Answers about the Night Sky

Answers about the Night Sky

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What’s up in Tonight’s Sky

By Garry Beckstrom

 

June 2017

HERE’S WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS MONTH

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Click HERE to Download our basic EVENING Star Map for June 2017 (pdf)

June2017StarMap copy(For star maps to print properly, download pdf and save to your computer, then print from there.)

Download our star maps to help you find your way around the sky.
Our basic star maps show the planets and major star patterns or constellations visible in the evening and morning skies this month, without faint background stars. This makes it easier to pick out the brighter patterns in the real sky. Hold the map over your head with “North” on the map facing the direction north. The middle of the circular map (marked “zenith”) is the point directly over your head. The edges of the circular map mark the horizon all around you. Find one of the bright constellation patterns, ignoring fainter stars you might see in between. You can then jump from constellation to constellation, finding your way around the sky. It helps to use a dim, red flashlight so that you can see both the map and the sky together.

 

Click HERE to Download our basic MORNING Star Map for June 2017 (pdf)

June2017MorningStarMap copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS MONTH

All descriptions below are for mid-northern latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. EST is Eastern Standard Time in North America.
EDT is Eastern Daylight Time in North America.

Below you’ll find a section about what to see in the EVENING SKY this month, followed by a section about what to see in the early MORNING SKY before dawn.

Below those sections you’ll find a list of dates this month where we point out specific things to look for on those days, along with other interesting information.

We hope you’ll find our night sky information fun and easy to use. Happy Stargazing!

 

 

THE EVENING SKY IN JUNE

The two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, dominate the evening sky this month.

Jupiter is brilliant in the south to southwest, brighter than everything except the Moon. You’ll notice the bright star Spica near Jupiter all month too.

Looking southeast around 11 p.m. on June 15. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June15JupiterSpicaSW11PM copy
Even small telescopes will show Jupiter’s four biggest moons. You can watch them move around the giant planet from night to night.
JupiterAndMoons copy

 

Saturn shines in the southeast in the evening and remains visible, slowly arcing across the southern sky, throughout the night.

Looking south-southeast around 11 p.m. on June 15. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June15SaturnAntaresSSE11PM copy
A small telescope will even show the beautiful rings around Saturn!
Saturn copy

 

 

During June, the constellation pattern of Leo the Lion drifts westward in the night sky, making way for the summer stars behind it. Watch as the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle climb higher in the eastern sky each evening.

Use our Evening Star Map (Click HERE to Download our basic EVENING Star Map for June 2017 (pdf)) to help you find these and other constellation patterns in the sky.

Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
TriangleLeoMap copy

 

 

Looking to the north, you’ll find the Big Dipper high in the sky during June evenings. Use the two stars in the front of the bowl of the dipper (the “Pointer Stars”) to draw an imaginary line to Polaris, the North Star. Opposite the Big Dipper from the North Star, you’ll find the “W” shape constellation pattern of Cassiopeia, low in the north.

Use our Evening Star Map (Click HERE to Download our basic EVENING Star Map for June 2017 (pdf)) to help you find these and other constellation patterns in the sky.

Looking north on May 15 around 11 p.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
NorthSkyJune15-11PM copy


 

 

 

 

 

THE MORNING SKY IN JUNE

The planet Venus dazzles in the eastern predawn sky this month. Venus is far brighter than anything else visible in the morning sky besides the Moon.

Looking east an hour before sunrise on June 15. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
VenusJune15-1hrBefore copy

 

The beautiful ringed planet Saturn has been visible all night. In the evening it could be found in the southeastern sky. As the Earth rotated, Saturn appeared to arc across the southern sky and by dawn is low in the southwest.

Looking southwest an hour before sunrise on June 15. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
SaturnBeforeDawnSW copy

 

The three stars of the Summer TriangleVega, Deneb and Altair – fly high in the sky before dawn. To the east of the triangle you’ll find the Great Square. Neither of these star patterns are “official constellations,” but they both serve as landmarks to help you find your way around the sky.

Use our Morning Star Map (Click HERE to Download our basic MORNING Star Map for June 2017 (pdf)) to help you find these and other patterns in the sky.

Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
MorningSquareAndTriangleJune15 copy

 


By dawn the Big Dipper is no longer high in the sky as it was in the evening, but has rotated around and is low near the horizon.

Looking north on June 15 an hour before sunrise. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
MorningSkyNorth copy

 


 

 

 

 

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON SOME SPECIFIC DAYS THIS MONTH

BE SURE TO CLICK ON EACH SCENE BELOW FOR A FULL IMAGE.

 

June 1 MORNING – First Quarter Moon occurs at 10:47 p.m. EDT. The Moon is one quarter of the way around the Earth and appears half lit in the evening sky. The lit part is facing the Sun.
first




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 2 EVENINGThe Moon will pass Jupiter over the next couple days. Tonight the Moon is lined up with Jupiter and Spica.

