You are hereTHIS MONTH'S SKY - June 2008
THIS MONTH'S SKY - June 2008
THIS MONTH'S SKY
Celestial Events -- June 2008
MARS APPROACHES THE LION
|Last month we followed Mars as it moved from Gemini the Twins into Cancer the Crab, the next constellation of the zodiac to the east. On the way Mars passed right through the Beehive Cluster.
This month the Red Planet travels east at just over ½° each day from Cancer into Leo the Lion. Mars takes direct aim at Regulus, Leo's brightest star, and the planet Saturn. A four-day-old crescent Moon passes less than 2° south of Mars on June 7th. On June 30th and July 1st Mars will be only ¾° north of Regulus. Mars will pass even closer (two-thirds of a degree or 40') south of Saturn on July 10th.
The color contrast between Mars and Regulus will grab your attention. Regulus is a hot, blue-white star while Mars is yellow-orange in a scope. Use binoculars or a low-power telescopic field to see them together.
Mars approaching Regulus and Saturn
SOMETHING TO GET UP EARLY FOR
|A lot of people look forward to seeing a thin crescent Moon in the west just after New Moon. It's early evening and a convenient time to observe. Relatively few hunt for the thin crescent Moon in the east just before New Moon. It's before sunrise and usually chilly, even in summertime. But June 30th is special this year.
On that date the Moon will rise while in the midst of the Pleiades star cluster. The Pleiades, known as the Seven Sisters, are perhaps the most well-known star cluster of all. Its stars are bright and easy to spot. The Moon, only 27% lit, will not overwhelm them. In about an hour and a half, from moonrise at 2:35 AM to 4 AM, the Moon will cover some of the Pleiades and uncover others (see the table below).
Moon in the Pleiades
|Star||Time of Immersion
|Time of Emersion
(end of occultation)
|Taygeta (19 Tauri)||(occulted before moonrise)||2:49 AM|
|Electra (17 Tauri)||(occulted before moonrise)||2:51 AM|
|Maia (20 Tauri)||(occulted before moonrise)||3:12 AM|
|Merope (23 Tauri)||2:35 AM||2:55 AM|
|Alcyone (25 Eta Tauri)||2:58 AM||3:32 AM|
|Click to get sky charts and a description of the sky for this month.|
PLANETS IN JUNE
MERCURY's fine apparition of May is history as it is in inferior conjunction with the Sun on June 7th, moving into the morning sky. It might be seen in the last 10 days of June with binoculars.
VENUS is at superior conjunction literally behind the Sun on June 9th. Though technically in the evening sky after this date, it is too close to the Sun to be seen.
MARS (magnitude +1.5 to +1.6, diameter 4.9" to 4.4") moves from Cancer into Leo on June 10th. The Moon passes close by on the 7th. Watch Mars approach Regulus and Saturn the rest of the month, as described above. On the final day of June, it is within a degree of Regulus.
JUPITER (magnitude -2.6 to -2.7, diameter 45.0" to 47.2") is in Sagittarius. Finally visible at a convenient hour in the evening, it rises just after 11 PM as June begins and at 9 PM in twilight as June ends. The Moon passes Jupiter between the 19th and 20th. Jupiter will be at opposition on July 9th.
SATURN (magnitude +0.7 to +0.8, diameter 17.7" to 16.9") is in Leo. All month it remains close to Leo's brightest star, Regulus, but slowly pulls away from 2.8° to 4.7° during June. On June 8th the Moon will be only 2° below Regulus, forming a pretty threesome. Mars is approaching, reaching Regulus at the end of June and passing less than 0.7° below Saturn on July 10th.
URANUS (magnitude +5.8, diameter 3.5") rises in Aquarius at 2 AM on June 1st, and at midnight on June 30th. The Moon passes 4° above it on the 25th.
NEPTUNE (magnitude +7.9, diameter 2.3") is in Capricornus, a constellation ahead of Uranus. It rises shortly before 1 AM as June begins, and just before 11 PM as it ends. On the morning of June 23rd, the Moon occults Neptune from 4:02 AM to 5:22 AM.
PLUTO (magnitude +13.9, diameter 0.1") is in northwestern Sagittarius, rising about two hours before Jupiter. It is at opposition on June 20th.
The MOON begins the month in the morning sky in Aries. New Moon occurs on June 3rd. Between the 6th and 7th the eastern hemisphere of Earth will see the Moon occult stars in the Beehive Cluster. On June 7th the Moon is just below Mars. The following evening it is near Regulus and Saturn. First Quarter is on the 10th. On the 16th the red star Antares in Scorpius is nearby. Full Moon occurs on June 18th. Jupiter is passed during daytime on the 20th. On the morning of June 23rd from 4:02 to 5:22 AM, the Moon will occult Neptune. Last Quarter is on the 26th. On the morning of the last day of June the Moon rises while occulting the Pleiades (see above)! Watch until twilight begins.
THIS MONTH'S EVENTS
(Times in EDT)
|June 3||New Moon at 3:23 PM.|
|June 7||Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun, entering the morning sky.|
|The Moon is less than 2° below Mars.|
|June 8||The Moon is 2° below Regulus, which in turn is 3° west of Saturn.|
|June 9||Venus is in superior conjunction with the Sun, entering the evening sky.|
|June 10||First Quarter Moon at 11:04 AM.|
|June 16 - 17||During the night the Moon passes 1° below the bright star Antares in Scorpius.|
|June 18||Full Moon at 1:30 PM.|
|June 20||The dwarf planet Pluto is at opposition to the Sun.|
|Summer begins at 7:59 PM.|
|June 23||This morning the Moon occults magnitude 7.9 Neptune from 4:02 to 5:22 AM.|
|June 26||Last Quarter Moon at 8:10 AM.|
|June 27||Uranus is stationary, beginning retrograde motion.|
|JUNE 30||THE CRESCENT MOON RISES AT 2:33 AM (FOR NYC) WHILE OCCULTING THE PLEIADES STAR CLUSTER (SEE ABOVE).|
|IN THE EVENING, MARS IS ONLY 0.7° ABOVE THE BRIGHT STAR REGULUS IN LEO, WITH SATURN ONLY 4½° TO THE EAST.|