These notes are intended to provide a casual skywatcher or someone already into amateur astronomy living on the East Coast of Australia with a short summary of what is happening in the night sky in June 2011. Instructions on how to obtain customised satellite viewing information for your location can be found here. If you find this page of interest, you may wish to follow this website automatically using Twitter and the sites RSS Feed.
Planets this month (June 2011)
Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter start the month still visible above the Eastern horizon in the morning pre-dawn sky. Mercury then moves back towards the Sun (as seen from the Earth) and becomes invisible for Earth bound observers. Mercury then returns to the evening twilight sky at the end of the month.
Mars and Jupiter both move higher above the Eastern horizon in the predawn sky as the month progresses. Venus however slowly moves back towards the horizon as the month progresses and ends the month starting to be lost in the solar glare.
Saturn is visible high above the Northern horizon once twilight ends.
Uranus rises around 1am mid-month and a telescope will be required to easily identify the planet.
Neptune rises around 10pm mid-month and a telescope will be required to easily identify the planet.
Individual sky events (June 2011)
All times listed for the AEST time zone (U.T. plus 10 hours). Add one hour to times listed if your state or territory follows daylight savings time.
June 2: Partial Solar Eclipse. Not directly visible from Australia. Maximum eclipse occurs at 7.16 am AEST and will be seen in Northern Sweden. Check the web for live webcasts.
June 2: New Moon 7.03 am AEST
June 4: Neptune stationary 1 am AEST
June 7: Mercury in ascending node
June 9: First Quarter Moon 12.11 pm
June 10: Gibbous Moon located above the planet Saturn (approximately 9 degrees or 18 Moon widths apart). Evening sky.
June 11: Saturn 0.2 degrees above and to the right of Gamma Virginis (a moderately bright star in the ancient Greek constellation Virgo the Virgin). Evening sky.
June 12: Moon at perigee (closest to Earth in its orbit at 367,189 km). 12 Midday AEST.
June 12: Mercury at perihelion (closest point in its orbit to the Sun).
June 13: Mercury in superior conjunction with the Sun. 10 am AEST.
June 14: Saturn stationary. 3 pm AEST.
June 16: Total Lunar Eclipse. Morning pre-dawn sky. Unfortunately, from Eastern Australia we will miss the entire eclipse as a combination of twilight beginning and then the Moon setting will interfere. There will be however over half an hour when the totally eclipsed Moon will be visible low above the Western horizon providing the opportunity to take some great horizon / eclipsed Moon photographs. Eclipse details (all times AEST): Penumbral phase begins 3.25 am, Partial eclipse begins 4.23 am, Total Eclipse begins 5.22 am, Greatest eclipse 6.13am.
June 16: Full Moon 6.14am AEST
June 22: Mercury at greatest latitude North
June 22: Winter Solstice 3 am AEST
June 23: Last Quarter Moon 9.48 pm AEST
June 24: Moon at apogee (furthest from the Earth in its orbit at 404,271 km). 2 pm AEST
June 26: Crescent Moon located to left of Jupiter. Morning pre-dawn sky.
June 28: Pluto at opposition. Definitely not visible to the unaided eye!
June 29: Slim crescent Moon, Mars and Aldebaran (the brightest star in the ancient Greek constellation Taurus the Bull) make a temporary triangle low above the Eastern horizon. Pre-dawn sky.
June 29: Mercury will be located above and to the left of the star Pollux (one of the brightest stars in the ancient Greek constellation Gemini ‘The Twins’). Look low above the Western horizon in the evening twilight. A clear horizon will be required.
June 30: A very slim crescent Moon will be located above Venus in the morning predawn sky. Look low above the Eastern horizon. Binoculars are recommended.
For Further Information
Planet and Moon Rise/Set Times
Planet and Moon rise/set times for 2011 can be found here on this website.
Customised Astronomy & Satellite Viewing information
Information on how to obtain customised astronomy & satellite viewing information for your location can be found here on this website.