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June 2013 Celestial Calendar & Observing Notes c/o Dave Mitsky

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June 2013 Celestial Calendar & Observing Notes c/o Dave Mitsky

(calendar data also reproduced in our forum calendar).

*NB: Check out also the resources at the end of Dave's calendar for further reading/information*

All times unless otherwise noted are UT.

6/1 Mercury is 1.3 degrees north of the bright open cluster M35 in Gemini at 16:00

6/2 The Curtiss Cross, an X-shaped illumination effect located between the craters Parry and Gambart, is predicted to occur at 12:29

6/4 Venus lies within the boundaries of M35 at 21:00

6/7 Neptune is stationary, with retrograde (western) motion to begin, at 18:00

6/8 New Moon (lunation 1119) occurs at 15:56

6/9 The Moon is at apogee, subtending 29'24" from a distance of 406,486 kilometers (252,579 miles), at 22:00

6/10 Venus is 5 degrees north of the Moon at 11:00; Mercury is 6 degrees north of the Moon at 23:00

6/12 Mercury is at its greatest eastern elongation (24 degrees) at 17:00

6/13 Venus is at perihelion today

6/14 The earliest sunrise of the year at latitude 40 degrees north occurs today

6/15 Mars is 6 degrees north of the first-magnitude star Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) at 16:00; the Purbach Cross or Lunar X, an X-shaped illumination effect involving various rims and ridges between the craters La Caille, Blanchinus, and Purbach, is predicted to occur at 21:21

6/16 First Quarter Moon occurs at 17:24

6/18 Mercury is at the descending node today; the Moon is 0.1 degree north of the first-magnitude star Spica (Alpha Virginis), with an occultation occurring in Madagascar, parts of Africa, northern South America, and the Caribbean, at 20:00

6/19 Jupiter is in conjunction with the Sun at 16:00; Saturn is 4 degrees north of the Moon at 17:00

6/20 Mercury is 1.9 degrees south of Venus at 17:00

6/21 Summer solstice in the northern hemisphere occurs at 5:04

6/23 Venus is 5 degrees south of the first-magnitude star Pollux (Beta Geminorum) at 1:00; the Moon is at perigee, subtending 33'28" from a distance of 356,991 kilometers (221,826 miles), at 11:00; Full Moon (known as the Flower, Rose or Strawberry Moon), the largest of 2013, occurs at 11:32

6/24 The latest evening twilight of the year at latitude 40 degrees north occurs today

6/25 Mercury is stationary at 23:00

6/27 The latest sunset of the year at latitude 40 degrees north occurs today; Neptune is 6 degrees south of the Moon at 21:00

6/29 Mercury is at aphelion today

6/30 Last Quarter Moon occurs at 4:53; Uranus is 4 degrees south of the Moon at 15:00

Giovanni Cassini (1625-1712), Charles Messier (1730-1817), and George Ellery Hale (1868-1938) were born this month.

The all-but-unknown Gamma Delphind meteor shower may peak at 4:30 a.m. EDT on the morning of June 11.

The Moon is 22.0 days old and is located in Pisces on June 1 at 0:00 UT. At that time, it is illuminated 48%. The largest Full Moon of the year occurs on June 23. Large tides will occur from June 23 through June 26. The Moon is at its greatest northern declination of +20.2 degrees on June 8 and its greatest southern declination of -20.2 degrees on June 22. Longitudinal libration is at a maximum of +7.3 degrees on June 1 and +7.9 degrees on June 29 and a minimum of -7.6 degrees on June 17. Latitudinal libration is at a maximum of +6.8 degrees on June 13 and a minimum of -6.7 degrees on June 26. The waxing gibbous Moon occults Kappa Librae (magnitude +4.8) on the night of June 20-21 for observers in eastern and central North America. Occultation times for some major cities can be found on page 53 of the June issue of Sky & Telescope. See http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/iotandx.htm for information on other lunar occultations taking place this month. Visit http://saberdoesthestars.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/saber-does-the-stars/ for tips on spotting extreme crescent Moons. Times and dates for the lunar light rays predicted to occur this month are available at http://www.lunar-occultations.com/rlo/rays/rays.htm

The Sun is located in Taurus on June 1. The Sun reaches its farthest position north for the year on June 21, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. There are 15 hours of daylight at latitude 40 degrees north.

