What's to see in the night sky in June?

June, 2001

This chart represents the sky as it looks at around 10 PM local time. Some adjustment should be made for longitude, but it shouldn't be much. Right click on the chart, select "Save As" and save the image. You can then print this chart from a photo application, like Print Shop Pro, hold it in front of you with the direction you are facing at the bottom. Then, raise it above your head and you should be able to find your way around from there.

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The Grand Canyon Star Party is between 6/8/02 and 6/16/02! If you're in the neighborhood, drop by Yavapai Point at sunset and stay late! There'll be lots of scopes of all different descriptions set up, with enthusiastic volunteers to show you the sky's wonders! If you're near the North Rim Lodge, come join us! We'll be trying it out up ther this year. It's always fun!

Moon phases

New-6/10_____First Quarter-6/17____Full-6/24____Last Quarter-6/2

There's a partial solar eclipse, visible from west of the Rocky Mountains in the USA and points westward near sunset on June 10, 2002. Watch it safely, and let me know how it looks! Totality should be seen in Mexico and points close to it in latitude.

Planets

Mercury reaches greatest elongation on the 21st. Should be visible in the east at sunrise from about the 10th.
Venus begins the month right next to Jupiter in the evening sky. Fairly nice rendevouz!
Mars starts off the month almost inside M35-the open cluster in Gemini-and should be a nice sight while there, although still far away.
Jupiter remains almost stationary against the stars, but is slowly liding toward the western horizon.
Saturn seems to have fallen behind the Sun in late May and should be gone until it reappears in the morning sky in late July.

Meteor showers
The June Bootids begin on June 26 and peak on the June 27. This is a highly variable shower, ranging from 0 to 100+ meteors/hr. Unpredictable, but it may be worth a look. Click on the IMO link above for a locator chart, or email me and I'll be happy to help you find the radiant.

Deep Sky Objects (DSO's)
Messier Objects

If you like galaxy hunting, this is the month for it! The Virgo/Coma cluster is nicely placed, and if you can't find galaxies there, it's time for a bigger scope. :-) There are 17 Messier galaxies here, not to mention hundreds of NGC's, too. I won't cover them all, but my favorite grouping invloves M84 and M86-right at the head of what's called "Markarian's Chain". Consult a detailed chart for navigation through this rich galactic region.
The best galaxies here not associated with Virgo are M51 in Canes Venatici, famous for the 2 galaxies together. Very nice. The other "best" is M104-the Sombereo Galaxy. To find it, draw a line between the lower right star in Corvus through the upper right star and half way to Spica, there it is to the right, more or less. It's about 10 million light years closer than the Virgo cluster and shows the dark dust lane around the center nicely in good conditions in a 6" scope. Worth a try!
M53 and M3 present a couple of nice globular clusters for variety. :-) They'd both be showpieces nearly anywhere else in the sky.

Named DSO's

Omega Centauri This is the finest globular cluster visible in the northern hemisphere, if you happen to be south of ~35 N. Latitude. Easy to find using Spica in Virgo and the 2 eastern stars of Corvus. Use Delta, the top left star, and Beta, the bottom left star as a pointer to the south. Omega is at the same right ascension as Spica, close to the line described by Delta and Beta Corvi. It's visible easily in binoculars, but if you find it in even a modest telescope, prepare to be absorbed! :-)

Here's the link to SEDS as promised.

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Revised: 9/22/00