What’s Up! June 2019

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

See What’s up! for May 2019

What to See in June

Well, what can I say.  Very little is the answer!  From York for the whole of June, the sky is so bright at night that we don’t have darker skies than nautical twilight apart from a few nights around 1 a.m.  at the beginning of the month.  However, June is a great month for just lying outside on loungers late at night with friends without freezing to death!  See below.

Midnight sky 15 June
15th June 2019 midnight sky from Stellarium

The Great Bear isn’t far from overhead and the summer triangle  (Altair, Vega and Deneb) is coming up in the east. The milky way stretches from Scorpio down in the south through the beautiful star fields in Cygnus up to the “W” of Cassiopeia. You’ll also see Jupiter and Saturn lurking low in the south.

The Moon

Best seen as a waxing crescent through first quarter to gibbous from Thurs 6th to Thurs 13th when it will be about 30° above the SW horizon at 2230 hrs. After the 14th, it dives into the southern hemisphere so is rather low in the sky.

Planets

Mercury:

A brief and lacklustre appearance very low after sunset between the 7th and the 21st. The best time to see it is from civil twilight, which is at 10:30 pm when Mercury will be 5 degrees above the NW horizon, about 10 degrees to the left of where the sun set. A low horizon and crystal clear skies will be needed, as Mercury is a difficult enough planet to spot at the best of times.

Jupiter:

Jupiter reaches opposition on the 10th and will be due south at 0100 hrs on the 11th. Unfortunately, the planet only climbs to about 14° above the horizon so views will suffer from low altitude seeing issues. Jupiter is visible in the evening sky right through June and July so you might want to leave it until the end of the month, when it’s due south at 2330 hrs.

Forget the other planets until July or later.

Non-Solar System Objects

Passes of the International Space Station (ISS)

This is visible just once in June, and for two minutes only on the 1st. It appears at 10° altitude in the WSW at 2251, rises slightly to 11° in the SW, and disappears at 10° altitude in the SSW at 2253.

Space News

For up-to-date news on space missions, rocket launches etc. scroll https://www.space.com/32286-space-calendar.html

Clear skies and good viewing.

John Rowland