Night Sky Guide for June 2019

Night Sky Guide for June 2019

June 1 - Conjunction of the Moon and Venus - 18:15 UTC. The Moon and Venus will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 3°14' to the south of Venus. The Moon will be 28 days old. The Moon will be at mag -8.9, and Venus at mag -3.9, both in the constellation Aries. 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 - M13 well placed for observation. The Hercules globular cluster (M13, NGC 6205) will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of +36°27', it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 33°S.

June 3 - New Moon - 10:03 UTC. The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the Sun's glare for a few days. The Moon's orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result, its phases cycle from the new moon, through the first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days. This motion also means that the Moon travels more than 12° across the sky from one night to the next, causing it to rise and set nearly an hour later each day. At new moon, the Earth, Moon, and Sun all lie in a roughly straight line, with the Moon in the middle, appearing in front of the Sun's glare. In this configuration, we see almost exactly the opposite half of the Moon to that which is illuminated by the Sun, making it doubly unobservable because the side we see is unilluminated. Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By first quarter, in a week's time, it will be visible until around midnight.

June 3 - M12 well placed for observation. 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°56', it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 68°N and 71°S. At magnitude 6.1, M12 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 4 - Conjunction of the Moon and Mercury - 15:42 UTC. The Moon and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 3°39' to the south of Mercury. The Moon will be 1 day old. The Moon will be at mag -8.4 in the constellation Orion, and Mercury at mag -0.8 in the neighboring constellation of Taurus. 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 5 - Close approach of the Moon and Mars - 15:06 UTC. The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 1°34' of each other. The Moon will be 2 days old. The Moon will be at mag -9.7, and Mars at mag 1.8, both in the constellation Gemini. 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. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

June 5 - Conjunction of the Moon and Mars - 15:06 UTC. The Moon and Mars will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 1°34' to the south of Mars. The Moon will be 2 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -9.7, and Mars at mag 1.8, both in the constellation Gemini. 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 6 - M10 well placed for observation. 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 a small telescope.

June 7 - Close approach of the Moon and M44 - 08:01 UTC. The Moon and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 0°28' of each other. The Moon will be 4 days old. The Moon will be at mag -10.9, and M44 at mag 3.1, both in the constellation Cancer. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

June 7 - M62 well placed for observation. 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°06', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 39°N. At magnitude 6.4, M62 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 10 - Opiuchid meteor shower. The Ophiuchid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on June 10, 2019 but some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from May 19 to July. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 5 per hour (ZHR). However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this.

June 10 - Moon at First Quarter - 06:01 UTC. The Moon will be prominent in the evening sky, setting around midnight. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, it appears almost exactly half illuminated. Over the coming days, the Moon will set later each day, becoming visible for more of the night. Within a few days, it will not make it very far above the eastern horizon before nightfall. By the time it reaches full phase, it will be visible for much of the night, rising at around dusk and setting at around dawn.

June 10 - Jupiter at opposition - 15:17 UTC. Jupiter will be well placed for observation, in the constellation Ophiuchus. It will be visible for much of the night, reaching its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. This optimal positioning occurs when Jupiter is almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky. Since the Sun reaches its greatest distance below the horizon at midnight, the point opposite to it is highest in the sky at the same time. At around the same time that Jupiter passes opposition, it also makes its closest approach to the Earth – termed its perigee – making it appear at its brightest and largest. This happens because when Jupiter lies opposite the Sun in the sky, the solar system is lined up so that Jupiter, the Earth and the Sun form a straight line with the Earth in the middle, on the same side of the Sun as Jupiter.

June 11 - M92 well placed for observation. The globular cluster M92 (NGC 6341) in Hercules will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of +43°08', it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 26°S. At magnitude 6.5, M92 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 16 - Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter 18:50 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 1°59' to the north of Jupiter. The Moon will be 13 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -12.6, and Jupiter at mag -2.6, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. 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 16 - Close approach of the Moon and Jupiter - 19:26 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 1°58' of each other. The Moon will be 13 days old. The Moon will be at mag -12.6, and Jupiter at mag -2.6, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. 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. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

June 16 - NGC 6388 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the globular cluster NGC 6388 in Scorpius will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -44°44', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 25°N. At magnitude 6.8, NGC6388 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 17 - Full Moon - 08:32 UTC. The Moon will reach full phase. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, the Moon lies almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky, placing it high above the horizon for much of the night. The sequence of full moons through the year are often assigned names according to the seasons in which they fall. This month's will be the third to fall in spring 2019 – the Flower Moon. Over the nights following 17 June, the Moon will rise around an hour later each day, becoming prominent later in the night. Within a few days, it will only be visible in the pre-dawn and early-morning sky. By the time it reaches last quarter, a week after the full moon, it will rise at around midnight and set at around noon. At the exact moment when the Moon reaches full phase, it will lie at a declination of -21°25' in the constellation Ophiuchus, and so will appear highest in the southern hemisphere. It will be visible from all latitudes north of 58°N. Its distance from the Earth will be 389,000 km.

