Sun. This is generally referred to as opposition.

Dieses 360-Grad-Panorama eines Ortes namens "Teal Ridge" wurde am 18. Juni 2019, dem 2440. Mars-Tag oder Sol der Mission, auf dem Mars von der Mastkamera (Mastcam) auf dem NASA-Rover "Curiosity" aufgenommen.
Der “Headliner” am Himmel im Oktober 2020 ist unser Nachbar, der Mars (c) Nasa

Like a full moon, Mars rises at sunset and sets at sunrise, making it available all night. It is by far the brightest star-shaped object in the heaven in October 2020.

With good visibility and preferably with a telescope you will quickly understand why our neighbour is called the red planet. A red-orange shimmer is very easy to see.

observing mars in the sky

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Mars is a worthwhile destination even for small telescopes. In the following I have collected some tips for observing Mars for you.

It is very helpful to let Mars stand as high as possible in the sky. Our red neighbour will then have risen above the “thicker” layer of the Earth’s atmosphere near the horizon. This means staying awake as long as possible to observe Mars.

It is also important to take long, continuous glances through your telescope so that your eye can adapt to the light intensity within the scope. To illuminate your surroundings during breaks, I recommend a headlamp with a red LED.

One of the easiest surface features to recognise on Mars is the northern polar cap. Most telescopes will give you an inverted, i.e. mirror-inverted image. If this is the case with your riflescope, the polar cap is shown as a white spot on the underside of the Mars target. This feature does not necessarily make it any simpler.

During the ascent, the polar cap appears at the lower right edge of Mars and gradually shifts towards the bottom of the disk when Mars reaches its highest point in the sky overnight. You can also see dark spots, which are mainly the extensive valleys on Mars. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that there will be no global dust storm on Mars during this time!

Sandteufel auf dem Mars (Quelle: Nasa)

What do the other planets show in the sky in October 2020?

While Mars is trying to put itself in the centre of our interest, Jupiter and Saturn, the true giants of the solar system, are still in close celestial embrace.

They begin the evenings in the low sky from south to southwest. The giant planets are not as close to the earth as in summer, but they are still the brightest star-shaped objects in this part of the sky. Jupiter is the brighter of the two.

While they are not as close to the earth as they used to be, they are moving closer together in the sky. In the sky in October 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will be less than ten degrees apart, close enough to bring both planets into the same field of view with binoculars. Later in the autumn, they will be even closer. On 21 December, the first day of winter, they will look as if they are almost “touching” each other, only a tenth of a degree apart! This is the closest distance between these planets in the sky since 1623 AD, i.e. for almost 400 years.

Links neben der Milchstraße sind Jupiter und Saturn zu erkennen. Die beiden ziehen auch über den Septemberhimmel.
In der Neumondnacht im Juli habe ich die Nacht zwischen dem Dreisesselberg und dem Hochstein nach der tschechisch-deutschen Grenze verbracht. Dabei sind mir diese Aufnahmen der Milchstraße gelungen. Links neben der Milchstraße siehst Du Jupiter und Saturn.

The moon in the sky in October 2020

In addition to Mars, the moon will also not let itself go and perform its spectacle. We have two full moons this month. On 1 October we have one full moon and on 31 October we have another full moon! By today’s definition, which makes it a “blue moon”, the second full moon of the month, just in time for Halloween!
The moon will also have some nice close connections with planets this month.

Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn and moon – the heavenly stars come close

On October 2, the waning full moon will be less than two degrees right below Mars to allow for a fabulous celestial embrace. A moon in the first quarter will be parked directly below the planetary duo Jupiter and Saturn on 23 October. On 29 October the Moon and Mars will have another encounter with the almost full Moon just below Mars. The Moon and Mars will not be quite as close as on the 2nd, but it will still be a great show.

And for stargazers in the early morning of 14 October, there is a thin, waning crescent in the lower eastern sky on the lower left of the super-bright planet Venus.

moon phasedatetime
full moon01.10.202023:05 hrs
decreasing half moon10.10.202002:39 hrs
new moon16.10.202021:31 hrs
to be taken half moon23.10.202015:22 hrs
full moon31.10.202015:49 hrs
The moon phase in the sky in October 2020

There are also shooting stars in the sky in October 2020?

The described events are not enough for you? I can understand that very well. How about a meteorite shower then? The best are the Orionids, which reach their peak in the morning hours of October 21st. From midnight until just before dawn you can see more than 20 meteors per hour. As there will be little moonlight at this time, the Orionids can be seen well. Cloudless sky and little light smog are a prerequisite for this.

