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06/24/2022 – Ephemeris – Finding the greatest celestial hero: Hercules

June 24, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, June 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:58. The Moon, halfway from last quarter to new, will rise at 3:31 tomorrow morning.

Orion, the hard luck mythical Greek hunter, gets a splashy constellation in the winter sky, but the greatest hero of all, Hercules, gets a dim group of stars on the border between the spring and summer stars. At 11 p.m. Hercules is high in the southeast. It is located right of the bright star Vega, in the east. Hercules’ central feature is a keystone shaped box of stars, called, of course, the Keystone of Hercules tilted to the left, which represents the old boy’s shorts. From the top and left corner stars extend lines of stars that are his legs, from the bottom and right stars, the rest of his torso and arms extend. So in one final indignity, he’s upside down in our sky. For those with a telescope, Hercules contains the beautiful globular star cluster Messier 13.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Hercules finder

Hercules animation showing neighboring stars at 11 p.m. for mid-June. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Hercules globular star cluster finder

Hercules with all the stars visible in binoculars and its two globular star clusters: M13 and M92. M13 is almost bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye. It is easily visible in binoculars as a tiny fuzzy spot. It takes a telescope with an aperture of 6 – 8″ or 150 – 200 mm to begin to see some individual stars. M92 is dimmer and harder to resolve. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

M 13

M 13, the Great Globular Star Cluster in Hercules. Credit: Scott Anttila.