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June 2024 Astronomy Events

June 2024 Astronomy Events

AstroTelescopium Team |

June 2024 is shaping up to be an amazing month for anyone who enjoys looking up at the night sky. We've got a whole lineup of spectacular celestial events that are perfect for both seasoned stargazers and those just getting into astronomy. From the stunning Great Globular Cluster in Hercules to the enchanting Full Strawberry Moon, there’s something exciting happening almost every night.

So, dust off your binoculars or set up your telescope, and let’s dive into what you can look forward to this month. Whether you’re planning a quiet evening in your backyard or a night out at a dark-sky spot, these cosmic wonders are sure to make your June nights unforgettable.

 

12 Spectacular Celestial Events to Watch in June 2024

  • June 1: Great Globular Cluster in Hercules
  • June 2: Asteroid 43 Ariadne
  • June 3: Globular Cluster M12
  • June 5: Globular Cluster M10
  • June 10: Globular Cluster M92
  • June 18: Open Star Cluster IC 4665
  • June 20: June Solstice
  • June 21: Full Strawberry Moon
  • June 22: Lagoon Nebula
  • June 27: Asteroid 42 Isis
  • June 28: Open Star Cluster NGC 6633
  • June 30: Globular Cluster M22

 

June 1st

Spotting M13, A Journey to One of the Oldest Star Clusters in the Universe

If you're out and about on the evening of Saturday, June 1st, you’re in for a treat. The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, also known as M13, will be perfectly positioned in the sky. Around midnight local time, it will reach its highest point, making it the ideal time for viewing.

Now, let’s talk about M13. This incredible cluster is located at a declination of 36°27'N, meaning it’s best seen from the northern hemisphere. If you're below 33°S, unfortunately, it won't be visible. With a magnitude of 5.8, M13 is pretty faint. You won’t be able to see it with the naked eye, but grab a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, and you’ll be in for a spectacular view.

A bit of background: M13 is one of the most famous globular clusters in the northern sky. It sits in the constellation Hercules and was discovered way back in 1714 by the astronomer Edmond Halley (yep, the same guy the famous comet is named after). This cluster is massive, containing hundreds of thousands of stars crammed into a space about 145 light-years across. And get this – it’s about 22,000 light-years away from us!

When you look at M13 through a telescope, you’ll see a stunning ball of stars, with a dense core and stars spreading out in all directions. It's a popular target for amateur astronomers testing out their gear because it’s just that cool to look at.

If you want to track it down, here are the details:

  • Right Ascension: 16h41m40s
  • Declination: 36°27'N
  • Constellation: Hercules
  • Magnitude: 5.8

What makes M13 even more fascinating is its age. These globular clusters are some of the oldest things in our galaxy, with M13 dating back nearly 12 billion years. It’s like looking back in time at the early days of the Milky Way. So, whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or just someone who loves gazing at the stars, checking out M13 is a must.

 

June 2nd

Witness Asteroid 43 Ariadne Shining Bright in Ophiuchus

On June 2nd, Asteroid 43 Ariadne will be ideally situated for viewing, lying in the constellation Ophiuchus and well above the horizon for most of the night. No matter where you are on Earth, 43 Ariadne will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight local time.

This optimal positioning is due to an event known as opposition, when 43 Ariadne makes its closest approach to the point in the sky directly opposite the Sun. Since the Sun is at its lowest point below the horizon at midnight, the point opposite it – where 43 Ariadne will be – is at its highest. Around the same time, 43 Ariadne also reaches its closest approach to Earth, known as perigee, making it appear at its brightest in the night sky. At opposition, the solar system aligns so that 43 Ariadne, Earth, and the Sun form a straight line, with Earth in the middle and 43 Ariadne on the same side of the Sun as us.

On this occasion, 43 Ariadne will pass within 0.85 AU of Earth, reaching a peak brightness of magnitude 9.1. Even at its brightest, 43 Ariadne is too faint to be seen with the naked eye, but a pair of binoculars or a telescope with moderate aperture will reveal it.

A little background on 43 Ariadne: It was discovered by N.R. Pogson on April 15, 1857. Ariadne is a stony asteroid, part of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It has a relatively fast rotation period of about 5.76 hours and is known for its elongated shape, which has been confirmed through light curve analyses.

For those interested in spotting it, here are its coordinates at the moment of opposition:

  • Right Ascension: 16h43m50s
  • Declination: 23°53'S
  • Constellation: Ophiuchus
  • Magnitude: 9.1

Viewing 43 Ariadne provides a unique opportunity to observe a piece of our solar system's history. These celestial bodies offer insights into the early solar system, and seeing one up close, even through a telescope, can be a fascinating experience.

