Eyes on the Night Sky – June 2021
Welcome to the June edition of Eyes on the Night Sky. Astronomical twilight continues for the whole of this month but you can still go outside and enjoy the night sky. The Moon and planets can be enjoyed with the unaided eyes, through telescopes and binoculars and just gazing into a deep blue night sky with a smattering of sparkling stars can be a beautiful experience.
If you have a telescope, there will be an opportunity to watch the shadows of Jupiter’s moons move across (transit) the gas giant’s surface on 5th June. You will have to stay up to see it; the transit will be in progress as Jupiter rises in the south east from 1.30am but you may need to wait for it to clear low horizon for steady seeing through a telescope with high magnification. The shadows will look like two black dots on the surface of the planet – and for a bonus treat, the Great Red Spot will be visible.
Annular Solar Eclipse (Partial Eclipse in the UK)
On 10th June, the Annular Solar Eclipse takes place. From the UK, it will appear as a partial solar eclipse and will look like a bite has been taken out of the sun. The event will commence at 10am. In Wales, around a quarter of the Sun will be eclipsed by the Moon and will be well worth looking out for. The Moon will transit from the Sun at around 1.20pm. Solar eclipse observing glasses can be purchased from reputable astronomy outlets. It is important not to stare at the Sun or use any unfiltered optical equipment as the intense light will cause permanent blindness. If you have some simple objects handy, you can make your own Solar Viewer:
Weather permitting, we will be setting up our telescopes to watch this event outside the Elan Valley Visitor Centre and you are welcome to come and have a look at the Eclipse with our solar glasses, so come along at 10am and join in the fun.
Mars, Venus and the Moon
Mars, the Moon and Venus emerge into the north-western night sky on 13th June. Mars and the waxing crescent Moon will only have 2 degrees of separation. Venus lies low on the horizon, south-east of this conjunction at a separation of 17 degrees.
Noctilucent Cloud season is in full swing – remember to look in the northern sky between 90 minutes to two hours after sunset and before sunrise to catch this stunning phenomenon.
Venus will emerge into the evening sky during June and will be one of the first bright objects to see as darkness falls.
The New Moon occurs on 10th June and the Full Moon on 24th June.
21st June marks the Summer Solstice, where the maximum tilt sunwards of one of the Earth’s poles is reached. In this case, the North Pole will be at maximum tilt towards the Sun. This means that the day will be the longest of the year; 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight can be enjoyed.