Some daily events in the changing sky for June 1 – 9.
Friday, June 1
Saturday, June 2
Sunday, June 3
Monday, June 4
Tuesday, June 5
Wednesday, June 6
Thursday, June 7
Friday, June 8
Saturday, June 9
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 (in the feet of Gemini) remains relatively high in evening twilight, but it's fading — from magnitude +0.4 on June 1st to +1.2 on June 9th. Look for it far to the lower right of Venus, as shown at the top of this page.
Venus (magnitude –4.4, crossing from Gemini into Cancer) is the brilliant "Evening Star" in the west during and after twilight. After standing high in twilight all spring, Venus is getting a little lower again. Pollux and Castor, much fainter, are lined up to its right early in the week. They slide away to the lower right thereafter. A telescope shows that Venus is now half-lit.
Mars (magnitude +0.8, in Pisces) is gradually getting higher in the east before and during dawn. It's the orange-yellow dot below the Great Square of Pegasus. In a telescope, Mars is still a minuscule 6 arcseconds wide.
Jupiter (magnitude –2.6, in southern Ophiuchus) is at opposition on June 5th. It glares low in the east-southeast at dusk and dominates the south by 1 a.m. daylight saving time. Antares, less bright, sparkles 7° to its right in early evening, and to its lower right later.
Saturn (magnitude +0.5, in Leo) shines in the west during evening, upper left of dazzling Venus (by 23° to 16° this week). Watch these two closing in on each other, heading for a close conjunction at the end of June.
Regulus, less bright at magnitude +1.4, is 10° 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 binary.
Uranus (magnitude 6, in Aquarius) and Neptune (magnitude 8, in Capricornus) are well up in the east-southeast before the first light of dawn.
Pluto (magnitude 14, in northwestern 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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