Read our June sky notes to find out what’s in the night sky this month!
These constellations are well placed in the evening this month, but many more can be seen. Check the star map for more.
Boötes can be found in the near the zenith, towards the south. Follow the handle of the Plough to Arcturus to locate it.
Draco is near the zenith this month, a little towards the north. It’s serpentine body appears to enclose Ursa Minor and Polaris.
Libra is now visible low in the southern sky. Look for it near the constellation of Virgo.
Mercury will be visible just after sunset at the beginning of the month, but after this will set too close to the Sun to be seen. Look for it very low in the western sky. Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation on the 4th.
Venus is too close to the Sun to be seen this month.
Mars appears in the early morning eastern sky until sunrise from about 02:30 at the beginning of the month, rising earlier as the month goes on. By the end of the month, it will rise about 01:00. Mars will have a close encounter with the quarter-phase Moon and Neptune on the 13th.
Jupiter dominates the eastern sky, rising after midnight at the beginning of the month. It will start rising earlier, until by the end of the month it is visible all night. Jupiter and Pluto will have a close encounter on the 30th, and on the 8th Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Moon.
Saturn stays close to Jupiter throughout the month, appearing fainter than its larger counterpart. As such, it will rise and set around the same time as Jupiter. At the beginning of the month, Saturn rises after midnight, but by the end of the month is visible all night. Saturn will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 9th.
Uranus and Neptune are too faint to be seen by the naked eye. Uranus is too close to the Sun to be visible at the beginning of the month, but rises after 03:00 from the middle of the month. Neptune rises about 02:30 at the beginning of the month, and 00:30 at the end of the month. On the 13th, Neptune will have a close approach with Mars.
The Daytime Arietids reach their peak around the 10th. The radiant (origin point) will be in the constellations of Aries, only visible after 02:22. You will be able to observe the shower from then until sunrise. There is a maximum meteor rate of 50 per hour, but as the radiant is consistently low in the sky in reality it will be about 10. The Moon may provide interference, but stays away from the radiant, so block it with a wall or other obstruction if you can.
The June Boötids reach their peak on the 27th. The radiant (origin point) will be in the constellation of Boötes, and will be visible all night. Best displays will be at dusk, as the radiant reaches its highest point at 22:00. The June Boötids are known for being unpredictable; although they typically produce only 1 or 2 meteors per hour, they have been known to produce occasional outbursts of more than 100.
Full Moon: 5th
Last Quarter: 13th
New Moon: 21st
First Quarter: 28th
Points of Interest
There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse on the 5th, but it occurs before sunset, so will not be visible.
The 20th is the Summer Solstice – the longest day of 2020.
Africa and Asia are lucky enough to have an annular solar eclipse on the 21st. It won’t be visible from the UK, but you will be able to watch the Moon pass close to the Sun, between 06:00 and 07:00. Only view the Sun with specialised equipment, such as eclipse glasses or solar filters. Sunglasses will NOT protect you.
Visit https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/ to find out when the International Space Station will be visible from your location.