This month, our closest, rocky, planetary neighbors dominate the evening sky. Look for Venus slowly making her way out of Gemini and into Cancer, moving closer and closer to Mars. On July 1st, these planets make their closest approach, just below the head of Leo.
Views of Venus and Mars, Left Image: June 1st, Right Image: June 30th - Source: Stellarium
The constellations of Orion, Taurus and Cancer have gone for the season and disappeared in the sun’s glare. Orion is located across the sky from our newly rising constellation, Scorpio. In Greek mythology, he was a great hunter who boasted his ability to kill any animal on Earth. Gaia, the goddess of Earth, caught wind of his claims and sent Scorpius to kill Orion. Orion was defeated, and both were honored as constellations in the sky. On opposite sides of the celestial sphere, Scorpio endlessly chases a fleeing Orion in spring and summer, while Orion is safe to hunt from the stinger during fall and winter.
In keeping with the coming of Summer, Scorpio is rising in the east in the evenings, and will be up in full at the end of June. Look for the distinct curve of the scorpion's tail low in the southern sky. Following the Scorpius, later in the summer will be Sagittarius
Our two gas giant planets dominate the morning sky. Look for Saturn in the southeast sky, followed by Jupiter rising just before the sun in the east. By the end of June, Saturn begins to rise around midnight, starting its transition to a late evening object. Both giant planets will be up in the evening sky coming fall, visible to observers just after sunset.
June 21st marks the summer solstice, when Earth’s northern hemisphere is at its maximum tilt towards the sun. This marks the beginning of astronomical summer, the solar standstill. From this point, the sun will set further south each consecutive day.
Astronomical Dates and Times
Full Moon: June 3 (Strawberry Moon) Last Quarter: June 10
New Moon: June 17
First Quarter: June 26
Astro Twilight End June 1 (Virgin, UT): 10:36pm Astro Twilight End June 15: 10:46pm Astro Twilight End June 30: 10:48pm
Meteor Showers: None