You are here

In the Sky This Month

June offers warm nights for watching the sky but a limited amount of time to enjoy the view, with the longest days and shortest nights of the year. Even so, there is plenty to look at, with Leo diving toward the western horizon in early evening and the Summer Triangle climbing into view in the east. The triangle’s leading light, Vega, is the second-brightest star visible from most of the United States on summer evenings, only a fraction fainter than Arcturus, which is high in the south at nightfall.

June 25: Summer Triangle

The Summer Triangle is in good view at nightfall. Its brightest point is Vega, in Lyra, the harp, which is high in the east-northeast. The faintest point, Deneb, is well to the lower left of Vega, with Altair farther to the lower right of Vega.

June 26: June Milky Way

About an hour after nightfall, the Milky Way curves from the northeast to the south-southeast. In the northeast, look for cross-shaped Cygnus immersed in the Milky Way’s glow. And in the south, look for the scorpion and Sagittarius, the archer.

June 27: Moon and Regulus

The star Regulus perches just a whisker away from the crescent Moon this evening. It’s the leading light of Leo, the lion. The name Regulus means “the little king.” The star is also known as Alpha Leonis, 32 Leo, and more than a dozen other names.

June 28: Sagittarius Rising

Sagittarius climbs low across the southern sky on summer nights. Its brightest stars form the shape of a teapot, which clears the southeastern horizon a couple of hours after sunset. The center of the Milky Way galaxy is above the teapot’s spout.

June 29: Future Fireworks

Cygnus, the swan, soars across the east at nightfall. One of its stars may explode around 2022. The system’s two stars are spiraling closer together. They should merge, causing an outburst that will make the system one of the brightest in the night sky.

June 30: Moon and Jupiter

The Moon has a big companion tonight, the planet Jupiter. It looks like a brilliant star quite close to the left of the Moon. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system — about 11 times the diameter of Earth.

July 1: Moon and Companions

The Moon is in the southwest as night falls this evening, with two bright companions. The star Spica stands below the Moon, with the brilliant planet Jupiter a little farther to the right or lower right of the Moon.

Current moon phase

First QuarterFirst June 1, 7:42 am

Full MoonFull June 9, 8:10 am

Last quarterLast June 17, 6:33 am

New MoonNew June 23, 9:31 pm

First QuarterFirst June 30, 7:51 pm

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Apogee June 8

Perigee June 23

The full Moon of June is known as the Flower Moon, Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon, or Honey Moon.