June Skies with a Brightening Comet

I hope you all continued to watch the planets though the month of May as there were a number of close conjunctions. This continues throughout June as we now see 5 naked eye Planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn visible in the morning sky along with Uranus & Neptune which can be revealed with a simple pair of binoculars !


Fleet footed Mercury reaches its greatest height above the Horizon (elongation) on the 17th and has a close visual encounter with the Eye of the Bull, the star Aldebaran on the 22nd, complimenting the asterism of the Hyades in Taurus as it sits adjacent to the Hyades star Tau Tauri opposite Aldebaran.

Mercury in the Hyades


Venus & Uranus:

Bright Venus has a close encounter with dim blue Uranus from the 11th to the 13th when they are just 2 Deg apart (see chart) Later in the month on the 26th Venus forms a trio with the moon and the sparkling Pleiades star cluster.


Rising around 2am Mars is still closely paired with Jupiter as the month begins and by the 23rd will have a close encounter with the moon at just 1deg apart.


The giant planet is just 1 day behind Mars with its close lunar encounter the morning before on the 22nd June.


The jewel of the night sky through a telescope, Saturn begins the month rising in the late evening sky and by months end is rising around 9pm. It has an Apparition with the moon at 10pm on the evening of the 18th when they are 4Deg. Apart


Dim Neptune spends this month in Pieces and begins its retrograde motion at months end.

A brightening Comet:

There is a comet that is brightening in the constellation of Ophiuchus  (the serpent bearer) it is comet Panstarrs C/2017 K2. It enters the constellation at the start of the month and will remain there until the end of July as it continues to brighten from Magnitude 8 to 7, which is 1 order of magnitude below Naked Eye visibility, so binoculars will be required to see it.

The Costellations:

For the constellations from this month, Canis Major is lost to the evening twilight & the Most familiar of Constellations Crux or the Southern cross reaches its zenith in the south.  In the east the constellation most resembling its namesake Scorpius, rises in the east. In the northern sky the Zodiac constellations Leo and Virgo are at their Zenith in the early evening with their stunning array of galaxies for those with medium and large aperture telescopes. If your up here in the Far North the constellation of Ursa Major or the great Bear is prominent too !

To find these celestial delights and more, all you need is a star disc, yearbook and a quality set of Binoculars for starters. So get in touch and we will help you discover the secrets of the night sky.

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