Finally, we should mention the constellations and constellations in the sky in October. In the early evening there are still many summer constellations like Boötes and the Swan in the western half of the sky, while in the eastern sky the big autumn constellations like Pegasus the winged horse are on the advance. At the end of the month the wonderful star cluster of the Pleiades appears in the early evening of the eastern sky. Fittingly, the Pleiades are also known as the Halloween cluster.

Am Abend des 3. April 2020 traf sich die Venus mit dem Siebengestirn der Plejaden am Himmel über Berlin.

In the Bavarian Forest by day and night

Sonnenuntergang über dem Bayrischen Wald

Travel impressions-created in the bavarian forest

In 2020 everything is a little bit different, so is our vacation in Sweden. It took place in the Bavarian Forest. How I bring this vacation together with my hobby of astrophotography, I write down here for you.

family vacation in bavaria

If you know this page, you might have already read my travel diary from the year 2015. In it I dedicated an article with photos and videos to each day and the many topics around this trip. The report about the summer vacation 2020 is not that detailed.

More often I present individual destinations that I have visited alone, with my big daughter and with my whole family. I will also show you why some places in the Bavarian Forest are worth visiting two or three times.

The sun is setting over the bavarian forest
In these photos I captured the wonderful atmosphere of the golden hour in the bavarian forest.

accommodation in the bavarian forest

The decision for the bavarian forest is based on a proposal of my dear wife. My option with a trip to the Stubai Valley in Austria did not stand up to the prices called up there, so we looked for a vacation apartment on the usual portals. We prefer to travel individually and a hotel simply no longer fits in with our family vacations.

So it came about that we requested two vacation apartments, which fulfilled all the wishes of our family of four. Coincidence wanted it that both also confirmed. #Luxury problems in the Bavarian forest 😉

After having scrutinized both offers, we decided to go for family Kittl. We have never regretted this decision. From the arrival – we were surprised with cake – to the fresh rolls and plum cake from the family bakery and the garden – where I had some beer at the end of the day – everything was as we wished for our stay.

Beers in the Bavarian Forest
Various places in Bavaria mean different beers. In the bavarian forest I have enjoyed many a white beer and light beer. Here is a small collage.

With the family in the Bavarian Forest

We always try to tailor our vacations to the whole family. So every one has his highlights and each of my girls gets his money’s worth.

So in the run-up we searched for and found different destinations, listed them in a list and tried to distribute them over the 13 days.

And these were our goals in and around the Bavarian Forest:

Salzburgtime was missing, have also been there several times
Spelt MuseumClosed
Mariensteig (Passau)Time was missing can certainly be made up for on occasion
graphite mineclosed
Lusen (hiking)time missing, will be made up for
Walhallatime missing 🙁
Climbing Forest WaldkirchenAction has to be
Outdoor pool
(any repetitions possible)
incl. fries 😉
Befreiungshalle Kehlheimspontaneously added to the list
Kloster WeltenbrugRecommendation from friends
Steamboat trip on the Danube in connection with Kloster Weltenburg
Großer Arber
Dreisesselberg (at night) once with the great daughter, just the camera and me
Dreisesselberg (hiking)with my dear wife
tree top path
game park
monastery Vornbachwish of the great daughter
Spiegelau (factory sales)“While we are near .. “
SchaukelwegWish of the “little” daughter
Summer toboggan run GrafenauAction must be
Our planned undertakings with comments

photo equipment hiking suitable?

The sky in August 2020 will again lead to several new images.
I continue to collect images of the sky. Also in August 2020 this will continue. This image was taken at sunset on the Dreisesselberg in the Bavarian Forest.

I only changed from Olympus with MFT sensor to Sony with a full format sensor last year. The accessories and especially the lens kit brought quite a lot of weight. Add to that the tripod and some filters and you get a lot of weight. So on longer hikes I practice without and only take the Sony 24-240mm 3.5-5.6 with me.

When I took the complete equipment with me, I was extremely happy if I was allowed to put the backpack down or if the finish was near the parking lot.

On trips with the car I always had the big cutlery with me, as I call my photo equipment affectionately.

On the next page some pictures from the night and the day are waiting for you and a short film has also found its way into this article.

Heaven in September 2020

What does the September sky have in store for us?

It's already September! That means you're just starting the ninth episode of the heron "Der Himmel im… " to read. The sky in September 2020 also holds planets, the moon and zodiac signs ready for us. So let's hope for some cloud-free nights so you and I can enjoy the beauty of the September sky.

The moon played its first leading role in the sky at the beginning of the month in September 2020
On the way to the Bishop Neumann Chapel, the moon appeared between this granite structure
Continue reading “Heaven in September 2020”

Heaven in August 2020

Now we are already in August 2020 and I publish the eighth issue of the series "Heaven in… "

I am pleased that the sky in August 2020 also has some highlights in store and that the planet, moon and constellations are so wonderful to observe in summer.

