WHAT’S UP IN THE SKY THIS JUNE 2018?

WHAT’S UP IN THE SKY THIS JUNE 2018?

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The very hot summer season in the UAE is indeed approaching. Wondering what’s going to be up at the sky for the new month? The following is a list of astronomical events for June 2018. All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time.

June 1, 2018: Moon – Saturn Close Approach

The bright Waning Gibbous Moon and the ringed planet Saturn will appear close to each other in the sky on the early morning hours of these days. The two celestial objects will be separated about 2.14°of each other in the night sky. The conjunction will be seen at the east-southeastern horizon from midnight up to sunrise of June 1. Both celestial objects will be situated in the constellation Sagittarius (the archer). Saturn would look like a yellow-orange “star” respectively. Also spotted to the southwest of the two objects is the red planet Mars and the red supergiant star Antares (in Scorpio) to the northeast.

Moon-Saturn Conjunction on June 1, 2018, at around 12 AM (not to scale) (Graphic Courtesy of Stellarium)

June 4, 2018: Moon-Mars Close Approach

The red planet Mars and the bright Waning Gibbous Moon will appear close to each other in the sky on the early morning hours of these days. The two will be separated about 7.1° in the night sky. The close approach will be seen at the east-southeastern horizon from 8:30 PM until sunrise of the following day. Both celestial objects will be situated in the constellation Capricornus (the goat). Mars would look like a fairly bright red-orange “star”. Also visible northeast of the two is Saturn which will appear as yellow-orange “star”.

Moon-Mars Close Approach on June 4, 2018, at around 1 AM (not to scale) (Graphic Courtesy of Stellarium)

June 13, 2018: New Moon

On this day, the moon will not be visible as it will be situated at the same side of the Earth as the Sun, in the constellation of Taurus (the bull). With no moonlight glaring much of the night sky, this is the best time to observe the deep sky objects throughout the night. It is predicted that the lunar phase will occur on this day. However, the month transition from Ramadan to Shawwal is expected to take place two days after (June 15) in accordance with the Hijri Calendar 1439.

June 16, 2018: Moon-Venus Conjunction

The Moon and the “evening star” Venus will appear close to each other in the sky on the early evening hours of this day. Sharing about the same right ascension, the conjunction will be seen at the western horizon from around 7:45 PM, right after sunset, until the two set at about 8:45 PM. These celestial objects will be situated in the known constellation Cancer (the crab). The Waxing Crescent Moon will be about 2.89° west of Venus. With an apparent magnitude of -4, Venus would look like a well-distinguished brilliant white “star”.

Moon-Venus Close Approach on June 16, 2018, at around 7:45 PM (not to scale) (Graphic Courtesy of Stellarium)

June 21, 2018 – June (Summer) Solstice

On this day, the Earth’s North Pole will be tilted towards the Sun. Astronomers mark this day as the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be also the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, experiencing more than 12 hours of daytime and less nighttime hours, and the direct opposite occurs in the Southern Hemisphere. The Sun will rise and set at the northernmost point in the sky, traveling a much longer path. Areas situated at or near the Tropic of Cancer (about 23.5° north latitude) will receive direct sunlight in which the Sun will be directly overhead at noontime. Note that it will NOT be the hottest day of the year due to several factors. The June solstice will take place at 10:07 AM UTC (2:07 PM UAE local time. Sunrise will occur at 5:33 AM and set at 7:12 PM local time in the UAE.

How the Sun moves during summer period. The Sun rises north of east and sets north of west; travelled the longest distance across the sky (Graphics Credit: Stellarium)

June 23, 2018: Moon – Jupiter Close Approach

The Moon and the largest planet Jupiter will appear close to each other in the sky throughout the night of this day. It will be seen at the southern part of the sky right after sunset (about 7:30 PM) until 2:15 AM of the following day. These celestial objects will be situated in the faint constellation Libra (the scales). The Waxing Gibbous Moon will be about 4.37° south of Jupiter. Jupiter would look like a bright white “star”.

