Nights of the Scorpion

Here is how Mars, Antares, and Saturn are now grouped as the Moon again comes cruising over them.

Evening sky 2016 June 18

The Moon momens are:

June 17, at 13h Universal Time (11 EDT): about 7 degrees from Mars
June 18, 21 UT: 10 degrees from Antares
June 19, 1 UT: 3 degrees from Saturn
June 20, 11 UT: Full

Half a day after Full Moon will come the solstice, when the Sun sets at its northernmost.

Almost opposite to it, this array slides into sight over the southern horizon.

In hot dry countries south of the Mediterranean, if you kick a stone you may find a scorpion underneath.  The constellation is a scorpion because it looks like one, but its position, too, is apt: far enough south to hide, except in summer nights, behind the monster stone of the horizon.

Scorpius Lurking

10 thoughts on “Nights of the Scorpion”

  1. Here in Virginia, Scorpius climbs fully above our southern horizon, but only barely. On a recent trip to Florida to buy a telescope, I was able to enjoy one evening of observing and delighted in being able to see the galactic center a good deal higher than I’m used to here. The table of Scorpius is glorious from FL compared to my home, but on the other hand we don’t have any actual scorpions in Virginia.

  2. Aaah! It was good to get out again to observe some good sky show. It looked exactly as you described it in your log, and of course in your Astonomical Calendar, only without the chirping of the crickets and the croaking of the bullfrogs, jiggerums, as someone in Connecticut told me they were known as when he was a kid.
    Also reminds me of the Grand Eclipse of 7/11/91, walking to the beach one night in Baja CA and seeing Scorpio in the sky and then seeing scorpions running on the ground, somewhat biolumiscent.
    Shannon, I was happier with my less powerful refractor telescope than I am now with a bigger reflector. I found it easier to use.

  3. I was very surprised to see the “stinger” on the end of the scorpion’s tail recently from light polluted Durham. The line up of Saturn and Mars has made me wish many many times that I still had access to a big telescope! It’s difficult to go back to a tiny telescope after using a 32″ one.

  4. When I was at Wilbur Hot Springs in northern California a couple of weeks ago, a young woman was stung in the foot by a scorpion. She and her friend were visiting the hot springs for the first time, had a flat tire on the way, arrived very late at night via a four-mile-long, unlit, unpaved road from the highway, and when they were walking to the bathing flumes she was stung by the scorpion. She said it felt like she had been stabbed with a knife and had salt poured in the wound. Apparently the local scorpions are not poisonous, so she didn’t need medical treatment.

    Both of these young women were in remarkably good spirits, considering their ordeal.

  5. In other words the Martians are enjoying an opposition of Saturn and inferior conjunction of Earth.
    So, how about an aricentric Loop of Saturn and the Petals of Earth?

    1. I was planning to get to the geocentric orbits of Jupiter and Saturn sometime, but aricentric (Mars-centered)! – that will be aleap in programming.
      I imagine the jovicentric view of Earth will be like a somwhat irregular binary star.

    2. Nice way to think of this, but do you think the Martians actually have eyes to observe this? And go for it Guy. Your diagrams are always so cool.

  6. “The Monster of Death looms from the shadows”. Your illustration of the emerging scorpion is sinister compared to the comfort of the welcoming night sky. An interesting analogy and, I suppose, one that may well be appropriate since scorpions are virtually blind nocturnal hunters. Not so welcoming if you are out with your telescope in sandals on one of those warm, Mediterranean nights!

    1. I wasn’t satisfied with my Lurking Scorpion and improved him a bit – see if the changed version shows when you go back to the blog post.

      1. Emerging, but climbing away, assuming the position of celestial majesty. Terrifying still, but not so sinister. Well done!

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