June's Observing Highlights: A Supermoon Shines Bright
The moon, no less super although not full, will pair up with a couple objects earlier in the month providing for decent photo-ops. On June 10 the crescent moon is to the left of Venus and Mercury. On June 18 catch the moon just to the left of Spica, while Saturn observes from just a bit farther away to the moon's left.
The weather warms in the Northern Hemisphere as we head toward the summer solstice. But first up comes a gentle meteor shower known as the June Lyrids. The shower occurs over the weekend of June 15/16 and has a rate of about 9 meteors an hour. The solstice follows soon after, the exact date of which depends on where you live. For those on the East Coast, the solstice occurs at 1:04 a.m. EDT on June 21, while those on the West Coast get to usher in summer a day earlier, at 10:04 p.m. PDT on June 20.
Summer skies are a great time to observe the Milky Way, which runs overhead from horizon to horizon. Closer to the southern horizon you’ll find the constellation of Sagittarius, notable for the teapot asterism. When you are looking toward the teapot in Sagittarius, you are looking toward the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Use binoculars or a telescope to scan this region of sky and you’re likely to run across deep-sky objects such as the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae and globular cluster M55.
(Photo: Full Moon by John Chumack.)
Kelly Kizer Whitt loves clean, clear, and dark skies. Kelly studied English and Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked for Astronomy magazine. She writes the SkyGuide for AstronomyToday.com. You can follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/Astronomommy.