¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending June 7, 2014
Mercury is an evening object at the start of June. But you’d better try to find it in the first week or so. It passes between the earth and the sun on the 19th.
Jupiter is an evening object this month. It’s just west of Gemini, not much higher than Mercury in the evening sky, and is heading into the sunset with the twins. The big planet will be hard to see in the bright dusk by the end of the month, but a thin crescent moon left of it on the 29th may help.
Spica is on the meridian around sunset when the month starts. Saturn is to the east of it and Mars to the west. The moon is by Mars on the 7th, Spica on the 8th, and passes Saturn on the 9th. Mars starts the month just south of Porrima and moves closer to Spica by the end of the month. The red planet will pass by Spica in the middle of July. Saturn is nearly holding steady among the stars this month.
The moon will occult Saturn on the 10th. This month’s event is over as much populated land as last month’s. The visibility zone includes part of South Africa, part of Antarctica, much of the Indian Ocean, and a very thin sliver of southwest Australia. The ringed planet is spending another month in Libra. It’s moving westward and by the end of June it’s nearly on the line between Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali.
Venus is heading steadily northward while staying up before the sun on June mornings. Around the middle of the month you’ll see the Pleiades to the left of the planet. The star cluster rises earlier each morning while the planet moves to the left. A thin crescent moon passes by Venus on the 24th. Look for the Pleiades above them to the left. On the last day of June, the goddess will be shining brightly by the dim star Ain in the Hyades V. You won’t have long to find them before the sun rises, and you may need binoculars or a telescope to see the star.
Pegasus and its Great Square are high in the east in the wee hours. Look for Andromeda and its famous galaxy too.
The June solstice is on the 21st at 10:52.
June starts with the asteroid Eunomia at opposition. The month ends with Eros at opposition.