Neowise leaves our skies in August 2020

Comet NEOWISE was already fainter and weaker in July. I myself said goodbye to this great spectacle in the sky on holiday in the Bavarian Forest. Now the clump of dust, ice and rock is leaving our inner solar system. When he leaves us, he gets the well-deserved fireworks that the Perseids give him.

The Perseids in the sky in August 2020

The annual meteor shower, also called Perseids , is the best seen shooting star rain of the year. I have already written in various places that only space debris is disposed of quite unromantically. But I openly admit that I can't deny the romance of shooting stars. It just looks fantastic when it seems to rain stars and they burn up with sometimes longer or shorter tails above us. In the sky in August 2020, debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle burns up in this spectacular way. This comet was last seen in 1992, but we enjoy its legacies year after year.

The Perseids already appear in the sky in the first days in August 2020, but are difficult to see due to the moon phase. The good news is that at the peak of the Perseids on the night of August 11-12, there is not quite as much moonlight. like on a moon in the last quarter (a crescent). From midnight until dawn, the Perseids are best observed in the sky in August 2020. At its peak, up to 50 shooting stars per hour can be seen. So don't make the wish list too short.

The radiant of the Perseids lies in the constellation of Perseus. This is a good reference point for observation. However, the shooting stars can appear anywhere in the sky – so keep your eyes open.

Planets in the sky in August 2020

In the evening sky in August, Jupiter and Saturn appear as the cat's eyes. Only the moon and the ISS shine brighter as it moves across the night sky. In the southeastern sky, the journey of the two planets, which are very visible to the naked eye, begins.

Shooting stars in the sky in August 2020
A pleasant summer evening with friends and so incidentally this wonderful picture of the Milky Way was created.

The planet Mars also shows up in the sky in August 2020. Our neighboring planet is on the rise in the evening sky. The red planet rises at midnight in the first half of the month, is not quite as bright as Jupiter, but definitely brighter than Saturn.

Stargazers will be greeted in the early morning in August 2020 by the exceptionally bright Venus , which shines in the twilight before morning in the lower east. Our neighbor is even brighter than Jupiter. There are two reasons for this brightness. Venus is not only very close to Earth in August 2020, but also has a very reflective cloud cover. Through binoculars, Venus will appear crescent-shaped in the sky in August 2020. Both Venus and Mercury go through phases like our moon because their orbits around the sun are in Earth's orbit. On August 15, there is a thin, waning moon in the upper left corner of Venus. This will be a special heavenly embrace worth setting the alarm for!

Summer constellations in the sky in August 2020

Summer constellations, commonly referred to as constellations, are now in full bloom.

In the low southern sky, the scorpion appears, which really resembles a scorpion. Next door, just to the left of Scorpius, the archer dances across the sky in August 2020. For some, the constellation is more like a teapot. By the way, Jupiter and Saturn both show themselves to the left of the constellation of Sagittarius.

In the northwestern sky, the big dipper hangs from its handle. On the right is the much weaker little car with Polaris, the North Star, at the end of the handle. In the northeast it is very easy to find a huge "W", also known as the constellation Cassiopeia . This W outlines a throne of Queen Cassiopeia. She is said to have been bound to it forever as punishment for insulting Hera, the queen of the gods of Olympus.

Almost above us is the Summer Triangle, which consists of three bright stars: Vega, Altair and Deneb. All three stars are the brightest in their respective constellations Lyra the harp, Cygnus the swan and Aquila the evil eagle. The Summer Triangle is a great tool for finding these constellations and many other surrounding celestial portraits.

Summer sky in August 2020
In addition to Saturn (1) and Jupiter (2), I have marked Antares (3) in the constellation Scorpio (4) in this image. The Milky Way is also clearly visible.

Moon phases in the sky in August 2020

The sky in August holds two full moons for us. In the following table I have recorded the monphases of the current and upcoming lunation.

Lunar phaseDateTime
Full moon (harvest mom, sturgeon moon)03 August 20205:58 pm
Waxing CrescentAugust 11, 20206:44 pm
New Moon (Blackmoon)August 19, 202004:41 hours
Waxing CrescentAugust 25, 20207:57 pm
Moon phases in the sky in August 2020

Harvest moon or sturgeon moon? What does that mean.

  • German: Around August, the grain harvest is brought in. The old German term Erntemond refers to this fact. In some dialects, August was also referred to as harvesting .
  • Algonquian: Does a bright full moon disturb the night sky, especially in August? May be – but the term sturgeon moon refers to the sturgeon , a genus of fish that increasingly fidgeted on the hook of Algonquian anglers at this time of year. In English, the sturgeon moon is referred to as Sturgeon Moon .
  • Other names: Grain Moon, Barley Moon, Ear Moon, Crescent Month, Red Moon, Fruit Moon, Lightning Moon, Green Corn Moon, Bisemond.

