June Moon & Planet data for 2013

Phases of the moon (times as shown by guide)

Last quarter:  June  1 at  6.58 am NZST (May 31, 18:58 UT)
New moon:      June  9 at  3.57 pm NZST (Jun  8, 15:57 UT)
First quarter: June 17 at  5.24 am NZST (Jun 16, 17:24 UT)
Full moon:     June 23 at 11.32 pm NZST (11:32 UT)
Last quarter   June 30 at  4.54 pm NZST (04:54 UT)

Southern winter solstice: June 21st, 5.05 pm NZST

The planets in June

Saturn is easily visible all evening throughout June. Venus will be briefly visible after sunset very low to the northwest. Mercury is near Venus throughout June. On the 1st Jupiter is close to Venus but even lower. It disappears after a night or two to be in conjunction with the Sun on June 19 and is virtually unobservable.

In the morning sky Mars will rise a little before the Sun but be very low.

Planetary conjunction

The last of a series of conjunctions occurs on June 21 when Mercury will be 2° to the upper left of Venus. The two will be low in the twilit evening sky almost round to the northwest from west. Mercury will be at magnitude 1.4, so Venus will act as a marker to locate the fainter planet.

Planets in the evening sky: Venus and Mercury, Saturn.

VENUS will be low in the evening sky at sunset but should be easily visible some 30 minutes later. It sets about an hour after the Sun on the 1st when it will be only 4° up half an hour after sundown. By the 30th it will set nearly 2 hours after the Sun. With an altitude of 12° half an hour after sunset it will be an easy find.

On the 1st, Venus will be the middle planet of a line of three. Jupiter will be 3.5° to its lower left but very low. Mercury will be on the opposite side of Venus, 4° away to its upper right. Given a low horizon, this grouping may be a last chance to spot Jupiter, in binoculars, before it is at conjunction with the Sun on the 19th.

The moon, as a very thin crescent only 2% lit, will be 5° to the left of, and very slightly higher than, Venus on the 10th. Mercury will 9° to the moon’s right. The following evening, the moon now nearly 6% lit and a little more obvious, will be 6° above Mercury and 9° from Venus.

MERCURY starts June as a reasonably bright object in the evening sky setting some 80 minutes after the Sun. For the first part of the month it gets a little higher in the evening sky, keeping a similar distance ahead of Venus, but Mercury fades a little. The planet reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun on the 12th when it will be 24° to the east of our star.

In the days that follow Venus, still moving away from the Sun, soon catches up with Mercury. The two are in conjunction on the 21st, when Mercury will be 2° to the upper left of Venus, but a good 5 magnitudes fainter. Binoculars will probably be needed to spot Mercury in the evening twilight. Locate Venus first!

By the end of June, Mercury will be 11° to the lower left of Venus. At magnitude 2.9 it is likely to be difficult to find.

SATURN is an easy evening object all month. On the 1st it transits, when it is due north and at its highest, around 10pm, by the 30th at 8pm. The planet is well south of the. celestial equator meaning it is quite high in NZ skies, nearly 60° up at its highest. The star Spica, will be about 12° to the left or lower left of Saturn throughout June, with the planet nearly a magnitude brighter.

The 78% lit moon will be 5° to the left of Saturn on the evening of June 19.

Mars in the morning sky

MARS is the only planet in the morning sky but not likely to be visible. It rises 50 minutes before the Sun on the 1st and just over 70 minutes before it on the 30th. At the latter date by the time Mars is 5° up, the Sun will be less than 7° below the horizon in a similar direction. As a result and with a magnitude 1.5, Mars is not likely to be visible to the eye.

Outer planets

URANUS rises about 2.30 am at the beginning of June and nearly two hours earlier by the end of the month. It will be in Pisces near a corner of Cetus at magnitude 5.9.

NEPTUNE rises 3 hours before Uranus, shortly before midnight at the beginning of June. The planet is currently in Aquarius with a magnitude 7.9 during June.

Brighter asteroids

Both (1) Ceres, magnitude 8.8, and (4) Vesta, magnitude 8.4, start June in Gemini. Ceres moves into Cancer mid month. They will then set nearly two and a half hours after the Sun, Ceres 10 minutes after Vesta.

On the 1st Vesta will be some 17° to the upper right of Venus and 10° left of Pollux, beta Gem, mag 1.2. Ceres will be 2.5° to the left of the star. By June 7th, Ceres will be at its closest to Pollux, just over half a degree to its upper left.

Venus moves up to pass Vesta later in June. On the 22nd, Vesta will be less than half a degree to the right of Venus, the following night it will be a similar distance below Venus.

By the end of June Vesta will set just over 80 minutes after the Sun, while Vesta sets 100 minutes after.

-- Brian Loader

Diary of events in June

The follwing table lists various solar system object events during June. A list of astronomical terms used in may be found after the table.

June 3 Uranus 3.7 degrees south of the Moon
June 7 Mars 1.8 degrees north of the Moon
Neptune stationary
Aldebaran 3.4 degrees south of the Moon
June 8 Moon new
Moon northern most declination (20.2 degrees)
June 9 Jupiter 3.0 degrees north of the Moon
Moon at apogee
June 10 Venus 5.2 degrees north of the Moon
Mercury 5.8 degrees north of the Moon
June 12 Mercury greatest elong E(24)
June 14 Mars 5.7 degrees north of Aldebaran
Regulus 5.5 degrees north of the Moon
June 16 Moon first quarter
June 18 Spica 0.2 degrees south of the Moon Occn
June 19 Saturn 3.4 degrees north of the Moon
Jupiter at conjunction
June 20 Mercury 2.0 degrees south of Venus
June 21 Solstice
June 22 Venus 5.2 degrees south of Pollux
Moon southern most declination (-20.2 degrees)
June 23 Moon full
Moon at perigee
June 24 Pluto 0.9 degrees south of the Moon Occn
June 25 Mercury stationary
June 27 Neptune 5.5 degrees south of the Moon
June 30 Moon last quarter
Uranus 3.5 degrees south of the Moon
  • apogee: Furtherest point in the orbit of a body orbiting the Earth
  • conjunction: Two astronomical objects are 'lined up' (have the same right ascension) when viewed from Earth
  • declination: 'Latitude' for celestial objects. The distance in degress above (north) or below (south) the celestial equator.
  • perigee: Nearest point in the orbit of a body orbiting the Earth