All information presented here is taken from my 74 page book Nightscenes 2020 which is available to order from our web shop and all good book stores!
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.
Mercury has a brief appearance in the first week of the month in the evening twilight but then, like minor planet Vesta, it becomes lost in the solar glare. Venus is also in the solar glare but is occulted in daytime by the moon on the 19th. The main bright planets to view all lie in the morning sky, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, whilst the fainter planets of Neptune and Uranus are harder to spot in the summer light night sky. Mars lies close to Neptune on the 13th with the Last Quarter Moon just below them for a good view in a binocular. Ceres is in the morning sky not too far from Mars and Neptune but is quite low and not an easy target.
Mercury lies in the evening twilight but is now fading so probably only viewable for the first week to 10 days over in the NW. Look out for a lonely ‘star’ in the evening twilight but always make sure the sun has set before looking with binoculars. On June 4th Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation from the Sun and is 24 degrees away from it, far enough for us to see it without being overwhelmed by the bright solar glare. By the 6th look towards the NW at approximately 10:30pm for Mercury and see if you can spot a faint star roughly above it (chart at left). This is Epsilon Geminorum which shines at mag 3 compared with the much brighter mag 0.6 for Mercury but will the twilight overwhelm the view? Mercury will be only a few degrees above the horizon so a clear uncluttered horizon is definitely needed!
Once Mercury drops out of sight in the evenings there are no bright planets until around mid month when Jupiter and Saturn creep above the SE horizon around midnight. By the end of June they are rising just before 11pm as they head towards their opposition dates next month. Jupiter still lies in Sagittarius whilst Saturn is in Capricornus and on the 8th & 9th they are joined by the Moon as seen here at right set for 3am so it’s an early worm that catches the view! Note the moon is 3x normal size!
Now we turn to Mars. Its path against the stars for June is shown to the left. It lies almost on a line from Lambda Aquarii to three stars collectively known as Psi 1,2,3 Aqr on the 4th then lies close to Chi Aqr on the 8th with Phi Aqr above them.
On the 13th Mars lies close to Neptune and that same morning the Moon lies below them for a great view in a pair of 7x50 binoculars as shown here at right. In both charts the moon is shown the correct size. Mars moves into Pisces and passes close to the star 27 Piscium on the 25th/ 26th then is close to 29 Piscium on the 27th. In all cases (except the Moon!) Mars is far brighter than the stars or Neptune. Neptune is also shown more prominently than it really is on the charts so you can identify it.
Meanwhile the moon occults yet another star, this time Tau Aquarii on the 12th (above). Tau is actually two stars widely separated and not connected physically but given the designations of Tau Aqr1 and Tau Aqr2 with the latter the brighter star. For most of Scotland and northern England Tau1 is occulted whilst it and the moon hasn’t risen yet, indeed even in the south it will be so low it may not be worth looking for. However all parts should get to see the reappearance of Tau1 around 3am (+/-
A Daylight occultation of Venus by the Moon, June 19th
Pretty much all the main events in NightScenes take place once the Sun has set but now we make an exception. On June 3rd Venus is at Inferior Conjunction with the Sun and so not viewable, but by the 19th it has moved far enough away from the glare of the Sun for us to attempt an unusual event. However BE VERY CAREFUL as you need to find the crescent moon in daylight about 22 degrees to the upper right of the Sun. The main view above is looking East with the Sun at about 30 degrees altitude, the crescent moon scale is 4x normal size and the time is ~8am. Ideally hide the sun behind a tall building or wall so you can spot the moon easier. Using a telescope at low magnification will show a ‘star’ close to the bright part of the lunar limb and this is Venus. Higher magnification will then show that Venus itself shows almost the same phase as our Moon so it will be a glorious view. For disappearance begin looking around 8:40am +/-
Also look out for the following:
1st Moon lies above right of Spica in Virgo (evening)
3rd Moon lies close to Kappa Virginis (early morning)
4th Moon lies close to Graffias in Scorpius (evening)
5th Full Moon lies in Ophiuchus with Antares to its right (evening)
17th Moon lies below Uranus (morning twilight)
23rd Crescent Moon near to M44, Beehive cluster (bright evening twilight)
25th Crescent Moon lies near Regulus (evening twilight)
28th First Quarter Moon lies to left of Porrima in Virgo (evening twilight)
29th Moon again lies to upper left of Spica (evening twilight)
30th Moon lies near to Alpha Librae (evening twilight)
Clear skies, happy sky watching and stay safe!
Webmaster © Paul L Money 2020
The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2020
The Summer Solstice occurs on June 20th.
Summer officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere whilst Winter begins in the Southern Hemisphere
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