 

June 3rd

Discover the Starry Jewel: Messier 12 in Ophiuchus Takes Center Stage

The globular cluster Messier 12 (M12) in the constellation Ophiuchus will be prominently positioned in the evening sky, reaching its highest point around midnight local time on June 3rd. With a declination of 1°56'S, M12 is visible across much of the world, observable from latitudes between 68°N and 71°S.

M12 shines with a magnitude of 6.1, making it a bit faint for the naked eye but easily viewable with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. For those keen on stargazing, this cluster offers a rewarding glimpse into the beauty of our galaxy's starry realms.

Messier 12, discovered by Charles Messier in 1764, is part of the Ophiuchus constellation and lies approximately 16,000 light-years from Earth. This globular cluster, containing around 200,000 stars, is relatively loosely packed compared to other globular clusters. It provides an interesting target for amateur astronomers due to its unique characteristics and the relatively low-density star population, which makes it distinct from other clusters like Messier 13 in Hercules.

In terms of celestial coordinates, the position of M12 is:

  • Right Ascension: 16h47m10s
  • Declination: 1° 56'S
  • Constellation: Ophiuchus
  • Magnitude: 6.1

Stargazers looking to explore M12 should also take the opportunity to scan the surrounding region of Ophiuchus, which is rich in other astronomical wonders.

 

June 5th

Spot the Ancient Star Cluster M10: A Midnight Marvel

The globular cluster Messier 10 (M10) in Ophiuchus is going to put on a bit of a show on June 5th. It's going to be at its highest point in the sky around midnight local time, making it a great time for stargazing. Since it's at a declination of 4°05'S, you can see it from almost anywhere in the world, especially if you're between 65°N and 74°S latitudes.

M10 is about 14,300 light-years away from us and shines with a magnitude of 6.6. This means it's pretty faint, so don't expect to see it with just your eyes. But grab a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, and you'll be able to spot it. It's an amazing sight—this cluster is packed with hundreds of thousands of stars all held together by gravity in a spherical shape.

If you want to find M10 in the sky, here's where to look:

  • Right Ascension: 16h57m00s
  • Declination: 4°05'S
  • Constellation: Ophiuchus
  • Magnitude: 6.6

One of the coolest things about M10 is its dense core. The stars in the middle are much more tightly packed compared to those on the outer edges. When you observe M10, you're actually looking back in time since the light takes thousands of years to reach us.

 

June 10th

Catch a Glimpse of Ancient History: M92 Shines Bright

The globular cluster Messier 92 (M92) in Hercules is going to be a treat for stargazers on June 10th. It's going to reach its highest point in the sky around midnight local time, making it the perfect time for some evening skywatching. Since it's at a declination of 43°08'N, folks in the northern hemisphere will have the best view. Unfortunately, if you're much south of 26°S, you won't be able to see it.

M92 is one of the oldest globular clusters we know of, clocking in at around 13.8 billion years old. It's about 27,000 light-years from Earth. With a magnitude of 6.5, M92 is pretty faint and definitely not something you'll see with the naked eye. But grab a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, and you'll be in for a real treat. This cluster is packed with stars, all hanging out together in a tight, spherical formation.

If you want to spot M92, here are its coordinates:

  • Right Ascension: 17h17m00s
  • Declination: 43°08'N
  • Constellation: Hercules
  • Magnitude: 6.5

What's really cool about M92 is its dense core—there's a high concentration of stars right in the middle.

 

June 18th

Discover the Young and Bright Open Star Cluster IC 4665

The open star cluster IC 4665 in Ophiuchus will be prominently positioned in the evening sky on June 18th, reaching its highest point at around midnight local time. This cluster, at a declination of 5°38'N, is visible across much of the world, from latitudes between 75°N and 64°S. With a magnitude of 4.2, IC 4665 can be challenging to spot with the naked eye unless you're in a dark site. However, it is easily visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

IC 4665, discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745, is an open cluster consisting of a loose collection of stars. It's located approximately 1,400 light-years from Earth and has an estimated age of around 40 million years, making it relatively young in astronomical terms. The cluster contains several bright stars, with the most luminous members being blue-white in color, indicating their hot temperatures and relatively short lifespans compared to cooler, red stars.

For those interested in observing IC 4665, here are its coordinates:

  • Right Ascension: 17h46m20s
  • Declination: 5°38'N
  • Constellation: Ophiuchus
  • Magnitude: 4.2

Observing this cluster can be a delightful experience, especially for amateur astronomers. Its visibility with basic equipment makes it an accessible target for stargazing sessions, offering a glimpse into the fascinating world of stellar formations.

 

June 20th

Embracing the June Solstice: The Longest Day and the Start of Summer

June 20th is the June solstice, making it the longest day of 2024 in the northern hemisphere, also known as Midsummer Day. On this day, the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, sitting in the tropic of Cancer at a declination of 23.5°N. Astronomers count this day as the official start of summer for the northern half of the globe.

