Some daily events in the changing sky for June 15 – 23.
Friday, June 15
Saturday, June 16
Sunday, June 17
Monday, June 18
Tuesday, June 19
Wednesday, June 20
Thursday, June 21
Friday, June 22
Saturday, June 23
Want to become a better amateur astronomer? Learn your way around the constellations. They're the key to locating everything fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope. For an easy-to-use constellation guide covering the whole evening sky, use the big monthly foldout map in each issue of Sky & Telescope, the essential magazine of astronomy. Or download our free Getting Started in Astronomy booklet (which only has bimonthly maps).
Once you get a telescope, to put it to good use you'll need a detailed, large-scale sky atlas (set of maps; the standard is Sky Atlas 2000.0) and good deep-sky guidebooks (such as Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion or the enchanting though dated Burnham's Celestial Handbook). Read here how to use them most effectively.
More beginners' tips: "How to Start Right in Astronomy".
This Week's Planet Roundup
Mercury is lost in the sunset.
Venus (magnitude –4.5, in Cancer) is the brilliant "Evening Star" in the west during and after twilight. After standing high in the dusk all spring, Venus is getting a little lower. To its upper left, Saturn and Regulus are closing in on it.
Mars (magnitude +0.8, in Pisces) is gradually getting higher in the east before dawn. It's the orange-yellow dot far below the Great Square of Pegasus.
Jupiter (magnitude –2.5, in southern Ophiuchus) was at opposition on June 5th. It glares in the southeast at dusk and dominates the south by 11 or midnight daylight saving time. Antares, less bright, sparkles 6° to Jupiter's lower right. The two will be evening companions all summer.
Saturn (magnitude +0.6, in Leo) is in the west during evening, closing in on dazzling Venus from the upper left. The gap between the two shrinks from 11° to just 5° this week. Venus and Saturn are on their way to a close conjunction at the end of June.
Regulus, less bright at magnitude +1.4, is 8° or 9° to Saturn's upper left. And look north (upper right) of Regulus by 8° for the 2nd-magnitude star Algieba (Gamma Leonis), a fine telescopic double star.
Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Aquarius) and Neptune (magnitude 7.9, in Capricornus) are well up in the southeast and south, respectively, before the first light of dawn.
Pluto (magnitude 13.9, in the northwestern corner of Sagittarius) is not far from Jupiter in the south late at night. Finder charts for Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are in the July Sky & Telescope, page 60.
All descriptions that relate to your horizon — including the words up, down, right, and left — are written for the world's midnorthern latitudes. Descriptions that also depend on longitude (mainly Moon positions) are for North America. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) equals Universal Time (UT, UTC, or GMT) minus 4 hours.
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