Looking southwest about 11 p.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June2 copy


 

 

June 3 EVENING You’ll find giant planet Jupiter right below the Moon tonight.

Looking southwest about 11 p.m.. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June3 copy

 

 

 

June 4 EVENING The Moon, Jupiter, and the bright star Spica make a pretty triangle in the evening sky tonight.

Looking southwest about 11 p.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June4 copy

 

 

 

June 8 EVENING The Moon will pass the ringed planet Saturn over the next couple nights. Watch tonight as it makes a triangle in the southeastern sky with Saturn and the bright star Antares.

Looking south-southeast about 11 p.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June8 copy


 

 

 

June 9 MORNING – Full Moon occurs at 9:10 a.m. EDT. The Moon is now half way around the Earth in its orbit. The Earth is between the Moon and the Sun so we see the Moon fully lit.  We now see the Moon opposite the Sun in the sky, so as the Sun sets, the Moon rises.
full

EVENINGThe planet Saturn is to the lower right of the Moon tonight.

Looking south-southeast about 11 p.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June9 copy

 

 

June 10 EVENINGThe Moon, Saturn and the bright star Antares form a line across the southeastern sky this evening.

Looking south-southeast about 11 p.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June10 copy

 

 

 

June 15 MORNING – Saturn is at what’s known as “opposition” today. This means the ringed planet is now opposite the Sun in the sky. So, as the Sun sets in the west, Saturn rises in the east, is visible throughout the night, and sets in the west as the Sun rises in the east tomorrow morning.

The best time to observe Saturn through a telescope is when it is highest in the sky. That occurs about 1:30 a.m. right now. When Saturn is highest you are looking through less of the atmosphere and get a clearer view in the telescope.

Looking south about 1:30 a.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June15SaturnOpposition copy

 

 

 

June 17 MORNINGLast Quarter Moon occurs at 7:33 a.m. EDT. The Moon is three-quarters of the way around the Earth now. It appears half lit in the early morning sky; the lighted side always faces the Sun.
last


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 20MORNING – It should be very pretty this morning at dawn as brilliant Venus is visited by a beautiful crescent Moon.

Looking east an hour before sunrise. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June20 copy

 

 

 

June 21 MORNING – Summer officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere at 12:24 a.m. EDT. This is also the longest day of the year and the shortest night, the Summer Solstice. The Sun is now rising as far as it gets to the northeast and sets as far as it gets to the northwest.

Beginning tomorrow the sunrise and sunset points will slowly begin moving south along the east and west horizons and the time of daylight will begin to shorten. By the Fall Equinox in September the Sun will rise due east and set due west and day and night will be equal.

The sunrise and sunset points will then continue to move south along the horizons until the Winter Solstice in December when the Sun rises far to the southeast and sets far to the southwest. The Sun will appear to just arc across our southern sky then and days will be short. But wait . . . you don’t want to hear about short days and winter right now!
SunArcs copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another beautiful dawn comes with the beginning of summer! A pretty crescent Moon is to the lower right of bright Venus.

Looking east an hour before sunrise. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June21 copy

 

 

 

 

June 23 EVENINGNew Moon occurs at 10:31 p.m. EDT.  The Moon is directly between the Earth and Sun and not visible. In a couple of days it will appear as a thin crescent in the evening as it pulls away from the Sun from our point of view. The crescent, or lit side of the Moon, always faces the Sun.
new


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

June 26 EVENINGAs it begins getting dark after sunset, see if you can pick out the bright star Regulus to the upper left of the crescent Moon. You’ll need a fairly clear western horizon.

The Moon will approach and pass Regulus over the next couple evenings. Watch what happens.

Looking west 45 minutes after sunset. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June26 copy

 

 

 

 

June 27 EVENING – Use binoculars after the Sun sets to see if you can pick out the bright star Regulus just above the crescent Moon.

Looking west 45 minutes after sunset. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June27 copy

 

 

 

 

June 28 EVENING – The Moon has now passed Regulus (see June 26 and 27 above) and you’ll find the bright star to the lower right of the crescent tonight.

Looking west 45 minutes after sunset. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June28 copy

 

 

 

June 30 MORNING – Get out your binoculars this morning. Check out the Pleiades Star Cluster, also sometimes called the Seven Sisters just to the upper left of the planet Venus as dawn begins.

Note that Venus will be much brighter than we can show it below. You can’t miss it.

Looking west 45 minutes after sunset. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June30 copy
EVENING – First Quarter Moon
occurs at 8:51 p.m. EDT. The Moon is one quarter of the way around the Earth and appears half lit in the evening sky. The lit part is facing the Sun.
first

 

 

 

 

 

The Moon has completed an orbit around the Earth and is right back near Jupiter like it was at the beginning of June. See June 2-4 above.

Looking southwest about 11 p.m. Be sure to click on the scene below for a full image.
June30B copy



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