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Night sky this month – June


Highlights: Mars at brightest.

Here is a view of the night sky this month as seen from mid-northern latitudes such as London or New York in mid June, 2016, at 10pm (22h UT).

The planets in June 2016

Mercury is now in the morning sky.

Venus is not visible this month as it is lies on the far side of the Sun and too close to it in the sky.

Mars is prominent in the sky now, having reached opposition, and been closest to the Earth on 29 May. It starts the month shining at magnitude -2.5, and makes a spectacular sight close to Saturn near the head of Scorpius. It is obviously much brighter than the 1st magnitude star Antares in Scorpius, whose name means “rival of Mars”. A small telescope may now show you some dark markings and the bright polar caps, though the planet is very low in the sky for northern hemisphere observers. Find out more about Mars here including maps to show its position in the sky.

Jupiter is very well placed still in the evening sky, and will be seen shining brightly at magnitude -2.1 as soon as it gets dark. A small telescope will show the banding in its cloud tops, and the four brightest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto can be spotted in binoculars.

Saturn rises before midnight, shining at magnitude 0 in Ophiuchus, and not far from Mars. The rings are very widely opened now and so may be well seen in a small telescope.

Note: The sky will appear much the same from other cities at similar latitudes, such as New York, Paris and Berlin, at around 10pm local time. The sky appears the same at the start of the month an hour later and at the end of the month an hour earlier. We use Virtual Sky, a new, customizable, browser-based planetarium, courtesy of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Click on the date or location to the top left of the chart to view the sky at a different time or from another longitude and latitude. If you want to check out the sky as seen from the southern hemisphere, click here.