What’s Up June 2017

Events of interest for June ….

June – Aurora season is coming to an end, as the nights become shorter and less dark we will have to wait until September before it picks up pace again though there are one or two exceptions if it is strong enough.. Please visit our sister site AUK – Aurora UK for “real time” notifications. Also look out for Nacreous clouds – the high “oil puddle” in the sky and also Noctilucent clouds 😉
1st June – CLUSTER – The Hercules globular cluster (M13, NGC 6205) will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of +36°28′, it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 33°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible at around 00:20 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 70° above your south-eastern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight at around 01:43, 71° above your south-western horizon. At magnitude 5.9, M13 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

1st June – MOON – The Moon will be prominent in the evening sky, setting around midnight. From Scarborough, it will become visible at around 21:54 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 33° above your south-western horizon. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting 4 hours and 46 minutes after the Sun at 02:07.

2nd June – VENUS/URANUS – Venus and Uranus will share the same right ascension, with Venus passing 1°46′ to the south of Uranus. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. From Scarborough, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:58 (BST) – 1 hour and 37 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 8° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 04:02. Venus will be at mag -4.3, and Uranus at mag 5.9, both in the constellation Pisces. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

3rd June – CLUSTER – The globular cluster M12 (NGC 6218) in Ophiuchus will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -01°57′, it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 68°N and 71°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible at around 00:32 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 33° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight at around 01:33, 33° above your southern horizon. At magnitude 6.6, M12 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

3rd June – VENUS/URANUS – Venus and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 1°41′ of each other. From Scarborough, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:54 (BST) – 1 hour and 39 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 8° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 04:00. Venus will be at mag -4.3, and Uranus at mag 5.9, both in the constellation Pisces. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

3rd June – VENUS – The planet Venus reaches greatest eastern elongation of 45.9 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Venus since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the bright planet in the eastern sky before sunrise.

4th June – MOON/JUPITER – The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 2°11′ of each other. The Moon will be 10 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will become visible at around 21:55 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 30° above your southern horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 5 hours and 22 minutes after the Sun at 02:44. The Moon will be at mag -12.2, and Jupiter at mag -2.2, both in the constellation Virgo. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

5th June – CLUSTER – The globular cluster M10 (NGC 6254) in Ophiuchus will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -04°05′, it is visible across much of the world; it can be seen at latitudes between 65°N and 74°S. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible at around 00:47 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 31° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight at around 01:19, 31° above your southern horizon. At magnitude 6.6, M10 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

5th June – COMET – Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) is forecast to reach its brightest, at around mag 7.1. It will lie at a distance of 1.65 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.82 AU from the Earth. From Scarborough, it will be visible all night. It will become visible at around 00:36 (BST) as the dusk sky fades, 48° above your south-western horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight at around 01:22, 43° above your south-western horizon. Note that the future positions of comets are typically known with a high degree of confidence, but their brightnesses are often much more unpredictable, since it is impossible to predict with certainty how they will respond as they move closer to the Sun. Magnitude estimates should be assumed to be highly provisional more than a few weeks in advance.

9th June – FULL MOON – The Moon will reach full phase. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, the Moon lies almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky, placing it high above the horizon for much of the night. The sequence of full moons through the year are often assigned names according to the seasons in which they fall. This month’s will be the third to fall in spring 2017 – the Flower Moon. Over the nights following 9 June, the Moon will rise around an hour later each day, becoming prominent later in the night. Within a few days, it will only be visible in the pre-dawn and early-morning sky. By the time it reaches last quarter, a week after full moon, it will rise at around midnight and set at around noon. At the exact moment when the Moon reaches full phase, it will lie at a declination of -18°18′ in the constellation Ophiuchus , and so will appear highest in the southern hemisphere. It will be visible from all latitudes north of 61°N. Its distance from the Earth will be 406,000 km.

10th June – METEORS – The Ophiuchid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 10 June 2017. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 19 May to Jul. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 5 per hour (ZHR). However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this, and can be calculated from the ZHR formula. From Scarborough, the radiant of the shower will appear 12° above your southern horizon at midnight. This means you are likely to see only around 1 meteors per hour, since the radiant will be low in the sky, reducing the chance of seeing meteors. The radiant of the Ophiuchid meteor shower is at around right ascension 16h40m, declination -23°, as shown by the green cross on the planetarium above. All of the meteors will appear to be travelling directly outward from this point, as indicated by the white lines drawn above. The Moon will be 16 days old at the time of peak activity, and being so close to Full Moon will severely limit the observations that will be possible. To see the most meteors, the best place to look is not directly at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 30–40° away from it. It is at a distance of around this distance from the radiant that meteors will show reasonably long trails without being too spread out.

