hand and sunset

The June 2023 Night Sky

Welcome to the June night sky. This is the month of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. This year it falls on Wednesday, June 21 at 3.58pm (summertime). In the southern hemisphere, it’s the winter solstice.

The word solstice comes from two Latin words – ‘Sol’ meaning ‘sun’ and ‘stice’ meaning ‘to stand still’. Of course, Stonehenge will see the arrival of many thousands waiting to meet the Sun as it rises over the Heel Stone on the 21st (weather permitting).

The bright planet Venus dominates the evening sky in June and, on the 4th, Venus is 45 degrees away from the Sun, so it can be seen in a dark sky.

On the 22nd and 23rd of this month, the red planet Mars is close to Venus, and they are joined by the thin crescent Moon seen over in the west as night falls.

The gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn are now only seen in the morning sky, with Jupiter on the Aries/Pisces border and Saturn in Aquarius.

The last quarter Moon will be close to Saturn on June 10 and the Moon will also be seen close to Jupiter on the 14th.

During the first week of June, the faint and illusive planet Mercury is 25 degrees west of the Sun in the eastern morning sky, but it stays close to the horizon below Jupiter but much fainter.

On the 4th, the full Moon will be seen very low in the south and deep in the constellation of Scorpius. The summer Milky-Way can now be seen rising in the east during June evenings.

This band of faint stars contains the three bright stars of the Summer Triangle which are now ascending over in the east. They are called Altair, Vega, and Deneb.

June has only two minor meteor showers – the Bootids on the 27th and the daytime shower called the Arietids on the 7th.

Elon Musk’s Super Heavy booster and Starship combination recently managed to successfully lift off from Boca Chica in Texas. It was as Elon predicted, about 50% successful, and the next attempt should be in July and is expected to be 75% this time. By next year, the Super Heavy and Starship combination should be capable of putting more than a hundred tons into orbit reliably.

The Moon is full on the 4th, last quarter on the 10th, new on the 18th and first quarter on June 26.

By Clive Jackson
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Clive Jackson is the director of the Camera Obscura – Tavira EYE attraction, located near the Castle of Tavira. Specialising in education and public outreach.
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To see the June Sky Map click on the pdf link below

2023-06 June nightsky