Popular planets drift across the June night skies: bright Jupiter escorts Leo the Lion west of Zenith. Four closest satellite moons ( Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) dance around the storm-striped planet. Telescopes may reveal a tiny black shadow `dot' following a sunlit moon drifting across the huge colorful expanse of Jupiter's landscape Early June Jupiter sets in the west by 2 a.m. Fiery Mars leads huge Scorpius higher in the southeast at dusk. Telescopes now reveal the white polar cap and dark canyons etched into the ruddy sand of the martian landscape. Mars made its closest encounter to Earth in 11 years end of May by 46.8 million miles but begins to fade end of this month on its 2 1/2 yearly visit.
Silver Saturn takes center stage June 2nd when it rises in the east opposite the sun. It will be brightest and visible all night, following Mars to the western horizon by dawn. The sunlit icy rings around Saturn are spectacular viewed in telescopes.
02-Saturn closest to Earth and brightest this month. Titan, largest Saturnian moon, is often visible during its 16-day orbit around the planet.
04-New Moon occurs 11 p.m.
07- The crescent moon floats near the Beehive cluster and the Gemini Twins. Binoculars reveal Earthshine on the moon.
Procyon, Orion's Little Dog, snoozes on the western horizon.
20- SUMMER SOLSTICE occurs 6:34 p.m. The sun reaches its northernmost point from the Equator. Days are longest and nights shortest when the sun is on the latitude Tropic of Cancer that crosses the Caribbean. The Full Moon rises in the southeast at dusk and sets in the west at dawn.
27- Last Quarter Moon occurs 2:19 p.m. Moon rises in the southeast after midnight.
30- Jupiter rides the Lion toward the western horizon and sets around midnight.
Huge Scorpius crawls higher in the southeast. Antares, a red supergiant star, is the heart beating in the Scorpion's torso. In binoculars compare the different shades of red of Antares and Mars to the upper right. Corvus, Crow leads Spica, in Virgo the Springmaiden, across the south. Omega Centauri, a star cluster of a million stars, shimmers low in the south below Spica. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Bright Arcturus sparkles overhead beyond the end of the Dipper's handle. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, onto the northwestern horizon. Bright Vega, in Lyra the Harp, brings the vast Summer Triangle above the northeastern horizon to begin its 6 month nocturnal trek into the northwest..
Predawn- dim, blue Neptune rises about 2 a.m.and drifts toward the southwest in Aquarius. Fomalhaut twinkles in the south below Neptune. Blue-green Uranus rises in the east after 3 a.m., floats across the southeast in Pisces, Fish. Mars and Saturn set in the west about dawn. Mercury appears low in the northeast at dawn.
By dawn (5:30 a.m.) winter stars appear on the eastern horizon to follow the summer sun rising an hour later. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) dance on the east-northeastern horizon left of Mercury. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer above the northeastern horizon. Aries, Ram chases Pegasus (Winged Horse) toward the Zenith. The Royal Family reigns in the north: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, their daughter Andromeda and Perseus, Hero. Hercules leads Vega and the Summer Triangle westward.
02- Saturn lies opposite the sun at 3 a.m. Jupiter sets in the west about 2 a.m.
03- At dawn, Mercury perches atop the crescent moon rising onto the east-northeastern horizon. Great in binoculars and cameras. The Seven Sisters shimmer left of Mercury.
05- Mercury reaches its highest altitude in the east-northeast.
12-First Quarter Moon occurs 4:10 a.m.
20- The Honey Moon is full at 7:02 a.m.
21- The bright moon floats above the tilted Sagittarian Teapot pouring onto the stinger tail of Scorpius low in southwest.
25- Taurus, Bull clears the east-northeastern horizon. The Pleiades and Hyades clusters are both visible in Taurus.
30- Jupiter sets around midnight. Mars and Saturn are near the western horizon.