The Night Sky - June 2019
For many observers in the far northern latitudes June is the month when astronomy takes a bit of a 'back seat'. For the next
few months the westward moving sky will be countered by the last summer nights drawing in resulting in the early evening constellations
hardly seeming to move at all. The summer triangle (Vega, Deneb and Altair) remain in almost the same position as soon as they become visible.
In our own solar system, the gas giant Jupiter reaches opposition on June 10th and is visible throughout the night. Unfortunately
it will only have an elevation of approx. 14 degrees subjecting observing to atmospheric dispersion.
High Lights of the Month
- 5th (after sunset): Mars close to a very thin crescent Moon
- 8th (after sunset): The Moon in Leo looking west in the evening
- 10th (all evening) : Jupiter reaches opposition
- 15th (late evening): Jupiter to the right of the Moon
- 19th (midnight): Saturn to the left of the Moon
- 27th (after sunset): Mars and Mercury on a low horizon in the northwest
Noctilucent clouds also known as polar mesospheric clouds are most commonly seen in the deep twilight towards the north from our latitude.
They are the highest clouds in the atmosphere at heights of around 80 km or 50 miles.
Normally too faint to be seen they are visible when illuminated by sunlight from below the northern horizon whilst the
lower parts of the atmosphere are in shadow. So on a clear dark night as light is draining from the north western sky
after sunset take a look towards the north and you might just spot them.
Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine