Clouds have been a perpetual feature during the hours of darkness for what seems like weeks now. But with a new dose of optimism and an urge to get imaging again, here’s our guide to a fresh new month of heavenly happenings!
What are you most looking forward to?
Shown below at 20.30 UTC (21:30 BST), if your horizon is flat enough this will be a great target for some photographs!
Tuesday 4th June – The ISS (International Space Station) is back in UK evening skies again at the moment. Check heavens-above.com for exact times and dates for your location, but the pass starting at 00:23 (BST) this evening is going to be particularly bright (-3.5 mag) and fairly high overhead
If your skies are clear you won’t be able to miss it rising from the west-southwest, shining brightly as it reflects the Sun before setting to the east 6-7 minutes later. It still amazes me to think they pass over at about 17,240 mph
Us humans can be pretty damn ingenious when we put our minds to something!
Saturday 8th June – This evening sees a New Moon, a good time for observing deep sky objects usually affected by moonlight
Sunday 9th June – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,485 km (252,578 miles), the farthest point out in its orbit around the Earth
Wednesday 12th June – Mercury appears at Greatest Eastern Elongation today, so should be visible low down in the north western sky just after sunset
Saturday 15th June – This is the time of year to be looking for noctilucent clouds (above), which sometimes appear low down in the northwest (after sunset) and northeast (just before sunrise)
These clouds are in the upper atmosphere and are usually too faint to see, becoming visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth’s shadow
Sunday 16th June – Tonight the Moon is at First Quarter phase
Wednesday 19th June – Gas giant Jupiter is in Conjunction with the Sun today, meaning it will not be visible for the next couple of weeks when it will reappear in the morning sky before sunrise at the beginning of July
To the southwest around midnight this evening (23:00 UTC/00:00 BST on 20th June) Saturn appears surrounded closely by five of its moons. A clear sky will allow you to see Dione, Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys and Rhea. Further out you should also catch a glimpse of Titan, Iapetus and Hyperion (see below)
You can get a closer look at Saturn‘s diverse moons in the gallery below!
I love the ones that look like the Death Star 🙂
Friday 21st June – Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere
Sunday 23rd June – This morning’s Full Moon is also sometimes known as the Rose Moon, Planting Moon or Flying Fish Moon
Today it is also seen at Perigee at a distance of 356,990 km (221,823 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth and the closest it will come all year, so it will appear slightly larger than usual
Planets visible this month:
Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!
To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! 🙂
Guide images created with Stellarium