Source: Time and Date

Black Moon in the sky in August 2020

The new moon is called a black moon when, as in August 2020, it is the third new moon within a season. It is invisible because the moon disappears in the shadow of the earth.

Black moon is also referred to as the second new moon within a month or when there is no full moon or new moon in a month. That can only be in February.

I wish you a lot of fun looking at stars, counting shooting stars and constellations. Follow me on one of my channels, leave a comment or a question and tell others about this page.

Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3)

Eine zweite Sternschnuppe zeigt sich vor dem Komet Neowise (C/2020 F3)

It is hard to believe that I have not written anything about comet Neowise yet. I need to change that and I need to change it now.

The comet Neowise was discovered only in March of this year, exactly on 27 March 2020. The space telescope Wise made its discovery possible and the comet with the official designation C/2020 F3 was given the name Neowise.

facts to comet neowise

At this point, I provide my readers with some smart-ass knowledge about C/2020 F3. It does not claim to be complete, but it will be enough for a good conversation.

Let’s start with the “ discoverer“, the space telescope Wise. Wise stands for Wide Field Infrared Survey Eexplorer. The 661 kg space telescope was sent into orbit around the Earth on 14 December 2009. Wise sent the first image on 26 December, after which everything was calibrated. Wise had the following tasks to perform:

  • Asteroids and other objects of the solar system. The aim of WISE is to find all asteroids of the main belt with more than 3 km in diameter; stars, including the stars closest to the Sun, and brown dwarfs
  • If the hypothetical star Nemesis had been a brown dwarf, WISE would have discovered it.
  • Young stars in the Milky Way and dust disks around more advanced stars. The most luminous galaxies and infrared galaxies. br>(Source Wikipedia)

Wise becomes neowise

We let Wise do his job until 17 February 2011. Several million pictures of space we have already owed the telescope until then. Wise was put into a hibernation state from which one wanted to wake it up only with appropriate financing. This also succeeded and the mission was continued under the name NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Eexplorer).

Falls Ihr im Vorgarten mal sowas findet, das gehört der NASA.
Von NASA/JPL –, Gemeinfrei,

The Comet Neowise

What is a comet?

A comet or tail star is a “small” celestial body. Mostly they measure a diameter of several kilometres. Known comets are observed very closely on their orbit. So Halley’s comet is one of the best known comets, which approaches the earth about every 70 years and becomes visible for us. Comets can have different compositions, usually ice holds the dust and rock together. Near the sun the ice begins to melt and the characteristic tail of the comet is formed. Rocks and dust come loose and the sun shines on it.

What do we know about Neowise (C/2020 F3)?

Based on the observations made since its discovery, the orbit on which Neowise moves could be calculated. The last time the earth had come so close to the earth was in the year 2402 B.C. Gravitations on its path make a new sighting possible only in about 6,690 years.

On its orbit it will reach the farthest point of the sun (aphelion) around the year 5365. The distance between comet Neowise (C/2020 F3) and the sun will then be 103,000,000,000 km. If you set out on the journey to the sun, you can cover the distance 710 times to have an idea of how far C/2020 F3 is away.

In the year 8709 the comet Neowise with the cryptic name C/2020 F3 will appear again in the sky. So to make sure you don’t miss it, make a note in your calendar.

Could you photograph the comet C/2020 F3?

Yes, you can (could) photograph the comet. For this you had to be in the northern hemisphere and even here you had to hope for a cloudless sky. In the middle of July you could see C/2020 F3 very well in the night sky. It was visible after sunset and remained well visible from north to northeast at night. The lump of ice did not really want to sink, this is due to its orbit.

The comet Neowise (C/2020 F3) in sound and pictures

How did I capture C/2020 F3?

I spent two nights lying in wait or sent my camera on the hunt. I have summarised how this turned out in a video.

On the attic I built my Sony A7 with the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 on my Sirui tripod. I aligned the equipment with the App Sky Guide (iOS, Android). To save the pictures on memory card I used a remote cable release from Rollei.

The access from ayex was with two fully charged batteries from BAXXTAR Pro and was thus able to provide sufficient power for the camera all night long.

The exposure time was between 2.5 and 8 seconds. The aperture was set between F/2.8 and F/3.2. At an ISO between 800 and 1,000, this resulted in 3,902 shots, which I edited with Adobe Lightroom and LR Timelapes.

After I had no luck in the first night, I was able to take very good pictures of C/2020 F3, the comet Neowise, in the second night, which I would like to show you here.

