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Australasian Sky

Australasian Sky column

Stargazing in June

By David Reneke

What’s in the night sky this month?

June nights are pretty cool, so you’re going to need a blanket, a pillow or two, your binoculars and perhaps a warm glass of Milo or a fine red to keep warm while you stargaze. On a clear night depending on your age and your eyesight, you can see anywhere up to about 1,500 to 2,000 stars. Introduce city lights and pollution, and you see less and less.

The Dance of the Planets


Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter are all going to be in the same part of the eastern morning sky together, joined for a short time by a thin Crescent Moon.

By David Reneke

What’s in the night sky this month?

Armed with your binoculars, find a nice dark place away from the glare of the street lights. Pick a comfy spot and wait about 5-10 minutes to allow your eyes to adapt to the darkness. See that band of stars stretching across the sky from one side to the other? That’s the Milky Way, full of more stars than you can count.

Sweet and Sour for Spaceflight

By Morris Jones

Tthe 50th anniversary of human spaceflight is a somewhat embarrassing time for the space community.

2011 marks an historic anniversary for science buffs. This is the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight. Half a century has passed since Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made a single orbit of the Earth aboard his Vostok 1 spacecraft, enthralling the world, but also causing fear. The flight was yet another symbol of rising power from a bellicose Soviet Union, whose leaders threatened the security of the West with a rising arsenal of nuclear weapons. Spaceflight was thus both sweet and sour for a turbulent twentieth century world.