June Moon & Planet data for 2014

The Solar System in June 2014

All dates and times are NZST (UT +12 hours) unless otherwise specified. Rise and set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ.

The Sun rises at 7.34 am and sets at 5.02 pm on June 1. On June 30 the times are 7.45 am and 5.03 pm respectively.

The Southern winter solstice is on June 21, with the Sun at its furthest north at 10.52 pm. For Wellington, earliest sunsets are a few seconds after 5.00 pm for a few days near June 14; latest sunrises are a few seconds after 7:45 am for a few days near June 28.

Phases of the Moon (times as shown by guide)

First quarter: June  6 at  8.39 am (June 5,  20:39 UT)
Full moon:     June 13 at  4.11 pm (         04:11 UT)
Last quarter   June 20 at  6.39 am (June 19, 18:39 UT)
New moon:      June 27 at  8.09 pm (         08:09 UT)

The Planets in June

Mercury will be difficult to see at any time in June. In the evening Jupiter gets low to set fairly soon after sunset, Mars and Saturn are visible all evening. Venus remains a brilliant morning "star" but gets a little lower during the month.

MERCURY sets some 80 minutes after the Sun at the beginning of June. It will be at magnitude 1.4. 45 minutes after the Sun sets Mercury will be only 4.5° above the horizon. With the Sun 8.7° below the horizon the sky will be bright in the direction of the planet, making it a very difficult object.

Over the following evenings Mercury will get even lower especially after it is stationary on June 7. This leads up to the planet being at inferior conjunction between the Earth and Sun on the morning of June 20. At conjunction Mercury will be 82.9 million km, 0.554 AU, from the Earth and 0.464 AU from the Sun.

Following conjunction Mercury will become a morning object rising before the Sun. By the end of the month, 45 minutes before sunrise, the planet will be only 4.2° up with a magnitude 2.7, so not visible

VENUS, in the morning sky, will rise just over 3 hours before the Sun on the 1st dropping to just over 2 hours before it on the 30th. Thus it will get a little lower, but remain a prominent object to the northeast in the dawn sky.

Towards the end of June, Venus will be in Taurus and move to be between the Pleiades and Aldebaran at the end of the month. On the morning of the 27th the Pleiades and Venus will ruse at the same time, with the star cluster 7° to the left of the planet.

On the morning of the 25th a very thin crescent moon, 6% lit, will be 3.5° to the right of Venus, with the moon slightly lower.

MARS remains a bright object in the evening sky throughout June. It will lose brightness a little, dimming from magnitude -0.5 to 0.0 during the month. It sets just before 3 am on the 1st and by 1.25 am on the 30th. It is in Virgo, by the end of June just over 6° from Spica.

The 73% lit moon will be about 3.5° to the right of Mars early in the evening of June 8. During the evening their separation will slowly increase as the moon moves towards Spica. The moon is closer to Spica the following night.

The two asteroids Ceres and Vesta will be near Mars all month, some 12° from the Planet on the 1st and 9° away on the 30th.

JUPITER gets low in the early evening sky during June. It sets 170 minutes after the Sun on the 1st, half this, 85 minutes later on the 30th. Hence by then it will be very low once the sky begins to darken following sunset.

Jupiter remains in Gemini during June, about 7° from Pollux which will be lower than the planet.

The moon passes Jupiter twice during June. On the 1st the crescent moon, 11% lit will be just under 5° to the upper left of Jupiter early evening. On the 29th the moon and Jupiter are closest about 1pm. At 6 pm the moon as a very thin crescent only 3% lit, will be again be 5° from the planet, and again to its upper left. At 6pm Jupiter will be only 4° up as seen from Wellington.

SATURN will be a prominent object throughout the evening. It transits and so is to the north and at its highest a few minutes before 11 pm on the 1st, advancing to 2 hours earlier by the 30th. The planet will be in Libra, between the two brightest stars of the constellation. By the 30th the 3 will almost be in line.

The 90% lit moon will be 5° from Saturn on the evening of June 10. They are only half this distance apart before Saturn and moon set about 5am the following morning.

This month's occultation of Saturn by the moon is mostly over the southern Indian Ocean and parts of the Antarctic. Early on the northern edge of the occultation path crosses southern parts of Namibia and South Africa. Towards its end the extreme northern edge touches the southeast corner of Western Australia, with a graze well south of Perth. By then the moon will be very low and close to setting.

OUTER PLANETS Uranus rises shortly before 3 am on June 1st and just after 1 am on the 30th. Thus it remains a morning object. The planet is in Pisces with a magnitude ranging from 5.9 to 5.8 during the month.

Neptune rises 20 minutes before midnight on the 1st and nearly 2 hours earlier by the 30th. The planet is in Aquarius with a magnitude 7.9

BRIGHTER ASTEROIDS: (1) Ceres and (4) Vesta get even closer during June. On the 1st they are about 2° apart, by the 30th the separation will drop to only 25', less than the diameter of the full moon. This presents an unusual opportunity to view two asteroids in the same binocular field. Vesta'a magnitude ranges from 6.6 to 7.0 during June, Ceres's 7.8 to 8.4.

The two asteroids are also close to Mars, all three being in Virgo. On the 1st the two asteroids will be some 12° to the right of Mars, by the 30th they will about 9° to its right. Spica will then be about 6° above Mars as seen late evening.

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 1 Jupiter 5.4 degrees north of the Moon
June 3 Moon at apogee
June 4 Regulus 4.8 degrees north of the Moon
June 5 Moon first quarter
June 7 Mercury stationary
Mars 1.5 degrees north of the Moon
June 8 Spica 1.8 degrees south of the Moon
June 10 Neptune stationary
Saturn 0.6 degrees north of the Moon Occn
June 13 Moon full
Moon southern most declination (-19.0 degrees)
June 14 Pluto 2.2 degrees south of the Moon
June 15 Moon at perigee
June 18 Neptune 4.6 degrees south of the Moon
June 19 Moon last quarter
Mercury inferior conjunction
June 21 Uranus 1.6 degrees south of the Moon
June 24 Venus 1.3 degrees north of the Moon
June 25 Aldebaran 1.9 degrees south of the Moon
June 26 Moon northern most declination (19.0 degrees)
Mercury 0.3 degrees south of the Moon Occn
June 27 Moon new
June 29 Jupiter 5.4 degrees north of the Moon
June 30 Moon at apogee
  • apogee: Furtherest point in the orbit of a body orbiting the Earth
  • declination: 'Latitude' for celestial objects. The distance in degress above (north) or below (south) the celestial equator.
  • inferior conjunction: Conjunction where a solar system object is between the Earth and the Sun
  • perigee: Nearest point in the orbit of a body orbiting the Earth