BACKYARD STARGAZER: June gives amazing views
By Francis Parnell
At dusk in June, Venus and Mars provide some eye-catching sights. Look west-northwest one hour after sunset on the 2nd, to see dazzling Venus about 6 degrees to the left of Pollux, with Pollux about 5 degrees left of Castor. Red Mars is about 10 degrees upper left of Venus.
One hour after sunset on the 3rd, look southeast to spot the Full Strawberry Moon rising with Antares, the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion, only 3 degrees upper right.
One hour before sunrise on the 14th, the waning crescent Moon and Jupiter rise together with Jupiter 2 degrees right of the Moon.
At 10:58 a.m. on the 21st, the Sun is at the Solstice, its highest point in our sky, and Summer begins in the northern hemisphere. At dusk on the 21st, the Moon, Venus, and Mars form a right triangle. Find red Mars 5 degrees left of the thin lunar crescent with Venus 3 degrees lower left of the Moon. A great sight in binoculars!
On the 27th at dusk, look south-southwest to see the Moon, one day past first quarter, about 3 degrees upper left of Spica, the brightest star in Virgo.
After sunset on the 28th, face west to observe Mars and Venus within 3.5 degrees of each other.
Look south after sunset on the 30th to see the waxing gibbous Moon about 2.5 degrees right of Antares, the Scorpion’s heart.
FAST FACT: Two million asteroids are circling the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres, the largest at 590 miles in diameter and spherical, was raised to dwarf planet status a few years ago. At 2,159 miles in diameter, the Moon could be considered the largest dwarf planet. We’re basically part of a double planet system! “Keep looking up!”