June 17 - M6 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the butterfly open star cluster (M6, NGC 6405) in Scorpius will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -32°15', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 37°N. At magnitude 4.2, M6 is tricky to make out with the naked eye except from a dark site but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 17 - NGC 6397 well placed for observation. Across much of the world the globular cluster NGC 6397 in Ara will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -53°40', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 16°N. At magnitude 5.6, NGC6397 is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from any but the very darkest sites but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 18 - Mercury at dichotomy - 02:51 UTC. Mercury will reach half phase in its 2019 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag 0.1.

June 18 - Conjunction of Mercury and Mars - 14:43 UTC. Mercury and Mars will share the same right ascension, with Mercury passing 0°14' to the north of Mars. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. Mercury will be at mag 0.1, and Mars at mag 1.8, both in the constellation Gemini. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

June 18 - Close approach of Mercury and Mars - 18:05 UTC. Mercury and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 0°13' of each other. Mercury will be at mag 0.1, and Mars at mag 1.8, both in the constellation Gemini. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

June 18 - IC4665 well placed for observation. The open star cluster IC 4665 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 +05°38', it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 75°N and 64°S. At magnitude 4.2, IC4665 is tricky to make out with the naked eye except from a dark site but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 19 - Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn - 03:47 UTC. The Moon and Saturn will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°26' to the south of Saturn. The Moon will be 16 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Saturn at mag 0.1, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

June 19 - Close approach of the Moon and Saturn - 03:49 UTC. The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 0°26' of each other. The Moon will be 16 days old. The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Saturn at mag 0.1, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called conjunction.

June 19 - Close approach of the Moon and Pluto - 11:16 UTC. The Moon and 134340 Pluto will make a close approach, passing within 0°03' of each other. The Moon will be 16 days old. The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and 134340 Pluto at mag 14.6, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

June 20 - M7 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the Ptolemy cluster (M7, NGC 6475) in Scorpius will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -34°47', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 35°N. 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 a small telescope.

June 21 - June solstice - 15:30 UTC. June 21 will be the longest day of 2019 in the northern hemisphere, midsummer day. This is the day of the year when the Sun's annual passage through the constellations of the zodiac carries it to its most northerly point in the sky, in the constellation of Cancer at a declination of 23.5°N. On this day, the Sun is above the horizon for the longer than on any other day of the year in the northern hemisphere. This is counted by astronomers to be the first day of summer. In the southern hemisphere, the Sun is above the horizon for less time than on any other day of the year and astronomers define this day to be the first day of winter.

June 23 - NGC 6530 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the open star cluster NGC 6530, close to the lagoon nebula (M8) in Sagittarius will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -24°21', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 45°N. At magnitude 4.6, NGC6530 is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from any but the very darkest sites but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 24 - Mercury at greatest elongation east - 00:48 UTC. Mercury will reach its greatest separation from the Sun in its May–July 2019 evening apparition. It will be shining brightly at mag 0.4.

June 24 - NGC 6541 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the globular cluster NGC 6541 in Corona Australis will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -43°42', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 26°N. At magnitude 6.6, NGC6541 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

June 25 - Moon at Last Quarter - 09:48 UTC. The Moon will be prominent in the dawn sky, rising at around midnight. Over coming days, the Moon will rise later each day, so that it is visible for less time before sunrise and it less far above the eastern horizon before dawn. By the time it reaches new moon, it will rise at around dawn and set at around dusk, making it visible only during the daytime.

June 29 - NGC 6633 well placed for observation. The open star cluster NGC 6633 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 +06°30', it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 76°N and 63°S. At magnitude 4.6, NGC6633 is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from any but the very darkest sites but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

Video courtesy Hubble Space Telescope

Sources: In The Sky by Dominic Ford, TW

Featured image credit: Hubble Space Telescope. Edit: TW

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