But why does the June solstice happen? It all comes down to the Earth's tilt and its slightly wonky orbit around the Sun. Our planet tilts at an angle of 23.5°, causing the Sun's position to change throughout the year, hitting its northern peak during the June solstice. Plus, the Earth's orbit isn’t a perfect circle—it’s a bit elliptical—so our planet speeds up and slows down as it travels around the Sun. This affects the length of our days.

Did you know that not every day is exactly 24 hours long? Some days can be up to 20 seconds longer or shorter, following a yearly pattern. This happens because:

  1. Changing Solar Movement: The Sun moves eastward through the constellations at different speeds throughout the year—fastest at the solstices and slowest at the equinoxes.
  2. Elliptical Orbit: Our elliptical orbit means the Earth’s speed varies, which affects how we perceive the Sun's movement.

So, what does this mean for our clocks? In June, each solar day is just a bit longer than 24 hours, so the time of noon shifts about a minute later each day. This also affects when the Sun rises and sets. You might notice that the earliest sunrise happens a few days before the solstice and the latest sunset a few days after.

The tilt of the Earth is also what gives us our seasons. As we orbit the Sun, the direction of our tilt stays the same. In June, the north pole is tilted towards the Sun, and in December, it’s tilted away. That’s why we have summer and winter.

For the astronomy buffs out there, here are the exact details of the Sun’s position at the June solstice in 2024:

  • Right Ascension: 05h58m
  • Declination: 23°26'N
  • Constellation: Taurus
  • Angular Size: 31'28"

Understanding these details helps us appreciate the beautiful, complex dance of our planet and its impact on the seasons and our daily lives.

 

June 21st

Witness the Rare and Radiant Full Strawberry Moon This Summer Solstice

The Full Strawberry Moon is rising on Friday, June 21, and it's going to be pretty special this year because it lines up perfectly with the summer solstice. Just after sunset, take a peek towards the southeast to watch the full Moon climb above the horizon. It’ll look huge and have a beautiful golden hue.

What makes this year's Full Moon even more unique is that it’s the first time since 1985 that it falls exactly on the summer solstice. The Moon will hit its brightest point at around 9:08 P.M. Eastern Time. And here’s an interesting tidbit: because the Moon is opposite the Sun, it will be 10 widths lower on the horizon than the Sun ever gets. If you stay up past midnight, you’ll see how low it is in the sky. It might not seem thrilling at first, but trust me, it’s worth staying up for since this won’t happen again for another 18 years.

Usually, a Full Moon lights up the night like a giant flashlight, but this time, it will stay low on the horizon. The thick air near the horizon will give it a yellow or orange tint, and its light will be a bit dimmer. Plus, because it’s so far south, it won’t be up for long, leaving the night mostly dark.

For those who love the details, here are the Moon’s coordinates when it’s full:

  • Right Ascension: 18h03m30s
  • Declination: 28° 21' S
  • Constellation: Sagittarius
  • Angular Size: 31' 25"

The June Full Moon is called the Strawberry Moon, not because it looks like a strawberry, but because it’s the time of year when strawberries are ready to be picked. This name comes from Native American tribes in the northeastern U.S., like the Algonquian, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples. They used it to mark the ripening of “June-bearing” strawberries. June is a month of abundance, with flowers blooming and early fruits ripening, making it a great time for growth and plenty.

 

June 22nd

Spotlight on the Lagoon Nebula: A Summer Sky Spectacle

The Lagoon Nebula, or M8, is going to be a star (pun intended) of the evening sky on June 22nd. It will hit its highest point around midnight, which is prime time for stargazing. Nestled in the constellation Sagittarius, this nebula sits at a declination of 24°22'S. That makes it easier to spot from the southern hemisphere, while folks much north of 45°N might have a tough time seeing it.

The Lagoon Nebula is a massive interstellar cloud, stretching about 110 light-years across and sitting roughly 4,000-6,000 light-years away from us. It's essentially a stellar nursery, a place where new stars are born. With a magnitude of 5.8, M8 is pretty faint and you won’t see it with the naked eye. But grab a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, and you can catch a glimpse of its glowing gas and intricate structures.

Here’s the scoop on the Lagoon Nebula’s position:

  • Object: M8
  • Right Ascension: 18h03m40s
  • Declination: 24°22'S
  • Constellation: Sagittarius
  • Magnitude: 5.8

If you have a bigger telescope, you can also witness the bright open cluster NGC 6530 within the nebula and some dark lanes of interstellar dust that cut through the glowing gas. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned stargazer, the Lagoon Nebula is a mesmerizing part of the summer night sky, showing off the magic of star formation.

