Night sky guide for June 2015

Night sky guide for June 2015

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There are no major showers active in June. Weak Ophiuchids will peak on June 20 with the maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location around 5 per hour (ZHR). The Moon will be 4 days old at the time, and as such will present minimal interference.

Full Strawberry Moon, also known as Full Rose Moon and the Full Honey Moon, is scheduled for June 2.  Venus will reach greatest eastern elongation of 45.4 degrees from the Sun and shine brightly at mag -5.0 on June 6.

The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun - New Moon - on June 16 making this day the best day of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters.

June Solstice - at 16:38 UTC on June 21, Earth's North Pole will be tilted toward the Sun, which will reach its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. This will be the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the southern hemisphere.

  • June 1 - Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn - 20:10 UTC. The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 1°51' of each other. At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -12.6, and Saturn at mag 0.8, both in the constellation Libra. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

  • June 2 - Full Moon - 16:19 UTC. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Strawberry Moon because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening fruit. It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting season. This moon has also been known as the Full Rose Moon and the Full Honey Moon.

  • June 2 - M13 is well placed for observation. The Hercules globular cluster - Messier 13 (M13) also designated NGC 6205 and sometimes called the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, is a globular cluster of about 300 000 stars in the constellation of Hercules. The Arecibo message of 1974, which contained encoded information about the human race, DNA, atomic numbers, Earth's position and other information, was beamed from the Arecibo Observatory radio telescope towards M13 as an experiment in contacting potential extraterrestrial civilizations in the cluster. While the cluster will move through space during the transit time, the proper motion is small enough that the cluster will only move 24 light years, only a fraction of the diameter of the cluster. Thus, the message will still arrive near the center of the cluster. M13 will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time on June 2. At a declination of +36°28', it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere and cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 33°S. At magnitude 5.9, M13 is quite faint, it is not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

  • June 3 - M12 is well placed. The globular cluster M12 (NGC 6218) in Ophiuchus will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -01°57', it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 68°N and 71°S. At magnitude 6.6, M12 is quite faint, not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

  • June 6 - Venus at greatest elongation east. Planet Venus reaches greatest eastern elongation of 45.4 degrees from the Sun shining brightly at mag -5.0. This is the best time to view Venus since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the bright planet in the western sky after sunset. Over the coming weeks, the distance between Venus and the Sun will decrease each night, and it will gradually sink back into the Sun's glare.

  • June 6 - M10 is well placed. The globular cluster M10 (NGC 6254) in Ophiuchus will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -04°05', it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 65°N and 74°S. At magnitude 6.6, M10 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

  • June 7 - M62 is well placed. Across much of the world the globular cluster M62 (NGC 6266) in Ophiuchus will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -30°07', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere and cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 39°N. At magnitude 6.6, M62 is not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

  • June 11 - Conjunction between the Moon and Uranus - 20:42 UTC. The Moon and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 0°27' of each other. At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -11.2, and Uranus at mag 5.9, both in the constellation Pisces. At closest approach, the pair will be close enough to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or a through pair of binoculars.

  • June 13 - Conjunction between Venus and M44 - 14:40 UTC. Venus and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 0°33' of each other. At the moment of closest approach, Venus will be at mag -5.1, and M44 at mag 3.1, both in the constellation Cancer. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or a through pair of binoculars.

  • June 16 - New Moon - 14:05 UTC. The Moon will be located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.

  • June 20 - Ophiuchid meteor shower peaks. The Ophiuchid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on June 20, 2015. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible from a dark location is around 5 per hour (ZHR). The Moon will be 4 days old at the time of peak activity, and so will present minimal interference. The best place to look to see as many meteors as possible is not at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 90° away from it, since it is at a distance of around 90° from the radiant that meteors will typically appear at their brightest.

  • June 20 - C/2012 F3 (PANSTARRS) reaches its brightest. Comet C/2012 F3 (PANSTARRS) is forecast to reach its brightest, at around mag 12.6. It will lie at a distance of 3.52 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 2.59 AU from the Earth. For more information about its path across the sky, see In-The-Sky.org's ephemeris page for comet C/2012 F3 (PANSTARRS).

  • June 20 - Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter. The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 4°29' of each other. At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -10.7, and Jupiter at mag -1.8, both in the constellation Leo. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

  • June 20 - M7 is well placed. The Ptolemy cluster (M7, NGC 6475) in Scorpius will reach highest point in the sky at around midnight local time and be well placed for observation across much of the world. At magnitude 3.3, M7 is tricky to make out with the naked eye except from a dark site, but is visible through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

  • June 21 - June Solstice - 16:38 UTC. The North Pole of the Earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky and will be directly over the Tropic of Cancer at 23.44 degrees north latitude. This is the first day of summer (summer solstice) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of winter (winter solstice) in the southern hemisphere.

  • June 24 - Mercury at greatest elongation west. The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 22.5 degrees from the Sun, shining brightly at mag -1.9. Across much of the world this will the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

  • June 29 - Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn - 01:39 UTC. The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 1°56' of each other. At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Saturn at mag 0.9, both in the constellation Libra. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

Video courtesy Hubble Space Telescope

Sources: InTheSkySeaSky

Featured image background credit: Hubble Space Telescope. Edit: TW. 

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