Culture

The Sky Above You – June 2021

By Duncan Lunan

The Moon will be New on June 10th, at its furthest from the Earth, and there will be an annular solar eclipse, with the rim of the Sun visible around the lunar disc, seen from northern Canada, the North Pole and eastern Siberia.  Seen from Edinburgh, 41% of the Sun will be obscured in a partial solar eclipse, peaking at 11.16 a.m..  The Moon will be Full on June 24th, three days after the summer solstice, and this will be a ‘supermoon’, when the Moon is Full at its nearest to Earth. 

The planet Mercury is not visible this month, at inferior conjunction on this side of the Sun on the 11th.

Venus sets at 11 p.m. (BST)  in June, passing Castor and Pollux in Gemini on the 22nd, and passed by the new crescent Moon on the 12th

Venus is also moving towards Mars, which is near Castor and Pollux early in the month and moves from Gemini into Cancer, passed by the Moon on the 13th.   Between the 22nd and 24th , Mars will pass in front of the Open Cluster Praesepe in Cancer, low in the evening sky.  

Jupiter in Aquarius rises at 0.30 a.m., with the waning Moon nearby on the 1st and 2nd, with Saturn to upper right of them, and the Moon is between them on the 28th, still closer to Jupiter the following night.  On the 21st Jupiter reaches its ‘stationary point’, after which it will appear to move westward against the stars from night to night as it’s overtaken by the Earth.  Io, the innermost of the four large Galilean moons, will transit the face of Jupiter on June 28th, preceded by its shadow, and both will be visible along with the Great Red Spot around 2.30 a.m..

Saturn in Capricornus rises at midnight  (11 p.m. by the end of the month), and is also passed by the Moon on the 3rd and the 27th.

Uranus inAriesis not visible, after conjunction on the far side of the Sun on April 30th, but is passed by the Moon on the 7th.

Neptune rises between Aquarius and Pisces around 1.30 a.m., passed by the Moon on June 3rd and 30th.   By the end of June, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune are all appearing to move retrograde  (westward) as the Earth overtakes them in its orbit, before our closest to them later in the year.

As usual, it will never be completely dark during June, as the Sun never gets far below the horizon.   It’s a good time to see noctilucent  (night-glowing)  clouds in the north, lit by sunlight at high altitudes, first reported in the 19th century and still not fully explained.

.Duncan Lunan’s space travel stories, old and new, are available from Other Side Books as From the Moon to the Stars, relating to the Moon and Project Apollo, and The Other Side of the Interface, with a wider scope.   Both have illustrations by Sydney Jordan, and are available through Amazon or through bookshops.  For details and for his other books see his website, www.duncanlunan.com.

Check out Duncan Lunan’s Beginner’s Guides . Here’s the latest: Astronomy Beginners Guide: Ancient Constellations

Categories: Culture, Science

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