Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 47

This means the planet is moderately
high in the southeast when morning
twilight begins to brighten the sky.
Mars increases from magnitude 0.0
to -0.5 during June - its tiger-colored
fire crossing from Aquarius to Pisces
on the 24th. The planet reaches west
quadrature (90° west of the Sun) on
the 6th, so its gibbous disk will show
a strong shadowed edge in telescopes
this month. Mars's apparent diameter
increases from 9.3″ to 11.4″ in June, the
size at which it begins to show significant surface detail in medium-size
instruments when seeing conditions
are particularly steady.
Neptune glows at magnitude 7.9
just 1.6° northwest of Mars on the
morning of June 13th, with the Moon
just a few degrees east of the Red
Planet. Uranus rises two hours later
than Neptune but shines a full two
magnitudes brighter.

DAWN
Venus technically doesn't exit the
evening sky until it comes to inferior
conjunction with the Sun at 18h UT on
June 3rd. Venus slips through the plane
of Earth's orbit almost exactly two days
after that date, so instead of transiting
the solar disk (as it did in 2004 and
2012), it passes just half a solar diameter north of the Sun. The following
weeks find Venus lofting steadily higher

December
solstice

Uranus

Jupiter

Neptune

Venus
Earth

June
solstice

Mars

ORBITS OF THE PLANETS
The curved arrows show each planet's movement during June. The outer planets don't change
position enough in a month to notice at this scale.

in morning twilight and brightening
rapidly as its phase waxes from "new"
to a thin crescent. On the 12th Venus
rises about 45 minutes before the Sun,
shines at magnitude -4.1, and features
a disk that's 55″ wide and roughly 3%
illuminated. By the 20th, the planet
rises 80 minutes before the Sun, shines
at -4.5, and has a 51″-diameter disk
that's 9% illuminated. Venus ends the
month clearing the east-northeastern
horizon 2 hours before sunrise in a sky
dark enough to appreciate it gleaming
on the edge of the Hyades, in Taurus.
By then the new morning star has
brightened to magnitude -4.7, with a
44″-wide disk 18% illuminated.

Dawn, June 27

30 minutes after sunset

45 minutes before sunrise

Moon
June 23

Pleiades

Castor
Venus

Moon
June 22
Aldebaran

Looking West-Northwest

Sun

Mercury

Saturn

Dusk, June 22 - 23

Pollux

Sept.
equinox

March
equinox

Looking East-Northeast

SUN AND MOON
The Sun reaches the June solstice at
5:44 p.m. EDT on the 20th, ushering
in summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in t he Southern
Hemisphere. One day later, an annular
eclipse of the Sun is visible across parts
of Africa, Asia, and the western Pacific
(see page 50 for details).
Observers in Europe, Africa, Asia,
and Australia have an opportunity
to watch the Moon undergo a weak
penumbral lunar eclipse on June 5th. At
dawn on the 8th, the waning gibbous
Moon marks the westernmost point of
a gentle curve with Jupiter and Saturn
equally spaced along it. On the following morning the Moon has shifted position and now holds down the eastern
end of that curve.
A spectacular close conjunction of
the thin lunar crescent and Venus is
visible low in the east-northeast around
30 minutes before sunrise on the morning of the 19th (the event is an occultation in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere
- see page 49 for more). After the new
Moon, the waxing lunar crescent reappears at dusk, and on the 22nd it's positioned below and to the left of Pollux
and Castor, low in the west-northwest
during twilight.
¢ FRED SCHAAF teaches astronomy
at both Rowan University and Rowan
College in Gloucester County, southern
New Jersey.
sk yandtelescope.org * JUNE 2 02 0

47


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Sky & Telescope - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - June 2020

Contents
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 1
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 3
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