The Sky This Month – June 2012
Posted by Brian Ventrudo
The big show this month is surely the transit of Venus, the apparent passage of the planet across the solar disk. Visible on June 5-6, this awe-inspiring sight is the last transit of Venus until 2117. So get out and see it if you can (using a safe solar filter, of course). Also much of the world can see a partial lunar eclipse, Saturn still glows brightly near the star Spica in Virgo, and summer/winter begins in the northern/southern hemisphere.
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4 June. Full Moon, 11:12 UT. The Moon also undergoes a partial eclipse from 10:00 UT to 12:07 UT. The eclipse is visible in the Americas (except for eastern North America), the Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand), and east Asia. In the Americas, the eclipse is visible at moonset. No eclipse is visible in Europe or Africa. At its peak, about 38% of the Moon’s disk will be darkened. See map below for visibility…
5-6 June. The planet Venus transits the face of the Sun. This is the last transit of Venus for 105 years. The disk of Venus first contacts the solar disk within 2 minutes of 22:05 UT, and its full ingress occurs about 18 minutes later. The transit lasts for about six and a half hours. As seen from Earth, the dark disk of Venus spans about 3% of the solar disk. To learn more about the transit and where and how to see it, click here…
11 June. Last quarter Moon, 10:41 UT
15-30 June. While Venus is now lost from the sky after sunset, Mercury takes it’s place for the latter half of June. Look for the small planet nearly 10 degrees above the west-northwestern horizon about half an hour after sunset.
16 June. In the predawn hours, the planet Jupiter, the waning crescent Moon, and the Pleiades star cluster from an elongated triangle.
19 June. New Moon, 15:02 UT.
20 June. Summer at last in the northern hemisphere! And winter in the south. The Sun reaches its most northerly point on the ecliptic at 23:09 (UT).
27 June. The planet Mars, which finally left the constellation Leo and enters the constellation Virgo on June 20, lies just 1/4 degree from the star Zavijava (beta Virginis)… see below.
27 June. The waxing crescent Moon passes below the bright star Spica and the planet Saturn, the two of which as just 5 degrees apart for most of June and July.
27 June. First quarter Moon, 3:30 UT.