 

June 27th

Catch Asteroid 42 Isis at Its Brightest

On June 27th, Asteroid 42 Isis will be in an ideal spot for observation in the constellation Sagittarius, staying visible above the horizon for most of the night. No matter where you are on Earth, you'll see Asteroid 42 Isis reaching its highest point in the sky around midnight local time. This happens because the asteroid is at opposition, meaning it's directly opposite the Sun in the sky. At midnight, when the Sun is farthest below the horizon, Asteroid 42 Isis is at its peak position.

During this opposition, Asteroid 42 Isis will also be at its closest approach to Earth, known as its perigee, making it shine its brightest in the night sky. This alignment – with Asteroid 42 Isis, Earth, and the Sun all in a straight line – makes for a great viewing opportunity. On this night, Asteroid 42 Isis will be about 0.99 AU (astronomical units) from us, reaching a magnitude of 9.4. But don’t expect to see it with the naked eye; you’ll need binoculars or a moderate telescope to get a good look.

Asteroid 42 Isis has an interesting history. Discovered on May 23, 1856, by N.R. Pogson, it’s named after the Egyptian goddess Isis. This asteroid orbits in the main belt and takes about 4.1 years to complete one orbit around the Sun. Watching Asteroid 42 Isis during its opposition is a fantastic chance for astronomers and space enthusiasts to learn more about it.

Here are the details of where 42 Isis will be at the moment of opposition:

  • Right Ascension: 18h30m50s
  • Declination: 27°01'S
  • Constellation: Sagittarius
  • Magnitude: 9.4

So, grab your binoculars or telescope and enjoy the view!

 

June 28th

Discover the Hidden Gem: NGC 6633 Lights Up the Night Sky

On June 28th, the open star cluster NGC 6633 in the constellation Ophiuchus will be perfectly placed in the evening sky, reaching its highest point around midnight local time. Located at a declination of 6°30'N, this cluster is visible from many parts of the world, between latitudes 76°N and 63°S.

With a magnitude of 4.6, NGC 6633 is a bit too faint to see with the naked eye unless you’re in a really dark spot. But don’t worry—it's easy to spot with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. NGC 6633 is actually pretty bright and large compared to other clusters, making it a favorite among amateur astronomers. It's often compared to the nearby cluster IC 4756.

Here’s where you can find NGC 6633:

  • Right Ascension: 18h 27m 10s
  • Declination: 6°30'N
  • Constellation: Ophiuchus
  • Magnitude: 4.6

NGC 6633 is packed with stars of different brightness and colors, making it a beautiful sight even with modest equipment.

 

June 30th

Gaze Upon the Beauty of M22: A Stellar Showpiece

The globular cluster M22, hanging out in the constellation Sagittarius near the Galactic center, will be perfectly placed in the evening sky. Around midnight local time, it’ll reach its highest point, making it a great target for stargazing.

With a declination of 23°54'S, M22 is easier to spot from the southern hemisphere, but you can still catch it from as far north as 46°N. At a magnitude of 5.2, it’s a bit too faint to see with the naked eye unless you’re in a super dark spot. But no worries—it looks fantastic through binoculars or a small telescope.

M22 is one of the brightest and closest globular clusters to Earth, which is why it’s so popular among amateur astronomers. Its dense star field is mesmerizing, and it's located in such an interesting part of the sky near the Galactic center.

Here’s where you can find M22:

  • Right Ascension: 18h 36m 20s
  • Declination: 23°54'S
  • Constellation: Sagittarius
  • Magnitude: 5.2

M22 is packed with stars and offers a stunning view, especially if you have a telescope or even just a pair of binoculars.

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    Astronomical Terms

    Magnitude

    Magnitude is the measure of a celestial object's brightness, with lower numbers indicating greater brightness. The naked eye can perceive objects as dim as roughly magnitude +6.0 without optical assistance.

    Right Ascension (RA)

    Right ascension is the celestial equivalent of geographic longitude, measured from the Sun's position during March Equinox at 00h00m00s (h=hours, m=minutes, s=seconds). This measurement increases eastward until completing a full circle at 24h00m00s.

    Declination (DEC)

    Declination is the celestial equivalent of geographic latitude, measured in degrees (°), minutes ('), and seconds ("). The celestial equator has a declination of 0°0'0", the north celestial pole is at +90°0'0", and the south celestial pole is at -90°0'0".

    AU (astronomical units)

    This unit measures the average distance from the Earth to the Sun, about 93 million miles. It helps gauge distances within our solar system.

    Angular Size

    This describes how large a celestial object appears from Earth, measured in arcminutes (') and arcseconds ("). One arcminute is 1/60th of a degree, and one arcsecond is 1/60th of an arcminute.