Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
◼ Welcome to your guide to the night sky in June. The bright planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all in the morning sky, rising before dawn.
June’s star chart
Click on the image above, or the following text for an interactive map of constellations visible in the sky, showing you the night sky in June. It can be adjusted for any time and date.
We also have a map of the night sky set up for mid-latitudes in the southern hemisphere.
The stars in June 2022
As it grows dark at northern latitudes where the Sun has set, the bright star Capella can be seen low in the northwestern sky. To its upper right, look for the familiar W shape of Cassiopeia below the north celestial pole, which is marked by the star Polaris. High on the opposite side of this pole star, and almost overhead, see the familiar shape of the Plough, or Big Dipper, which resembles a saucepan and is part of the constellation of Ursa Major. If you follow the curve of the handle of this “saucepan”, you will come to a bright car called Arcturus, in the constellation of Bootes.
In the western sky, the constellation of Leo is now sinking, its head resembling a backwards question mark, and including the bright star Regulus. Over in the eastern sky, the Summer Triangle is rising at this time. This is a large asterism rather than a constellation, and is formed of three stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair, which are the brightest stars in the constellations of Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila, respectively.
In the Southern Hemisphere, you can still catch Gemini low to the northwest as the sky gets dark, plus the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, further to its south. Over in the southeast, the prominent constellation of Scorpius is rising. Crux, the Southern Cross, is at its highest, above the south celestial pole followed by the bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri.
The planets in June 2022
Mercury is low over the northeastern horizon during June, shining at around zero magnitude, and will be hard to see, with the best opportunity towards the end of the month. It will be at greatest western elongation from the Sun on the 16th.
Read more about Mercury.
Venus is in the morning sky, shining at around magnitude -4. It hangs low over the eastern horizon throughout the month from northerly latitudes, meaning it is not so easy to spot as at other apparitions. Look for it in the twilight before sunrise. Venus will be higher and easier to see from the southern hemisphere. The planet is heading too the far side of its orbit around the Sun, and shows a gibbous phase through a telescope. We have a special article about this apparition of Venus.
Read more about planet Venus, and also see our general guide to observing Venus.
Mars rises a couple of hours before the Sun at the start of June and shines at magnitude 0.7. It is still far from being easy to spot, on the far side of its orbit, but binoculars will help you pick it out towards the south east. Again, it will be higher and easier to see from the southern hemisphere. The planet was close to Jupiter on 29 May, and they are now gradually moving apart.
Read our extensive guide to Mars.
Jupiter, shining at magnitude -2.1, is in the morning sky and on 1 June lies less than 2 degrees from Mars. The two planets gradually move apart over subsequent mornings. They will be much easier to see from the southern hemisphere. The planet will remain low in the southeast for northern observers, but it much better placed from southern latitudes.
Read more about planet Jupiter.
Saturn is last of the bright planets to be found in the morning sky, at magnitude 0.9, in the constellation of Capricornus, and not far from its border with Aquarius. This southerly location in the heavens, together with the shallow ecliptic, means it doesn’t get high in the sky from northern latitudes. However, as the earliest of the morning planets to rise before the Sun, you will get a reasonable chance to find it before twilight begins, given a clear south-eastern horizon unobstructed by hills, buildings or cloud. As with the other morning planets, conditions for observing them are hugely better from the southern hemisphere, where Saturn will be high in the sky before dawn. A small telescope will show Saturn’s rings.
Read more about Saturn.
Uranus, in Aries, is in conjunction with the Sun on 5 May and so can not be seen this month.
Read more about Uranus.
Neptune, in Aquarius, was in conjunction with the Sun in March and is still tricky to observe before dawn.
Read more about Neptune.
Summer months in the northern hemisphere bring a return of night-shining clouds, called noctilucent cloud or NLC, which can be spotted due north around midnight from northerly latitudes. These are the highest atmospheric clouds, high in the mesosphere, and are thought to be formed when ice solidifies around meteor dust and possibly particles from pollution. Read more about noctilucent cloud in our special article.
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.
Fifty fantastic features – our amazing Moon
Here’s our guide to observing some of the finest sights on the Moon with small telescopes. Our pages of charts will help you find interesting features to seek out yourself, including craters, lava flows, mountain ranges and deep chasms!
★ Keep up with space news and observing tips. Click here to sign up for alerts to our latest reports. No spam ever - we promise!