Brightness, apparent size, illumination, distance from the Earth in astronomical units, and location data for the planets and Pluto on June 1: Mercury (magnitude -0.4, 6.4", 63% illuminated, 1.05 a.u., Pisces), Venus (magnitude -3.8, 10.3", 96% illuminated, 1.63 a.u., Taurus), Mars (magnitude +1.4, 3.8", 100% illuminated, 2.47 a.u., Taurus), Jupiter (magnitude -1.9, 32.3", 100% illuminated, 6.09 a.u., Taurus), Saturn (magnitude +0.3, 18.5", 100% illuminated, 8.98 a.u., Virgo), Uranus (magnitude +5.9, 3.5", 100% illuminated, 20.32 a.u. on June 16, Pisces), Neptune (magnitude +7.9, 2.3", 100% illuminated, 29.63 a.u. on June 16, Aquarius), and Pluto (magnitude +14.0, 0.1", 100% illuminated, 31.48 a.u. on June 16, Sagittarius).

Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter are in the northwest and Saturn is in the south in the evening sky. At midnight, Saturn lies in the southwest. Mars can be found in the northeast, Uranus in the east, and Neptune in the southeast at dawn.

At midmonth, Mercury is visible during evening twilight, Venus sets at 10:00 p.m., Mars is visible during morning twilight, and Saturn transits the meridian at 10:00 p.m. and sets at 3:00 a.m. local time for observers at latitude 40 degrees north.

Mercury is undergoing its best evening apparition of the year for observers at mid-northern latitudes. During the first week of June, Mercury increases in apparent size by one arc second, as its phase decreases from 60 to 45% illuminated. Its brightness decreases by almost 0.1 magnitude each passing day. The speediest planet is six degrees north of the waxing crescent Moon on June 10, reaches greatest eastern elongation on June 12, when it attains an altitude of 12 degrees one half hour after sunset, and is 1.9 degrees south of Venus on June 20. Mercury’s apparent size increases to ten arc seconds and its phase shrinks to 23% by the time that it’s closest to Venus. For more on the current apparition of Mercury, see http://www.curtrenz.com/mercury

Venus is situated in the evening sky in the west-northwest. On June 6, Venus achieves its greatest northern declination (+24°25') of 2013. The waxing crescent Moon is five degrees south of Venus on June 10. Venus lies a few degrees to the west of Mercury during the first half of June.

Mars is located very low in the east-northeast at dawn at month’s end. It rises about 75 minutes before the Sun.

Jupiter (magnitude -1.9), Venus (magnitude -3.8), and Mercury (magnitude -0.4) form an almost straight line that spans nine degrees on June 1. The gas giant disappears into the glare of evening twilight by the second week of June. Jupiter is in conjunction with the Sun on June 19 and is not visible again until early July.

Saturn lies 1.2 degrees southeast of the fourth-magnitude star Kappa Virginis on June 1. By the end of the month, the two celestial objects are separated by just four-tenths of a degree. At midmonth, Saturn’s rings subtend 41 arc minutes and are inclined by 17 degrees. Eighth-magnitude Titan is due south of Saturn on the nights of June 7 and June 23 and due north on the night of June 15. On the night of June 1, Iapetus shines at tenth-magnitude as it passes 9 arc minutes west of Saturn. The odd satellite dims to eleventh-magnitude by the night of June 18, when it is lies 2.5 arc minutes north of the planet. Enceladus and Mimas, Saturn’s dim inner satellites, both reach greatest eastern elongation on the night of June18. All seven of Saturn’s brightest satellites are well-placed to the east, south, or north of the planet’s disk that night. For further information on Saturn’s satellites, browse http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/javascript/3308506.html

During June, Uranus can be found approximately four degrees south of the fourth-magnitude star Delta Piscium.

Neptune is located 0.6 degree northwest of the fifth-magnitude star Sigma Aquarii. The eighth planet begins retrograde motion on June 7.

Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune can be found at http://media.skyandtelescope.com/documents/Uranus-Neptune-2013.pdf

The dwarf planet Pluto resides in northern Sagittarius this month, about two degrees to the west of the faint open cluster NGC 6716 and less than one half of a degree to the southwest of the sixth-magnitude star HP 92079. Finder charts are available pages 52 and 53 of the June issue of Sky & Telescope and at http://dcford.org.uk/findercharts/22pluto_2013_2.pdf and http://britastro.org/computing/ch/_Pluto2013.png

For more on the planets and how to locate them, browse http://www.nakedeyeplanets.com/

Comet C/2011 (PanSTARRS) fades to ninth or tenth magnitude as it travels through Ursa Minor this month. It passes within a degree of the second-magnitude star Kochab (Beta Ursae Minoris) from June 16 to June 19. Unfortunately, a waxing gibbous Moon will make observations difficult during that period.

During the course of June, asteroid (and dwarf planet) 1 Ceres departs Gemini and enters Cancer. From June 5 to June 7, the largest of the asteroids shines at magnitude 8.8, as it passes one degree south of the first-magnitude star Pollux (Beta Geminorum). Data on asteroid occultations taking place this month is available at http://www.asteroidoccultation.com/2012_06_si.htm

A free star map for June can be downloaded at http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

Forty binary and multiple stars for June: Struve 1812, Kappa Bootis, Otto Struve 279, Iota Bootis, Struve 1825, Struve 1835, Pi Bootis, Epsilon Bootis, Struve 1889, 39 Bootis, Xi Bootis, Struve 1910, Delta Bootis, Mu Bootis (Bootes); Struve 1803 (Canes Venatici); Struve 1932, Struve 1964, Zeta Coronae Borealis, Struve 1973, Otto Struve 302 (Corona Borealis); Struve 1927, Struve 1984, Struve 2054, Eta Draconis, 17-16 Draconis, 17 Draconis (Draco); 54 Hydrae (Hydra); Struve 1919, 5 Serpentis, 6 Serpentis, Struve 1950, Delta Serpentis, Otto Struve 300, Beta Serpentis, Struve 1985 (Serpens Caput); Struve 1831 (Ursa Major); Pi-1 Ursae Minoris (Ursa Minor); Struve 1802, Struve 1833, Phi Virginis (Virgo)

Notable carbon star for June: V Coronae Borealis

Fifty deep-sky objects for June: NGC 5466, NGC 5676, NGC 5689 (Bootes); M102 (NGC 5866), NGC 5678, NGC 5879, NGC 5905, NGC 5907, NGC 5908, NGC 5949, NGC 5963, NGC 5965, NGC 5982, NGC 5985, NGC 6015 (Draco); NGC 5694 (Hydra); NGC 5728, NGC 5791, NGC 5796, NGC 5812, NGC 5861, NGC 5878, NGC 5897 (Libra); M5, NGC 5921, NGC 5957, NGC 5962, NGC 5970, NGC 5984 (Serpens Caput); M101, NGC 5473, NGC 5474, NGC 5485, NGC 5585, NGC 5631 (Ursa Major); NGC 5566, NGC 5634, NGC 5701, NGC 5713, NGC 5746, NGC 5750, NGC 5775, NGC 5806, NGC 5813, NGC 5831, NGC 5838, NGC 5846, NGC 5850, NGC 5854, NGC 5864 (Virgo)

Top ten deep-sky objects for June: M5, M101, M102, NGC 5566, NGC 5585, NGC 5689, NGC 5746, NGC 5813, NGC 5838, NGC 5907

Top five deep-sky binocular objects for June: M5, M101, M102, NGC 5466, NGC 5907

Challenge deep-sky object for June: Abell 2065

The objects listed above are located between 14:00 and 16:00 hours of right ascension.


*Suggestions for further reading/information:*

Check out the following two sites (both are primarily UK-based) - each of which contain excellent celestial guides for the month ahead:

Astronomical Calendar

Astronomy.co.uk (site includes a short video highlighting some of the main celestial events for the month ahead).

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