10th June – MOON/SATURN – The Moon and Saturn will make a close approach, passing within 3°04′ of each other. The Moon will be 16 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 13° above the horizon. They will be visible between 22:59 and 03:44. They will become accessible at around 22:59, when they rise 7° above your south-eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:24, 13° above your southern horizon. They will become inaccessible at around 03:44 when they sink to 8° above your south-western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.5, and Saturn at mag 0.0, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

12th June – MOON/PLUTO – The Moon and 134340 Pluto will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 2°16′ to the north of 134340 Pluto. The Moon will be 18 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 14° above the horizon. They will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 00:31, when they rise 7° above your south-eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 02:59, 14° above your southern horizon. They will be lost to dawn twilight at around 03:53, 13° above your southern horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.4, and 134340 Pluto at mag 14.9, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

15th June – SATURN – Saturn will be well placed for observation, in the constellation Ophiuchus. It will be visible for much of the night, reaching its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. From Scarborough, it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 13° above the horizon. It will be visible between 23:06 and 02:55. It will become accessible at around 23:06, when it rises 9° above your south-eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:02, 13° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible at around 02:55 when it sinks to 10° above your south-western horizon.

16th June – MOON/NEPTUNE – The Moon and Neptune will make a close approach, passing within 0°41′ of each other. The Moon will be 22 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 01:01 (BST) – 3 hours and 27 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 20° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 03:53. The Moon will be at mag -12.0, and Neptune at mag 7.9, both in the constellation Aquarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

17th June – MOON – The Moon will be prominent in the dawn sky, rising at around midnight. From Scarborough, it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 18° above the horizon. It will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 01:26 (BST) – 3 hours and 2 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 18° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 03:53.

20th June – METEORS – The Ophiuchid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 20 June 2017. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 19 May to Jul. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 5 per hour (ZHR). However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this, and can be calculated from the ZHR formula. From Scarborough, the radiant of the shower will appear 15° above your southern horizon at midnight. This means you are likely to see only around 1 meteors per hour, since the radiant will be low in the sky, reducing the chance of seeing meteors. The radiant of the Ophiuchid meteor shower is at around right ascension 17h20m, declination -20°, as shown by the green cross on the planetarium above. All of the meteors will appear to be travelling directly outward from this point, as indicated by the white lines drawn above. The Moon will be 26 days old at the time of peak activity, presenting minimal interference. To see the most meteors, the best place to look is not directly at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 30–40° away from it. It is at a distance of around this distance from the radiant that meteors will show reasonably long trails without being too spread out.

20th June – MOON/VENUS – The Moon and Venus will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 2°22′ to the south of Venus. The Moon will be 26 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. From Scarborough, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 10° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 02:35 (BST) – 1 hour and 55 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 10° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 03:55. The Moon will be at mag -10.7, and Venus at mag -4.2, both in the constellation Aries. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

21st June – SOLSTICE – 21 June will be the longest day of 2017 in the northern hemisphere, midsummer day. This is the day of the year when the Sun’s annual passage through the constellations of the zodiac carries it to its most northerly point in the sky, in the constellation of Cancer at a declination of 23.5°N. On this day, the Sun is above the horizon for the longer than on any other day of the year in the northern hemisphere. This is counted by astronomers to be the first day of summer, though meteorologists often take summer to start on June 1. Conversely, in the southern hemisphere, the Sun is above the horizon for less time than on any other day of the year and astronomers define this day to be the first day of winter. At the June solstice, the Sun appears overhead at noon when observed from locations on the tropic of Cancer, at a latitude 23.5°N. This fact was used by the ancient Greek astronomer Eratrosthenes in around 200 BC to work out the radius of the Earth for the first time. He knew that at midsummer, the Sun appeared exactly overhead in the Egyptian city of Swenet (now Aswan), because its light shone right down to the bottom of deep wells. He travelled to Alexandria, on the Egyptian north coast, at a distance of 5,000 stades from Swenet. Here, he used a stick in the ground to determine that the Sun was seven degrees away from the zenith at midsummer, implying that a distance of 5,000 stades around the circumference of the Earth corresponded to a distance of seven degrees around the Earth’s curved surface. Thanks to this experiment, the ancient Greeks were well aware that the Earth was spherical and had a very good idea exactly how big it was, long before anyone had circumnavigated the globe.
24th June – NEW MOON – The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the Sun’s glare for a few days. The Moon’s orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result its phases cycle from new moon, through first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days. This motion also means that the Moon travels more than 12° across the sky from one night to the next, causing it to rise and set nearly an hour later each day. Click here for more information about the Moon’s phases. At new moon, the Earth, Moon and Sun all lie in a roughly straight line, with the Moon in the middle, appearing in front of the Sun’s glare. In this configuration, we see almost exactly the opposite half of the Moon to that which is illuminated by the Sun, making it doubly unobservable because the side we see is unilluminated. Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By first quarter, in a week’s time, it will be visible until around midnight.
Dates highlighted in BOLD are good photographic opportunities
AIUK – Astronomy Imaging UK – https://www.facebook.com/groups/453388178104679/

sister group to ……

AUK – Aurora UK – https://www.facebook.com/groups/AuroraUK/

Note: Times are UK (BST) unless noted differently.

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