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June 2018

Sky Report - June 2018

By Dr. Bob Doyle, Emeritus Faculty
Dr. Doyle taught and was Planetarium Director at Frostburg State University for over 40 years

Early June (Jun 1-7)

Local sunrises are about 5:48 a.m. with sunsets about 8:36 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 14 hours and 50 minutes. Sunsets are nearly a minute later each day. The moon is waning or shrinking in the morning sky. On the morning of June 3, the moon will appear below and to the left of the yellowish planet Mars at dawn. The moon will appear half full (like a reversed ‘D’) in the southern dawn on June 6. The planet Venus is glorious in the western dusk, setting several hours after sunset. The bright planet Jupiter is impressive in the southeast in the evening hours. Both Venus and Jupiter outshine any of the night stars. In the last hour of the evening, the planet Saturn appears low in the southeast. Both Saturn and Mars are best seen about 4:30 a.m. when they are about one third of the way up in the South. The Big Dipper (of 7 stars) is easy to recognize in the North Northwest with its bowl on the bottom and its handle pointing upward. Extend the handle outward in a curved arc to the bright orange star Arcturus, high in the West. Low in the North Northeast is Cassiopeia, whose 5 bright stars resemble a stretched out ‘W’. High in the Northeast is the bright white-blue star Vega.

Second Quarter of June (Jun 8-15)

Local sunrises are at 8:47 a.m. with sunsets about 8:42 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 14 hours and 55 minutes. We have the earliest sunrises of the year from June 8th through the 24th at 5:47 a.m. The moon’s motion will carry it from the morning to the evening side of the sun on June 13. This event is called New Moon, the start of the lunar phase cycle, which lasts 29.5 days. Before the moon reappears in the evening sky, this is a good time to spot the Milky Way, the ghostly glow of the central plane of our galaxy. Find a place free from streetlights, big trees and outdoor advertising signs. You need to let your eyes become dark adapted for a few minutes. During this time, the pupils of your eyes will expand to let in more light. (The pupil is the dark spot in the middle of each eye. On a sunny day, the pupil contracts to about an eighth of an inch across. On a dark, moonless night, each pupil may grow to a quarter of an inch across. To see the Milky Way, face East. Under ideal conditions, you will see the Milky Way starting low in the North Northeast, passing under the bright star Vega and then dropping towards the southern horizon. You will see the bright planet Jupiter to the right of the Milky Way.

Third Quarter of June (Jun 16-22)

Local sunrises are at 5:47 a.m. with sunsets about 8:45 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts almost 15 hours. Summer officially begins on June 21 when the sun rises farthest North of East, peaks highest in the South and sets farthest North of West. At the North Pole, the sun shines 24/7, appearing at a constant 24 degree angle above the horizon as it moves to the right as the hours pass. On June 16, a slender crescent moon will appear to the left of the brilliant planet Venus in the western dusk. In our area, the moon will appear half full in the evening sky on June 22, resembling a letter ‘D’. From June 20-24, the moon will show the most surface detail through a telescope. For along the moon’s lighted left edge, the sun there is rising, lighting the crater rims and elevations. In the western dusk, the brilliant planet Venus is an awesome sight as darkness falls. Somewhat dimmer than Venus is the bright planet Jupiter, seen in the Southeast as it gets dark.

Last Quarter of June (Jun 23-30)

Local sunrises are 5:49 a.m. with sunsets about 8:47 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts almost 15 hours. The latest sunrises of the year are at 8:47 p.m. which occur from June 24 through July 3. On the evening of June 23, the moon appears above the bright planet Jupiter. On June 25 the moon appears above the bright pinkish star Antares. On June 27, the planet Saturn is closest to the Earth for the year at a distance of 842 million miles or 75 light minutes. Saturn will then be rising in the East Southeast about sunset and shining all through the night. The ringed planet will be best seen in the early morning hours. Late that evening of the 27th, Saturn will appear South of the full moon.

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Associate Professor of Physics

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Phone: 301.687.4339
Office: Gira CCIT 189

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Frostburg, MD 21532-2303

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