June’s Night Sky


Welcome to the June 2020 edition of the Virtual Astronomy Club.

Exciting things are coming!!

The VAC is eight months old and is ready to grow. Over the coming months I’m going add many more sections to aid your astronomy, such as galaxy, nebula and double star hunts for each season, and I’m completely overhauling the Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Astronomy section to improve its usability for new astronomers.

The plan for upgrading the VAC is:

  • June – Begin adding new sections
  • Late July – Close the current VAC to new joiners (I’ll still be here every month for everyone who is already a member!)
  • July to Sept – Add more new courses, update Beginner’s Guide to Astronomy, make the look & feel more friendly to users
  • Late Sept – Relaunch the VAC to new members

As a paying member, you don’t need to do a thing to enjoy the benefits of the club. Just keep logging in and, if you’ve got any suggestions for how I can improve the club for you, email me adam@lovethenightsky.com and share your thoughts.

This month we still have Mars, Saturn and Jupiter lining up in the predawn sky. Jupiter and Saturn are rapidly approaching opposition, so see them grow larger this month and move towards being evening objects. Both of these massive planets are observable before midnight by the end of the month. Mars hits opposition in October, but this month sees it grow to a size where proper observations can take place.

Venus reaches inferior conjunction – putting it directly between us and the sun – on 03 June, after which it will be a morning object. As I write this, it has been a few nights since I’ve been able to see the Venusian crescent from my own backyard, so I look forward to spying it again in the pre-dawn morning from the end of June.

This month’s observation challenges cover two galaxies and a globular cluster. For the galaxies, we’re going to need a dark night. The moon charts show us that the best evening viewing take place from 09 to 20 June. The last challenge, a globular cluster, is not so demanding of dark skies.

Finally, if your preference is the moon itself, make sure to check out a rarer northern libration on 17 June. Full details in the moon section, of course.

That’s a lot for us to be going on with, so I’ll stop talking now.

Stay safe, and Clear Skies,