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SKY HAPPENINGS

Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude 109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m

The Sky for June 2015
By Faylene Roth

 

Sunrise-Sunset
for June

(The time of sunrise and sunset assumes a flat horizon. Actual time may vary depending upon the landscape.)

DATE

SUNRISE

SUNSET

1

5:56am

8:37pm

2

5:55am

8:37pm

3

5:55am

8:38pm

4

5:55am

8:39pm

5

5:54am

8:39pm

6

5:54am

8:40pm

7

5:54am

8:40pm

8

5:54am

8:41pm

9

5:54am

8:41pm

10

5:54am

8:42pm

11

5:53am

8:42pm

12

5:53am

8:43pm

13

5:53am

8:43pm

14

5:53am

8:44pm

15

5:53am

8:44pm

16

5:53am

8:45pm

17

5:54am

8:45pm

18

5:54am

8:45pm

19

5:54am

8:45pm

20

5:54am

8:46pm

21

5:54am

8:46pm

22

5:54am

8:46pm

23

5:55am

8:46pm

24

5:55am

8:46pm

25

5:55am

8:46pm

26

5:56am

8:47pm

27

5:56am

8:47pm

28

5:56am

8:47pm

29

5:57am

8:47pm

30

5:57am

8:47pm

The three brightest evening stars in the eastern sky mark the points of the Summer Triangle—0-magnitude Vega (Lyra) and Altair (Aquila) joined with 1st magnitude Deneb (Cygnus). The triangle is an asterism, a group of stars from one or more constellations that form a pattern. The red light of 0-magnitude Arcturus (Boötes) shines overhead with 1st magnitude blue-star Spica (Virgo) to its south. Regulus (Leo)—the 1st magnitude blue star that stands out in the western sky—pales in comparison to the visible planets Jupiter (-1.9 magnitude) and Venus (-3.8 magnitude) lower on the western horizon.

Twilight extends the period of daylight in three stages at each end of the day. Morning twilight begins with astronomical twilight—about 1-1/2 hours (nearly 2 during summer months) before sunrise—as the eastern horizon brightens. Nautical twilight continues—as the overhead sky turns blue and color returns to the surrounding landscape—for another 30-40 minutes. The final stage—civil twilight—provides adequate light for most outdoor activities for the half hour before the sun crests the horizon. The opposite progression occurs after sunset.

DAYLENGTH
Enjoy the long days and extended twilight of June nights. The skies do not completely darken until nearly 11:00pm. Daylight period varies by only eight minutes in June. Due to the eccentricities of an elliptical orbit, the earliest sunrises—5:53am—occur June 11-16 while the latest sunsets are delayed until June 26-30.

MOON HAPPENINGS
June 2 – Full moon (10:19am) rises at 8:42pm.
June 9 – Dark evening skies until after midnight when the waning last quarter moon rises.
June 16 – Dark sky period for several days before and after the new moon (8:05am).
June 24 –Waxing first quarter moon brightens evening skies until after midnight.

SUMMER SOLSTICE
Note the location of the sun on June 21—first day of summer—at 10:38am to view the sun’s position at 23 ̊ 26′N latitude. It appears at about the same declination as Arcturus (Boötes) in our current evening sky. If the skies were to darken from an eclipse at 10:38am , Taurus would be seen behind the sun. The sun’s position at the summer solstice is as far north as it ever gets. It never shines directly overhead in Moab which sits about 15 ̊ northward at 38 ̊ 34′ N
latitude.

MAJOR METEOR EVENTS
No major meteor showers in June, but minor activity occurs throughout the month from a variety of radiants.
.
VISIBLE PLANETS
Jupiter – Second brightest planet in the western sky—appears lower on the horizon each evening near the head of Leo. On June 1, it sets about one hour after Venus; but, by month’s end, it is setting within one minute of Venus. On June 20, look for Jupiter within 5 ̊ of a waxing near-quarter moon. Look for them about 30 ̊ above the western horizon as nautical twilight fades. (Magnitude -1.8)
Saturn – Saturn rises in the southeastern sky near the head of Scorpius as the sun sets on the northwestern horizon. On June 1, it rises within 2 ̊ of a nearly full moon. (Magnitude +1.0)
Venus – Brightest planet in the evening sky, Venus appears unusually high in the western sky at twilight because its greatest eastern elongation from the sun occurs June 6. At greatest eastern elongation it is at quarter phase. That means its face appears 50% illuminated (like a quarter moon) when viewed through binoculars or telescope. Venus lingers in the night until nearly midnight throughout the first part of the month. . (Magnitude -4.2)

Apparent magnitude values range from -4 to +6 for most planets and visible stars. The lower the value the brighter the object. A decrease of 1.0 magnitude is 2.5 times brighter.

Primary Sources: USGS; U.S. Naval Observatory; Your Sky at http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/
To find out when the space shuttle and International Space Station are visible from your location, go to: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html and click on Sighting Opportunities.

MAJOR CONSTELLATIONS this MONTH


Overhead
Cassiopeia
Cepheus
Ursa Minor
Ursa Major
Boötes
Corona Borealis
Virgo
Libra

Eastward
Cygnus
Lyra
Aquila
Hercules
Ophiucus
Scorpius

Westward
Auriga
Gemini
Cancer
Canis Minor
Leo
Hydra (head)
Crater
Corvus


The star chart approximates the sky from astronomical twilight to midnight. As the night and month progresses, the constellations shift toward the northwest. The celestial equator is measured in hours (h). The ecliptic is measured in degrees

Note: Hold your hand at arm’s length to measure apparent distances in the sky. The width of the little finger approximates 1.5̊. Middle, ring, and little finger touching represent about 5̊. The width of a fist is about 10̊. The fist with the thumb extended at a right angle equals 15̊. The hand stretched from thumb to little finger approximates 20̊-25̊. The diameter of both the full moon and the sun spans only 0.5̊. Adjust for the size of your hand.

 
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