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Observing The Planets

during June....

Current Skyview

Richard Griffiths : Planets this Month

Mercury


Mercury is a pre-dawn object for the first week or so of the month best seen about 30-45 minutes before sunrise. It starts the month at magnitude +0.8 with an angular size of 9 arc seconds. This increases to magnitude zero by the 11th - perhaps the best time to view - with the angular size having dropped to 7.3 arc seconds. It will then be only 7° above the horizon so still be difficult to spot and a good low horizon in the east will be needed.

Best Time to Observe – 22nd - 30min before sunrise – 2° - NE – Taurus

Venus


Venus reaches superior conjunction (that’s is directly behind the Sun) on June 6th. After this time it will change from being a morning object to an evening object.

Best Time to Observe – 30th – 1.6° - NW – Gemini.

Mars


Mars reached opposition on May 22nd and came closest to the Earth for 11 years on the 30th. So June is another excellent month to observe the planet. Mars starts the month at magnitude -2, drops to -1.7 by the 16th and -1.4 by month's end. Mars moves in retrograde motion in Libra until the 30th when it resumes its eastwards path through the stars moving back towards Saturn.

Best Time to Observe – 00:00BST – 15° - South – Libra.

Mars

Jupiter


Jupiter is now past its best, but still stands out in the southwest and west at nightfall. Its brightness falls slightly from magnitude -2.1 to -1.9 whilst its angular size drops from 37 to 34 arc seconds. Jupiter is now in the lower part of Leo, slowly moving eastwards towards Virgo which it will enter in August.

Best Time to Observe – 23:45 BST – 22° - WSW – Libra.

Saturn


Saturn reaches opposition when it be approximately due south at midnight (UT) or 1 am (BST) - on June 3rd, and so will be visible in the southeast at nightfall and will not set until dawn the following morning.

Best Time to Observe – 3rd – 01:10BST – 16° - South.

Saturn

Uranus


Uranus is not visible this month.

Best Time to Observe – N/A

Neptune


Neptune is not visible this month.

Best Time to Observe – N/A