Venus and Mars highlight the early evening sky as they draw closer together throughout the month. Both pay a call on M44, the sparkly Beehive Cluster, although you really need binoculars to see many of its stars buzzing around the brighter planets. Scorpius clatters into full view in the southsoutheast at twilight’s end by the end of the month, with Sagittarius following it into view a little later.
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In the Sky This Month
June 10: Dubhe
The Big Dipper is in the northwest at nightfall. The star at the bottom of the dipper is Dubhe, which marks the lip of the bowl. Dubhe actually consists of two pairs of stars. The members of one pair are both much bigger, brighter, and more massive than the Sun.
June 11: Venus and the Beehive
Venus is moving past a “beehive” of stars over the next few nights. The Evening Star will pass close to the outskirts of the hive, which is the star cluster Messier 44, in Cancer, the crab. When viewed through a telescope, M44 looks like a swarm of angry bees.
June 12: Vanishing Twins
Pollux and Castor, the twins of Gemini, are getting ready to vanish in the evening twilight. They stand side by side in the western sky as night falls like a pair of celestial eyes, with Pollux to the left. They’ll disappear from view by month’s end.
June 13: Argonauts
Hercules and Ophiuchus are in the east this evening. Hercules is named for the Greek hero, while Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer, is named for the mythological founder of Greek medicine. Both joined Jason aboard the Argo in search of the golden fleece.
June 14: Messier 5
The star cluster Messier 5 stands far to the lower left of Arcturus, a bright yellow-orange star that’s high in the south in early evening. Through binoculars, M5 looks like a fuzzy star. Small telescopes reveal some of its individual stars.
June 15: Leaping Gazelle
In western culture, the stars of the Big Dipper and those around it form the great bear, Ursa Major. The dipper is his body and tail, and three faint pairs of stars are his feet. In ancient Arabia, those stars represented the leaps of a gazelle.
June 16: New Moon
The Moon will be new tomorrow night as it crosses between Earth and Sun, beginning a new cycle of phases. It will be lost from sight in the Sun’s glare, but will return to view Monday as a thin crescent quite low in the western sky shortly after sunset.
Full June 3, 10:42 pm
Last June 10, 2:31 pm
New June 17, 11:37 pm
First June 26, 2:50 pm
Times are U.S. Central Time.
Perigee June 6
Apogee June 22
The full Moon of June is known as the Flower Moon, Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon, or Honey Moon.