Moon-Jupiter Close Approach on April 4, 2018, at around 12:30 AM (not to scale) (Graphic Courtesy of Stellarium)

June 27, 2018 – Saturn in Opposition

By night time of this day, planet Saturn will be in opposition. This simply means that the ring planet will appear at its brightest as seen from the sky. Saturn will be situated directly opposite of the Sun in the sky, which would give it further illumination. With an apparent magnitude of +0.02, it can be seen through the naked eye. Using a telescope, you can see the yellowish-orange planet, its gorgeous rings and some of its Moon, especially Titan which will look like a tiny bright dot. The planet will be visible all night round in the constellation of Sagittarius (the archer); right after sunset starting at around 7:45PM after the twilight fades; positioned about 7° above the east-southeastern horizon, reaches its highest point around 43° above the southern horizon at midnight of June 28, 2018, until sunrise (around 5:15 AM) when it completely sets. The bright almost Full Moon will glare out much of the reflected of Saturn but it will remain visible.

Saturn and its Moons in Opposition taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last June 15, 2017

June 27, 2018: Moon – Saturn Close Approach

On the same night of June 27, the bright almost Full Moon and the ringed planet Saturn will appear close to each other in the sky on the early morning hours of these days. The two will share the same right ascension and will be separated about 5.38° from each other in the night sky. The conjunction will be seen at the east-southeastern horizon right after sunset up to sunrise of the next day (June 28). Both celestial objects will be situated in the constellation Sagittarius (the archer). Saturn would look like a yellow-orange “star” respectively.

Moon-Saturn Conjunction on June 27, 2018, at around 1 AM (not to scale) (Graphic Courtesy of Stellarium)

June 28, 2018: Full Moon

Situated on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun, the moon will be fully illuminated (100%) on this day. For selenophiles (people who love the moon), this is the best time to observe all the surface features of this celestial object, including the craters and maria. It will start appearing at around 7 PM (at the eastern horizon) as it rises, and can be seen throughout the night until sunrise positioned in the constellation of Sagittarius (the archer). Because of its full illumination during this phase, it will not be a good time for deep-sky observation with the entire moonlight glaring out most of the faint celestial objects.

Full Moon taken from Al Sadeem Observatory last May 29, 2018 courtesy of Thabet Al Qaissieh

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In the UAE and other regions in the Northern Hemisphere, June is the month when the hot summer in the UAE is about to begin. Solar system planets are starting to show up earlier at night. The “morning/evening star” Venus can be seen in the western portion of the sky few moments after sunset. Planet Jupiter will be visible right after sunset until about 4 AM, while Mars and Saturn will be seen starting in the late evening hours (starting from 11 PM) until sunrise. The rest, Mercury, Uranus, and Neptune, are not visible in the sky this month because they are placed near the Sun in the sky.

Under clear, moonless, and extremely dark skies, several deep-skies objects such as nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies can be seen through binoculars, cameras with wide-angle or zoom lens and more preferably, bigger telescopes. The prominent ones include some galaxy clusters in Virgo early at night, the Eagle Nebula in Sagittarius, and the Milky Way Galaxy to be seen at the late evening or early morning hours.

Sunrise occurrences range between 5:33 AM and 5:37 AM while sunsets shall happen between 7:06 PM and as late as 7:15 PM.

Have a warm, and enjoyable June, everyone! Clear skies!

 

    

The Eagle Nebula (M16), the Gumball Cluster (M12), Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn taken by Aldrin B. Gabuya from Al Sadeem Observatory; the Milky Way Galaxy taken by Thabet Al Qaissieh

 

References

Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events 2018. (n.d.). Retrieved from Sea and Sky: www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2018.html

Calendar of Astronomical Events. (n.d.). Retrieved from In-The-Sky.org: http://in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?year=2018&month=1&maxdiff=6 #datesel

Islamic calendar 2018. (n.d.). Retrieved from Calendar.sk: https://calendar.zoznam.sk/islamic_calendar-en.php?ly=2018

Sunrise and sunset times in Abu Dhabi, June 2018. (n.d.). Retrieved from timeanddate.com: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/united-arab-emirates/abu-dhabi?month=6&year=2018

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