Businesses are starting to reopen across the state and the country. But if your favorite establishment is still holding out, one thing that is always open is the night sky — and stargazing in June is another one for the books.
This month features local astrophotography from Arkansan Tony Milligan. You can find more of his spectacular photos on his website, Captured in Time.
Full Moon: June 5*
Third Quarter: June 13
New Moon: June 21
First Quarter: June 28
*The full Moon of June is often called the Strawberry Moon, for the wild strawberries that become ripe in early summer.
Daytime Avietid Meteor Shower
Peak Night: June 10
You read that right — we have a daytime meteor shower in store this month for June stargazing; though, for us Arkansans, it is mostly an early morning meteor shower. On June 10, look to the constellation Aries from around 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Around a couple dozen “shooting stars” are to be expected if in a good viewing position — away from city lights.
Planets and Special Events
June 4: Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation
On June 4, Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation, or largest distance from the Sun during this portion of its apparition. This marks a really great time to view Mercury, as it will not only be bright but also well placed at a high altitude in our night sky.
June 8: Close Approach of the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter
On the second week of June, the Moon will make close passes with two of our distant neighbors in the same night. At around 11:30 p.m., the Moon and Jupiter will come to about 2 degrees of each other in our night sky, and Saturn will join them at around midnight. Look to the southeast to see the trio.
June 12: Close Approach of the Moon and Mars
Not to be outdone, Mars will have its own tango with the Moon a few days later, also coming to around 2 degrees of the moon in our sky. Look to the southeast from 1:30 a.m. to dawn.
June 20: June Solstice
It’s felt like summer before now, but this month marks the official date of the summer solstice, at least for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers. On this day, the northern pole of the Earth is at maximum tilt toward the Sun. June 20 is also the longest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest for the Southern Hemisphere.
In the News
A rocket ship built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company thundered away from Earth with two Americans on Saturday, ushering in a new era in commercial space travel and putting the United States back in the business of launching astronauts into orbit from home soil for the first time in nearly a decade.
No public events this month. Stay home and stay well.
If you’re still itching for more space to curb your boredom this month, give Celestia and Stellarium a try. Both are free to use and provide unique and interactive experiences with the stars, planets and more.
The best stargazing results are always going to be under the darkest of skies. So, if you can, find a place as far away from city lights as possible when stargazing in June.