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Summer Solstice

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Hello friends!  Gateway to the Stars will be hosted by Nick Jarvis in the Hansen Dome Theater on June 8th, 2019 at 6:45pm. Tickets are $2.  Members watch for free.

It's warming, it's summering, and I hope you're hearing the invitation to spend more time under the stars. Each month in Gateway to the Stars, we explore this month's after-dark highlights and space news.

This month, we mark the turning of the astronomical season at the summer solstice, which will be Friday, June 21st at 9:54am MDT. Summer brings its set of iconic constellations, and we'll also have great views of Jupiter and Saturn; we'll show you how to identify them, what features to look for, and how our amateur small-telescope views are connected to the work of scientific revolutionaries such as Galileo and Cassini.

June also brings us into orbital opposition with the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. For a short time around this month, Ceres will be faintly visible in binoculars and small telescopes, so we'll show you where to look and what to expect.

Caption: On 2 Jul 2019, parts of S. America will see a total solar eclipse!

Also this summer, the Moon and Earth will both eclipse each other in turn: On July 2nd there will be a total solar eclipse visible in parts of South America, and on July 16th there will be a partial lunar eclipse visible to much of the Eastern Hemisphere, but not visible from North America. For our show, we'll simulate the appearances of these eclipses, and get you ready for the next great solar and lunar eclipses visible from Salt Lake City.

Lunar Eclipse
Caption: On 16 Jul 2019, a partial lunar eclipse will be visible from much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Credit: NASA


We'll also check-in with the exciting world of spaceflight! NASA and the US Federal Government have been making noises about returning people to the Moon within five years; how serious are we? We'll also follow-up on the mysterious explosion that destroyed a SpaceX "Crew Dragon" capsule on the ground during a test procedure in April. And speaking of SpaceX, we'll also look at the initial deployment of their Starlink​ satellite constellation, which has generated both excitement and gloomy criticism, especially from the astronomy community, since its announcement last month. Is the outrage justified? Is the threat real? Come join us to talk about it!