Thank you for your attention. If you liked the text, the film or the pictures (preferably everything), please leave a comment here or on one of my Social Medai accounts.

If you are interested in the sky, the stars, the moon and the planets, I recommend the articles from the series “The sky in…” or my articles on astrophotography.

Shooting stars in summer 2020

The sky rains shooting stars in summer

In July and August, the sky is illuminated by satellites and airplanes in addition to the sun, moon, planets, comets and stars. But one thing makes many people even more fun in the sky in summer. These are the shooting stars in summer, more precisely meteors.

What else is going on in the sky besides the shooting stars discussed in this article, you will learn in the monthly articles from the series "The sky in the… ".

When do shooting stars rain in summer?

The Perseids rain most of the shooting stars in summer in mid-August.
Despite gathering clouds, I managed to catch a meteor (colloquially a shooting star) from the Perseid shower. The Perseids make shooting stars rain in summer.

The summer months of July and August have the most shooting stars in our latitudes, but also in our longitudes.

How to observe shooting stars in summer?

There are two ways to observe meteors (scientific term for shooting stars).

The romantic version of watching shooting stars:

Go to a quiet and dark place with a loved one, a blanket, a good drink. Make yourself comfortable and look to the sky. Talk about matters of the heart and just try to see shooting stars. I am sure that it will work under these conditions. If not, you had a great quiet time together.

Important: Make a wish for every shooting star or meteor and keep this wish to yourself.

Now I have recorded star trails for the first time. Here you will also find a shooting star to the right above the church tower, more precisely a meteor. The cardinal direction is north-northwest.
Now I have recorded star trails for the first time. Here you will also find a shooting star to the right above the church tower. The cardinal direction is north-northwest.

Watching shooting stars planned

The dark place, the blanket, the good drink and the loved one are welcome to be part of this excursion into the night. Because with the right plan and normal camera equipment you can watch the shooting stars in summer.

To increase the chances of success, deal with the Radiant. This refers to the point in the sky from which the meteors seem to emanate. With the app PhotoPills, which I also use, the Radiant is displayed to you. The developers of the app have produced a video explaining how to use the app to observe shooting stars in summer.

The app currently costs about 11 €. There is this good tool for Android and iOS and I can recommend everyone to use this app.

From here supported by product placements!

You then align the camera on a tripod to the radiant, a wide-angle lens with as open an aperture as possible will be used. Depending on the camera, you now have different ways to capture the meteors on the memory card.

Capture shooting stars in summer with Olympus Livecompsite

With the Olympus OM-D E-M 10 and E-M 1 , Olympus has established Livecomposite. This setting allows star trails to be recorded as a RAW image without the subsequent use of software such as StarStaX. So just let your camera run, enjoy the drink, the conversations about matters of the heart and the togetherness.

Shooting stars can also be seen in the sky in January 2020
These star trails are the result of 180 images. On the right, slightly above the middle, two shooting stars can be seen, which have immortalized themselves parallel in the picture.

Capture meteors in summer without Livecompsite

I'm away from Olympus. My daughter continues to use Olympus, so that pictures from this camera will certainly continue to appear in my portfolio – if she lends me your camera.

I switched to Sony's full frame. With the Sony A7 I can use an app that also records star trails. However, the output is "only" as JPEG. Since I edit all my pictures, I would accept losses here. But here, too, I can let the camera do the work first. With a shutter release I simply let the camera work and afterwards have the possibility to create a time lapse, to develop the individual images shooting stars and also to create star trails with StarStaX .
Shooting stars, satellites and star trails in one movie

Advertising ends!

The Delta aquarids start with shooting stars in summer

At the end of July, more precisely on July 29 and 30, the meteor shower of the Delta Aquariids reaches its peak. In Berlin, the number of visible meteors is highest at 03:00. About 10 meteors per hour can be seen. At this time, the radiant (the point in the sky from which the meteors seem to come) is 25° above the southern horizon.

This rain of shooting stars can produce up to 25 meteors per hour. Light pollution — both from the moon and artificial sources — can affect the visibility of the otherwise beautiful meteor shower. Attentive readers know from the article "The sky in July 2020" that there is a waxing quarter moon at night. The light from a waxing moon will largely prevent you from seeing meteors. When the moon sets later in the evening, the chances of getting rid of the desires increase.

Two showers in one night – The Alpha Capricornids also show up

In the night of 29 to 30 July, the meteor shower of the Alpha Capricornids is also visible and also has its peak in this night.

The number of visible meteors is highest at 03:00; there will be about 2 meteors per hour in good conditions. The radiant is located 25° above the southern horizon, i.e. congruent with the Delta aquarids.

