June’s night sky offers a good opportunity to view bright planets. Jupiter dominates the sky from the moment it gets dark, and Saturn rises later in the evening. Early risers can see Venus shining brilliantly before dawn.
Welcome to Skymania’s guide to the night sky in June, 2017. You will find a map of the whole visible sky, which can be adjusted for any time and date, plus information on the position of the planets, phases of the Moon, and notable astronomical events to watch out for. (To open the sky map in a separate window, click here.)
For the night sky in the northern hemisphere, click here.
The planets in June 2017
Mercury is not visible this month as it is lost in the Sun’s glare.
Venus has now climbed high above the eastern horizon and shines like a bright beacon that will catch the attention of anyone out and about. Through a telescope it will appear as a steadily growing crescent. The planet shines at a brilliant -4.5 magnitude.
Mars is finally becoming lost to view as it is approaching the far side of the Sun.
Jupiter , the biggest planet in the Solar System, is very well placed, rising in the early evening. Find it in the constellation of Virgo, not far from its brightest star, Spica, using our helpful guide. The planet shines at around -2.5, making it the brightest object in the sky after the Moon and Venus. A small telescope will reveal the planet’s belts and bands as well as the four main moons, known as the Galilean satellites, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Saturn lies in the morning sky this month, rising in the mid evening at the beginning of June but two hours earlier by month’s end. To the naked eye, it resembles a bright yellow star at magnitude 0.5. A small telescope will show its rings are wide open, making it an attractive sight.
Uranus is now in the morning sky and visible with binoculars.
Neptune, the last of the eight worlds recognised as planets in our Solar System, is another binocular object in the morning sky.
Comet Johnson visible with binoculars
A comet is brightening as it crosses the constellation of Bootes, the herdsman, this month. It should visible with binoculars if you have a clear, dark sky, though will be easier from northern latitudes. Check out our article on how to see the comet (C/2015 V2 Johnson), which includes a chart plotting its changing position.
The Moon always makes a great target for a small telescope, which come into view as its phases change. We’ve a guide to where to find 50 of the best lunar features, plus a checklist to download so you can tick them off as you spot them! Don’t have a telescope? Here’s our guide to choosing one.
Phases of the Moon
Full Moon: Jun 9
Last Quarter: Jun 17
New Moon: Jun 24
Image courtesy U.S.N.O.
Fifty fantastic features – our amazing Moon
Here’s our guide to observing some of the finest sights on the Moon with small telescopes. Click here for pages of charts that will help you find interesting features to seek out yourself, including craters, lava flows, mountain ranges and deep chasms!
If you want to check out the sky as seen from the northern hemisphere, click here.