All information presented here is taken from my 74 page book NightScenes 2017.
Click on the monthly image to get a larger high resolution view of the night sky set for 53° N (Horncastle, England) but is usable for the UK and Eire. All charts are set for the 1st of the month at 22:00 GMT (10pm) and can be used on the other dates and times shown in each corner of the chart.
Solar System quick summary
For most charts see the buttons at the top for various planets etc.. Charts & images in the text can be clicked to give a larger view.
Mars might be viewable for a few days at the start of the month but is quickly lost in the solar glare. Vesta can still be viewed but it is also slowly dropping into the evening twilight. This leaves mighty Jupiter to dominate the evenings over in Virgo. Meanwhile, Saturn now comes to opposition on June 15th so becomes viewable all night. Neptune is in the early morning twilight sky and Venus lies low in the bright morning twilight and is close to Uranus on the 3rd. Mercury is not viewable. Comet C/2015 V2(Johnson) passes the Earth on the 5th shortly before perihelion on the 12th and may be visible in binoculars. Noctilucent Clouds season is now with us over the summer months so see the new button in the menu above.
Although the evenings are dominated by the giant planet Jupiter, another giant now reaches opposition and so becomes available to view all night, Saturn. However it is worth bearing in mind that the light summer nights are short and that for the next few years Saturn lies quite low in our skies! In telescopes it wont look quite like the view at left courtesy of Stellarium, but a small telescope will still show the two main rings, 'A' & 'B' with a thin dark line separating them, the Cassini Division -
Saturn lies in Ophiuchus above left of 51, 44 and q Oph. It shines at mag 0, much brighter than any of the stars near to it. Follow it carefully with a large binocular and you will note a tiny 'star' moving around it taking just short of 16 days to orbit it. This is Saturn's largest moon, Titan and you can keep track of where it is with the chart and data below.
With Saturn at opposition on the 15th then the Full Moon should occur close to it in the sky and indeed just a few days earlier on the 9th/10th the Full Moon can be found close to the ringed planet. On the 8th the almost full moon forms a nice wide triangle with Antares in Scorpius and Saturn and both dates are shown on the chart here set for 23:00 BST.
Let’s not forget Jupiter as the Moon was close to it, and the star Porrima, on the 3rd which is shown here at right. Binoculars will give a good view but if you do have a telescope then watch Jupiter as Ganymede will be crossing the planets disk, called a transit. The inset view is based on a highly magnified view of Jupiter. If you keep watching, as Ganymede begins to transit Jupiter, the other moons are getting closer to the planet and Europa will go behind it. Ganymede begins its transit at ~22:45 BST and Europa disappears at ~00:55 BST.
Venus being very bright manages to keep visible despite the bright morning twilight and is at Greatest Western Elongation on the 3rd when it will also be close to Uranus. However Uranus will be more of a challenge in the bright sky but with Venus just 1.75 deg away you might be able to spot it with care. Don't be confused if you see something a little brighter though as Omicron Piscium lies forming a triangle with them as shown here. If you have a telescope then take a look at Venus which looks almost like a featureless half moon as shown in the enlarged telescopic view! Look around 03:30 BST towards the eastern horizon for them.
Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) brightens as it approaches Earth and it is at its closest on the 5th. This is just days before it reaches perihelion on the 12th and under many circumstances this is good news as it is high in the sky for us and could be as bright as mag 6.9. However, comets can be quite fickle in nature -
Here is an image I took on May 21st taken with the Equinox 80ED refractor and Canon 50D DSLR.
Also look out for the following:
Jun 6th Moon lies between Alpha and Beta Librae (evening)
Jun 8th Almost full moon forms triangle with Antares and Saturn (evening)
Jun 10th Full moon lies in conjunction with Saturn (morning)
Jun 12th Moon rises close to the Teaspoon asterism (morning)
Jun 16th Moon lies to the right of Lambda Aquarii and Neptune (morning)
Jun 21st Moon lies below Venus in morning twilight
Jun 27th Crescent Moon lies close to Regulus (evening twilight)
Jun 30th Crescent Moon forms an arc with Eta, Gamma Virginis and Jupiter in the evening twilight
Clear skies and happy sky watching.
The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2017 AD
The Summer Solstice occurs on June 21st . Summer officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere whilst Winter begins in the Southern Hemisphere.
Webmaster © Paul L Money 2017
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