The Perseids crown the round of shooting stars in summer

Two years ago I already dealt with the Perseids. In this article, I also clarified that the wish fulfillers known as shooting stars are just space debris from comets.

These… are only dissolution products of comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle. Its orbit crosses the earth annually around August 12, so that during this time the Perseid showers also occur. From July 17 to August 24, the strongest activity of the Perseids can be observed. … Again, the best viewing time is between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., with the peak of over 100 Perseids per hour being reached at 6:00 a.m.

The shower rises towards the north-northeast and then moves towards the east-northeast. Thus, the shower moves slightly below the astronomical north pole towards sunrise.

from "The Perseid Showers"

If you have paid close attention so far, you will notice that at the end of July there are three radiants in the sky. The chances of being able to tie one's wishes to shooting stars thus increase massively.

I wish you a lot of fun with the sky observations. Tell other interested people about my site, share my posts and follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr.

Heaven in June 2020

It's summer and we've done the first half of the year. So far, it has to be said that the year 2020 is pretty blatant. In this, the sixth contribution from the series "Der Himmel im… " is again about the moon, the planets, the stars, a comet and the sun and what these protagonists show us in the sky in June 2020.

A short review

In April I hunted the Lyrids and caught some of them. Subsequently, I produced a time lapse. So before we discuss heaven in June 2020, treat yourself to about three minutes for this movie.
The Lyrids and the Starlink satellites

What's happening in the sky in June 2020?

It starts with a dim light, because June 5 is not only full moon, it is also the second penumbral eclipse of the year. The attentive part of my inclined readership may remember January . There was also a penumbral eclipse and a large amount of clever knowledge. In the warm months, such an event is also more relaxed to watch, because the night temperatures invite you to watch the sky. The full moon in June rises towards sunset and draws a low arc to the west over the southern horizon. In Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa, there will be a partial penumbral eclipse that night. The moon then partially enters the brighter shadow of the earth. Presumably, this event is barely perceptible.

There is a comet in the sky in June 2020

Comet Swan appears in the early evening during the first days of June. Towards the end of dusk, you can see the comet, whose official name is C/2020 F8 (Swan), on the northwestern horizon.
With the naked eye the comet is hardly visible, it will probably be necessary a pair of binoculars, better a telescope to detect the comet. Swan is more like a blurry "star" with a faint tail pointing to the top right.

Planets in the sky in June 2020

Not far from Swan at dusk, the planet closest to the sun can be seen. With the naked eye, the planet Mercury can then be seen in the northwest. Even with a telescope, the surface details of the planet will not be visible, but its crescent shape will be easy to see. Mercury goes through phases like the Moon, as its orbit around the Sun is within Earth's orbit. Already on June 4, 2020, the planet can be observed in the west. It will rise at 20:02 and disappear back on the horizon at 22:52.

Our neighbor Venus, which has dominated our evening sky since November, has left it. As the morning star, the goddess of love will appear in the last week of June in the early morning just above the horizon in east-northeast.

Summer stars in June 2020

At the beginning of the second week of June, the moon leaves the early evening sky. In these darker skies, you can really see the slow transition from spring stars to spring stars and constellations. Look for a very bright, orange star. This is Arcturus with a diameter of around 35 million kilometres. This makes this star almost 25 times as large as our own Sun. Its diameter is 1.4 million kilometers. Arcturus is 37 light years distant. This corresponds to a distance of about 350 trillion kilometres.

What happened 37 years ago when the light visible today made its way to us? I was eight years old, Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, the Internet didn't exist yet…

Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes, the hunting farmer, which actually looks more like a giant night dragon. Arcturus is on the dragon's tail.

In the eastern sky , the stars of summer appear for the first time in the evening. The pioneer is Vega, the brightest star of lyre of the harp. Just to the left below Vega is Deneb, the brightest star from the constellation of the Swan. Within this constellation one can easily see the asterism, the "North Cross", rising sideways. Deneb lies at the top of the cross and is at least 1500 light years distant. So here we are looking very far into the past.

In the low southeast sky in June 2020, another summer constellation is on the rise, the scorpion. The constellation of Scorpio really resembles what it is supposed to be. Its brightest star Antares and marks the heart of the celestial scorpion. At the top right of Antares you can see three diagonally lined up stars outlining the animal's head. Antares is an incredibly large star. Earth would still be in the inner core of Antares if you put it in our solar system instead of our sun!

That's how you have to imagine the sky in June 2020. The planets Saturn and Jupiter are very easy to recognize, also Antares in the constellation of Scorpio can be recognized.
In addition to Saturn (1) and Jupiter (2), I have marked Antares (3) in the constellation Scorpio (4) in this image. The Milky Way is also clearly visible.

