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 6: Vega
One of the most brilliant stars is a dominant presence from late spring through autumn. Vega is the fifth-brightest star in the night sky. It is about a third of the way up in the east-northeast at nightfall now, and climbs high overhead later on.
June 7: Menkent
Centaurus wheels low across the south on June nights. Much of the constellation stays below the horizon. The brightest star in Centaurus that’s visible from most of the United States is Menkent, a name that means “shoulder of the centaur.”
June 8: Moon and Saturn
The planet Saturn appears near the Moon in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. It stands to the upper left of the Moon at first light, and looks like a bright golden star.
June 9: More Moon and Saturn
Saturn, the second-largest planet in the solar system, will stand close to the upper right of the Moon at dawn tomorrow. The planet looks like a bright star. Its brightness is enhanced by its icy rings, which reflect most of the sunlight that strikes them.
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.
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.