What's in the sky to look at - Summer solstice 2020

Today's summer solstice post is overshadowed a little by the Grand Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. I know you'll all be out watching that - weather permitting, of course, I wrote this post a week or so beforehand.

After that, Saturn and Jupiter will go hiding behind the sun, but there are still plenty of things to watch in the sky, including Mars, which is still high, although it's beginning to get small as it moves away from the Earth.

I've added a couple of clusters to my list this time. I got both of them from my light-polluted back yard a week or two back.

This is my photo of M41, which I took from my back yard using a saxon 1021 doublet refractor of the type that many of you have bought for Christmas. It's very similar to our most popular refractor, the saxon 909AZ3, just a tiny bit bigger. I had it on a tracking mount though, my own NEQ6.

This photo gives you an idea what you're likely to see with a small telescope. The photo also shows a fair amount of chromatic aberration, which is probably more apparent in a photo than if you used the scope for visual observation.

As usual I'm giving you the name as well as its rough transit time - the time on the 21st when it's highest in the sky. The list is ordered roughly from West to East, and I'd advise looking at them in that order or some will set before you get to them.

  • Globular cluster: NGC 104 - 47 Tucanae (07:55 PM)
  • Galaxy: M 31 - Andromeda Galaxy (08:09 PM)
  • Galaxy: NGC 253 - Sculptor Galaxy (08:09 PM)
  • Galaxy: NGC 292 - Small Magellanic Cloud (08:24 PM)
  • Galaxy: M 33 - Triangulum Galaxy (09:07 PM)
  • Galaxy: M 74 - Phantom Galaxy (09:07 PM)
  • Double star: Rho Eridani - Cat's Eyes (09:07 PM)
  • Double star: - Zeta Reticuli (10:48 PM)
  • Galaxy: NGC 1365 - Great Barred Spiral Galaxy (11:02 PM)
  • Open cluster: M 45 - Pleiades (11:16 PM)
  • Open cluster: Mel 25 - Hyades (12:00 AM)
  • Galaxy: ESO 56-115 - Large Magellanic Cloud (12:43 AM)
  • Globular cluster: M 79 - (12:43 AM)
  • Bright nebula: M 1 - Crab Nebula (12:57 AM)
  • Bright nebula: M 43 - De Mairan's Nebula (12:57 AM)
  • Diffuse Nebula: M 42 - Orion Nebula (12:57 AM)
  • Bright nebula: NGC 1977 - Running Man Nebula (12:57 AM)
  • Bright nebula: NGC 2070 - Tarantula Nebula (12:57 AM)
  • Dark nebula: B 33 - Horsehead Nebula (01:12 AM)
  • Diffuse nebula: NGC 2024 - Flame Nebula (01:12 AM)
  • Variable Red Star: Betelgeuse - Alpha Orionis (01:26 AM)
  • Double star: Canopus - Alpha Carina (01:55 AM)
  • Cluster with nebulosity: NGC 2237 - Rosette Nebula (01:55 AM)
  • Open Cluster: M41 - Little Beehive (02:09 AM)
  • Open Cluster: M47 (03:07 AM)