Planets as cat's eyes in the sky in June 2020?

Astrophotography is not for people who like to go to bed on time. For example, around midnight two planets can be seen, which some also refer to as "cat's eyes". The two super-bright adjacent stars are actually the largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn.

If you go to bed on time, there is also the possibility to look for the planets before sunrise. Towards the south-southwest, the two planets are visible about an hour before sunrise. Jupiter, the brighter shining and slightly to the right below Saturn can then also be observed well with binoculars.

The June moon, which shows up here as a waxing moon in the sky in June 2020.
The waxing June moon in the sky in June 2020.

And again the moon

The waning moon will pull off a spectacle with Jupiter and Saturn on June 8 and 9.In the early morning hours, our Earth's satellite passes under the planets. On June 12 and 13, the last quarter moon hangs half below Mars, making for a great celestial event!

Solar eclipse in the sky in June 2020?

In fact, there will be an annular solar eclipse on June 21, 2020. But not in Europe and not in America. In most parts of Africa and Asia, there will be an annular solar eclipse. Ring-shaped eclipses resemble total eclipses, but do not create the dramatic darkness of totality. This is because the eclipse occurs during the moon's monthly maximum distance from Earth, so the moon's disk is not large enough to completely cover the sun. With a small to medium-weight telescope, your view of the giant planets improves dramatically. You'll see some of Jupiter's brighter cloud bands and possibly Jupiter's large red spot. You should also see Saturn's ring system much more clearly.

Things are looking up, until June 21st

June is the month of short nights. If astrophotography would also be very pleasant from the weather, you have the least darkness. That will change in the sky in June 2020. Because the sun reaches the zenith at 23.5° north latitude on 20.6.2020 at 23:44. The 21.06.2020, also summer solstice or calendrical beginning of summer is also referred to as the longest day. In our latitudes, the sun rises very early and sets very late. It doesn't really get dark the further east you go.

See Starlink satellites in the sky

Since you can see the Starlink satellites in the sky, Elon Musk has not only friends among astrophotographers. In this post I would like to try to bring something dark back to the sky. In addition, I show you my first shots of the project of Space X.

88 shots of 10 seconds each led to this film about the Starlink satellites in the sky. The time of just over 14 minutes was reduced to 3 seconds.

Starlink satellites in the sky ensure ubiquitous Internet

According to Elon Musk, the first goal pursued with the Starlink satellites of his company Space X is ubiquitous Internet with high bandwidth.

The company Space X has already launched several hundred satellites into Earth orbit. At the end of 2020, Internet availability in North America is to be ensured, and by the end of 2021, the Internet should also be available in the sky via the Starlink satellites almost worldwide.

For the first expansion phase, 11,927 satellites are to orbit the Earth on behalf of Space X by 2027. The company has submitted applications for a further 30,000 satellites. (Source: Wikipedia)

These are spectacular figures. If you consider the following comparison, it becomes even more spectacular: The company Space X plans to have five times as many of its own satellites orbiting the world as were stationed in space from the first satellite in 1957 (Sputnik) by the end of 2019.

Space X satellites provide more space debris?

Space X has revolutionized space travel, especially in terms of sustainability. That sounds pretentious. Once you have seen how the launchers first chase the Falcon rockets into orbit and then land again on a ship in the ocean, you will confirm parts of the statement. So are the plans with the Starlink satellites in the sky. The last control command they execute should cause the satellites to burn up during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. I'm sure Space X is also thinking about recycling the satellites. The raw materials have a high value for a commercial enterprise. And SpaceX, unlike NASA, is a commercial enterprise.

Starlink satellites in the sky cause disturbances in astronomy?

I took the following part from the Wikipedia article. There, the feared effects are explained.

Satellites at an altitude of several hundred kilometres can be visible in the hours before dawn and after dusk. The first series of 60 Starlink prototypes appeared surprisingly bright in the sky in the days following launch. Astronomers then expressed fears that large constellations such as Starlink could shape the image of the night sky and interfere with observations with optical telescopes. In addition, the radio signals used for data communication could interfere with radio astronomical observations.

Whether and to what extent such problems will actually occur is still unclear. SpaceX is working with astronomy associations such as the American Astronomical Society to minimize the potential impact. During the launch of Starlink 2 in January 2020, one of the satellites received a darker surface as a test. From the ninth launch (around June 2020), all new Starlink satellites will appear much darker. In addition, SpaceX wants to dispense with originally planned orbits of the second stage at an altitude of 1100-1325 kilometers and place all satellites below 600 km, which reduces their visibility at night and greatly reduces the dwell time of defective satellites.


Can you Starlink Photographing satellites in the sky?

