Mars finally leaves the evening sky. The dim, dull planet may be glimpsed with great difficultly in the bright WNW twilight during the 1st week of June. By the 2nd week of June; Mars moves into the bright glow of Sunset and is lost from view. Next year, during the summer months, Mars will put on a great display.
Jupiter is up in the South as evening twilight fades. The planet dims a bit as the month progresses. The planet is favorably positioned for evening planet watching.
Saturn moves closest to the Earth for this year on 14 June. The planet rises in the SE during late evening twilight. The planet holds steady in brightness for the whole month. Saturn is positioned so that the Milky Way galaxy serves as a backdrop to the planet all summer long.
Venus is still the solo bright morning planet in the June Dawn skies. Venus rises in the NE as Dawn breaks. The planet gains some more altitude and distance from the bright Dawn glow. On 3 June, the planet will have her maximum separation from the Sun for this morning showing. Despite the large separation from the Sun; Venus altitude isn’t that impressive in the Dawn sky. Venus maximum separation in the evening sky earlier this year was much better than this morning showing. Venus will be in the morning sky for the rest of the year.
3 Jun Moon just above Jupiter, Dusk
4 Jun Moon above bright star Spica, Dusk
7 Jun Moon above star Beta Scorpii, Evening
9 Jun Moon just above Saturn, Evening
20 Jun Crescent Moon right of Venus, Dawn
21 Jun Summer Solstice
Crescent Moon lower left of Venus, Dawn
27 Jun Crescent Moon next to bright star Regulus, Dusk
30 Jun 1st Quarter Moon right of Jupiter, Evening
Moon’s Close Approaches:
This month, the Moon makes some close approaches to 2 bright planets and a bright star. These events will be easy seen with the unaided eye. The best thing is all these events happen in the evening sky and are favorable for our viewing area.
The 1st approach or event happens on the evening of the 3rd of June. The Waxing Gibbous Moon is close and just to the upper left of Jupiter. This is the best of the 3 lunar approaches. The pair should be visible about 1 hour after Sunset in the Southern sky.
The other planetary approach will happen on the evening of 9 June. The Full Moon will rise next to the planet Saturn in the SE as evening darkness falls. Despite the Full Moon, Saturn should be visible to the unaided eye.
In the twilight evening sky on 27 June, the Waxing Crescent Moon is just to the left of the bright star Regulus. This is a very close approach of the Moon to Regulus. This will be easy to see with the unaided eye. Hand held binoculars will easily show these nice events and will give some great views.
Although the Planet Saturn will have its closest approach to Earth for this year in June; this display has a few disadvantages. Saturn’s close approach isn’t that close and is a rather poor approach (distance wise).
The planet’s famous ring system is tilted very favorably toward us. This makes the telescopic views of the rings to appear as wide open. Unfortunately this telescopic view is hampered by Saturn’s low altitude. For our viewing area, Saturn’s low position will be effected by atmospheric conditions. For the next few years, planet watchers in our area, will have to deal with Saturn in its mostly Southerly and lowest position in the Summer Sky. Telescopic observers in our viewing area will just have persevered to observe Saturn in its mediocre position.
Gary T. Nowak
Vermont Astronomical Society
PO Box 4508