Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for June

Sky and Telescope's "Pocket Sky Atlas" is a wonderful resource for all amateur astronomers. These challenges are designed for spicing up your observing.

Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges for June - John Kulczycki

Sky and Telescope Magazine's "Pocket Sky Atlas" has found a place in the tool kit of many amateur astronomers. The convenient size makes it easy to use at the telescope without requiring a separate chart table.

For urban astronomers, the charts are sufficient for the brighter stars visible under urban skies; the charts offer enough detail for star hops with telescopes or binoculars. When taking advantage of a dark sky location, the details of the charts allow for hours of wanderings per page depending on the size of the telescope and the skill of the operator.

These challenge objects are indexed to the star chart pages containing those objects. The idea is to have fun and perhaps expand your observing past the "usual suspects" that can be found because of past experiences. Seeing conditions may not allow finding these objects every night, but they should be visible at some point during the month.

June Sky

Warm nights welcome June's observers. The month where the school year ends and summer vacation begins is the best month to shake down and tune up telescopes, mounts cameras and auto-guiders. This is also a good time to plan a few good observation sessions by making lists of objects you want to see during these months. Doing it now while there is still time avoids the panic and frustration of going out into the field during July and August with equipment that is working sup-optimally.

Summer nights are short and we often wear ourselves out during the long days taking care of those thousands of things Summer demands. A day at the beach, with eyes exposed to bright reflective sand will make for frustrating observations during the dark of night. Try to shield your eyes as best you can.

Insects are constant summer companions and they seem to prefer perfectly still astronomers as easy targets. Repellents and telescope optics are not a good mix. Make sure you use bug spray well away from your equipment.

Do not forget that the Pocket Sky Atlas has Close Up Charts at the back, Chart “C” might be helpful for some objects this month.

I’ve indexed the object according to its star chart page.

Naked Eye

  • The Summer Triangle offers a gateway to may interesting objects.
  • Vega, Page 63; Deneb, Page 62; and Altair, Page 64 make up the triangle. Deneb also anchors the Northern Cross.
  • Kornephoros, page 54.
  • Unukalhai, Izar, page 55
  • Brocchi’s Cluster, (AKA the Coathanger or Collinder 399) page 65

Small Scopes and binoculars

  • M5, page 55.
  • M10, M12, page 54.
  • M57, page 63
  • IC 4665, page 65.
  • Stock 1, page 64.

Larger Scopes

  • NGC 5846, NGC 5850,(possible photo op), page 55. .
  • NGC 6309, page 56.
  • NGC 5548, page 57.
  • B72 Snake Nebula (possible photo op), Page 58.
  • NGC 6826, Blinking Planetary Page 62.

Bonus objects

  • NGC 6118, page 56.
  • NGC 5897, page 57.
  • IC 4406, page 59 ( this will be very low ) .
  • NGC 6633, page 65.
  • NGC 6818, page 66.
  • NGC 6822 Barnard’s Galaxy, page 66.

Happy Hunting!

John Kulczycki