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Celestial Events to Watch in June

28 May 2020, 4:45 am

The summer sky is nearly upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and with that comes much more comfortable overnight temperatures. Whether you plan on looking up from a campsite or your backyard, June has plenty to offer.

Of course, you can always catch the International Space Station flying over your city by using this handy “spot the station” tool from NASA, but if you want something that lasts long enough to whip out the binoculars or telescope, read on!

To find specific information about these individual events, checkout EarthSky’s “tonight” feature , which lets users scroll through upcoming events. The images below are courtesy of Earthsky.org

June 3-4: Mercury reaches greatest elongation

Mercury will once again be visible to the naked eye and will reach its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look to the West after sundown. It should be on or above the horizon for about 90-110 minutes (depending on your latitude), so the earlier you look, the better!

June 4-5: Strawberry Moon, penumbral lunar eclipse

Before you get excited, this lunar eclipse will not be visible in North America but, just a month later, there will be another penumbral eclipse on July 5th that will. We’ll still be treated to the full Strawberry Moon; named by Native Americans because it marked the time of year to gather fruit. It is also known as the Rose Moon and the Honey Moon. It will appear close to the red supergiant star Antares.

June 6-8: Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon together

Jupiter and Saturn are hanging out near each other most of this year and will undergo a fantastic conjunction by December. If you’re up late or very early during the first weekend in June, you’ll be able to spot the dynamic duo near the moon in the east (late) or to the south (early morning).

June 17-19: Crescent Moon and Venus in the morning sky

Look east if you’re up early on these dates! The waning crescent moon should appear quite close to Venus in the eastern sky before and just after dawn (starting about an hour before sunrise — latitude dependent). On June 19th, the moon will cover Venus. The event may be visible very early for a small section of New England in the United States, as well as parts of Canada.

June 20: Summer Solstice

Happy summer everyone!  The Northern Hemisphere will be reaching its greatest angular tilt toward the sun on this day at 21:44 UTC, which is 5:44 EDT and 2:44 PDT. Be sure to never look directly into the sun without proper protection.

This marks the longest day of the year for the northern hemisphere and the farthest north the sun will rise and set, as well as the shortest night. After this day, days will gradually become shorter until the winter solstice occurs on December 21st.

This does not mean your area will see its earliest sunrise or latest sunset — those dates vary by latitude.

June 21st: New Moon and Annual Solar Eclipse

Once again, you will be bummed if you wanted to see this eclipse in North America. The annual solar eclipse will be visible through parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. For a solar eclipse, we need a new moon. While the new moon is technically never “seen” from Earth, it will mean perfectly dark skies for picking out your favorite summer constellations.

Meteor showers

June is not the best month for meteor showers. Both the June Bootids and Tau Herculids only average a few meteors per hour, though they can put on bigger shows at times. July and August are the better months for trying to see some of those “shooting stars.”

About the author

Rob grew up in South Florida, where daily afternoon storms and hurricanes piqued his interest in meteorology early on. That interest was fostered by his teachers and his father, who one time brought him onto the roof of their home to watch a funnel cloud move through the Everglades several miles away. ... Load MoreYears of filmmaking and tv production in high school gradually pushed him toward broadcast meteorology at Florida State University, where he joined and eventually led the student run daily weather show. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Meteorology, he began his career at KESQ in Palm Springs, California before heading to KFSN in Fresno and WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. He has covered a diverse array of extreme weather events, including haboobs and flash flooding in the desert, extreme snow in the Sierra, hurricanes, and Appalachian ice storms. He also enjoys telling stories and reporting about weather issues.

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