The Starlink satellites can be photographed in the evening and at night. Due to the brightness, you can even photograph these objects as individual dots. You get the impression of having taken a pearl necklace.

I myself have not yet consciously set out on the hunt for the Starlink satellites, they flew through the picture rather by chance when I photographed the Lyrids . Due to the relatively long exposure time, I was only able to capture several rows of strokes.

When will Starlink satellites show up?

As with the International Space Station , there are times when the Starlink satellites are visible in the sky. To find out when this is at a location, there is an app. This app shows the inclined readership which group of Starlink satellites can be seen in the sky and when.

I use this app to track down the satellites:

There are a number of apps for detecting the Starlink satellites in the sky. Since I don't know which smartphone everyone uses, I was looking for an app that is available for both Android and iOS.

The Find Starlink Satellites app is a very simple application. After the location has been recorded (either via the map or via the GPS positioning), the next visible satellite groups are displayed. First the clearly visible groups and then the weaker to poorly visible groups.

Download for iOS

Download for Andriod

My conclusion on satellites

As is so often the case, it is not black and white. I am convinced that one day satellites will be part of the night sky, like planets, the moon and shooting stars.

We all want fast Internet and the download rates should be three-digit or better four-digit numbers. To do this, we will also need solutions such as the Starlink satellites.

If Elon Musk's company really does research to reduce disruption in astronomy, if his company makes sure that "spent satellites" don't end up as space debris, then we'll have to get used to the sight. In addition, it must be noted that SpaceX is not the only company that sends satellites into space in groups for fast and comprehensive Internet.

So, now you know my views on this project, you learned more about the Starlink satellites. How do you feel about this programme? Feel free to tell me by leaving a comment.

Heaven in May 2020

The fifth post in this series revolves, how could it be otherwise, about the sky in May 2020. As in the past months, I was able to inspire you with articles from this series for heaven. So, why shouldn't I provide you with information about the moon, the planets and the constellations in May? Exactly, there is nothing against it, not even against the Eta aquariids.

In April , I changed my articles and put the highlights at the beginning. That's how I'll keep it for this article.

The time for night photography is also noticeably shorter. While 9.5 hours can be expected as a "dark" night at the beginning of May, only eight dark hours can be expected at the end of May.

The Eta Aquariids – shooting stars again

The Eta Aquariids plunge from the sky on 07 May 2020. The Eta Aquariids are a meteor shower that begins to show up on May 5th. The top of the Eta aquariids will then appear in the constellation of Aquarius in the early morning of May 7, 2020 at around 4:00 am.

The Eta aquariids will not be so clearly visible in the Berlin area, one shooting star per hour is expected. In other places there can be real fireworks, because in the best case 50 shooting stars pounce on our home planet.

At this point I show you some pictures of the Lyrids, who flew ahead of the Eta Aquariids. 😉

A triangle in the sky in May 2020

Now it is irrevocably spring. May brings warm days and the meteorologists will explain to us again that from daytime temperatures of 25 ° Celsius one speaks of summer days (20 ° Celsius at night is an indication for tropical nights). In the sky in May 2020 you can then observe a triangle, the spring triangle.

With Regulus in the constellation Leo, Spica in the constellation of Virgo and Arcturus, the one in the constellation of the Bearkeeper, the three corners are occupied.

The Spring Triangle shows up in the sky in May 2020
In the sky in May, the inclined observer sees the Spring Triangle. Jupiter in the sky in May 2020 is closer to the constellation of Sagittarius than shown here of Virgo.
Source: Wikipedia

Planets in the sky in May 2020

The "star" in May is without question Jupiter. It replaces Venus more and more. In addition, Mars and Saturn appear in the night sky. In good conditions, our ringed comrade is easy to see with binoculars including his rings.

You have probably noticed the bright evening star, which joined the Pleiades in April and with the moon represented a "guardrail" for the ISS , says goodbye as a reliable companion in the evening sky.

And what does the moon do?

In the sky in May 2020, the moon also shows up in its phases. At the beginning of the month, the moon shows its waxing side. The waxing crescent will appear in the sky on April 30, 2020.

May 7, 2020 is full moon. And even in May, the full moon has other names. One also speaks of the merry moon or flower moon. The connections with the merry month and the surrounding flowers explain the names. But also rabbit moon, plant moon, corn planting moon, milk moon and Marian moon are common.

Lunation 1204 will then end with the waning crescent moon on May 14, 2020 and the following lunation – number 1205 – will then begin with the new moon on 22.05.2020. The sky in May 2020 will then hold the waxing crescent moon for us on 30.05.2020.

Last but not least, I show the inclined readership how the Starlink satellites race across the Berlin night sky. I am already announcing an article on this topic here.