Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's Up Tonight: The June Sky

Grab The Camera!
Tonight, tomorrow. and the next night present a very unique photo op in that dwarf planet Ceres is crossing the Lagoon Nebula. Learn more here.

The Month At A Glance
With the arrival of June, the spring constellations are well established in the sky at dark and the stars of summer, headed by the unmistakable Summer Triangle are now starting to rise in the East with Scorpius in the South.

With June comes the Summer Solstice, which means the shortest night of the year. June is also the abode of the first consistently warm nights, earliest sunrise (5:53am) and
latest sunset (9:05pm). Like May, June is still a great time to use the Big Dipper (riding
high at nightfall) navigation system to find one’s way around the Spring Sky. Be sure to get a look at Leo and Corvus, as both are rapidly diving into the West by now. For anyone staying up late/getting up really early, look for the Milky Way arching across the sky from South to North

Planet-wise, June is great for viewing the two brightest of them all, blazing -4 magnitude Venus and still brighter than any star -2 magnitude Jupiter. At dusk, Venus will reach peak height around the middle of the month. Jupiter appears on the other end of the day and will rise a little earlier each night as June wears on. Be sure to see Mars and Saturn, as the two are quickly descending in the Western sky. The two planets are headed for a late July conjunction, so watch them get closer and closer during the course of June, too.

Now for some specific dates:
*NOTE: Sunrise/set times are for Northeast Ohio, your times, depending on location, will differ

All Month: Venus peaks in height after sunset, there's no better time than now to see Earth’s former “twin”
June 6 Jupiter and the waning crescent Moon meet up in the predawn sky
June 10: Mercury is about 7 degrees below the old moon low in the East/Northeast at dawn
June 11: Mercury is about 5 degrees right of the even older Moon at dawn
June 14: The sun will rise at 5:53am today and for the next
few, its earliest rising of the year
June 14: Venus meets a young waxing crescent Moon.
June 21: The summer solstice: the longest day (and shortest night) of the year
June 22: Venus is very close to the Beehive cluster at dusk
June 23: The waxing gibbeous Moon makes a near swipe at M4
June 24: Starting today and running for a few more, the Sun sets at 9:05pm, its latest set of the year
June 26: The nearly full Moon is in the Teapot’s “steam”
June 30: Jupiter is now rising nearly 5 hours before the Sun
End of the month: It’s now or never to get good views of both Mars and Saturn

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