Neither the Big nor the Little Car hold much water after dark in June; the small car stands on its grip while the big car hangs from his. But the Grip of the Big Dipper is a practical guide to stars and planets.
Follow the curve to Arcturus, the brightest star in the evening sky this month. Arcturus seems high in the south and anchors the dragon-like constellation Bootes, the shepherd. Take the curve to Spica, in Virgo, then turn east, where Jupiter rules over dim Libra, the Libra, a constellation that resembles a jellyfish. Beside Jupiter is Zubenelgenubi. Its ancient Arabic name refers to the southern claw of Scorpius, reminiscent of a time when Libra's stars were considered part of Scorpius. The scorpion and its red heart, Antares, rise to the southeast and follow Jupiter into the sky.
Saturn also glows later over the teapot Sagittarius, the archer. On October 27, Saturn will be orbiting Earth, and the planet will be awake all night long. His glorious rings will be tilted to show a near-maximum surface, so having access to a telescope is a perfect time to take a look.
After Saturn in the night sky, Mars dramatically lightens it to the month as the Earth wins. The earth orbits the red planet in the last week of July ̵
In the West, Venus outshines everything else. On the 14th, a young crescent starts to move towards Venus. Take the binoculars after dark on the 16th and look for the beautiful but fine beehive cluster halfway between Venus and the Moon. You see two stars framing the beehive in the upper left; These are the Aselli or donkeys. In Latin, the beehive is called Praesepe, the crib, and the Aselli feed it. On the 19th, the hive will appear just southeast of Venus, but until then, an almost first crescent will wash out the stars.
As Earth's orbit continues to move it further away from Jupiter, the giant planet drifts westward to Venus. Watch the gap between the two beacons narrow over the summer. Speaking of which, the summer solstice takes place at 21:07 on the 21st, when the sun reaches one point above the Tropic of Cancer.
The full strawberry moon of June arrives at 11:53. It will not look very big because it will go through the apogee, its furthest point from Earth in a lunar orbit, only two days later. However, as it gets crowded in the evening, it will be very round as it peeks across the horizon. It glides over the night sky with another famous globe – Saturn.
If you have any questions, please contact Deane Morrison, University Relations, Tel. 612-624-2346 or [email protected] .