June 2017

Welcome to SkyEye, your guide to this month's celestial events.

The Calendar

Date Event
Thursday 1 First Quarter Moon
Friday 2
Saturday 3 Venus at greatest elongation west
Sunday 4 Neptune at west quadrature
Monday 5
Tuesday 6
Wednesday 7
Thursday 8 Moon at apogee
Friday 9 Full Moon
Saturday 10
Sunday 11
Monday 12
Tuesday 13
Wednesday 14
Thursday 15 Saturn at opposition
Friday 16 Moon occults Neptune: visible from the southern half of South America and parts of Antarctica, and beginning around 12:00 UT.
Saturday 17 Last Quarter Moon
Sunday 18
Monday 19
Tuesday 20
Wednesday 21 Earth at solstice: the word solstice means 'sun stands still' so that on this day, the solar declination reaches an extreme. In this case, the Sun appears directly over the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere. From now until the solstice in December, days will be getting shorter in the northern hemisphere and longer in the southern hemisphere.
Mercury at superior conjunction
Thursday 22 Moon occults first magnitude star Aldebaran: daytime event
Friday 23 Moon at perigee
Saturday 24 New Moon
Sunday 25
Monday 26
Tuesday 27 Extended twilight in the northern hemisphere is always an obstacle to viewing the highly unpredictable June Boötid meteor shower, but at least the Moon will not cause any additional problems. The predicted maximum is 09:00 UT.
Wednesday 28 Moon occults first magnitude star Regulus: visible from parts of Equador and Peru, and beginning around 01:45 UT.
Thursday 29
Friday 30

The Solar System

The word planet is derived from the Greek word for 'wanderer'. Unlike the background stars, planets seem to move around the sky, keeping mostly to a narrow track called the ecliptic, the path of the Sun across the stars. Dwarf planets and small solar-system bodies, including comets, are not so constrained, often moving far above or below the ecliptic.

Sun TaurusGemini

Mercury AriesTaurusGemini

The closest planet to the Sun descends below the eastern horizon as it races towards conjunction on 21 June. It reappears late in the month in the west at sunset.

Venus PiscesAriesTaurus

The morning star is still best seen from the southern hemisphere, even though it is descending slightly towards the horizon. It continues to climb higher in the dawn sky for observers in the north. Greatest elongation west occurs on 3 June.

Mars TaurusGemini

The red planet is very low in the west at sunset, drawing ever nearer to the Sun as it approaches conjunction next month.

Jupiter Virgo

Jupiter sets around midnight so look for it in the west as darkness falls.

Saturn Ophiuchus

Because it is at opposition on 15 June, Saturn is visible all night.

Uranus Pisces

This green-coloured ice giant is now well away from the Sun. It rises before midnight for southern hemisphere observers, and midnight or later for those in northern temperate latitudes.

Neptune Aquarius

A small telescope is necessary to view the most distant planet in the solar system. At west quadrature on the fourth day of the month, Neptune rises around midnight. Weather permitting, southern parts of South America will be able to observe the Moon occult this planet on 16 June.

The Celestial Sphere

Constellations are patterns of stars in the sky. The International Astronomical Union recognises 88 different constellations. The brightest stars as seen from the Earth are easy to spot but do you know their proper names? With a set of binoculars you can look for fainter objects such as nebulae and galaxies and star clusters or some of the closest stars to the Sun.

Descriptions of the sky for observers in both the northern and southern hemispheres are available for the following times this month. Subtract one hour from your local time if summer (daylight savings) time is in effect.

Local Time Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere
1730 hours (1830 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
1930 hours (2030 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
2130 hours (2230 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
2330 hours (0030 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
0130 hours (0230 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
0330 hours (0430 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S
0530 hours (0630 hours summer time) 45° N 30° S