June 2020 Sky Report

June 2020 is your transitional month between the Spring stars and the Summer Stars. This is also the month for Summer Solstice in North America with late sunsets. As such, June has the shortest nights with the evening skies not getting dark until 9-10 pm in many locations.

While “June Gloom” may ruin good viewing along the coast of Southern California, places further inland can benefit from the lights of coastal cities being socked by the marine layer. At the same time, it’s your last chance before summer monsoon moisture can unexpectedly ruin your stargazing sessions out in the California deserts.

Full Moon (Strawberry Moon): June 5
Last Quarter Moon: June 13
New Moon: June 21
First Quarter Moon: June 28

Featured Constellation
Cygnus

Cygnus

Cygnus is easily recognized in that it forms the shape of a cross, hence the nickname “The Northern Cross.” It’s a large, yet bright constellation that can be spotted from cities, and is easily found thanks to the bright star Deneb, which is the most distant in the catalog of brightest stars in the sky visible to the naked eye. In June, it’s visible during the evenings in the eastern sky as it rises to prominence.

Any Notable Celestial Events?

Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn Formation – June 7- 8 

On the night of June 7-8, the moon will once again form a tight triangle with Jupiter and Saturn. You can start seeing the formation low in the east around 11 pm on June 7, and it will continue to be visible until sunrise on June 8. Rating: It’s not the last time you’ll see this for 2020. Acknowledged but don’t lose sleep over it! 

Mars Neptune Conjunction – June 12

Mars and Neptune will be within a couple degrees away from each other on the morning of June 12. Mars will be just south of Neptune. While Mars will appear bright and red, Neptune will have a distinct pale azure color, but appear almost star like through a telescope at low power, or a pair of binoculars. You can see this pairing low in the east, best viewed around 3 am local time. Rating: Unless you’re a fan of Mars or Neptune, or conjunctions, it’s nothing to lose sleep over! 

Jupiter and Pluto – June 28-29 

Pluto will be less than a degree away from Jupiter, reaching its closest on June 28-29. As such, if you can see where Jupiter is on this night, then you know that Pluto is almost directly behind it, separated by over 2.6 billion miles (4.3 billion km)! This website is only mentioning it because a lot of people love Pluto for sentimental reasons.

It still won’t be a great visible target because no, you can’t see Pluto with the naked eye! Pluto is so small and dim, that a telescope smaller than 12 inches (300 mm) simply can’t collect enough light for your eyes to see it. Even if you could spot it with a larger telescope, it won’t appear anything more than a dim 14th-15th magnitude star, and there are surrounding distant background stars that appear much brighter than Pluto. Not to mention, even if your telescope is big enough, then you still need to consider the conditions of the sky, and your own eyes.  Rating: Acknowledged – But chances are you won’t be able to tell it’s there! 

Can You Just Tell Me Where the Planets Are Visible?

Mercury: Will be a difficult target for most of June. It will be furthest from the Sun on June 1-6 and be visible for a short time low in the west after sunset. But as June progresses after that, it will be much harder to spot.

Venus: Lost in the Sun’s glare until around mid June when it becomes a bright target in the early morning sky. It began the year as the “evening star” but has now become “the morning star.” Through a telescope it will still show up as a thin crescent. By June 30, it rises around 3:30 am.

Earth: It’s always visible 😉

Mars: Will be best viewed at 5 am as early morning target in the southern skies, rising around 1:30 am June 1/ 12:30 am June 30. It will gradually shift west to east from Aquarius to Pisces.

Jupiter: In the constellation Sagittarius, visible in the early morning hours before sunrise. It rises around 11 pm on June 1/ 9 pm June 30.

Saturn: As it is less than 5° to the left of Jupiter when looking South, the same rules of Jupiter’s visibility apply to Saturn.

Uranus: In Aries – In conjunction with the Sun until late May. Then it will be low in the east at sunrise, rising around 4 am June 1/  2 am June 30.

Neptune: In Aquarius, low in the southeast before sunrise. It rises shortly after 1 am on June 1/  and just before midnight by June 30.

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