Night Sky June 2017
The Moon believe it or not
Right at the end of April I took the title photo for this post, after noticing the Moon was visible from my house. I ran out to the garden with my camera and attempted to photograph the Moon. However, there is a particular art to Astrophotography. I could not get a focused view of the Moon so it has ended up looking like a light bulb in the middle of the evening sky. Ah well at least I tried and it’s not the worse photo in the world. By the way the tiny dot you see just below the Moon is actually Jupiter!
As you can imagine, it is the time of the year when viewing the night sky is very difficult. Twilight will persist throughout the night whether you are looking north or south. Of course, if you are out very late enjoying the warmer weather, you may be fortunate enough catch a glimpse of stars in the sky. June will bring the summer solstice.
Perseus will be in view very close to the horizon, due north. To the west of Perseus, you may be able to see Capella, the brightest star in the constellation Auriga. You may be lucky enough to see the seven stars that make up the Plough in Ursa Major. Best time to try and catch this will be midnight.
Although the persisting twilight will make viewing difficult you could still be fortunate enough to see noctilucent clouds. These clouds can be seen towards the North Pole, and shine with an electric-blue tint. Rising to altitudes of 80-85km they are the highest clouds in the atmosphere. These clouds are only visible during summer nights.
Libra is visible due south. Close by in the west is the red supergiant star Antare, part of the Scorpius constellation. The giant constellation of Ophiuchus is higher in the sky and is in between Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda.
Bootes, Corona Borealis and Hercules are now higher in the sky towards the zenith making this the best time to observe them throughout the year.
- 1st 12:42 Moon first quarter
- 3rd 12:30 Venus at greatest elongation
- 8th 22:21 Moon at apogee
- 9th 13:10 Full Moon
- 17th 11:33 Moon at last quarter
- 21st Summer Solstice
- 23rd 10:52 Moon at perigee
- 24th 02:31 New Moon
This month’s focus – Summer Solstice
The first thing to clarify is what is a Summer Solstice? This event happens twice a year when the Earth’s axis reaches its maximum incline towards the sun. This means that the sun will be at its highest point in the sky. For many cultures around the world, a solstice is a day for celebration.
The summer solstice will be the day we have the most hours of daylight in the year. The other time of the year when a solstice occurs is in December just before Christmas. Put the date in your diary to enjoy the longest day in the year. I must remember to take a photo of it to show you next month.
Have you celebrated the summer solstice or come from a culture that does?
No need for postcards, feel free to leave a comment below…