What's Up - June 2015

Be sure to rug up nice and warm when out and about under the stars as winter is upon us. The longest night of the year is on the 22nd of this month. The central bulge region of the Milky Way centred around Scorpio and Sagittarius is at opposition this month, meaning it will be visible all night long. Perfect for taking photos or visually checking out the many delights of this stellar packed region. At about 8pm as the central bulge region gets higher in the sky look just to the right of The Teapot asterism and from a dark sky site you should see a semicircular arc of about a dozen fifth magnitude stars. This is the constellation Corona Australis or the Southern Crown. If you then look around to the north east you should see a similar pattern of stars rising above the horizon. This is the northern hemisphere equivalent Corora Borealis. Can you spot them both?

Mercury climbs its way into the morning sky this month and will be close to a slender crescent moon on the 15th. Venus starts the month in Gemini before going through Cancer and ending the month in Leo passing the Beehive cluster on its way. On the 7th it reaches its greatest elongation east of the Sun at 45 degrees and appears like a little First Quarter Moon in telescopes. Over the month Venus and Jupiter will move closer and closer together until at the end of the month they will be just half a degree apart (Width of the Moon)! On the 20th a four day old crescent Moon will join this spectacular bright pairing to form a nice little triangle. Mars is in conjunction with the Sun. Saturn is just past opposition and is visible almost all of the night making it an excellent target for observation. Uranus rises around 2am mid month in Pisces and on the 12th it will be occulted by the 25 day old waning crescent Moon. Twilight may interfere with egress. Neptune rises around 11pm mid month in Aquarius.