Star Calendar – June 2017

Star Calendar

June 2017

Star Planets:

Moon appears at First Quarter as the month opens, stands over Jupiter on the 3rd, and is then Full with Saturn on the 9th. Early risers will be treated to a complementary pairing with Venus on the 20th and 21st, the complement being of crescent/gibbous, wane and wax.

Mercury celebrates our solstice from the far side of the Sun as he makes superior conjunction on the 21st.

Venus shows her First Quarter on the 5th, then waxes as she draws nearer the Sun. Early summer sunrises, made earlier by meddling with the clocks, makes sightings less common.

Sun now reigns above the horizon 15 hours a day (in Spring Valley), varying by only 11 minutes this month. On the Solstice he stands between the stars Betelgeuse and Menkalinon — if you can recall seeing them as winter wound down; Betelgeuse is the brighter armpit of Orion and Menkalinon is that other Aurigan star one sees when looking for yellow Capella along the great Arc of Capella. The former stands right on the meridian of summer solstice.

Mars is unviewable this month. He and Mercury will have a discreet tête à tête as the latter scoots by on the 28th.

Jupiter remains prominent and southerly in the evening. He ceases his retro urge on the 10th and begins his stroll toward Libra — which he will achieve, arm-in-arm with Venus, in mid November.

Saturn is brightest this month, but never gets as bright as Jupiter at his least. Opposition is on the 15th, but, again due to fiddling with clocks, he does not culminate until 1:00AM — and then is only 27 degrees high. Use the Full Moon on the 9th to advantage in taking notice.

Star Days:

   1 Sunrise/set in Spring Valley at 5:26/20:23 (14h57m daylight)
   3 Venus at largest angle from Sun for this appearance, 46 degrees
     Moon above Jupiter in South as dark falls
   4 Moon above Spica in South as dark falls, Jupiter bright and to right
 8-9 Full Strawberry Moon at 9:10AM of the 9th
   9 Moon with Saturn and Antares, rising ESE just before 9:00PM
  10 Jupiter stationary, to normal motion (leftwards against stars)
  14 Sunrise is earliest for the year, at 5:23
  15 Saturn in opposition, brightest, middle of backwards movement
  20 Moon, waning beside waxing Venus, in East at 4:00AM
  21 Solstice at 00:24, rise/set at 5:24/20:32 (15h8m daylight)
     Sun then enters astronomical Gemini (solstice was in Taurus)
     Mercury passes far side of Sun (superior conjunction)
  23 Traditional Mid-summer, St. John’s Eve
     Moon New and Perigee, 16 hours apart (dark, with large tides)
  27 Sunset is latest for the year, at 20:33
  28 Moon nearly grazes Regulus, 9:30PM in West
  30 Sunrise/set in Spring Valley at 5:27/20:33 (15h6m daylight)

Star Calendar – June 2016

Star Calendar

June 2016

Star Calendar Planets:

Moon crosses the seasonal colures (meridians of solstices and equinoxes) every month. This month Sun and Moon cross opposite colures on the same day. Just as the length of daylight changes with the seasons – so does the time of Moon-Up change rapidly through the month. For this month, Moon crosses the colures of Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring respectively on the: 4th at 23:32, 12th at 20:00, 20th at 08:26 and 27th at 00:25. The duration of Moon-Up on those days is: 14h35m, 12h29m, 10h4m and 12h26m. The extreme are somewhat subdued because the inclination of the Moon’s path with respect to the celestial equator is currently less than the Sun’s inclination; in a few years’ time the lunar seasons will be more exaggerated than the Sun’s.

Mercury may come into view mid-month – low in the ENE at around 4:30AM. I was not able to do an elaborate setup to view last month’s transit – but twice thought I might have seen it through welder’s glass. A lot of folks took nice photos though.

Venus crosses the backside of the Sun on the 6th. We may expect to see her next in mid-July.

Sun now occupies the sky for a pretty steady 15 hours a day. Note below the subtle differences between earliest/longest/latest dates and times. This year the solstice occurs on the same day as Full Moon – which means that the Sun is making a long summer crossing while the Moon takes a short wintery walk – rising very south-of-east and culminating very low in the sky.

Mars continues to be in our face this month but his rise-time advances more slowly as he approaches the end of his loop on the 30th. He is receding, first slowly, then rapidly, and will be fading noticeably as July approaches. On the 1st of this month he shines at magnitude -2.1 (brighter than Jupiter) and by July at -1.4 (rather like a red Sirius).

Jupiter still dominates the SW as darkness falls – but Mars holds sway in the SE.

Saturn varies less in brightness and follows Mars across the sky – trailing him by about an hour. Saturn is as bright now as the brightest summer star (Vega), but, appearing much lower, tends to draw less notice perhaps.

Star Calendar Days:

1      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 5:26/20:23 (14h57m daylight)

3      Saturn in opposition (exactly opposite the Sun in our sky)

4      Jupiter is at eastern quadrature (exactly ¼ of the sky from the Sun)

Moon occults Aldebaran during the day (again in October at night)

5      Mercury at largest angle from Sun in morning sky

6      Venus at superior conjunction (crosses behind Sun)

8      Moon to left of Castor and Pollux (Gemini) at 9:30PM

10      Moon between Regulus and Jupiter tonight

13      Sun, Mars, and Saturn fall on a line in space; Martian opposition of Saturn

14      Sunrise earliest in Spring Valley, at 5:23AM

14-15 Moon above Spica and between Mars and Jupiter

17      Moon, Mars, Antares and Saturn make a lozenge, culminating as darkness falls

20      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 5:24/20:32 (15h8m daylight)

Full Strawberry Moon 7:02AM

Solstice at 6:34PM EDT

23-24 St. John’s Eve/Day, traditional mid-summer

27      Sunset latest in Spring Valley, at 8:33PM

30      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 5:27/20:33 (15h6m daylight)

Mars stationary to stars, end of retrograde loop, begins normal motion

Star Calendar – June, 2015

Star Calendar

June 2015

Star Calendar Planets:

Moon opens the month large in phase and casting long shadows – sometimes being completely obscured by foliage and other horizon clutter. The low-running Full Moon of June contrasts with the height of the Sun. Harken back to the December Full Moon that runs so high, so long, and casts short shadows.

Mercury resumes direct motion against the stars on the 11th and makes a feeble but improving morning appearance at an inconveniently early hour. Although its greatest angle from the Sun occurs on the 24th, circumstances improve after this as the trailing ecliptic makes a steeper cut against the horizon towards July. The determined, stalwart observer with an excellent view to the ENE, might begin looking on the 27th – at about 3:15 AM.

Venus continues to brighten and achieves 1/8 of a circle angular distance from the evening Sun. Even though her phase diminishes she continues to brighten because she gets so much closer (larger angular area) to us. The month opens with an alignment with the heads of the Twins, culminates with a series of stunning triangles with Jupiter and the Moon, and closes with a striking close encounter with Jupiter.

Sun reaches its maximum distance from the celestial equator (declination) during lunch on the 21st and then begins to descend toward the equator again. The moment of transition is called the solstice or “Sun-standing”. Astronomically this is the mid-point of summer. Weather-wise, like with your frypan, the midpoint of the cycle of heating and cooling lags behind the application of flame. Our summer weather is largely hangover heat. Continue reading