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The Moon

The Moon In June

As June begins, the moon is already in its waxing gibbous phase and disrupting dark evening skies. It reaches before the end of June’s first week and rapidly leaves evening skies to darkness from the 9th to 20th of the month.

If you have chance, early mornings provide the opportunity to see some of the tougher items on the Lunar 100 list, during the moon’s waning gibbous phase. Last quarter is reached on the 13th followed by the waning crescent gradually leaving morning skies.

The entire night is dark around the new moon on the 21st, which presents our last chance of the month for truly dark evening skies.

We end the month with a first quarter on the 28th. The days either side of first quarter always present fantastic views of the lunar surface, so now is a great time to try and find members of the Lunar 100. For the final days of June, the moon is waxing gibbous and brightening in the evening but setting a couple of hours before dawn.

There are two windows for observing librations this month. The first is in the evening from June 03 to 06. Librations move around the south east quadrant of the moon, from the 6 o’clock position on the 3rd to the 3 o’clock position on the 6th. Our second libration opportunity is a tight one – we’ll just get chance to spy it in the short window between moon rise at 3:30 am and dawn on June 17th. In this case, the top of the moon is tilted towards us, around the 11 o’clock position. See more detail at the bottom of the page.

Viewing Summary

Dark EveningsDark MorningsDark NightEvening MoonMorning MoonLibrations
9th – 20th19th – 24th17th – 20th1st – 4th, 23rd – 30th3rd – 8th3rd – 6th, 17th
Evenings = 8pm to midnight, mornings = midnight to 4am, all night = 9pm to 3am (sunrise/set is ignored)

Moon Phases, Rise & Set Times

Whether you are planning to observe the moon, or you want to make sure to avoid it, use the table below to discover when the moon will be above the horizon in March. The ‘Illumination’ column shows how bright it is going to be – the higher the %, the brighter the moon.

Moon Table Notes

  • A=Apogee (furthest approach), P=Perigee (closest approach), FQ=First Quarter, LQ=Last Quarter
  • All times are for Kansas City (DST). However, these times will be approximately accurate for your local time zone wherever you are in the northern hemisphere. For example, if you live in London, UK, the moonrise and set times will be no more than an hour different from those shown in the table above.
  • There are two moonrise columns in the table, this is because each day is timed from midnight to midnight. On some days in the month the moon is already in the sky at midnight, therefore it sets first before rising again later in the day. On other days, the moon is below the horizon at midnight. On those days it rises first before setting later in the day.
  • This table is available as a downloadable PDF in the Printables section.
  • The data in the table comes from timeanddate.com

Visualization Of The Moon’s Impact

The following chart shows a visualisation of when the moon is above the horizon and below. This should make it easier for you to plan which nights offer the darkest skies and which provide the best opportunity for observing the moon itself.


First & Last Quarter Moon Locations

The two pictures below, from SkySafari 6, show the last quarter moon at 5am on June 13th, about 30° above the southeast horizon near Mars, and the first quarter moon at 10pm on 28th June, about 35° above the horizon. Click on the pictures for full screen versions.

Last quarter moon, 5am on June 13th (click for fullscreen)
FIrst quarter moon, 10pm on June 28th (click for full screen)

Librations

The moon wobbles as it orbits Earth. These wobbles are known as librations and mean that we can actually see around 59% of the lunar surface over the course of a month. Keen moon watchers look for these librations so they can spy craters not normally visible to us.

The images below are favorable librations for observing at the date shown in the caption. The best librations for June happen on the 03-06 and 17 June. Between the third and sixth of June, the southeast quadrant is shown to us, travelling from south on the third to east on the 6th. On the 17th, the region just west of north is revealed.

Click images for a full size version. Images from CalSky.

05 June libration
17 June libration

How To Read Libration Pictures

The pictures below are from CalSky and show lunar librations at first and last quarters. To read them, refer to the red dots and red intersecting lines.

The red lines on the lunar surface show where the central lines of longitude and latitude cross. The red dot in the middle of the picture shows where they would be if there was no libration.

The red dot on the limb (edge) of the moon shows which part of the lunar surface is most tipped towards us – where we may see parts of the lunar surface not normally visible.

Click the image for a larger version